Miliband calls Israel ‘Jewish homeland,’ won’t say he’s a Zionist

UK opposition leader Ed Miliband speaking at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, April 10, 2014

Israel is “a homeland” for the Jews, British opposition leader and Labour party leader Ed Miliband said Thursday in Jerusalem, thanking the country for being a “sanctuary” for his grandmother, who lived in Tel Aviv for over a decade. However, he chose not to state whether he considers himself a Zionist.

“For me, Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people,” he told Israeli students, after one of them asked him to clarify a statement he had made last year suggesting he sees himself as a Zionist. Describing Israel as a homeland for Jews is “not just a theoretical idea for me, it’s my family’s experience. That’s sort of the way I think about it, and that’s been my family experience and my family background. That’s the way I like to talk about it,” he said.

In March 2013, Miliband — the son of Polish Jewish immigrants — had been asked whether he was a Zionist, and replied: “Yes. I consider myself a supporter of Israel.” But less than 24 hours after he uttered these words, Miliband’s office clarified that his comments were misinterpreted, and that he merely meant to emphasize his strong support for Israel.