David Saperstein, formerly director of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, has been appointed US ambassador-at-large for religious freedom.
Saperstein is the fourth person to hold the post. He has previously been a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith- Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, and also sat on the boards of the NAACP and the National Religious Partnership on the Environment.
He was quoted as saying: “During my career, my mandate has indeed covered a wide range of issues, but there are few that have been as central to my heart as that of religious freedom for, like most Jews, I know all too well that over the centuries the Jewish people have been a quintessential victim of religious persecution, ethnic cleansing, and demonization,
“Through too many tragedies we have learned firsthand the cost to universal rights, security and well- being of religious communities when good people remain silent in the face of persecution.
“Even in Western Europe,” Saperstein went on, “we are witnessing a steady increase in anti-Muslim acts and rhetoric and anti-Semitic discourse and acts of desecration and violence against Jewish individuals, synagogues and institutions and communities that we thought we would never, never see again after World War II.”
Saperstein said that among issues he would address are protection of Baha’is in Iran and Buddhists in China, and threatened Yazidis and Christians in Iraq.
(Source: Jerusalem Post. Photo: Wikipedia Commons)