Cameron "a Zionist" and "good for Jews"
- articles from the Jewish-Israeli Press
"Finkelstein asked Cameron if he were 'good for the Jews,' to which Cameron replied: 'I hope I can say I'm not just a good friend of Israel but I am, as you put it, good for Jews.' "
Cameron declares himself a Zionist
By Jonny Paul, Jerusalem Post correspondent
The Jerusalem Post, June 13, 2007
"I am a Zionist," Conservative Party leader David Cameron told an audience of party supporters of Israel in London on Tuesday.
"If what you mean by Zionist, is someone who believes that the Jews have a right to a homeland in Israel and a right to their country then, yes, I am a Zionist and I'm proud of the fact that Conservative politicians down the ages have played a huge role in helping to bring this about," Cameron declared.
The Conservative leader was guest of honor at the Conservative Friends of Israel annual business lunch, which was attended by some 500 people - including half the parliamentary party, 30 Conservative parliamentary candidates, former leaders, lords and Israel's ambassador.
Cameron spoke with Daniel Finkelstein, columnist and comment editor of The Times, and gave an insight to what his premiership might look like regarding Israel. The Conservative Party has led the polls in the UK for the last 18 months.
Cameron took a firm stance on Hamas, saying that the state of Israel "has a totally legitimate right to exist and defend itself."
Cameron emphasized the importance of Hamas complying with the Quartet's demands before they receive any Western money or support.
"[Hamas must] recognize the state of Israel... put an end to violence and accept previous agreements," he stressed.
Finkelstein asked Cameron if he were "good for the Jews," to which Cameron replied: "I hope I can say I'm not just a good friend of Israel but I am, as you put it, good for Jews."
Cameron said his political philosophy - which was about trusting and believing in families, voluntary enterprise, and the charitable sector - was exemplified by British Jews.
In addition, the Conservative leader also said he believed there was something "in the DNA" of Conservatives that was "profoundly impressed" by what Israel has achieved.
Cameron said he understood the need to build a security fence, but that he was worried it would "make a two-state solution more difficult."
He said he realized that this was not necessarily a popular observation, but that being a "true friend to Israel... [meant] being a candid friend and saying when you think that mistakes are being made."
Nevertheless, Cameron said, a deal should only happen if it meant that Israel would really gain peace within its borders and real guarantees about its future.
Finkelstein acknowledged that Prime Minister Tony Blair has been a genuine friend to Israel and asked Cameron if he saw things similarly to Blair.
"Where Tony Blair is right is that he sees with absolute clarity... that Israel is a democracy and that Israel is a country that has a right to its own legitimate self-defense," Cameron replied.
"Where I slightly part company with [Blair] is that while I think a two-state solution is vital... I think sometimes politicians can be a bit naive in believing that if only we solved the problem of Israel and Palestine then roadside bombs will stop going off in Iraq," he added to huge applause.
A two-state solution would not solve all the problems between militant Islam and the West, Cameron emphasized.
Asked about recent campaigns to boycott and delegitimize Israel, Cameron said there was no justification for a boycott. "Israel is a democratic country and these Trotskyists [a reference to the radical Left, who forefront the boycott campaign] are treating Israel as some sort of pariah state," Cameron said. "[They] may be a bunch of lunatics, but what they are doing is profoundly wrong and profoundly damaging," he added.
Cameron also thought that attacks on Israel could spill over into anti-Semitism. "I think our mayor [Ken Livingstone] in this great city of London... is guilty of that," he said.
Tory leader calls himself 'Zionist'; U.K. Jews campaign against boycott
By Assaf Uni and Amiram Barkat, Ha´aretz Correspondents
The leader of Britain's Conservative party, David Cameron, called himself a "Zionist" Tuesday as he slammed a British initiative for an academic boycott against Israel.
Cameron, responding to questions at the annual luncheon of Conservative Friends of Israel, said the academic boycott was completely uncalled for, and that attacks against Israel often slid into anti-Semitism.
"If by Zionist you mean that the Jews have the right to a homeland in Israel and the right to a country then I am a Zionist," the Tory leader said, adding that support for Israel is "in the DNA" of members of his party.
He also justified construction of the separation fence, but expressed concern that it might torpedo a two-state solution.
British Jews launch campaign against academic boycott
A coalition of British Jewish organizations will launch a campaign Thursday to combat the University and College Union's initiative for an academic boycott of Israel.
Advertisements signed by hundreds of anti-boycott academics were scheduled to appear in Wednesday's newspapers, followed Thursday by a press conference by Jewish politicians, university lecturers and community leaders.
Jeremy Newmark, director of the Jewish Leadership Council, told Haaretz that the campaign's goal was to get British University and College Union director Sally Hunt to make good on her pledge to bring the boycott proposal to a referendum of the union's rank and file.
I am a Zionist, Cameron tells MPs
By Bernard Josephs
The Jewish Chronicle, 14/06/2007
A broadside against the campaign by radical trade unionists to boycott Israel was issued by Opposition leader David Cameron this week in an address to 500 Tory supporters and MPs.
The boycotters may comprise 72 Trots in a room, he said, but their actions could give rise to antisemitism, he told guests at the Conservative Friends of Israel business lunch in London.
In a question-and-answer session with JC columnist and Times associate editor Daniel Finkelstein, Mr Cameron said the boycott campaigners were treating Israel as a pariah state.
I have no hesitation in saying that the boycotters may be a bunch of loons, but what they are doing is profoundly wrong and profoundly dangerous, he said.
The Opposition leader attacked politicians who were overly critical of Israel, asserting that their remarks could spill over into antisemitism.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone, he said, was sometimes guilty of that. He added: One thing politicians are responsible for is the words that come out of their mouths and we should choose them very carefully. I dont think he [Mr Livingstone] always does that.
He warned that the security barrier in the West Bank could damage hopes of a two-state solution, but defended his remarks during the Lebanon war that Israels response to Hizbollah attacks was disproportionate.
You can see the need to build a wall to stop terrorists. The wall is justified and has made a difference but some of it has been built around settlements and that could make chances for a two-state solution more difficult.
As for Israels response to Hizbollah attacks, he asserted that Israel was justified in hitting back, but he and Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague had believed that the bombardment of Lebanon was disproportionate and to the chagrin of some senior Jewish Tories had said so. I am a true friend of Israel but a friend of Israel has to be a candid friend. Disproportionate was the right word to use, he said. If what you mean by Zionist is someone who believes that the Jews have a right to a homeland in Israel and a right to their country, then yes, I am a Zionist, and Im proud of the fact that Conservative politicians down the ages have played a huge role in helping bring this about.