A number of the most distinguished and revered names in British Jewry have raised alarm over the Israeli authorities’s plans to annex elements of the West Financial institution, saying such a transfer could be an existential risk to Israel.
Amongst greater than 40 signatories of an unprecedented letter to the Israeli ambassador to the UK are Sir Ben Helfgott, one of many best-known Holocaust survivors in Britain; the historians Sir Simon Schama and Simon Sebag Montefiore; the previous Conservative overseas secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind; the lawyer Anthony Julius; the philanthropist Dame Vivien Duffield; the scientist Lord Robert Winston; the previous MP Luciana Berger; the Occasions columnist Daniel Finkelstein; and the creator Howard Jacobson.
Their letter to Mark Regev, conveying “concern and alarm” concerning the pledge by Israel’s new coalition authorities to increase its territory over swaths of the West Financial institution, is the newest indication of mounting disquiet amongst British Jews over the plan.
The signatories say their issues are “shared by giant numbers of the British Jewish group, together with many in its present management, even when they select to not categorical them”.
The letter says: “We’re but to see an argument that convinces us, dedicated Zionists and passionately outspoken buddies of Israel, that the proposed annexation is a constructive step. As a substitute, it will in our view be a pyrrhic victory intensifying Israel’s political, diplomatic and financial challenges with out yielding any tangible profit.
“It will have grave penalties for the Palestinian folks most clearly. Israel’s worldwide standing would additionally undergo and it’s incompatible with the notion of Israel as each a Jewish and democratic state.”
The transfer could be seen as proof of Israel’s rejection of a negotiated peace settlement involving the creation of a Palestinian state alongside the Israeli state. This may inflame tensions domestically and trigger regional destabilisation, the letter says.
“The harm to Israel’s worldwide popularity … can be huge,” the letter says, stating that the UK authorities has stated it should oppose the annexation plan, and that the proposed transfer would bolster requires boycotts and sanctions in opposition to Israel.
“The impression on diaspora Jewry and its relationship with the state of Israel would even be profound. The British Jewish group is an overwhelmingly Zionist group with a passionate dedication to Israel. We proudly advocate for Israel however have been helped in doing so by Israel’s standing as a liberal democracy, defending itself as mandatory however dedicated to sustaining each its Jewish and democratic standing.
“A coverage of annexation would name that into query, polarising Jewish communities and rising the divisive toxicity of debate inside them, but additionally alienating giant numbers of diaspora Jews from participating with Israel in any respect. Underneath these circumstances, the dedication to Israel that has been such an important glue in sustaining and uniting Jewish communities, as nicely an asset for Israel, will decline.”
The letter provides: “If requested to make the case for West Financial institution annexations, nonetheless, we will be unable to take action.”
The coverage “not solely lacks benefit, however would pose an existential risk to the traditions of Zionism in Britain, and to Israel as we all know it”.
The letter comes after the Board of Deputies of British Jews rejected calls for that it condemn the proposed annexation of elements of the West Financial institution, saying: “We don’t take sides in Israeli politics.”
Final month, greater than 500 Jewish college students and youth motion members known as on the board to talk out in opposition to unilateral annexation. Their letter was adopted by one other signed by tons of of “British Jews who help Israel’s proper to thrive as a Jewish and democratic state”, together with 10 rabbis and the Labour peer Jeremy Beecham. It stated: “The board’s statements of help for a two-state answer are value nothing if the board fails to talk up in opposition to a unilateral transfer of annexation.”
Greater than three dozen deputies, or representatives, to the umbrella organisation additionally known as on the board to sentence the plan.