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Holocaust scholars urge Obama to sanction countries hosting Bashir

JTA

June 18, 2012 | 11:29 am

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Khartoum on April 20. Photo by REUTERS/ Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Khartoum on April 20. Photo by REUTERS/ Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

A group of 70 Holocaust scholars have sent a letter urging the Obama administration support a congressional amendment that would halt U.S. foreign assistance to countries that host visits for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

The letter, sent June 14 and addressed to Atrocities Prevention Board chief Samantha Power, highlights the recent amendment sponsored by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) adopted in the House Appropriations Committee that would suspend non-humanitarian assistance to those particular countries.

In the letter, which was sponsored by the Wyman Institute, the signatories endorsed sanctions provisions in the Wolf amendment, saying such sanctions “encourage America’s allies to step up their commitments to fight against perpetrators of genocide.”

Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, noted in a press release that “halting aid to those who host Bashir would be the first concrete step the U.S. has taken to isolate the Butcher of Darfur and pave the way for his arrest. If the Obama administration is serious about punishing perpetrators of genocide, it should support the Wolf Amendment.”

Signatories of the letter included Rabbi Dr. Irving ‘Yitz’ Greenberg, former chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; author Dr. Daniel Goldhagen; Prof. Rev. John Pawlikowski, who chairs the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s Subcommittee on Church Relations; and Prof. Deborah Dwork of Clark University, founder of the first graduate program in Holocaust and genocide studies in the United States.

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