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"We are fortunate to have a Prime Minister committed to the State of Israel" says Conservative Friends of Israel

By Tim Montgomerie
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In the last few days David Cameron has come under some strong criticism for choosing not to renew his patronage of the Jewish National Fund. Number 10 claim that the decision was part of a general review of the Prime Minister's commitments to a number of non-profit organisations. A spokesman insists that JNF hasn't been singled out but that Mr and Mrs Cameron are focusing on a smaller number of organisations that they can devote proper time to. The Jerusalem Post, however, reports claims from the "Stop the JNF" campaign that their lobbying produced Cameron's policy change.

  • In The Times (£) Stephen Pollard, Editor of the Jewish Chronicle, accused David Cameron of "an empty gesture". After stating the importance of the JNF to Britain's Jews he wrote: "Mr Cameron may not have the same intrinsic love for Israel as his predecessors Baroness Thatcher, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, but he has advisers who understand the position of the JNF full well. So there can be no doubt that his resignation as a patron is not, as his office has rather limply tried to maintain, a technical decision after a review of his commitments, but a deliberate signal. What “time constraints”, as they put it, could stop the Prime Minister having his name on a letterhead?"
  • Melanie Phillips blogged that the Prime Minister had been drinking deeply from the "anti-Israel Kool-Aid". And speculated at the reasons: "Sucking up to Obama? Muslim demographics in the UK?  Part of Cameron’s hopey-changey-lefty-loopy repositioning of the Tory Party? Yet another bone tossed to the blood-libelling knitted organic vegan victimologists, aka his LibDem coalition partners?"
  • Archbishop Cranmer listed what he interpreted as anti-Israel actions and accused Mr Cameron of "giving succour to the very genocidal fanatics who wish to cleanse the land of Jews and wipe Israel off the map".
Stuart Polak of Conservative Friends of Israel is not worried, however, and defended the Prime Minister's support for Israel. He issued this statement to ConservativeHome:

"Jumping to conclusions without the full facts can be dangerous at worst, and mischievous at best. I fear this is being blown completely out of proportion by a minority. The Prime Minister's support for and understanding of Israel speaks for itself - whether in the House of Commons; in speeches - like to CST earlier this year; or in private meetings with PM Netanyahu, the last one being only 2 weeks ago. We are fortunate to have a Prime Minister committed to the State of Israel. Judgements on the Government's support and understanding should be based upon substantive and serious matters, not on a decision which is clearly part of a wider rationalisation affecting several charities and outside organisations."


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