Jewish figures condemn Israeli annexes

EAPPI launches #NoToAnnexation campaign

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) has launched a #NoToAnnexation campaign against plans by the Israeli government to start ‘legislation to formally annex significant parts of Palestine, which has been under military occupation since 10 June 1967’.

The campaign, launched on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, involves posting a video of yourself on social media and explaining why you say ‘No To Annexation’.

Many Friends have already written to their MPs on the issue, and received a welcome boost when over forty leading Jewish figures issued a statement condemning the proposals.

Forty-two Jewish figures – including former foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind, former Labour MP Luciana Berger and senior reform rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner –  sent an open letter to the Israeli government expressing an ‘unprecedented level of concern’ at the prospect of unilateral annexations of tranches of the West Bank, which it says would ‘pose an existential threat to the traditions of Zionism in Britain, and to Israel as we know it’.

According to The Jewish Chronicle the letter, published by Israeli daily Haaretz on 4 June, is ‘the most outspoken criticism of the Israeli government plans for the West Bank from the British Jewish community’.

The strongly worded statement says that, aside from having ‘grave consequences’ for the people of Palestine, the steps to unilaterally annex significant parts of the West Bank from 1 July would threaten Israel’s ‘international standing’ and the ‘notion of Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state’. It also says the concerns are ‘shared by large numbers of the British Jewish community, including many in its current leadership, even if they choose not to express it’. 

The letter ends by saying that annexation would risk ‘polarising Jewish communities and increasing the divisive toxicity of debate within them’ as well as ‘alienating large numbers of Diaspora Jews from engaging with Israel at all’. 

Jewish Quaker Lois Chaber, from Winchmore Hill Meeting, who has written to her MP on the issue and is a member of the group ‘Friends with Jewish Connections’, said: ‘I’m glad these British Jews agree: “Not in our name!”.’

There will be a Zoom webinar on ‘Working for peace and justice in Palestine and Israel’ on 14 July as part of the Quaker Peace & Social Witness summer series.

You need to login to read subscriber-only content and/or comment on articles.