Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tibet: Jewish leaders call for boycott of Olympic Games

A wide-ranging group of US Jewish leaders intend to call upon Jews worldwide to boycott the Summer Olympics in Beijing, citing China's troubling record on human rights and Tibet.

The statement also criticies China's close relationships with Iran, Syria and the militant group Hamas.

Organisers said that so far, 175 rabbis, seminary officials and other prominent Jews have signed the declaration which comes shortly before Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday.

"We are deeply troubled by China's support for the genocidal government of Sudan; its mistreatment of the people of Tibet; its denial of basic rights to its own citizens; and its provision of missiles to Iran and Syria and friendship for Hamas," the statement reads.

"Having endured the bitter experience of abandonment by our presumed allies during the Holocaust, we feel a particular obligation to speak out against injustice and persecution today."

Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, past chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, said signers are not alleging that the Chinese government is the equivalent of the Nazi regime, but that China, like Germany in 1936, is trying to use the Olympics as a public relations tool to deflect attention from its record.