Canadian liberal Zionists growing anxious over what “annexation” of West Bank might mean for the future of Israel as a Jewish State

Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to “annex” significant parts of the West Bank after July 1st.  Liberal Zionists like Simon Rosenblum, (pictured) a founding member of Canadian Friends of Peace Now, is expressing alarm. If Netanyahu goes ahead, he argues “The Zionist dream will be in tatters”. Read more…

Canadian Friends of Peace Now is probably the largest liberal Zionist Canadian organization. It is dedicated to protecting the idea of a Jewish State by giving a small bit of historic Palestine (approx 22%) to Palestinians to form a mini-state of their own, while keeping most of it, and most of the best land, for Jewish Israelis.

On its website, CFPN currently features an anxious letter by founding chair Simon Rosenblum arguing that if the annexation project goes further “The Zionist Dream will be in tatters’.

CFPN has also recently launched an urgent campaign called “Annexation Watch” to urge Canadian opposition to Netanyahu’s plan of annexation which will be “bad for Israel”. It has sent a letter urging the Canadian government, which it describes as a friend of Israel, to join the chorus of protest.

In the campaign letter (excerpted below) CFPN outlines the reasons they think unilateral annexation is such a bad idea for Israel. 

cfpn peace and text

Here is a summary of the arguments CFPN puts forward as Zionists, for opposing annexation.

Political Reasons:

A unilateral move  – Determining facts on the ground in a unilateral fashion makes a statement that Israel does not support peace and runs against prior agreements Israel has signed. 

Serious violation of the two-state solution  – The annexation of the settlements will sweep the West Bank, preventing a Palestinian territorial continuum needed to reach a mutually agreed-upon two-state solution in the future.

Security Reasons:

Risk of deterioration into another wave of violence  – A unilateral move could frustrate the Palestinian street and drag the area into another round of violence, as senior security officials have repeatedly warned. It could even lead to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, a power vacuum and dangerous chaos.

Reinforcing Palestinian extremists  – Unilateral annexation, without negotiations, is a blow to the moderates on the Palestinian side who still believe in dialogue and a two-state solution, and it strengthens extremists who support a one-state solution and the ongoing struggle against Israel.

International Backlash:

Damage to relations with Egypt and Jordan  – Annexation will damage relations with Egypt and Jordan, with which Israel has signed a peace treaty and which could not come to terms with unilateral annexation.

International crisis  – Annexation of parts of the occupied territories and the application of Israeli sovereignty upon them contravene international law. Annexation (… ) risks leading Israel into a severe international crisis or a prolonged deterioration in relations.

Throwing significant encouragement to the BDS movement  – Instead of insisting on a just and moral separation between the sovereign and legitimate state of Israel and the occupied territories and settlements, the government blurs the lines between the two, thereby strengthening the movements that call for boycotting Israel and that proclaim the occupation is a fig leaf for an apartheid Israeli state between the river and the sea.

CTIP’s assessment of the CFPN anti-annexation campaign

Netanyahu’s plan to take over the rest of “historic Palestine’ is a long-term dream of right wing Zionist, and of course it should be opposed. Any anti-annexation campaign deserves support. But CFPN’s main concern is not justice for the Palestinians, but that annexation will jeopardize Israel’s ability to continue to exist as a Jewish State. It prefers a small Jewish State to no Jewish state at all.

CFPN fears that annexation will:

  • show Israel to be acting unilaterally again
  • completely destroy the dream of a two state solution
  • risk another wave of violence in the West Bank
  • reinforce Palestinian frustration and extremism
  • damage Israel’s relations with Egypt and Jordan
  • damage Israel’s relations with many European countries as well as other key players like Russia, Turkey and China
  • throw significant encouragement to the BDS movement

CFPN hopes that by supporting SOME RIGHTS for SOME PALESTINIANS in a limited mini-state on 22% of historic Palestine, it can save the idea of a Jewish State.  But at the same time, CFPN ignores or outright opposes, many rights for THE MAJORITY of Palestinians. For example, CFPN:

Canadians who want to defend human rights for Palestinians should approach the CFPN campaign with caution. They should remain clear headed about CFPN’s main objective – to protect the existence of a Jewish State originally created by expelling hundreds of thousands of non Jews and continuing to this day to deny their right to return.


Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue. There is no need to use strong words. A focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights is enough. Readers who have a different point of view are invited to make comment. 

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  1. We all have to recognize when the time has come to abandon our dreams.

    CFPN has to abandon the dream of a “two-state solution” because it never was, and never will be, a solution. No matter where they draw the line separating the two entities, there will be people who believe that they should be on the other side and who will fight for that right. No matter how much power they give the new entity, there will be people who believe it has too much power and other people who believe that it is too weak. There will be no peace.

    CFPN must also abandon its Zionist dream of a Jewish State. It has become a nightmare. Each day one can read about the terrible suffering of both Jewish and non-Jewish families that is the result of the attempt by Zionists to expel, oppress, and suppress the non-Jewish people who were living in the area before a flood of Zionists decided to “return”, and take control, of a land that most of them had never seen.

    Only when everyone agrees to replace a land named after Israel/Jacob with a land named after his Grandfather Abraham will the dream of peace have a chance. I was taught that G-d promised the land to Abraham and his descendants and the main religions that are indigenous to the area all claim to be followers of Abraham.

