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June 8, 2020 10:28 am

Dozens of Leading British Jews Publish Open Letter Opposing West Bank Annexation

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A general view picture shows houses in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, in the West Bank, Feb. 15, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad / File.

Dozens of prominent members of the UK Jewish community have published an open letter passionately opposing Israel’s possible annexation of parts of the West Bank.

Among the signers are former MP Luciana Berger; acclaimed novelist Howard Jacobson; prominent lawyer Anthony Julius; and Simon Schama and Simon Sebag-Montefiore, both bestselling historians.

In the letter, sent to Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev and published in the Israeli daily Haaretz, the signatories expressed “concern and alarm” at the prospect of annexation and asked for this to be conveyed to the Israeli government.

Annexation, they said, would not be a “constructive step,” but instead a “pyrrhic victory intensifying Israel’s political, diplomatic and economic challenges.”

“Israel’s international standing would also suffer and [annexation] is incompatible with the notion of Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state,” the letter said.

Such a move would be “perceived as evidence of Israel’s rejection of negotiated peace and a two-state solution,” it added, raising tensions with the Palestinians and neighboring Arab states.

“The damage to Israel’s international reputation,” the letter asserted, “will be enormous,” constituting a “shot in the arm for the BDS movement and the delegitimisation of Israel,” as well as possible sanctions against the Jewish state.

Moreover, the letter said, annexation would alienate “large numbers of Diaspora Jews from engaging with Israel at all.”

As such, it concluded, annexation was an “existential threat to the traditions of Zionism in Britain, and to Israel as we know it.”

Opposition to annexation is not universal in Britain. The Jewish Chronicle reported that a group of “young unapologetic Zionists” have released a video endorsing annexation.

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