Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Reading Between The Lines Of The Prince 's Blank Page

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales delivered a very able and characteristically droll speech to the Board of Deputies of British Jews at the Guildhall in the City of London last week.

The speech was a quarter of an hour's romp through modern Anglo-Jewish history, beginning with the observation that Roderigo Lopes, Elizabeth Tudor's Jewish physician, who was done to death on a trumped up charge of espionage, had been tried and convicted in that very location.

Tribute was paid to such luminaries as Sir Moses Monterfiore, the great, very long-lived (1784-1885) Sephardi grandee and philanthropist who was the Board's president for a total of 39 years during that era – ended as late as 1940 when Zionist activist Professor Selig Brodetsky, an East End boy born in the Ukraine, grasped the Board's helm –  when an elite of mainly interrelated patrician families dominated communal affairs and made representations to government sotto voce as befitted "gentlemen of the Mosaic persuasion".

Also mentioned very favourably was the prime minister and novelist Benjamin Disraeli, who as Prince Charles reminded his audience, had been baptised in childhood yet still regarded himself proudly as a Jew - the prince referred fondly to Dizzy's self-description as"the blank page between the Old and the New Testaments".

Prince Charles noted the trips overseas made by the extraordinary Sir Moses Monterfiore on behalf of oppressed Jewries, and that Sir Moses visited Jerusalem seven times:
"He so loved Jerusalem that he adopted it on his family crest and wrote it on all his belongings including his bed! He took a bit of Britain to Jerusalem – a Kentish windmill that still stands there, known as the Montefiore windmill – and a bit of Jerusalem to Britain: he is buried in Jerusalem soil, in Ramsgate, in an exact replica of Rachel’s Tomb not far from Jerusalem and Bethlehem."
Nowhere in his speech did the prince mention the links between Anglo-Jewry and Israel.

That omission might be termed his "blank page".  But does the page contain any lines to be read between?

It might reasonably be asked why he should have mentioned Israel, since the speech was a celebration of the Board's 250 years of existence.

Yet it might just as reasonably be observed that since the Board has to some extent concerned itself with matters affecting Zionism and Israel (it established a "Palestine Committee" in 1928, when even Board members steadfastly opposed to "political Zionism" could acquiesce in "philanthropic Zionism" under the British Mandate, a committee renamed the Eretz Israel Committee when the State of Irael was born), and since Anglo-Jewry has played a not insignificant part in the upbuilding of Israel (as explained, incidentally, in several articles in this recently-published reference book, pictured right) the prince should surely have said something.

The Balfour Declaration, it might be remarked, was conspicuous by its absence, and many people will recall that a few years ago a visit by Prince Charles to Israel seemed imminent, only to be stymied, it seemed, by the FCO Camels Corps.  Had it taken place it would have been the first official visit to Israel by a member of the Royal Family since Israel's birth.

Regarding the speech, I've yet to be convinced one way or the other. 

But Zionist stalwart Jonathan Hoffman seems to have no doubt how the lines of the prince's blank page should be read:
'Over 2000 words about 250 years of history of British Jewry and he didn't mention the word Israel once!"
 Moses Montefiore"; "Jerusalem"; "Holocaust victims"; "Kindertransport" ... but not one mention of Israel and what that represents for Jews in the diaspora and could have represented for those who died in the Holocaust. Not one mention of the key role that was played by British Jews and the British Government in the founding of the State of Israel, for example through the Balfour Declaration.
No mention of Chaim Weizmann [pictured left] who spent much of his life in the UK.
No mention that one of the Board's nine objectives is to "take such appropriate action as lies within its power to advance Israel's security, welfare, and standing"
Not a word
It's like Hamlet without the Prince ...
Or the Emperor Who Wore No Clothes ...
Did anyone who went to the Dinner actually notice?
Did Charles notice?' 


  1. Perhaps because he was speaking to representatives of British Jews - not addressing a bunch of Israelis. Jeez, mention Israel and you are an anti-Zionist, don't mention it and you are anti-Israel. Grow up. Get a life.

  2. Tut, tut - didn't I bend over backwards to maintain my balance?

  3. Prince Charles is a well-known anti-Israel drone, who has made speeches about how Britain would benefit from being run on sharia law principles. He forced the Queen into a humiliating position this year, when she had to dress up in grotesque mozlem gear when visiting some arab country.
    By not mentioning Israel, he denies it!

    Daphne, your post is excellent and very balanced! Too much for my liking, in fact! Haha!!

  4. Are you sure he's anti-Israel though, Juniper? In 2007 he seemed keen on going to Israel, I recall, but the Camel Corps stepped in. I'm a fan of his, actually. His present speech did imply that Britain has been more multicultural and multi-faith than it has been historically, however. I didn't realise that he had forced his mother into that gear - I blogged about that get-up at the time, and Ffion Hague's was far worse - an insult to women.

  5. The Queen has been to Saudi Arabia previously and the 'outfit' she wore then was equally as hideous.

  6. Perhaps someone should tell the Prince that he shares his birth year and birth month with Israel, unless I'm mistaken; that makes them quasily twins ;)

    Yes, that dressing-up for the Muslims by the Queen was cringe-worthy and soooooo dhimmy, I bet the Arabian Sheiks dont return the favour by taking off their tea-towels when breaking bread with the Queen in her house. Yet - if I remember my MissManners correctly, men should take off their hats before G-d and Regents.

  7. Oh dear!

  8. Many questions - few answers. The Royals don't have to answer a F.O.I. inquiry.

    Did Prince Charles research and write his own speech? I personally doubt it. Was it vetted either by that quaint historical artefact the 'Commonwealth' and Foreign Office or a Court Protocol Officer who recommended or censured the omission of Israel? I would hope so. However the Royal website states, 'Other members of the Royal Family do not act on ministerial advice, but they also are required to preserve their political neutrality so as not to embarrass The Queen'. Was this the reason? There is clearly a de facto and unofficial ban on Israel but where does it come from?

    There is a different question that ought to be answered. Why didn't the representatives of the Jewish community who introduced him and thanked him after his speech mention Israel - or did they and were not reported?

  9. Very pertinent observations, David.
    I share your doubts that HRH wrote his own speech.
    Probably the FCO cast a censorious eye over it.
    The BoD were probably delighted with it.