Saperstein: By publicly ending his association with the Beijing Olympics and focusing the world’s attention on the plight of the people of Darfur, Steven Spielberg has himself demonstrated, again, the impact one individual can have on the lives of untold others.
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Washington D.C. February 14, 2008 - In response to Steven Spielberg’s decision to withdraw as Artistic Director of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
“We commend Steven Spielberg’s decision to end his relationship with the 2008 Olympic Games. By withdrawing from his role as Artistic Director of the opening and closing ceremonies, Mr. Spielberg has made a powerful statement to China and to the people of the world that China will be held accountable for failing to use its considerable influence with Sudan to bring about an end to the ongoing genocide in Darfur. China’s investments in Sudan have long been a crucial source of revenue to the Sudanese government, helping to fuel the violence.
Mr. Spielberg’s films have often appealed to the moral being within each moviegoer – celebrating individuals who have stood up to injustice or for what they believe is right against often daunting opposition. By publicly ending his association with the Beijing Olympics and focusing the world’s attention on the plight of the people of Darfur, Steven Spielberg has himself demonstrated, again, the impact one individual can have on the lives of untold others.
Two months ago, I spoke alongside activists Mia Farrow, Joey Cheek and many others at the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC as we participated in the “Dream for Darfur Torch Relay,” calling for an end to China’sfinancial support for Sudan. We look forward to working with Mr. Speilberg to bring a secure and sustainable peace to Darfur and all of Sudan.”