WASHINGTON (JTA) — An array of Jewish groups praised President Obama’s initiative to develop a strategy to prevent genocide.
Obama issued two orders Thursday, one to set up an interagency Atrocities Prevention Board and another banning the entry into the United States of anyone who assisted in "widespread or systematic violence" against a segment of a civilian population.
The strategy would encompass "early warning" of atrocities by U.S. intelligence services and training the military, diplomats and aid professionals "in order to be better prepared to prevent and respond to mass atrocities or genocide."
Obama wants the board operational within 120 days.
Groups praising the order included the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish World Service, the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
"We are gratified by the recognition that stopping genocide is not only a moral imperative but a crucial element of U.S. national security interest," said Michael Chertoff, the Bush administration Homeland Security secretary who now directs the U.S. Holocaust museum’s Committee on Conscience, its genocide prevention arm. "Taking such a bold step firmly establishes America’s leadership in the world on this critical issue."
Also praising the initiative was Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the senior Democrat on he U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.