American Jewish World Service (AJWS) has spearheaded a coming together of major national Jewish organizations, denominations and hundreds of synagogues, federations and other Jewish groups, to sponsor a unity statement demanding action to end the genocide occurring in Darfur, Sudan.
The leaders of American Jewish Committee; American Jewish Congress; Anti-Defamation League; Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life; Jewish Council for Public Affairs; United Jewish Communities; and World Jewish Congress have joined AJWS, as well as the heads of every religious stream, large local federations, hundreds of synagogues and dozens of other Jewish groups to endorse a "Call to Action on Darfur" addressed to President Bush.
The effort was undertaken by AJWS as a way to convey the importance of this issue to all Jews, to focus energies from the Jewish community against this genocide, and to increase Jewish communal involvement in this effort.
"We are extremely proud of the Jewish community's grassroots response to this tragedy. We now want to be sure that all American Jews know the degree to which our leaders and our national communal organizations are fighting this fight," said Ruth Messinger, president and executive director of AJWS. AJWS launched a Sudan humanitarian aid and advocacy campaign in April 2004.
Last summer, more than 20 national Jewish organizations joined the AJWS-founded Save Darfur Coalition, partnering with other religious communities and important civil society leaders. Since then, hundreds of rabbis, congregations, Hillels, seminaries, Jewish community relations councils and other Jewish groups around the country have been involved and are continuing to give sermons, hold speak-outs and teach-ins, and engage in grassroots education, fundraising and advocacy efforts. The Jewish Coalition for Sudan Relief was formed to provide humanitarian aid funding to Sudan, and almost $1 million has been contributed to the AJWS Sudan Relief and Advocacy Fund.
"The Call to Action takes the Jewish response to a new level," said David Harris, executive director of American Jewish Committee. "In an extraordinarily unified effort, the leaders of the American Jewish community fully recognize that the lessons of history have taught us to confront genocide wherever it may occur; indifference or inaction is simply not an option."
The two-page call to action includes background about the crisis and a call to President Bush urging him to "assert moral and political leadership, promoting immediate and comprehensive international intervention" in Darfur, Sudan to include:
AJWS, which plans to send the signed statement to the president by the end of July, has asked all signers to distribute the call to their constituents and provide information to them on how to take action. It also intends to place full-page advertisements about the call in the coming months.
- Creating security through a larger international peacekeeping force with the expanded mandate and ability to protect all civilians;
- Providing additional financial and logistical support for African Union troop training, mobilization and deployment to Darfur as part of that peacekeeping force;
- Increasing funds for humanitarian assistance and facilitating its urgent delivery; and
- Assisting in the reunification of families, their voluntary return to their lands and the rapid reconstruction of their homes, schools and communities.
Learn more about AJWS' efforts on behalf of those suffering in Darfur.