LONDON – Prime Minister David Cameron has denied that political pressure led to his decision to step down this week as a patron of the Jewish National Fund in the UK.
In a statement released earlier this week, the Prime Minister’s Office said that Cameron left a number of charities because of his workload.
“Following the formation of the coalition government last year, a review was undertaken of all the organizations and charities the prime minister was associated with,” a Downing Street spokesman said. “As a result of this review, the prime minister stepped down from a number of charities – this included the JNF. A full list of all the charities and organizations the prime minister and Mrs. Cameron are associated with is published on the Cabinet Office website.”
Anti-Israel activists like the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign had claimed victory, saying Cameron disassociated because of political pressure.
The Conservative Friends of Israel refuted this, saying on Wednesday that Cameron is a true friend of Israel and that campaigners have blown it out of proportion.
“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,” said the organization’s director Stuart Polak.
“The prime minister’s support for and understanding of Israel speaks for itself – whether in the House of Commons; in speeches – like to [Jewish community charity] CST earlier this year; or in private meetings with [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu, the last one being only two weeks ago.
We are fortunate to have a prime minister committed to the State of Israel,” he said.
“Judgments 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 rationalization affecting several charities and
outside organizations,” Polak said.
In March, Labor party MP and pro- Palestinian activists Jeremy Corbyn
and Gerald Kaufman introduced a motion in Parliament questioning
Cameron’s position as a patron.
The motion accused JNF of racism and discrimination and called to revoke
its charity status in the UK. It also questioned the “appropriateness”
of the prime minister’s decision to be a patron of the charity.