The Washington Post

Simon Wiesenthal Center calls for action against Syria

Leaders of the Simon Wiesenthal Center called on lawmakers Tuesday to support President Obama’s request to take action against Syria, invoking the memory of the Holocaust in a strongly worded letter.

The group’s stance came amid a growing push by some key Jewish organizations to back Obama’s call for a military strike against Syria, citing a moral obligation to stand up against leaders who slaughter their own people.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Jewish human rights center, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean, noted in their letter that in 1942, a World Jewish Congress representative in Switzerland told U.S. and British officials of a Nazi plan to use gas to kill Jews.

“Both governments were skeptical about the information and tragically wasted precious months doing nothing about it,” they wrote. “By 1945, six million Jews were murdered; most gassed in Nazi death camps in what became known as the Holocaust, the greatest crime in the annals of human history.

“Since then, every American President, British Prime Minister and other political leaders around the world have pledged again and again that they will never allow history to repeat itself.”

Hier and Cooper noted that last month, the British parliament voted not to take action against Syria.

“Now, on September 9, it will be up to you to vote,” they wrote, adding: “On behalf of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, we urge you to vote for the limited strike, because to do otherwise would only embolden the perpetrators and encourage them to gas more victims, while at the same time signaling the world that America’s assurances and promises mean nothing at all.”

“This may not be the perfect solution, but it will send a dramatic signal to the Assad regime and all others, that you will have to pay a very high price if you continue to perpetrate such crimes against humanity,” they concluded.

Matea Gold is a national political reporter for The Washington Post, covering money and influence.



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