In response to the failure of a proposed resolution to the UN Security Council to refer the Syrian civil war to the International Criminal Court, the Rabbinical Assembly issued the following statement.
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President, said:
We are saddened and angered by the Russian and Chinese governments’ obstruction of justice through their votes to veto the Security Council’s referral of the bloodshed in Syria to an international prosecutor for investigation. Jewish tradition teaches the importance of the principle “lo ta’amod al dam re’echa,” not to stand by the blood of one’s neighbor, and it is unconscionable for Russian and Chinese officials to deny justice to the more than 160,000 Syrians who have died as well as those who will die in the future as a result of our inability to end this conflict. As noted by US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, atrocities have been committed by all sides, and we as an international community must hold those parties accountable for their cruel disregard for human life and dignity. To turn a blind eye to this situation is a violation of our deeply held Jewish—and indeed, our basic human—value for life.
Rabbi William Gershon, President, added:
It is a tragedy that after cooperating with international partners last year to dismantle the Syrian government’s supply of chemical weapons, the Russian government, as the first party to announce it would veto this resolution, has led the charge to obstruct justice in the latest round of diplomatic efforts. We call upon Russian and Chinese officials to change their actions in order to bring justice to the 160,000 murdered Syrians, as well as the two million who have been displaced by fighting, and we urge the United States government, the UN, and our other international partners not to let this setback deter them from their efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.