Adopted on May 30, 1993, at the CSJO Executive Board meeting in Ambler, Pennsylvania, USA PREAMBLE
The Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations, a Secular Humanistic Jewish organization, rejects exploitation of ethnic, national and/or racial differences for any ends.
In what was Yugoslavia, exactly this has caused a catastrophe which is occurring to all the peoples of the area for the benefit of so-called "ethnic leaders." The instigation and manipulation of ethnic differences has been used as a screen to gain and maintain power, privileges,, and wealth. Opportunistic political leaders, petty warlords and criminals have done this through attacking an integrated, multi-ethnic society. They have used so-called "ethnic cleansing" as a cover for destruction, rape and looting. Not the least of their crimes has been the torture and destruction of many communities. This includes historical sites and cities such as Sarajevo with which they have simultaneously destroyed a 5-year-old Jewish community. These "leaders" have taken advantage of social weakness to create chaos and suffering not experienced in Europe since the Nazi era. They have negated many years of generally peaceful co-existence and intermingling. They have fomented nationalistic paranoia, recreating, exaggerating and building on historic tensions to gain and maintain power and privilege. In order to solve the situation, the ethic smokescreen must be blown away.
Using this smokescreen, government and army leaders and warring bands have enriched themselves while impoverishing, endangering and dehumanizing all of the peoples in the region, the large population of mixed ancestry: Serbs, Croats, Muslims, Gypsies, Hungarians, Jews and others. In the name of "national liberation" and "freedom", these leaders have fomented destruction, looting, starvation, oppression and death to all the people. To preserve and enhance their power, they do not let compassion and concern for human life and dignity block them. They are willing to spread and increase the destruction to wider areas in the Balkans.
Anti-war, pro-democratic forces on all sides within the area have unsuccessfully attempted to stop the horror through demonstrations, strikes, draft evasion, desertion and other forms of non-violent resistance. The yare giving aid to victims and attempting to counteract distortions of fact and history. They are active, though isolated, demoralized and impoverished.
Unfortunately, the international response has only served to exacerbate the problems of war, destruction and impoverishment, often appearing to be taking sides, giving recognition and, thus, legitimacy to the warlords. Sanctions, instead of stopping the war, have proven another way for the "leaders" to enrich themselves. At the same time, they have increased the impoverishment of the population and denied access to cultural and informational forums for the very people that need help, the general population and the anti-war movements.
We Jews, with our heritage of suffering from such destructive and opportunistic ethnic and religious hatred, cannot sit idly by and watch this in silence.
We call for support for the people of the region in their struggle to survive and rebuild their societies, economies and lives.
We call for active support for the anti-war, anti-nationalistic, pro-democratic forces and organizations in all parts of the former Yugoslavia. (This can be done through financial, moral, or other immediate help, including development of coalitions to provide help to and a voice for these forces in our communities.)
We call for access and help to provide honest and balanced information for all the peoples of Yugoslavia, as well as for North Americans and other peoples of the world.
We call for aid for efforts to help all victims of the violence, especially women and children.
We denounce the use of rape as a weapon of war through degradation and demoralization of women and their communities.
We request professionals and other sympathetic people to participate personally in helping the victims of rape and the general destruction and violence, through medical, psychological, social and other means.
We are opposed to US-led or other unilateral intervention. Any intervention must come from international sources and be impartial. It must avoid taking sides with any so-called ethnic forces or gangs, provide no fuel for escalation, nor succumb to simplistic distortions. It must stop all the criminals and protect the mass of people of every group who are victims. None of the war leaders should be recognized internationally, nor provided weapons for continuation of violence.
We further urge that international tribunals be created to bring the criminals to justice. This would guarantee to the people that the situation will be resolved, not suppressed to ferment quietly and explode like a time bomb in blood feud in the future.
The people of the region must have a chance to renegotiate relationships and return to a mutually agreed upon social order; a chance to rebuild lives, societies and economies, so the various inseparable peoples of the Balkans can live in peace and harmony.