AJWS’s response to the genocide in Darfur is predicated on two fundamental Jewish values. First, Jewish text and tradition clearly express the imperative for bystanders to intervene to protect human life. Throughout Jewish history there is a consistent narrative thread that asserts the primacy of human life. From that thread emerges the principle that Jews must not only refrain from committing crimes against others or from being complicit in those crimes as passive bystanders, but also that Jews must actively intervene when confronted with the knowledge that such crimes are being committed. While many of the laws and stories that constitute this literature of intervention are cast narrowly around protecting other Jews, AJWS believes the ethic must be universally applied.

Second, Jewish identity is grounded in a history of empathy and solidarity with the oppressed. The Jewish people emerged from Egyptian slavery into nationhood with a particular mandate to “befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:19) This founding narrative, and the Jewish experience of oppression and genocide, means that Jews have a particular responsibility to stand in defense of any and all victims of genocide.

AJWS Resources for Educators

Not On Our Watch: A Jewish Informal Education Resource on the Genocide in Darfur
This is an experiential curriculum designed for camp directors and educators to help middle school students and campers understand the genocide in Darfur.

Jewish Responses to Genocide
This resource offers Jewish texts and study questions on the issue of genocide. It was produced in collaboration with Yeshiva University.

Related Resources

AJWS's Darfur Action Campaign