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Dirty Diamonds

Women who may be choosing diamond engagement rings, take note. Before settling on a stone, make sure that it is not a “dirty diamond,” that is, one that comes from Sierra Leone, Angola, or the Democratic Republic of Congo, all countries which have used proceeds from diamond sales to wage civil war against unarmed men, women, and children.

In late June, the Reform Jewish movement voiced its support for the bipartisan “Clean Diamonds Act,” introduced by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Mike DeWine (R-OH). If passed, this law would ban the import of “dirty,” or “conflict diamonds.” Nations that produce diamonds lawfully would be allowed to continue their trade with the United States.

“This is an issue particularly close to home for the Jewish community,” said Rabbi David Saperstein, co-director of the Commission on Social Action for Reform Judaism. “Jews, both historically and today, have been at the forefront of the diamond industry and are involved on every level from mining to retailing. Therefore, it is imperative that we also be at the forefront of putting an end to the human rights abuses caused by conflict diamonds.”