Nearly 140 US Jewish leaders urge Gantz, Ashkenazi to block annexation


As Blue and White leader reportedly acquiesces to annexing West Bank to form unity government, American Jewish signatories warn move would dramatically weaken pro-Israel advocacy

Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz (C) speaks to reporters during a visit to the Jordan Valley

Eric Cortellessa writes in Times of Israel, “Nearly 140 US Jewish leaders unveiled an open letter Monday to Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz and his deputy, MK Gabi Ashkenazi, urging them to “remain steadfast” in their opposition to West Bank annexation under a unity government. The missive warns against allowing the coronavirus pandemic to enable Israel to annex West Bank settlements, at a time when the country needs to unify in the face of a public health emergency.”

“In the midst of this unprecedented health and financial crisis for Israel, we respectfully urge you not to use the need for unity in the face of emergency to create a different crisis for Israel by moving forward on unilateral annexation,” the American Jewish leaders write. The letter was orchestrated by the Israel Policy Forum, a New York-based nonprofit that advocates for a two-state solution. It was signed by a number of prominent Jewish philanthropists, such as Charles Bronfman and Donald Sussman, and religious leaders Rabbi Rick Jacobs, who heads the Union for Reform Judiasm, and David Saperstein, former head of the Religious Action Center and US ambassador for International Religious Freedom in the Obama administration.”.

Blue and White party party members Gabi Ashkenazi and Avi Nissankoren

“Describing themselves as “proudly Zionist, unquestionably pro-Israel,” the Jewish leaders said that Jerusalem unilaterally annexing the West Bank would estrange American Jews from Israel. “Should annexation be advanced, the majority of American Jews who oppose such a policy will feel more alienated from Israel as a result,” the letter said. “Just as we expect that our own government focus on the crisis at hand without using the fear and uncertainty felt by Americans to push through harmful and unrelated policies, we ask that the leaders of the Jewish state to which we are all so committed do the same.” (more…)

 

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