    1. An interesting comment but it is also a hope that will never come to pass. As long as the Palestinian Arabs are led by those who deny the Jews ties to the land and encourage genocidal behavior, no Israeli government will ever read your words, let alone consider them.

      As long as the Palestinian cause supports violence, Israel will never compromise.

      1. Mr. Sigman,

        Although I have been fortunate enough to discuss the situation in Palestine with many (on all sides), I have never heard a Palestinian deny that Jews have “ties to the land”. They know, and their religion (if they have one) tells them, that the Jewish religion has roots in the area and that there are Jews whose ancestors never left. As one of my friends eloquently said, “We always had Jews here; we considered them Palestinians like us. We have Christian Palestinians, Muslim Palestinians, Samaritan Palestinians, Jewish Palestinians, Druze Palestinians, …’

        In contrast, I have met many supporters of Israeli policies who deny the ties that Palestinians have to the land. For example, you (in this very forum) recently tried to deny that they were indigenous. Israeli leaders have denied the existence of people called Palestinians,

        The idea that Palestinians deny that Jews have ties to the land is a red herring intended to distract us from Israel’s attempt to declare that only Jews have ties to the land.

        For a supporter of Israel to complain that “Palestinian cause supports violence” is a perfect example of the “pot calling the kettle black” Israel was formed by violence, has one of the best armed armies in the world, and not too long ago, made a national hero of a soldier who killed a wounded and helpless Palestinian in cold blood.

        The problem that makes the “holy land” such a horrific and hate-filled pace is that there are too many people who will not compromise and will not share.

        By the way, not that it matters, I know that Israeli agents have read my words and have acted because of them. You are right in thinking they do not like them.

  2. It is my understanding that the majority of actual negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian called for Israel to annex the “settlements” contiguous with the “green line.” In exchange, The new Palestinian state would receive comparable Israeli land contiguous with there border. Additionally, those lands would not contain any Israelis. Again, my understanding is that this was agreed upon.

  3. Mr. Parnas,

    That you have never heard a Palestinian deny the Jews’ ties to the land, and perhaps you, as so many others, do not believe Arafat is a Palestinian, the fact remains that it has been so stated. Your lack is not proof of anything.

    Here is a fairly recent article.

    I did not try to deny that the Arabs in the Palestinian region are not indigenous. I wrote they are not indigenous. Indeed, they are invaders from the late 7th century. They are as indigenous as the descendants of the Iberians and natives from the 15th century South America currently living in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, and elsewhere. The indigenous are the never intermarried tribes.

    Israel was formed by repelling the Arab violence. In a post which was closed immediately following your post of false information, you neglected to mention that Jewish militias were formed as a response to the Arabs’ murderous riots. Facts matter.

    Why would you expect anyone to like half-truths?

    1. We agree that facts matter. That is why I did not claim that there were no Palestinians foolish enough to deny that the Jewish religion has a tie to the land you call Israel. No group of people is free of fools. Hebrew language artifacts abound in the region. No sensible person denies that fact and only propagandists try to refute a claim that no sensible person is making.

      It is a fact that the massive immigration to Palestine by people intent on expelling and replacing those who were living there before them included many individuals who had no traceable tie to the Middle East. One can practice a religion that originated in the Middle East but not be from there or even be descended from people who once lived there. .

      The real issue is whether individuals who are followers of one religion that originated in the Middle East have a right to migrate there and displace followers of other Middle Eastern religions who were living there when they arrived. Debates about whether followers of the Jewish religion have superior rights and are therefor entitled to drive others out are real. Debates about whether or not the Jewish religion originated in the area are not.

      1. It is interesting that you changed your claim from Jews to the Jewish religion. That did not go by unnoticed. Every one of those Jews had a tie to the region and unless you did the DNA analysis on every one of them, you cannot honestly claim “no traceable tie.” While Christianity and Islam are faith by profession, Judaism requires birth into the tribe or adoption into the tribe. Therefore, one cannot be a practitioner of Judaism without being a physical member, a legal descendent. In that they are legal members of the tribe, they have every right of those born into the tribe. Regardless, the Jews, for the most part, legally immigrated. They cane with the idea of living in peace with their neighbor. Not by right but by law. While the founder of political Zionism believed it was possible to persuade the Arab residents, via financial inducement, to move to other areas of Arab residency, there was no plan for physical removal. Only when Arab supremacists held murderous riots did the thought of physical removal become a consideration.

        It is a fact that over a period of 70 years (1860s-1930s), 400,000-500,000 Jews immigrated to the Ottoman Palestinian region and British Mandate Palestine. It is a fact that for approx. 55 of those years, many of those Jews came to peaceably establish a state once the majority of the population were Jews. That would be accomplished by law, not by right.

        The Arabs were not driven out because of anyone’s superior right. They declared war against the Jews and lost. They ran away in fear and many were forced out of areas in the front lines. However, the vast majority stayed within the boundaries of the former British Mandate Palestine.

        There is no debate about superior rights except by supremists on either side. Immigration matters are determined by the power holding sovereignty. As far as recorded history, the Palestinian Arabs have never held sovereignty over any area of land.

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