Thirty-three Board of Deputies members have signed a letter demanding the organisation’s honorary officers condemn Israel’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
Among the letter’s signatories are Sir Ivan Lawrence, the former Conservative MP and ex-chair of the parliamentary group Conservatives Friends of Israel; Ella Rose, the former director of the Jewish Labour Movement, Tal Ofer; and Yachad’s former chair, Gideon Smith.
Tal Ofer, the deputy for Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue, who has been vocal on the issue said: “Our letter shows there is a cross-communal support on the need for the Board of Deputies to speak up on the proposed annexation.
“We remember that previously the Board refused speaking on [the far-right party] Otzma Yehudit but then reversed its decision. It is still not late for the Board of Deputies to do the right thing and express the grave concerns of British Jews on the proposed annexation.”
The letter also claimed that remaining silent on the issue of planned annexation would impact on the communal life in this country.
“Large numbers of our community would begin to ‘disengage’ from Israel, and, as their community leaders fail the test of leadership by staying silent on this issue, the outcome would be hugely detrimental to communal life. The viability of our community is at stake,” it warns.
Yachad – which is hosting a web meeting with the Head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK Dr Husam Zomlot on Wednesday – was again key in organising the circulation of the letter.
A large majority of Board of Deputies members would not support this letter.
Another petition circulated online by the activist Jonathan Hoffman calling on the Board to ''stay silent on any change to Israel's borders'' has been signed by 194 people.