It was about Israel

Few symbols of Anglo-Jewry are more resonant than the JNF collection box. The charity itself may no longer have the same pull on the community's collective consciousness - the scandals and controversies of recent years have seen to that - but the Prime Minister's decision to resign as a patron is still hugely symbolic. Certainly, the attempts of groups such as "Stop the JNF" to claim responsibility are sophistry; as we report, the decision was taken months ago, long before they began their campaign. But this week it became clear that No 10's own initial claims were equally wrong. Far from simply tidying up the Prime Minister's commitments due to "time constraints", as Downing Street put it last week, we are now told that it was because JNF is "specifically focused around work in one specific country".

This was a decision, make no mistake, about Israel. And it is a decision which has had global impact, making the news across continents. In every case, it has been reported as an attack on Israel. One of two things has happened here. Either Mr Cameron has been badly advised and had no idea that his resignation would have such an impact. Or that is precisely what he intended. Whichever, he does not - to say the least - emerge with credit.

    Last updated: 10:54am, June 2 2011