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US Rabbis Demand Israel Stop Selling Arms to Myanmar

FILE - Myanmar military tanks are driven during a parade to commemorate the nation's 72nd Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw, March 27, 2017.

More than 300 American rabbis and cantors are petitioning Israel to stop selling weapons to Myanmar, which the U.N. says is responsible for ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims.

"As American citizens and as Jews, we refuse to accept any involvement by the U.S. or Israel in training or arming a military that is carrying out a brutal ethnic cleaning against a minority population," the petition, released Thursday, states.

The clergymen and women demand that Israel stop selling arms to Myanmar's military and that the U.S. stop military exercises.

They say the words "never again," which emerged out of the ashes of the Nazi Holocaust, apply to violence against all minorities.

A separate group of Israeli rabbis has made a similar appeal.

Israel's foreign minister has "vehemently denied" any involvement in the violence in Myanmar, also known as Burma. But an Israeli official said the government was "reassessing" its weapons sales to Myanmar.

A Rohingya militant attack on Myanmar police in August sparked a series of reprisals by government security forces, creating an exodus of more than a half-million Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh and elsewhere. Most of the refugees are children.

The Rohingya Muslims say they are a long-persecuted minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and are often denied even the most basic human rights.