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Saperstein: The advocacy work carried out particularly by those in the faith community, including members of the Reform Jewish Movement, contributed significantly to Congress’s unanimous passage and the President’s signing of this important legislation.
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Washington, January 9, 2008 – In response to the enactment of the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
“After an all too long delay, we are pleased that the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act (SADA) is now law. The advocacy work carried out particularly by those in the faith community, including members of the Reform Jewish Movement, contributed significantly to Congress’s unanimous passage and the President’s signing of this important legislation.
The individual and collective power of states to use their financial resources and influence the Sudanese government must not be ignored. Thanks to the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act, Americans can now take further action to end the genocide in Sudan.
This legislative victory is important not only for the twenty-two states that have already passed divestment legislation, but will likely significantly and positively impact the other twenty-three with pending divestment bills. As we wrote last week in a letter urging President Bush to sign the bill, “we can no longer afford to wait. Our Jewish values teach that that ‘You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor’ (Leviticus 19:16), yet blood continues to be shed on Sudanese soil. We recognize that divestment is a specific tactic that ought to be used only in the most dire of situations and we are cognizant of the fact that this economic tool has the potential for abuse. However, we also understand that, when appropriate, divestment can be a strategy that provides significant power to motivate change…because the circumstances in Darfur are such that divestment is timely, appropriate and likely to be successful, it is important that SADA is signed into law.”
The passage of SADA is not the end of our efforts. It is instead an important reminder that grassroots activism can have a major impact in helping end the continuing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. There is more to be done, and we will continue to pursue this effort with all those who refuse to remain passive in the face of a humanitarian crisis.