Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tory leader calls himself 'Zionist'; U.K. Jews campaign against boycott

Haaretz : By Assaf Uni and Amiram Barkat

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.

Thank you. I'm saddened that such statements need to be made these days (and are seen as controversial), but grateful that some European leaders are willing to make them. I grew up with the core definition of Zionism as the "national liberation movement" of the Jewish people, or at least those who chose to make a national existence and culture as Jews (members of a peoplehood, not necessarily observant followers of a religious faith--a concept difficult for some non-Jews, particularly in America, to entirely grasp). Cameron's definition comes tolerably close, and properly does not exclude the possibility of a Jewish nation-state living in peace alongside a Palestinian nation-state--each free to pursue its national culture.

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