The umbrella body for U.S. Jewish public policy groups called for a boycott of the Olympics opening ceremony.
In a statement last week directed at the Bush administration, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs cited China’s human rights record as well as its close relations with the regime in Sudan, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed by government-allied militias in the Darfur province.
“In the spirit of the Olympics, China’s close relationship with Sudanese President Al Bashir puts it in a unique position to help end the genocide in Darfur,” JCPA chairwoman Andrea Weinstein said. “However, instead of advocating for peace, the Chinese government has allowed the atrocities in Sudan to continue. By boycotting the opening ceremony of this year’s Olympic Games, President Bush would send an unmistakable message that the United States does not and will not countenance genocide.”
Jewish groups have led efforts to press Sudan into ending the Darfur genocide.
Democratic Party leaders and human rights groups have called such a symbolic boycott appropriate, falling short of a full pullout from the Games. Bush advisers have said the president plans to attend the Games, but have not ruled out changing the decision.