Over 40 British rabbis write to the UK Israeli embassy opposing annexation

By Alleks Phillips, first published in The Jewish Chronicle, 9 July 2020

Over 40 British rabbis – including former Liberal senior rabbi Danny Rich and outgoing Reform senior rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner – have written to the Israeli embassy in London opposing the government’s annexation policy.

Signatories (l-r): Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild and Rabbi Danny Rich

Addressing chargé d’affaires Sharon Bar-li, who is Israel’s senior diplomat in the UK following the departure of Mark Regev earlier this month, the group called annexation an “abuse of power” that would constitute a “travesty of Jewish teachings.”

“If Israel is a Jewish state, then [annexation] makes hypocrites of us all,” the letter reads. “If Judaism teaches us not to oppress, not to disenfranchise, not to stand idly by the blood of our neighbour, then where do we all stand?”

The letter continues:

“The moral integrity of the Jewish people is at stake. History will judge us and ask us: have we been faithful to the prophetic teachings of justice, compassion and peace? Or have we created a mockery of our Jewish tradition and of the founders of the State, by standing on the wrong side of Jewish teachings and our history?”

Rabbis Sylvia Rothschild and Alexandra Wright of British Friends of Rabbis for Human Rights – who coordinated the letter – said in a joint statement that:

“according to the Jewish values of justice and righteousness, we cannot afford to remain silent on the issue of unilateral annexation. We share our community’s deep connection to, and care for, Israel’s safety and future. As a homeland for the Jewish people, to go down the route of unilateral annexation would be a move which defies Jewish values as well as Israel’s founding principles.”

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