Daily Israel Report

70 Holocaust Experts to US: No Aid to Hosts of Sudan's President

The atrocities in Darfur committed by al-Bashir make it unacceptable for countries to host him.
By Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 6/18/2012, 2:50 PM

Sudanese rebel.
Sudanese rebel.
Reuters

Seventy leading Holocaust and genocide scholars have signed a letter urging the Obama administration to cut aid to countries that host visits by Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for his role in the Darfur genocide.

The House Appropriations Committee recently adopted an amendment by Virginia congressman Frank Wolf to suspend non-humanitarian U.S. aid to countries that welcome al-Bashir. But there have been reports that the State Department is trying to block the bill before it becomes law.

The 70 scholars directed their letter of protest to Obama adviser Dr. Samantha Power, who heads the recently-established Atrocities Prevention Board. The letter was organized by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, in Washington, D.C.

"It is important for the United States to send a clear message to the international community that Bashir, the world's most notorious perpetrator of genocide, deserves to be treated as a pariah," the scholars wrote.

They pointed out that Dr. Power, in her Pulitzer Prize winning book, 'A Problem from Hell': America and the Age of Genocide, urged the U.S. government to use "economic sanctions" and pressure on its allies to combat genocide. The Wolf Amendment "does exactly that," the scholars argued. They urged Power and the Board "to do everything possible to ensure that the Wolf Amendment is not diluted or undermined during the upcoming House-Senate negotiations over the final wording of the foreign aid appropriations legislation."

Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of the Wyman Institute, said: "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."

The signatories include Rabbi Dr. Irving 'Yitz' Greenberg, former chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; award-winning author Dr. Daniel Goldhagen; Prof. Rev. John Pawlikowski, who chairs the U.S. Holocaust Museum's Subcommittee on Church Relations; Prof. Deborah Dwork of Clark University, founder of the first graduate program in Holocaust and genocide studies in the United States; and Prof. David S. Wyman, author of The Abandonment of the Jews.

The text of the letter follows below:

The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies,  June 14, 2012

Dr. Samantha Power, Chair

Atrocities Prevention Board, Washington, DC

Dear Dr. Power,

As scholars who have written or taught about the Holocaust or other genocides, we applaud the adoption by the House Appropriations Committee of Rep. Frank Wolf's amendment to suspend non-humanitarian U.S. aid to countries that host visits by Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for his central role in the Darfur genocide.

It is important for the United States to send a clear message to the international community that Bashir, the world's most notorious perpetrator of genocide, deserves to be treated as a pariah.

In your Pulitzer Prize winning book, 'A Problem from Hell': America and the Age of Genocide, you wrote that in the fight against genocide, America's choice is not "doing nothing or unilaterally sending in the marines." You argued that there are many steps short of war that should be taken, such as "economic sanctions" and "encouraging U.S. allies...to step up their commitments and capacities." (pp. 513-514)

The Wolf Amendment does exactly that--it uses economic sanctions to encourage America's allies to step up their commitments to fight against perpetrators of genocide.

We urge the Atrocities Prevention Board to do everything possible to ensure that the Wolf Amendment is not diluted or undermined during the upcoming House-Senate negotiations over the final wording of the foreign aid appropriations legislation.