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Rabbi Saperstein: "Today, we welcome the Senate's commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and reaffirm our own pledge of working towards a nuclear free world."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., December 22, 2010 -- In response to the Senate's ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
We applaud the Senate's ratification today of the New START treaty, which furthers the interests of American security and the objective of a world without the threat of nuclear weapons. The treaty includes vital provisions reducing the number of nuclear weapons the United States and Russia possess, as well as reinstating American inspectors on the ground in Russian nuclear arsenals, an absence that has continued for far too long (since the expiration of the original START treaty last December).
We remain profoundly concerned by the threat nuclear weapons pose. It is our hope that this treaty will serve as a step toward security and disarmament not only for our two countries but also for the rest of the world, in particular the Middle East. The treaty's ratification will certainly strengthen continuing U.S. efforts encouraging Russia to pressure Iran to cease nuclear development. The danger posed by a nuclear Iran threatens Israel's security, North American interests and the stability of the region, in part by increasing the risk of such weapons falling into the hands of terrorists.
We pray today that this treaty will serve as a catalyst for future non-proliferation agreements. When the United States and Russia lead by example, reducing the reliance on nuclear weapons as their primary source of their political and military power, it strengthens efforts to press other nations to follow suit.
We are guided by the words of Isaiah, who tells us that nations must "beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks" (2:4) and our commitment to Jewish laws of just warfare, which eschew weapons that would kill indiscriminately or create long-term damage to the environment. These teachings have long inspired our Movement's work on arms control. Today, we welcome the Senate's commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and reaffirm our own pledge of working towards a nuclear free world.