Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Reform, Conservative Movements Ask Trump To Oppose Netanyahu Annexing West Bank

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Nine Jewish groups, including five associated with the Reform and Conservative movements, wrote to President Donald Trump asking him to preserve the two-state solution in the face of a pledge by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex West Bank territory.

The letter is unusual, if not unprecedented, in mainstream Jewish groups pleading with a U.S. president to take steps to restrain an Israeli prime minister.

“We believe that it will lead to greater conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, severely undermine, if not entirely eradicate, the successful security coordination between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and galvanize efforts such as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that are intended to isolate and delegitimize Israel,” said the letter released early Friday to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “It will create intense divisions in the United States and make unwavering support for Israel and its security far more difficult to maintain.”

The warning that annexing territory would “create intense divisions” in the United States was significant coming from the leadership of the two largest religious streams in the United States, with a combined membership that would constitute an overwhelming majority of synagogue-going Jewish Americans.

Signing the letter were the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union for Reform Judaism, affiliated with the Reform movement; and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, its Rabbinical Assembly, and MERCAZ, the Conservative movement’s Zionist affiliate.

The other four signatories are the Anti-Defamation League, the lead Jewish civil rights advocacy group; Ameinu, a liberal Zionist group; the National Cou9ncil of Jewish Women; and the Israel Policy Forum, a group focused on reaching a two-state solution. All but IPF are members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

The letter notes that Netanyahu pledged to extend Israeli law to Jewish settlements just before elections this week, which he won, and warned that its implementation would damage U.S. support for Israel.

“West Bank annexation is a topic that is currently being debated in Israel, and was endorsed right before the election by Prime Minister Netanyahu himself as an electoral pledge,” it said.

“We respectfully request that you affirm long-standing bipartisan consensus that the two-state solution is the essential path to an Israel existing alongside a future state of Palestine in peace and security and that you declare that the United States will not support any Israeli proposals to annex the West Bank, in whole or in part.

Trump has retreated from formal U.S. endorsement of a two-state outcome, although he has suggested that he personally favors it. He has said he will soon release an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Two weeks before the election, Trump, in a move seen as boosting Netanyahu’s electoral chances, recognized Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights, which Netanyahu took as a signal that he could forge ahead with annexing parts of the West Bank.

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.