Jewish groups praised the passage in the U.S. Senate of the Sudan Divestment Act.
The bill passed unanimously late Wednesday prohibits federal dealings with companies that deal with Sudan’s oil, mineral and arms industries and provides legal protections to U.S. states considering similar measures. A similar bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives in the spring.
Jewish groups have led the drive to isolate Sudan’s government until it allows peacekeepers into the Darfur region to keep government-allied militias from massacring civilians. So far, the militias – part of the government’s effort to quell separatist aspirations – have killed as many as 400,000 civilians.
“Once signed by President Bush, the Sudan Divestment and Accountability Act will force companies invested in Sudan to choose between receiving lucrative U.S. government contracts and funding a government responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of its own citizens,” said Ruth Messinger, the president of American Jewish World Service, the group that has led Jewish community activism on the issue.
B’nai B’rith International also praised the bill’s passage.