American Jews support Israeli sovereignty and for good reasons

We urge even more American Jews to speak up in support of Israel’s rights, security and sovereignty.

THE JORDAN VALLEY – calls to annex it are a provocative political act (photo credit: REUTERS)
THE JORDAN VALLEY – calls to annex it are a provocative political act
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Poll after poll shows that Israelis overwhelmingly support applying Israeli sovereignty to Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
American Jews support applying sovereignty too. Record numbers of American Jews (over 120,000 people) voted in the recent 2020 World Zionist Congress elections in the US, and the majority voted for the organizations that favor sovereignty (usually explicitly). The ZOA Coalition included 27 pro-sovereignty organizations. Additional slates and groups also support sovereignty.
I, Mort Klein, have spoken all over the US, to people from every stream of Judaism. When I explain the facts, my diverse American audiences overwhelming favor sovereignty.
Applying sovereignty is the only rational, humane, security-minded choice – and it is legally and Biblically endorsed. Sovereignty provides Israel with defensible orders, enables Israel to avoid the frightening prospect of an indefensible 9-mile-narrow waistline, and provides stability and normalcy to the lives of the 500,000 Jews currently living in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley. Opposing sovereignty ultimately means ethnically cleansing 500,000 Jews from their existing homes in the Jewish homeland, and subjecting the rest of Israel to non-stop rocket attacks.
 The opposition to sovereignty comes from fear-mongering left-wing American groups and pundits whose dangerous lectures to Israel have been wrong and damaging every time. The sovereignty opponents are the same leftist ideologues who pushed for the disastrous Oslo Accords (which resulted in thousands of Israelis being maimed and murdered in terrorist bombings and intifadas) and the Disengagement from the Gaza Strip (which resulted in thousands of rockets being fired at southern Israeli citizens). The sovereignty opponents are the same groups that wrongly predicted that the entire Middle East would go up in flames if the US Embassy was moved to Israel’s eternal capital Jerusalem. These groups lost all credibility long ago – and Israel should not listen to them.
The sovereignty opponents rely on subterfuge to promote their views. They use the false and misleading propaganda terms “annexation” and “annexation of Palestinian territory” – to give the false impression that Israel would be seizing areas to which Israel does not have the legal right. In fact, there was never a Palestinian-Arab state or a right to one in these areas.
Binding international law – including the San Remo resolution, League of Nations Covenant Article 22, British Mandate, the Anglo-American Convention, and UN Charter Article 80 – granted these areas to the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish state. Israel thus has the absolute legal right to apply sovereignty over the Jewish people’s historic heartlands of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
Former US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt said that he and the Trump administration have said that it is legal for Israel to apply sovereignty over these areas, and that, moreover, this has never been Palestinian-Arab land.
The opponents of sovereignty also ignore both the 500,000 Jews who live in Jewish cities and towns in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley today – and the long Jewish history of these areas. These lands are where the first Jews – Abraham and Sarah – lived, King David was anointed and ruled, Jacob slept and dreamt, Joseph is buried, the Maccabees established their base and Jewish kingdoms existed for hundreds of years.
The opponents of sovereignty also trot out some left-wing former Israeli “security officials” to oppose sovereignty. But, in fact, the Israeli security establishment favors sovereignty. Over 1,000 high-ranking Israeli Defense Forces officers and commanders have joined the pro-sovereignty “Protectors of Israel” movement, which explains that sovereignty will secure Israel for decades; that the Jordan Valley “is the natural eastern border and defensive barrier for the land of Israel,” and that sovereignty is necessary because Israel must count on her own strength to deter her enemies.
Furthermore, behind the scenes, many Sunni Arab states have given tacit approval to Israel’s application of sovereignty. Jordan is petrified of the PA taking over the Jordan Valley – which would threaten Jordan.
The sovereignty opponents’ biggest weapon consists of raising speculative fears – the very same false, speculative fears that they used to try to thwart the US embassy move. But, to quote FDR: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Jewish history taught us the same lesson. The 10 (out of 12) meraglim (spies), in the Torah portion Shelach, who allowed fear to cloud their judgment, and wrongly reported that it would be impossible for the Jews to recapture the land, caused God to relegate the Israelites to wandering in the desert for 40 years. The Jewish people learned that they needed to heed the other two meraglim – Joshua and Caleb’s positive message that the Jewish people, with the help of the Almighty, had the ability to reenter, live in and govern our homeland.
We urge Israel to heed the same positive message today.
And we urge even more American Jews to speak up in support of Israel’s rights, security and sovereignty.
Morton Klein is the President of the Zionist Organization of America. Mark Levenson is chairman of the Zionist Organization of America’s national board.