4 May 2011

Congo-Kinshasa: Save the Congo Rabbinic Appeal

Photo: Myriam Asmani/MONUC
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila.


A letter written by Save the Congo to the Rt Hon William Hague, MP, the Secretary of State for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the British Government:

Dear Mr Hague,

Save the Congo Rabbinic Appeal

As we complete the celebration of Passover, the struggle for freedom and the Exodus from slavery of our people, we, the undersigned rabbis, join our voice with Save the Congo to seek your direct intervention to help secure peace, security and justice in the Congo.

Any system which allows the murder of innocent civilians at the behest of a cruel regime must be an affront to humanity and to the strong ethical exigency within Judeo-Christian teaching. The world has still not learned the lesson of the genocide of the last century. The imperative 'Never again,' that emerged out of the Holocaust, tragically continues to be transmuted into 'Again' and yet 'Again'.

For the last 13 years this has been the plight of the Congolese people. They have been decimated by wars that are being waged for the control of the Congo's easily appropriable and highly valuable natural resources. There is already a devastating catalogue of atrocities, including: mass killings and displacement, the destruction of livelihood, an orchestrated campaign of sexual atrocities against women, men and children and an humanitarian crisis on a scale that defies comprehension. Millions have died, countless of them women at the hands of endorsed rapists, and millions will continue to perish from the ensuing HIV-AIDS pandemic.

Whilst we await the specific policy details of your strategy to help to save the Congo, we implore you to:

1 1. support and strengthen MONUSCO with the needed helicopters, heavy transport, intelligence and staff to effectively carry out its mandate;

2. hold accountable those alleged by the UN, or indicted by the ICC, to have orchestrated, perpetuated, ordered or financed crimes under international humanitarian and human rights laws;

3. bring additional pressure on the Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian authorities to ensure that their territories are not used as a trading or transit ground for conflict minerals from the Congo or for weapons that fall into the hands of armed groups in the Congo;

4. ensure that corporations within your jurisdiction trading in minerals in the Great Lakes region of Africa observe due diligence standards, as set out by the UN and OECD, and bring considerable pressure on the Congolese authorities to end their militarisation of mines.

We trust that you will give due consideration to these concerns.

We shall endeavour to keep in touch with you and look forward to a response from you shortly.

Yours sincerely, Rabbi David Mitchell Associate Rabbi of Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue & Patron of Save the Congo Rabbi Colin Eimer Senior Rabbi of Sha'arei Tsedek North London Synagogue & Patron of Save the Congo Dr. Tony Bayfield, OBE President of the Movement for Reform Judaism Rabbi Danny Rich Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger Senior Rabbi of West London Synagogue Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg Rabbi of New North London Masorti Synagogue Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk Rabbi of Finchley Progressive Synagogue and Women of the Congo Activist

Rabbi Pete Tobias Chair of the Rabbinic Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Rabbi of The Liberal Synagogue Elstree.

Rabbi Tony Hammond Chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK and Rabbi of Bromley Reform Synagogue Rabbi Sybil Sheridan Rabbi of Wimbledon and District Synagogue and Jewish Chaplain of Roehampton University.

Rabbi Jackie Tabick Chair of the World Congress of Faiths, Rabbi of North West Surrey Synagogue & Executive Member of the Inter Faith Network Rabbi Alexandra Wright Senior Rabbi of The Liberal Jewish Synagogue Rabbi Jeremy Gordon Rabbi of New London Synagogue Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild Rabbi of rabbi of Wimbledon Reform Synagogue Rabbi Janet Burden Rabbi of West Central and Ealing Liberal Synagogues Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah Rabbi of Brighton & Hove Progressive Synagogue Rabbi Alan Mann Rabbinic Conference of Liberal Rabbis Rabbi Mark Solomon Rabbi of Edinburgh and Manchester Liberal Jewish Communities Rabbi Ariel Friedlander Czech Scrolls Museum, Westminster Synagogue Cantor Zoe Jacobs Cantor of Finchley Reform Synagogue Rabbi Daniela Thau Rabbinic Conference of Liberal Rabbis Rabbi Ian Morris Rabbi of Sinai Synagogue, Leeds Rabbi Marcia Plumb Rabbi of Sh'arei Tzedek North London Reform Synagogue

Rabbi Monique Mayer Rabbi of Liverpool Reform Synagogue Rabbi Rodney Mariner Convenor of the Movement for Reform Judaism Beit Din Rabbi Paul Freedman Principal Rabbi of Radlett & Bushey Reform Synagogue Rabbi Barbara Borts Rabbi of Newcastle Reform Synagogue Rabbi David Wilfrond Rabbi of The Liberal Jewish Synagogue Rabbi Deborah Kahn-Harris Principal-Elect of Leo Baeck College, London Rabbi Janet Darley Rabbi of South London Liberal Synagogue Rabbi Tanya Sakhnovich Rabbi of Nottingham Progressive Jewish Congregation Rabbi Rachel Benjamin Rabbi of South Bucks Jewish Community and The Liberal Jewish Synagogue Rabbi Sheila Shulman Senior Lecturer at Leo Baeck College, London Rabbi Richard Jacobi Rabbi of Woodford Liberal Synagogue Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers Associate Rabbi of the West London Synagogue Rabbi Miriam Berger Senior Rabbi of Finchley Reform Synagogue Rabbi Michael Hilton Rabbi of Kol Chai Hatch End Jewish Community Rabbi Larry Becker Rabbi of Sukkat Shalom Reform Synagogue Rabbi Larry Tabick Rabbi of Shir Hayim, the Hampstead Reform Jewish Community Rabbi Danny Burkeman Associate Rabbi of the West London Synagogue

Rabbi Daniel Smith Senior Minister of Edgware & District Reform Synagogue Rabbi Josh Levy Rabbi of North Western Reform Synagogue - Alyth Rabbi Marc Saperstein Principal of Leo Baeck College, London Rabbi Mark Goldsmith Rabbi of North Western Reform Synagogue - Alyth Rabbi Aaron Goldstein Senior Rabbi of Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue Rabbi Warren Elf Rabbi of Southend and District Reform Synagogue and Executive Member of the Faith Network for Manchester Rabbi Maurice Michaels Senior Rabbi of South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogues and Patron of Waging Peace Rabbi Helen Freedman Principal Rabbi of the West London Synagogue Rabbi Hillel Athias Robles Assistant Rabbi of Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue Rabbi Judith Levitt Rabbi Educatior of Westminster Synagogue Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner Rabbi of North Western Reform Synagogue - Alyth Rabbi Neil Amswych Principal Rabbi of Bournemouth Reform Synagogue Rabbi Dr. Margaret Jacobi Rabbi of Birmingham Progressive Synagogue Rabbi Rafael Kaiserblueth Rabbi of St Albans Masorti Synagogue Rabbi Harry Jacobi MBE Vice-President of Liberal Judaism.

Rabbi Amanda Golby Assembly of Reform Rabbis UK Rabbi Yuval Keren Rabbi of Hendon Reform Synagogue

Rabbi Kathleen de Magtige-Middleton Rabbi of Middlesex New Synagogue Rabbi Charley Baginsky Rabbi of Kingston Liberal Synagogue Rabbi Michael Pertz Rabbi of South West Essex & Settlement Reform Synagogue.

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