While they aren't technically pacifists, they may as well be. Because rather than taking a personal stand and fighting for something of value they just believe in letting God handle the fighting, thus "waiting on Jehovah," which if your God is an imaginary coping mechanism, has the same end result as pacifism.
JWs and Pacifism
JW are not a pacifist, at least not in common meaning of the word. Pacifism include some kind of social/public activity (nonviolent, of course). JW just refuse to involve in any public or social activity or to take responsibility for something of the common interest, no matter what is about. Thats not pacifism, thats just an irresponsibility.
The philosophical pacifism associated with people like Gandhi is indeed extreme. But I would agree that a lot depends on how the term is defined.
Jehovah's Witnesses are interesting in this regard, Rutherford's fondness for heavy, hardwood canes is very well documented and in the book Enemies, he strongly declared that self-defense is a fundamental right of every man.
The book Judging Jehovah's Witnesses: Religious Persecution and the Dawn of the Rights Revolution reports that Witnesses in the U.S. sometimes defended themselves with hunting rifles, from the roofs of Kingdom Halls, no less. None of that is pacifism of any flavor or stripe.
Shooting at people earned them some bad press, which is one thing that JW's seem to dislike above all else. Things were toned down in the years that followed.
I could be wrong here, (and I would be happy to be corrected) but I do not believe they have ever officially taught pacifism though. Quite the opposite - they have denied the whole idea a number of times.
Remember JW praise the death of the two immorals in the tent that got stabbed in the genitals. They praise violence when it suits their religious agenda, remember don't shed a tear for a DF persons death.
I can only relate to my time as a JW from the 1960`s to 1993 ,
JW`s do not engage in supporting a nation in war because we only have allegiance to one govt./King under Christ Jesus.And you cannot serve two masters
Jehovahs Witnesses are neutral to the affairs of the politics of the nations because jesus is our king and we owe our allegiance to him alone.
On the other hand it has been stated in WT publications during this time that if a JW household was targeted in a crime they have every and any means available to them to protect their family from harm ,in doing so they are not violating their neutrality as regards Govts or loyalty to Jesus kingship but simply protecting their family from homegrown violence.or crime.
In other words if some criminal died invading a JW home in a home invasion he could very well be wihin his rights and no sanctions would be against him for protecting his family
And no law of the land would hold him accountable either.
So he`s not a pacifist.
They are not pacifists, nor do they consider themselves pacifists according to their own publications:
*** g97 5/8 p. 23 Should Christians Be Pacifists? ***
True Christians love peace. They stay completely neutral in the world’s military, political, and ethnic conflicts. But, strictly speaking, they are not pacifists. Why? Because they welcome God’s war that will finally enforce his will on earth—a war that will settle the great issue of universal sovereignty and rid the earth of all enemies of peace once and for all.
Jesus was a pacifist...
Now that I'm no longer a JW I think the JW position on war and violence is weird, they are opposed to war more because of 'political neutrality' (no part of the world) then 'turn the other cheek' and 'love your enemies' which is the main reason for opposition to war in the Quakers and anabaptist peace churches (and early church history), plus they allow for some level of personal violence (as has been mentioned)
Of course they will sometimes write about 'loving your enemy' but not so much because they don't really practice it outside of a war setting (they shun their enemies)