Seventy leading Holocaust and genocide scholars have signed a letter urging the Obama administration to cut aid to countries that host visits by Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for his role in the Darfur genocide.
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The House Appropriations Committee recently adopted an amendment by Virginia congress-man Frank Wolf to suspend non-humanitarian US aid to countries that welcome Bashir. But there have been reports that the State Department is trying to block the bill before it becomes law.
The 70 scholars directed their letter of protest to Obama adviser Dr. Samantha Power, who heads the recently-established Atrocities Prevention Board. The letter was organized by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, in Washington DC.
"It is important for the United States to send a clear message to the international community that Bashir, the world's most notorious perpetrator of genocide, deserves to be treated as a pariah," the scholars wrote.
They pointed out that Dr. Power, in her Pulitzer Prize winning book, 'A Problem from Hell': America and the Age of Genocide, urged the US government to use "economic sanctions" and pressure on its allies to combat genocide. The Wolf Amendment "does exactly that," the 65 scholars argued. They urged Power and the Board "to do everything possible to ensure that the Wolf Amendment is not diluted or undermined during the upcoming House-Senate nego-tiations over the final wording of the foreign aid appropriations legislation."
Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of the Wyman Institute, said: "Halting aid to those who host Bashir would be the first concrete step the US has taken to isolate the Butcher of Darfur and pave the way for his arrest. If the Obama administration is serious about punishing perpetra-tors of genocide, it should support the Wolf Amendment."
The signatories include Rabbi Dr. Irving 'Yitz' Greenberg, former chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; award-winning author Dr. Daniel Goldhagen; Prof. Rev. John Pawlikowski, who chairs the US Holocaust Museum's Subcommittee on Church Rela-tions; Prof. Deborah Dwork of Clark University, founder of the first graduate program in Holocaust and genocide studies in the United States; and Prof. David S. Wyman, author of The Abandonment of the Jews.