Dear Minister Omer Yankelevich,
We are writing to you in your capacity as Minister for Diaspora Affairs.
We represent a cross section of British Jews and many of us have dedicated our time and resources over many years to building our own community, supporting Israel, and strengthening the bond that exists between the two.
We welcome your message of partnership and solidarity to diaspora communities, as you said in a speech recently, “all of Israel are responsible for one another”. It is due to this sense of obligation and deep commitment that we are sending you this letter.
We are deeply alarmed that the plans of this current Israeli government to undertake unilateral annexation of territory held by Israel since 1967 will result in a fundamental schism between Israel and our community.
Our relationship with Israel is based on the values of freedom, justice and peace that are enshrined in Israel’s own Declaration of Independence. These values, already challenged by the status quo, are now under existential threat. Unilateral annexation would diminish even further the already fragile chances of a political agreement between Israel and her Palestinian neighbours. The consequences for the Palestinian people will be manifold and Israel’s international standing will be severely damaged. Furthermore, if Israel annexes territory without giving full and equal rights to the Palestinians living in those areas, it will be betraying its own democratic character.
Our students and young people have long been on the front line of defending Israel on hostile university campuses. The British Jewish community, faced with our own political challenges in recent years, has never shied away from the fight for Israel’s legitimacy. How can we hope to win that ongoing fight if annexation becomes a reality? Whether it begins with a small piece of land or large swathes of territory, annexation will undermine Israel’s commitment to peace and the rule of law, rendering it impossible for us to win this battle.
As British Jews who care deeply about the future of our own community and Israel, we cannot remain silent when the bond between the two is under threat.
We urge you, as the Minister for Diaspora Affairs, to convey our concerns which we know are shared by Jews around the world, to the rest of the Israeli cabinet.