Hillel Schenker

Letter Against Annexation to Democratic Party from Democratic Voters in Israel

This week almost 100 Israelis who vote Democratic in the American elections sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) calling on the party to include a clear opposition to unilateral annexation in the 2020 party platform.  The letter was signed by many prominent academics, rabbis, civil society activists, kibbutz members, entrepreneurs and media people who have made important contributions to Israeli society.  All of us care deeply about Israel where we live, America where we come from and have many family members and friends, and about our neighbors the Palestinians.  What follows is the letter, which is self-explanatory, along with the names of all the people who signed it.

We, the undersigned Democratic Voters Living in Israel, respectfully urge Democratic Party leaders to ensure that the Israel-Palestine section of the Party’s platform expresses support for the security and rights of Israelis and Palestinians. We believe that the United States must be an honest and active broker in the region.  A resolution of the conflict should be based upon a viable two-state solution, and we believe that unilateral annexation will endanger the best interest of Israelis, Palestinians, and the Americans. We ask the Democratic Party to make this a central element of its vision for the Middle East in its 2020 Platform. 

Date: June 2020

To: The Democratic National Committee

From: Democrat Voters Living in Israel 

Subject: Israel-Palestine in the Democratic Party Platform 

The actions of the Trump administration have upended decades of bipartisan US support for a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They have provided the Israeli government with a green light to permanently inhibit Palestinian statehood, legitimize settlement expansion, entrench the occupation, and pave the way for annexation in the West Bank.

Past party platforms have rightly stated a commitment to Israel’s security and included condemnations of threats and actions against our ally, in addition to embracing a two-state outcome. Those platforms have, however, also been silent on the rights of those Palestinians living under occupation, on Israeli actions that undermine those rights and the prospects for a two-state solution, and on the need for security for both peoples.

The 2020 platform should end this double standard by expressly stating both a commitment to Israel and its security, and a commitment to Palestinian rights. It should include clear opposition to ongoing occupation, settlement expansion and any form of unilateral annexation of territory in the West Bank, and a commitment to help broker a resolution of the conflict based on a two-state solution, using an approach which aspires towards a new era of democracy, multilateralism, alliance-building and diplomatic engagement as the cornerstones of American foreign policy.

It should also express a readiness to work together with the League of Arab States in the spirit of the efforts facilitated by Secretary of State John Kerry in 2013/14 based upon the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (API), in which all 22 Arab states, backed by the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), agreed to establish peace and normal relations with Israel after the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with mutually agreed upon land swaps and an agreed upon solution for the refugee problem.

We ask that the platform address these issues — each of which has been exacerbated under the current administration — to make clear what a comprehensive Israel-Palestine foreign policy looks like under a future administration, which includes a commitment to security, democracy, and human rights.

Srul Alexander, Kibbutz Shomrat — California, Prof. Karen Alkalai-Gut, Tel Aviv — New York, Prof. Bernard Avishai, Jerusalem — Vermont, Effie Ban, Tel Aviv — Illinois, Roi Bachmutsky, Tel Aviv — California, Dr. Clinton Bailey, Jerusalem — Connecticut, Sasha Balabin, Ramat Gan — New York, Anita Bardin, Tel Aviv — Pennsylvania, Hannah Bardin, Tel Aviv — Pennsylvania, Hillel Bardin, Tel Aviv — Pennsylvania  , Judith Baumgold, Jerusalem — New York, Yehuda Beinin, Kibbutz Shomrat — New Jersey, Lisa Beinin-Ratz, Givatayim — New Jersey, Amit Ben-Ami, Tel Aviv — Massachusetts, Yigael Ben-Natan, Tel Aviv — Washington, ML Bortnick, Tel Aviv — Florida, Oded Carmi, Kibbutz Metzuba — Connecticut, Moshe Chertoff, Kibbutz Shomrat — California, Danya Cohen, Jerusalem, — Maryland, Janet Cohen, Kibbutz Ketura — Illinois, Danny Cohen, Kibbutz Ketura — Massachusetts, Rabbi Sarah Cohen, Kibbutz Ketura — New Jersey, Prof. Daniel Cook, Migdal — Pennsylvania, Prof. Sidra DeKoven-Ezrahi, Jerusalem — Vermont, Larry Derfner, Modi’in — California, Mira Edelstein, Gan Yavne — New York, Prof. Avital Fast, Tel Aviv — New York, Edna Fast, Tel Aviv — New York, Noa Fleischacker, Jerusalem — Illinois, Louis Frankenthaler, Jerusalem — New Jersey, Maya Fried, Tel Aviv — California, Prof. Galia Golan, Ra’anana — New York, Toby Galili, Jerusalem — Pennsylvania, Josie Glausiusz, Modi’in — New York, Judith Green, Jerusalem — Massachusetts, Avishai Green, Jerusalem — Massachusetts, David B. Green, Jerusalem — Pennsylvania, Jonathan Green, Jerusalem — New Jersey, Ela Greenberg, Jerusalem — Michigan, Sarah Groner, Lod — Maryland, Rabbi Arie Hasit, Mazkeret Batya — New Jersey, Anton Hollombe, Ra’anana — California, Jay Hurvitz, Kibbutz Hatzor — California, Rabbi Loren (Amita) Jarmon, Jerusalem—Massachusetts, Leah Kayman, Kibbutz Ketura — Missouri, Shir Kessler, Kibbutz Ketura — Texas, Susie Kessler, Kibbutz Ketura — Texas, Rabbi Ron Kronish, Jerusalem — New York, Eve Lifson, Tel Aviv — Pennsylvania, Aviv Litman, Gan Yoshiya — New Jersey, Lev Litmann, Ramat Gan — New Jersey, Beth Malke, Kibbutz Magal — Texas, Prof. Paul Mendes-Flohr, Jerusalem — Illinois, Marta Mozes, Tel Aviv—Pennsylvania, Omer Ori, Haifa — California, Dr. Lee Perlman, Tel Aviv — New York, Blair Portnoy, Tel Aviv — New York, Gidon Raz, Jerusalem — New York, Deb Reich, Kibbutz Yahel — New York, Lisa Richlen, Jerusalem — Washington, Rina Rosenberg, Haifa — New York, Benjamin Rosenzweig, Kibbutz Ketura — Colorado, Yona Rotblatt, Kibbutz Galon — New York, Becky Rowe, Gan Yoshiya — New Jersey, Judith Rowe, Herzliya — Maryland, Jan Schnair, Kibbutz Ketura —Wisconsin, Dr. Dahlia Scheindlin, Tel Aviv — New York, Hillel Schenker, Tel Aviv — New York, Danny Shapiro, Shoham — Florida, Anat Sharon, Ramat Gan — Ohio, Daniel Sherman, Modi’in — New York, Jay Shofet, Tel Aviv—Massachusetts, Prof. David Shulman, Jerusalem — Chicago, Diana Shye, Jerusalem — Oregon, Tzvi Snitz, Kibbutz Barkai — Michigan, Dan Tadmor, Kiryat Tivon — New York, Eve Tal, Kibbutz Hatzor — New York, Daniela Tolchinsky, Tel Aviv — New York, Adina Vogel, Kibbutz Givat Brenner — Pennsylvania, Rahel Warshaw-Dadon, Jerusalem — Massachusetts, Dr. Laura Wharton, Jerusalem — New Jersey, Roni Wolanski, Haifa — California, Ron Ziv, Kibbutz Gesher Haziv — California, Emily Zoffer, Tel Aviv — North Carolina

About the Author
Hillel Schenker is Co-Editor of the Palestine-Israel Journal, and lives in Tel Aviv