B’nai B’rith Leader Urges Reagan to Push Senate Ratification of the Genocide Convention

B’nai B’rith International has urged President Reagan to use “strong Presidential leadership” to encourage the U.S. Senate to ratify the Genocide Convention. In a letter to the White House, Gerald Kraft, president of B’nai B’rith noted that every Administration in the last quarter-century had endorsed accession to the treaty and that the State Department also has approved “action aimed at achieving ratification.”

“It was five years ago that the United States created the President’s Commission on the Holocaust which launched the historic and vital effort to recall the searing trauma of our era,” Kraft declared.

The Commission noted then that “there yet remains an uncompleted task for those who choose to remember the Holocaust,” he said. The Commission, he went on, stated that ratification of the Genocide Convention “is essential” For “the knowledge that perpetrators will be held responsible for the crime of genocide can play some role in preventing such acts in the future.”

The B’nai B’rith leader recalled that the Convention was unanimously adopted by the United Nations in 1948 “as a response of civilized society to the Nazi Holocaust and to prevent its recurrence. It was the very first human rights treaty enacted by the UN and, not surprisingly, was largely the product of American initiative and lobbying.”

“In keeping with the distinctively American tradition to promote human rights and the rule of law worldwide,” Kraft said, “President Truman first asked the Senate in 1949 to consent to the treaty.” The Senate failed to do so and this June will mark the 35th anniversary of the unresolved legislative issue, Kraft added.

The B’nai B’rith president pointed out that the Reagan Administration has placed morality at the core of its foreign policy. “Vigorous support by the Administration of ratification of the Genocide convention now would be in keeping with this commitment,” he said.

Declaring that the issue stirs the nation’s conscience Kraft told the President, “If Holocaust Day (April 29) is truly to be observed with the intention of helping prevent a repetition, a demand for ratification of the Convention is essential” and that strong Presidential leadership is required.

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