Hundreds of clergy members pen open letter opposing unilateral annexation

The clergy members and students noted that unilaterally annexing the West Bank “would be a catastrophic mistake…violate human rights, weaken democracy, and make Israelis and Palestinians less secure.”

Protesters gather in Rabin Square to demonstrate against annexation on June 6, 2020 (photo credit: THE ANTI-ANNEXATION AND OCCUPATION COALITION)
Protesters gather in Rabin Square to demonstrate against annexation on June 6, 2020
(photo credit: THE ANTI-ANNEXATION AND OCCUPATION COALITION)
More than 600 rabbis and cantors in conjunction with seminary students have penned a public letter to the Israeli government stating that they unequivocally oppose annexation, according to a J Street statement.
The clergy members and students noted that unilaterally annexing the West Bank “would be a catastrophic mistake…violate human rights, weaken democracy, and make Israelis and Palestinians less secure.”
“[Annexation] gambles with long-established peace agreements in exchange for enacting a messianist and ultra-nationalist fantasy that violates Jewish values of dignity for every human being, legal equality for all people, and the commitment to pursuing peace,” the letter reads. “Such a move will also drive more and more young people in Jewish communities away from Israel, as the most visible expressions of Zionism become ever more divorced from the principles of democracy and neighborliness expressed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence.”
The clergy members represented in the letter span across all the different disciplines of Judaism, including the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and Renewal movements - and the statement echoes the statements opposing annexation given by the Anti-Defamation League, the National Council of Jewish Women, Reconstructing Judaism, the Union for Reform Judaism and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, among others.
Another recent open letter, organized by J Street U, was signed by over 225 Jewish campus leaders - such as Hillel leaders - who note that “as Hillel presidents and board members, leaders of pro-Israel groups, minyan leaders, and others who are devoted to Jewish life on campus and beyond, our Jewish values and our commitment to Israel’s future compel us to speak out.”
“The fact that such a wide range of Jewish clergy, communal organizations and campus leaders are speaking out in unified opposition to annexation shows just how dangerous and extreme Netanyahu’s plan is,” said the National Director of Rabbinic and Community Engagement at J Street Shaina Wasserman. “While doing tremendous damage to the future of Israel and the rights of Palestinians, annexation would seriously harm the relationship between Israel and American Jews.”


Tags Zionism