Position of the Reform Movement
Both the URJ and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) have taken stands against human rights abuses and war atrocities in Africa. In 1979, the URJ passed an anti-apartheid resolution which commended those who led the non-violent struggle against apartheid in South Africa, urged the United States to refrain from giving political and military support to the government of South Africa, and pressured businesses in South Africa to practice policies of fair pay and desegregation in its facilities. In recent years, both the URJ and the CCAR have spoken out against the atrocities in Rwanda and Zaire, mobilizing the Reform Jewish movement to pressure the United States to support humanitarian missions and relief work.
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) strongly supports maintaining funding for the Development Fund for Africa (DFA), which provides funds for saving children's lives, fighting deadly diseases and hunger, building viable democracies, and teaching people skills that encourage self-reliance.
The RAC has played an active role in opposing dictatorial governments in African nations and in helping pass legislation to oppose apartheid in South Africa. In the 1985 and 1991 South Africa resolutions, the URJ called upon the U.S. to impose sanctions on South Africa until a new constitution created a pro-democracy government. In more recent years, the RAC has pressured the government of the United States to put political pressure on the governments of Rwanda and Zaire to end the senseless ethnic violence in the Great Lakes region. The RAC urged President Clinton to participate in humanitarian measures in Zaire to help refugees get adequate food, water, and rebuilding materials.
Most recently, the URJ adopted a policy specifically on Africa in 1999, furthering the Reform Movement's commitment to meeting the pressing needs of civil society including the growing incidence of HIV/AIDS. The resolution expresses our support for humanitarian assistance in times of crisis, and our commitment to international human rights, increased economic development, and poverty eradication.
U.S. HIV/AIDS Resolutions