Preventing Nuclear Holocaust

This Union, from its inception, has taken seriously the Jewish obligation to "seek peace and pursue it." We have consistently sought to apply the prophetic vision to the urgent contemporary issues of war and peace. Thus we have supported efforts to achieve effective international treaties to limit armaments and in recent years to speak for stable arms control to curb the threat of the nuclear arms race. We have expressed our growing alarm at unchecked nuclear proliferation and we have expressed our horror at both the dangers and the intolerable waste involved in the nuclear arms race, which is exhausting much of the world's resources and impoverishing hundreds of millions of our fellow human beings.

At the General Assembly of the UAHC in 1981, we urged upon the United States and the USSR a mutually agreed upon freeze on the testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons. Since that time, public support for a multilateral freeze has grown in the United States and throughout the world. The moral issues of the unclear arms race have been subjected to a searching scrutiny, dramatized by the pastoral letter of the American Roman Catholic bishops and by the UAHC Religious Action Center's outstanding publication, Preventing the Nuclear Holocaust.

However, the momentum of the nuclear arms race has not yet been reversed. Negotiations languish and an entirely new and more destabilizing generation of awesome weaponry is now being introduced. Both sides are developing a new generation of destabilizing, deadly accurate "first-strike" weapons that increase the likelihood of nuclear war. The history of attempts at arms control in the twentieth century tells us conclusively that lasting progress in arms control cannot succeed in an atmosphere of military confrontation and hate but can succeed only if there is ongoing progress toward increased mutual understanding and trust.

The deployment of such highly accurate weapons capable of destroying the land-based missiles that constitute the base of the Soviet nuclear deterrent might pressure the USSR to adopt a "launch-on warning" policy or in time of crisis even launch a preemptive strike. Such weapons are contrary to America's security interests.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Union of American Hebrew Congregations:

  1. Calls upon our congregations in the United States and Canada to intensify their efforts at peace education, with special emphasis on study courses based on the UAHC Religious Action Center's excellent book, Preventing the Nuclear Holocaust, published in March 1983. We urge their forming and participating in interreligious coalitions to strive for arms control and for a reversal of the nuclear arms race. As Jews, we are called upon to witness God's dominion and to vouchsafe the future of all the children of God.
  2. Urges the United States Senate to ratify the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty, the Threshold Test Ban Treaty, and SALT II, all of which were negotiated between the Soviet Union and the United States and agreed to and signed by both governments.
  3. Calls on the United States and the USSR to renew the 1972 treaty limiting antiballistic missile systems.
  4. Urges the administration to proceed with negotiations of a multilateral Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which would prohibit the detonation of any nuclear weapon or device for test purposes.
  5. Calls on the United States, the Soviet Union, and all other nuclear powers to forego temporarily the testing, production, and deployment of first-strike weapons and call for serious negotiations to be conducted for the purpose of permanently eliminating their testing, production, and deployment.
  6. Calls on the United States to delay the deployment of the proposed ground-launched Cruise Missile and Pershing II Missile until we have exhausted good-faith efforts to negotiate successfully a treaty on intermediary nuclear forces (INF).
  7. Calls upon all nations having nuclear capabilities to negotiate a treaty prohibiting the testing, production, and deployment of space-based weapons and of earth-based and atmosphere-based weapons that are designed to attack targets in space.
  8. Calls upon the United States government to cease public statements that promulgate the dangerous illusion that society can survive a nuclear war.
  9. Calls on the governments of the United States and the Soviet Union to move from their current posture of confrontation and invective to good-faith negotiations at the highest levels to reduce tension and to increase mutually beneficial economic and cultural relations. The government of the United States should take such actions in consultation with its allies.