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Statement on Sudanese in Darfur, Sudan
A Statement of Moral Principle, and a Call to Action by the RCA Regarding the Impending Genocide of more than 1,000,000 Black Moslem Sudanese at the Hands of their Arab Oppressors in Darfur, Sudan
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Aug 29, 2004 -- The Rabbinical Council of America, the largest group of Orthodox rabbis in the world, has today issued a statement of utmost moral concern, and a call to action, to put an end to the unfolding genocide that threatens the lives of more than a million Africans in the Darfur region of the Sudan, perpetrated by government-backed militias.

The statement reads as follows:
As we approach the High Holiday season in the Jewish calendar, filled with repentance, spiritual introspection, and moral resolve, the Rabbinical Council of America calls upon all civilized nations, the United Nations, and most especially the Jewish community, to take immediate steps to put an end to the ongoing murderous ethnic-cleansing in Darfur, the Sudan, that bears echoes of the European Holocaust of the 1940's, and more recently the atrocities in Serbia, Bosnia, and Rwanda.

  • Mindful of the historic burdens of moral leadership thrust upon the United States of America, as torchbearer of liberty and justice, we call upon our elected officials to take every possible practical step to bring an end to, or at least minimize, this looming catastrophe. We commend Congress for the principled steps it has taken thus far in condemning those responsible, and we urge the Administration to followup with sanctions and all other possible emergency measures.
  • And acutely aware of the past failures of the United Nations to prevent mass killings, we call upon the Security Council of the UN to make every effort to condemn those who are perpetrating these acts, and take concrete action to put in place fully armed peace-keeping forces for the protection of innocent men, women, and children.
  • And with full consciousness of the unique place of the Jewish people among the families of humanity as victims of prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination, knowing at first hand such appalling suffering inflicted by human beings upon their fellows, we call upon our fellow Jews to take every possible step to ameliorate the suffering of the people of Darfur. Those who are in positions of influence in political circles should, to the best of their ability, ensure that the issue remains at the forefront of our government's agenda. Those who are capable of contributing to the relief effort should make every effort to do so, by (for instance) contacting the website of the US Holocaust Museum and Memorial (www.ushmm.org) or the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief (www.jcdr.org).
  • And not least, to our fellow Jews committed to the imperatives of Torah and halachah (Jewish law), we declare that the concern for saving innocent human life, no matter its faith, ethnicity, or race, is of utmost importance. Thus, despite our proper preoccupation with the situation in the land of Israel, the Torah world must offer voices of protest against the barbaric actions of the Sudanese government and its agents, as well as prayer for the well-being and salvation of the intended victims, for their sake, and our own, lest we become insensitive to the suffering of these and other human beings. During the coming holiday season, when all the world stands in judgment before the Master of the Universe, and throughout the year ahead, this humanitarian crisis should be a matter of urgent prayer, discussion, and moral teaching, in our synagogues and schools, in our homes and in our social settings. We are indeed our brothers' keepers.

In so doing we, and our fellow citizens, and all people of conscience, will follow in the most exemplary Biblical tradition, starting with Abraham who pleaded with God for the lives of his fellow men, through King Solomon who warned of the dangers of closing our ears to the cries of the oppressed, and concluding with Amos who stood up for the hapless victims among the nations of the world in his time.

The time for silence has passed. It is time to speak up. And it is time to act.

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