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A letter signed by nearly every major Jewish group has been sent to a US Senate panel calling for immediate action to protect Rohingya Muslims.

Every major Jewish religious stream was represented by the 24 signatories, urging new sanctions against Myanmar (also known as Burma), which has been accused of ethnically cleansing Rohingya Muslims.

The Rohingya numbered around one million in the country at the start of 2017, but more than half a million have been driven to flee in what is believed to the world's fastest growing refugee crisis, the BBC reports.

Journalist Yair Rosenberg shared the letter on Twitter, suggesting it was a rare signal of unity from the Jewish organisations.

Among those signing were Reform, Conservative and Orthodox bodies, as well as major civil rights groups.

The letter, which was addressed to the Republican Senator Bob Corker and Democrat Senator Ben Cardin, says that passing the Myanmar Human Rights and Freedom would:

send a powerful message to the Burmese military and the global community that the United States will not be silent or inactive in the face of mass atrocities.

The bill would trigger sanctions that could help end military atrocities against the Rohingya people, and it could also help provide refugee assistance and hold the perpetrators accountable, the letter argues.

It continues:

We are horrified by the Burmese military's relentless persecution of the Rohingya, particularly since the recent outbreak of violence began on 25 August.

In the past four months, the Burmese military has engaged in a scorched earth campaign razing entire Rohingya villages. 

Soldiers have indiscriminately massacred Rohingya men, women, and children, and an estimated 600,000 people have fled on foot or by boat - a three-day trek from their burned villages - to refugee camps in Bangladesh.

It concludes:

We cannot remain silent as Jews, for whom the words 'never again' require us to act, nor as global citizens, in the face of senseless acts of brutality.

Senator Cardin, who is Jewish, told reporters that he believes the bill will advance soon, reports The Times of Israel.

Earlier this year, over 300 US Rabbis urged Isreal to stop selling weapons to Myanmar.

HT The Times of Israel

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