To the Jews I became as a Jew that I might gain Jews…
To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak:
I have become all things to all men
- St Paul, 1 Corinthians
I have become all things to all men
- St Paul, 1 Corinthians
Politicians certainly aren’t saints, but they do have this in common.
On February 7, 2014 David Cameron, Britain’s prime minister, delivered a rousing speech on the subject of the forthcoming referendum in which the Scots are to be offered the option of renouncing their union with the rest of the United Kingdom and becoming an independent nation. He did not presume to advise the Scots on how to vote, but addressed himself to the rest of the
UK – the English, the Welsh and the Northern
Irish – urging them to use their influence with their Scottish relatives and friends
in favour of preserving the Union.
In proof of the inextricable bonds that have developed over the centuries between the Scots and the rest of the
, Cameron pointed to his own surname and origins.
Cameron is an undoubted Scottish name. UK
“Such is the fusion of our bloodlines,” he declared, “that my surname goes back to the
and, by the way, I am as proud of my Scottish heritage as I am of my English
heritage. The name Cameron might mean ‘crooked nose’ but the clan motto is “Let
us unite” – and that’s exactly what we in these islands have done.”
On March 12, 2014, David Cameron was in
Addressing the Knesset, he augmented his English-Scottish origins. Israel
"My Jewish ancestry,” he informed the assembled MKs, and through them the rest of the Jewish people, in both Israel and the diaspora, “is relatively limited, but I do feel just some sense of connection – from the lexicon of my great-great-grandfather, Emile Levita, a Jewish man who came from Germany to Britain 150 years ago, to the story of my forefather Elijah Levita, who wrote what is thought to have been the first ever Yiddish novel."
Cameron’s Jewish heritage was first revealed in 2009, when one of
Britain’s leading rabbinical authorities, Yaakov
Wise, of ’s Centre for
Jewish Studies, traced his family tree back to the 16th-century Jewish scholar
Elijah Levita. Manchester
Levita, who was responsible for the first dictionary of the Targums, or Aramaic commentaries on the Hebrew Bible, wrote his novel, “The Bove-Bukh”, in about 1507. It was published in 1541, the first non-religious book to be printed in Yiddish. A highly popular chivalric romance, it went through at least 40 editions over the next five centuries. The Bove-Bukh became known in the late-18th century as the Bove-mayse or "Bovo's tale" – and this title was in turn corrupted, and passed into the Yiddish language as bubbe meise (literally "grandmother's tale").
In that address, Cameron was fulsome in his admiration for Israeli achievements.
more start-up businesses per head than any other country. How do they do it? It’s about the aspiration and drive of its
people. These are people who have innovated around every problem that life has
thrown at them. So we want to work much more closely with Israel – on
innovation, on technology.” Israel
The success of that policy is clearly apparent in the just-released trade statistics for 2013. Total UK-Israeli bilateral trade rose over those twelve months by 5.7 per cent, or $300 million, to stand at very nearly $5.5 billion in all.
Trading activity is weighted heavily in favour of
. Israel Israel
imported some $2 billion-worth of goods from the , but exported some $3.5
billion-worth. The UK UK is, except for the US,
largest export market. Israel
UK demand for Israeli medicines helped take bilateral trade to its record high, as British patients benefited from Israeli pharmaceutical advances, including drugs for Parkinson’s disease, such as Azilect, developed by Technion scientists, and generic versions of drugs produced by Teva. Other Israeli goods popular with Britons included fruit and vegetables, coffee, tea and spices.
“Given Israel’s status as the ‘start-up nation’, consistently developing new technologies across sectors,” said Hugo Bieber, chief executive of UK Israel Business, a leading organization promoting trade relations between the two countries, “we expect to see trade between the UK and Israel continue to increase.”
Economic development is a key plank in the movement towards some sort of Israel-Palestine détente – development, that is, in the moribund Palestinian economy. Early on in his current push towards a peace agreement,
Secretary of State John Kerry wholeheartedly endorsed “Breaking the Impasse”,
a new business-led initiative aimed at fostering
Israeli-Palestinian peace and prosperity. The project was launched at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in US in May
2013, by a group of prominent Israeli and
Palestinian businessmen. Jordan
Kerry, convinced that fostering economic growth will profoundly improve the chance of the political peace process, clearly sees in “Breaking the Impasse” a valuable instrument for furthering his policy. He has, accordingly, invested the initiative with both
cash and dynamic leadership. He
has got Quartet representative, one-time US prime minister Tony Blair, to
head an ambitious plan to develop a healthy, sustainable, private-sector-led
Palestinian economy. UK
It is no surprise, therefore, that Cameron met Blair in East Jerusalem, as the
prime minister prepared for
talks with Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas. The pair
discussed Blair's Palestinian economic initiative, and afterwards Blair gave
his backing to Cameron's drive to boost economic links. UK
“If we don't build the Palestinian economy up at the same time as pursuing the political negotiation,” said Blair, “then a state for the Palestinians seems a dream and not a reality."
In the joint press conference held by Cameron and Abbas after their meeting on March 13, Cameron promised a package of
support for Palestinian businesses and farming communities, which the World
Bank estimates will boost the Palestinian economy by some $700 million. UK
Cameron stopped short of claiming Canaanite, Arab, or Palestinian lineage – unlike PA’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat. “I am the proud son of the Canaanites,” Erekat recently maintained, “who were there 5,500 years before Joshua bin Nun burned down the town of
tree, posted on Facebook, shows his clan, part of the Huwaitat tribe,
descends from Arabia, not Jericho Canaan.
Published in the Jerusalem Post on-line, 17 March 2014:http://www.jpost.com/Experts/Cameron-the-UK-and-Israel-345607?prmusr=J%2bW06W0lJgeEMGMWKnSR52axYLLVyQeQJH3oEEJc3QB%2fBD%2brko05j6x13so7mMLo
Published in the Eurasia Review, 17 March 2014: