Sir Ben Helfgott, Anthony Julius and the former MP Luciana Berger are among the high-profile backers of an anti-annexation letter.
The letter, published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Thursday, warns that Israel’s plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank would be a “shot in the arm” for both the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and “the delegitimisation of Israel.”
The historians Sir Simon Schama and Simon Sebag Montefiore, the philanthropist and businessman Sir Lloyd Dorfman and the author Howard Jacobson were among the 42 public figures and faith leaders to throw their weight behind the letter, addressed to Israel’s UK ambassador Mark Regev.
“A policy of annexation would call that into question, polarising Jewish communities and increasing the divisive toxicity of debate within them, but also alienating large numbers of Diaspora Jews from engaging with Israel at all,” the letter says.
Its signatories warn that “the commitment to Israel that has been such a vital glue in sustaining and uniting Jewish communities, as well an asset for Israel, will decline.”
Other backers include the Labour peer Lord Jeremy Beecham, cross-bench peer Baroness Julia Neuberger, journalist Lord Daniel Finkelstein and Senior Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner.
Fellow letter signatory Sir Mick Davis penned an op-ed in the Jewish News in April warning that Israel’s leaders risk eroding “vast swathes” of support from the diaspora.
The Board of Deputies reiterated its position of not commenting on annexation. Previously, President Marie van der Zyl has said “we do not in good faith support one view over another. Rather we are here to facilitate this debate from all sides.”