Presente | Survivors of genocide call on the Holocaust Museum to #DropElliottAbrams
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Survivors of genocide call on the Holocaust Museum to #DropElliottAbrams

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    The Message

    Dear members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide,

    We stand with survivors, witnesses, and family members lost to genocide, mass murder and other extreme violence perpetrated by the governments of Nazi Germany and the Central American military dictatorships backed by the United States in the 1980s and 90s.

    We have come together in the name of advancing values like those contained in the Council’s core mission of preventing genocide. We call on you to continue the still urgent work of the Council’s Committee on Conscience: to “confront and work to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity” and immediately remove Mr. Elliott Abrams from his committee seat on your Council. 

    We cannot fathom how Abrams—a proven supporter of some of the world’s most nefarious perpetrators of genocide and mass murderers over the past 40 years—could be a member of your committee. Elliott Abrams participated in and sought to cover up some of the most inhumane acts of recent US foreign policy history. Memos released after the war in Guatemala reveal that Abrams was unconditional in his support of the Guatemalan military led by General Efrain Rios Montt, who killed thousands of Ixil and other indigenous peoples.

    Last September 26, a Guatemalan court declared that the U.S. policy promoted by Reagan officials like Abrams formally led to mass killings there that were defined as “genocide.” Mr. Abrams resume also includes providing support to Salvadoran military battalions and death squads responsible for the El Mozote massacre of over 900 civilians, including hundreds of children. He also supported Salvadoran governments responsible for countless other massacres of tens of thousands.

    How can the Committee on Conscience prevent future genocides if it has not come to terms with the involvement of one of its own members in supporting such atrocities? For these and many other reasons, we urge the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum immediately remove Elliott Abrams as a member of its Committee on Conscience. His presence on that committee and his affiliation with the Museum runs contrary to everything that you and your mission stand for.

    Sincerely,

    [The undersigned]

    Join survivors of genocide and mass murder to demand that the Holocaust Museum drop Elliott Abrams from its Committee on Conscience.

    Letter from survivors: 

    We write you as survivors, witnesses and family members lost to genocide, mass murder and other extreme violence perpetrated by the governments of Nazi Germany and the Central American military dictatorships backed by the United States in the 1980s and 90s. Like you, we have come together in the name of advancing values like those contained in the Council’s core mission of preventing genocide. Our letter to you is written in the spirit of doing the still urgent work of the Council’s Committee on Conscience: to “confront and work to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity.”

    Read full letter here.

    Alleged war criminal, Elliott Abrams, was recently appointed by President Trump as his special envoy to Venezuela.1 And just last week, U.S. Representatives Adriano Espaillat, Joaquín Castro, and Ilhan Omar questioned Abrams about his role in supporting and covering up some of the most inhumane acts of US foreign policy in Latin America.2,3

    This includes:

    - Diminishing the General Efraín Ríos Montt government’s genocidal slaughter of over 200,000 indigenous Guatemalans.4,5

    - Providing support to El Salvador’s death squads responsible for the El Mozotemassacre of over 900 civilians. 6

    - Supporting the Contras, brutal right-wing paramilitary groups in Nicaragua who tortured, raped, and murdered thousands of civilians. Abrams once said, “The purpose of our aid is to permit people who are fighting on our side to use more violence.” 7

    - Lying to Congress about the Iran-Contra affair, which involved the illegal sale of arms to Iran to secretly fund the Contras.8

    Now, a coalition of Central American survivors of genocide and other atrocities have joined with Holocaust survivors and their descendants to demand that Abrams’ role not be buried in the past. They were shocked to recently learn that Elliott Abrams is a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience, which seeks to “confront and work to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity”.9

    References:
    [1] "Who is Elliott Abrams, US special envoy for Venezuela? Al Jazeera. February 12, 2019.
    [2] "Elliott Abrams, U.S. envoy for Venezuela, faces combative House hearing as policy stalls.” Los Angeles Times. February 13, 2019.
    [3] "Why is Elliott Abrams So Controversial?AJ+. February 18, 2019.
    [4] “Elliott Abrams Is Bringing Violence of 1980s U.S. Latin America Policy to VenezuelaDemocracy Now! February 14, 2019.
    [5] “The Guatemalan Genocide.USC Shoah Foundation.
    [6] “ What Did Elliott Abrams Have to Do With the El Mozote Massacre?The Atlantic. February 15, 2019.
    [7] “The Tragic Life of the War Criminal Elliott Abrams.” Jacobin. February 16, 2019.
    [8] “An Actual American War Criminal May Become Our Second-Ranking Diplomat.” The Nation. February 2, 2017.
    [9] Committee on Conscience. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

    Supporting Organizations:
    Alliance for Global Justice
    Anakbayan East Bay
    Arab Resource and Organizing Center
    Center for Political Education
    Gabriela
    Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans
    International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
    Jewish Voice for Peace
    Not An Alternative
    Presente.org
    The Natural History Museum
    VietUnity East Bay
    Win Without War
    Witness for Peace Southwest

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