Reform leader blasts Sudan hold

A Reform leader urged U.S. Senate leaders to remove an anonymous hold on a Sudan sanctions bill.

The appeal Tuesday from Rabbi David Saperstein, the director of Reform’s Religious Action Center, came the day that the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that prohibits U.S. government dealings with Sudan and protects state pensions choosing to divest from the African nation. An anonymous senator has exercised his or her right to put a “hold” on parallel legislation, keeping it from advancing to the floor for a vote.

Saperstein called the hold an “inexcusable disgrace” that “brings disrepute” to Senate rules.

“Nothing can excuse the use of a Senate courtesy rule to prevent Senate action on the most catastrophic genocidal activity of this generation,” Saperstein wrote to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader, and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the minority leader. “It thwarts the will of our nation.”

U.S. Jewish groups have taken the lead in targeting massacres in the Darfur region of Sudan carried out by government-allied militias that have killed hundreds of thousands of people.

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