1,600 left-wing Jews back Palestinian state in letter to Lord Cameron

Former Board of Deputies president and more than 35 rabbis endorse Yachad letter to Foreign Secretary


Britain's Foreign Secretary David Cameron reacts as he leaves Westminster Abbey in London, on March 11, 2024, at the end of the annual Commonwealth Day service ceremony. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

More than 1,600 left-wing Jews have signed a letter to Lord Cameron, the foreign secretary, suggesting Britain could consider recognition of a Palestinian state as part of a package of measures to advance a political solution to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Listed signatories of the letter, which was organised by Yachad, the advocacy group that campaigns for a two-state solution, include the former Senior Rabbi of the Reform movement, Laura Janner-Klausner; former Board of Deputies president Vivian Wineman; the chair and chief executive of the New Israel Fund, Noeleen Cohen and David Davidi-Brown; and the chair of the Jewish Labour Movement Mike Katz.

They also include Magen Inon, the London-based Israeli whose mother and father were murdered by Hamas on October 7.

Supporting calls for a bilateral ceasefire, they say it is the only way to ensure that “the remaining hostages come out of Gaza alive and that enough aid can enter Gaza to prevent a complete humanitarian catastrophe”.

Writing as “proud Jews”, they say they remain “steadfast in our support for the people of Israel” and “resolute in our support for the hostages and their families”.

Referring to the “dystopian nightmare” of the Israel-Hamas war, they warn that “the people of Gaza are now facing the possibility of an entirely preventable and human-made famine”.

The letter has been endorsed by more than 35 rabbis, mostly from the Progressive wing, but also including Orthodox Rabba Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz and Rabbi Roni Tabick of Stoke Newington Masorti Synagogue. Former Reform Bet Din convenor Rabbi Jackie Tabick and former Reform chairman Robert Weiner have also backed it.

“Some of us will have personally experienced the rise in antisemitism and the way in which this conflict has been imported on to the streets of the UK. We know the same is true of Muslim communities in relation to Islamophobia,” they say.

“We know all too well how extremists hijack this conflict with the intention of causing further hatred and division. We are thankful for the continued support of both the government and opposition for their concern for the safety and security of Jews in the UK.”

Arguing that Hamas can not be eliminated purely by military force, they voice fear that “the devastating impact of the war will breed the next generation of extremists”.

Israelis, they state, “must be protected from the possibility of Hamas ever again being able to commit the atrocities of October 7, and Palestinians need freedom and security in a state of their own. The only way to ultimately resolve this conflict is through a political, and not a military resolution.”

Among the measures they suggest Britain could consider are assisting Israel to rebuild communities in the south destroyed by Hamas: support reform of the Palestinian Authority; support reconstruction of Gaza: and take “more robust action” against extremist West Bank settlers.

Recognition of a Palestinian state should come “alongside an understanding that the precise shape of the final borders will be subject to the mutual agreement of Israelis and Palestinians.”

This, they argue, “would help give confidence to Palestinians that there is something to be gained from a diplomatic process” and weaken Hamas.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive