Prince Charles blamed Jews in Arab-Israeli conflict in 1986 letter

By @chelean on
Britain's Prince Charles pays his respects at the India Gate war memorial in New Delhi, India, November 9, 2017.
Britain's Prince Charles pays his respects at the India Gate war memorial in New Delhi, India, November 9, 2017. Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

Prince Charles blamed Jews in the conflict in the Middle East in the letter he wrote in 1986. The letter was for Afrikaner explorer Laurens van der Post, his mentor, and was allegedly about why he thought the unrest in the region was caused by the exodus of European Jews.

The letter, published by the Daily Mail, gave insight into the future king’s thoughts about the conflict between the Arabs and Jews in the region. He wrote that the “influx of foreign Jews” was to blame, urging the US to “take on the Jewish lobby,” a term considered to be anti-Semitic by some as it suggested wealthy Jews in the US operate behind the scenes to influence government policy.

Charles wrote the letter on Nov. 24, 1986, right after his and his then-wife Princess Diana’s official visit to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. He told his mentor that the trip gave him understanding into the Arabs’ point of view about Israel.

“I now appreciate that Arabs and Jews were all Semitic people originally and it is the influx of foreign, European Jews (especially from Poland, they say) which has helped to cause great problems,” the letter read. “I know there are so many complex issues, but how can there ever be an end to terrorism unless the causes are eliminated? Surely some US president has to have the courage to stand up and take on the Jewish lobby in US? I must be naïve, I suppose!”

According to The Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard, the most offensive in the prince’s letter was his use of the term “Jewish lobby.” “It is this myth there are these very powerful Jews who control foreign policy or the media or banks or whatever,” he was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying. He added that the term coming from the heir to the throne is “unsettling.”

Pollard also said that Charles’ reference to the influx of European Jews was “absolute classic Arab explanation of the problems in the Middle East.” He said that the idea that Jews were some kind of foreigners who had no real place in Israel was nonsense.

Charles, who had previously expressed concern at the rise of anti-Semitism in Britain and at the same has been a defender of Islam, should come under fire for the use of the term, according to Nigel Farage. The former Ukip leader received censure when he alleged that there was a “powerful Jewish lobby” in the US earlier this month.

A Clarence House spokesperson, meanwhile, addressed the 1986 letter, saying Charles, who turns 69 on Tuesday, was sharing the opinions of those who met in his visit, not his own. “The letter clearly states that these were not the Prince’s own views about Arab-Israel issues but represented the opinions of some of those he met during his visit, which he was keen to interrogate,” the statement said.

“He was sharing the arguments in private correspondence with a longstanding friend in an attempt to improve his understanding of what he has always recognised is a deeply complex issue to which he was coming early on in his own analysis in 1986.”

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