Anti-Israel campaigners hail UK leader’s decision to cut ties with Jewish National Fund

30 May 2011

British Prime Minister David Cameron has removed his name from a list of patrons of the British branch of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which is also known in Hebrew as Keren Kayemet LeYisrael, or KKL. The move was immediately hailed by pro-Palestinian campaigners. Cameron's decision to drop his link with the non-profit organization was explained by his office as simply having to do with "time constraints." In a statement, Downing Street reiterated the explanation without going into details. "The prime minister stepped down from a number of charities, including the JNF," Cameron’s office declared.

Downing Street declined to comment on the fact that the ‘Stop the JNF’ campaign had actively lobbied for Cameron to withdraw as JNF patron. The prime minister – who has headed a coalition government since May 2010 – became an honorary patron of the organization five years ago, after being elected leader of the Conservative Party.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign Director Sarah Colborne said in a statement that Cameron's decision "reflects the fact that it is now impossible for any serious party leader to lend their public support to racism." She added: "The Jewish National Fund plays a critical role in facilitating the continued dispossession and suffering of Palestinians."

Founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in Ottoman Palestine for Jewish settlement, the JNF is a quasi-governmental, non-profit organization. By 2007, it owned 13 percent of the total land in Israel. Since its inception, it has planted over 240 million trees in Israel, built 180 dams and reservoirs, developed 250,000 acres of land and established more than 1,000 parks.

Cameron’s decision to leave as JNF patron is a break with convention, as his predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown both stayed on as patrons while serving as prime ministers. Cameron already experienced controversy when it comes to affairs in the Middle East – on a trip to Turkey last July he caused huge offence by calling Gaza a “prison camp”.

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Comments

christopher j carson

Thu, 23 Jun 2011

Im very pleased to have made a connection be rest assured you have many friends in this part of the emerald isle , politicians i have found from experience all tend to know one another and increasingly in this day and age are more and more media conscious i think mr cameron is still getting established and im sure that there are other links with the jewish community he has retained, Its just unfortunate that visible conventional responses to dealing with Hamas on the Gaza Strip did appear to be disproportionate,when played out on our televisions, at the same time while not being nieve the complexity of things suggests that Hamas play a very sneaky game. So despite the Goldstein Report and into all the sophistries of a situation which i dont fully understand, im with israel and hope she retains jerusalem and keeps with the law of the return for the forseable future, as regards the settlements retain whats required and barter chip what is nt, I would be interested in a British Jewish National Fund News letter my address is The Rectory 50 Main Street Dundrum Co Down BT33 0ly Northern Ireland in the mean time as walter cronkite used to say good night and good luck.

Manuel G.

Tue, 31 May 2011

As a life long Conservative Party supporter, member, worker, local chairman etc., I will not be considering voting for the party again or until Cameron steps down or changes his policy on the Middle East. All Cameron's utterances in recent years have been to villify Israel; he obviously blames the State for all the ills of the region, in fact it is the ages old story of blaming the "stranger". His every utterance over the past few years has been to condem every Israel action, when in (east) Jerusalem stating Israel's governance of that area was "illegal", in Turkey he condemned Israel's Gaza blockade, Israel's counter attack on Gaza he described as "disproportionate" - I've asked him & Hague on many occasions just what would they consider "proportionate" but never receive an answer. The current H.M. government prefers to totally disregard International Law & the League of Nations resolution of 1922, declaring all the land west of the Jordan to be a "Jewish homeland", with the rest of the Middle East being for the Arabs (Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan (Trans), Saudi etc) - that was the International Law then as it is now. Cameron is always going on about the rights of people to self determination, to a democratic process, to the rule of law - it is about time he fully understood the meaning of such ideals & apply them to the Jewish homeland as much as to Arab homelands. There are many thousands of Jewish & pro-Israel Conservative voters who will not be supporting the party again or until either Cameron goes or he changes policies towards the Middle East.

Sybil Fishman

Tue, 31 May 2011

David Cameron - just to let you know that when the USA gives back the land they took from the indigenous Native Red Indians and also the land that Britisn took from Southern Ireland - then perhaps the talking can go ahead. - the fact that you have cut your ties from the JNF tells its own story, and tell Sarah Colborne that Gaza is a thriving City with Restaurants and every facility, otherwise why would the sister-in-law to a very high up oerson cannot speak highly enough of the produce and goods that she goes to purchase in Gaza and have you not also heard of ROOTS which is the most wonderful Restaurant in Gaza - don't cry for the people of Gaza, if they voted for Hamas, then the country gets the Leaders they deserve.