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Over 500 Professors Of Jewish Studies Oppose Israeli Annexation

Allan C. Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
August 2020

Over 500 professors of Jewish Studies from around the world have signed a  
petition against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex  
large parts of the occupied West Bank. According to the petition, which was  
published in Hebrew, English and Arabic, “The continuation of the occupation  
and the stated intention of the current government to annex parts of the  
West Bank, thereby would formally (de jure) create. apartheid conditions in  
Israel and Palestine.”  
It continues: “We reject annexation and apartheid, racism and hatred,  
occupation and discrimination. We commit ourselves to an open culture of  
learning, cooperation and criticism in relation to Israel and Palestine.”  
Among those signing the petition are Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller of UCLA,  
prof. Samuel Moyne of Yale, Prof. Chana Kronfeld of the University of  
California, Berkeley, , Prof. Hasia Diner of NYU, and Prof. Susannah Heschel  
of Dartmouth.  
The petition further states that the Israeli government “has made it clear  
that Palestinians in the West Bank who will be annexed to Israel will not  
receive citizenship, ..and the most likely outcomes will be for further  
unequal distribution of land and water resources on behalf of illegal  
Israeli settlements, more state violence and fragmented Palestinian enclaves  
under complete Israeli control. Under such circumstances, annexation will  
cement into place an anti-democratic system of separate and unequal law and  
systemic discrimination against the Palestinian population, which will  
amount to conditions of apartheid.”  
According to Mira Sucharov, a professor at Carleton University in Ottawa,  
Canada, “Israel’s moves toward annexation signal a dangerous trend further  
towards apartheid. Palestinian rights and human rights are in jeopardy.  
Israeli democracy is being further eroded.” Prof. Nitzan Lebovic of Lehigh  
University, one of the academics who organized the petition, says,  
“Annexation is a continuation of long-term processes, yet it is a very  
dangerous turning point. We were amazed by the immediate response of many of  
the signatories. There were no arguments about the word ‘apartheid.’ This  
was a response to Israel’s right-wing movement over the last years.”  
At the same time, reports Israel’s 972 Magazine (June 16, 2020), 240 legal  
scholars from around the world, including Israel, signed a separate petition  
against annexation , saying it would constitute “a flagrant violation of  
bedrock rules of international law and would also pose a serious threat to  
international stability in a volatile region.”  
Writing in The Forward (June 30, 2020), David Ellenson, Chancellor Emeritus  
of Hebrew Union College, declared, “I am deeply pained by the intention of  
Prime Minister Netanyahu to unilaterally annex extended portions of the West  
Bank that Israel has occupied since the 1967 Six Day War. I must join the  
chorus of voices opposing this impending move. ..The American Jewish  
community not only has the right but the mandate to critique our Israeli  
brothers and sisters when they are acting in a way that ensures that Israel  
cannot remain a Jewish and democratic state...All of us who fall in the  
Zionist camp have at this moment the responsibility to voice our opposition  
to annexation, not to ‘explain Israel to the wider world.’” **

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