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.
Here is a summary of the arguments CFPN puts forward as Zionists, for opposing annexation.
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.
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.
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:
- studiously ignores the issue of 1.4 million Palestinian Citizens of Israel who face intense discrimination inside a state that is officially and legally “Jewish”, and which gives privileges to its Jewish citizens.
- opposes the “right of return” for an estimated 5 million Palestinian refugees because Jews would then become a minority and Israel would no longer be a Jewish State. (“Solutions to the Palestinian refugee issue will have to be found largely outside the borders of the state of Israel“)
- supports the idea of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State, and has not opposed moving our Canadian Embassy there. It does not touch the ongoing “judaisation” (i.e. ethnic cleansing) of Jerusalem.
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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