21/9 – Queen Elizabeth’s Boycott of Israel

Absent from all the reporting on the late queen and the new king are their views on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, and especially the Queen’s unofficial boycott (she’d crisscrossed the globe to visit over 120 countries) and refusal to accept an invitation to visit Israel. After a first-hand experience with Israeli apartheid, Prince Charles openly expressed his dim views on the brutal Israeli occupation and its effects on the lives of Palestinians.

If Americans Knew and Al Jazeera are two exceptions.

On September 10, 2022, Allison Weir’s If Americans Knew online blog ran the following article under the title “Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth’s Unofficial Boycott.” A must read, the report states that on a 1984 visit to Jordan, the Queen, standing on the Jordanian side of the mountainous border overlooking the Jordan River and its low-lying West Bank, “her Highness was disturbed when Israeli jets passed overhead as she looked at the West Bank from across the river. ‘How frightening,’ she muttered, then, King Hussein’s wife, Queen Nour, replied: ‘It’s terrible.’ Later on, upon being shown a map of the West Bank, with settlements marked on it, she said: ‘What a depressing map.’

I am inclined to believe that the Israeli jet fighters’ flight was a stick-it-in-your-eye for her Majesty’s refusal to visit Israel, this, after a British official acknowledged that her Majesty’s boycott will end “When a sustainable peace will be achieved.”

Incensed, former Haaretz editor in chief David Landau penned a convoluted and caustic piece accusing the British Monarch of being “vengeful” for her father’s clamping down on Jewish terrorism during Mandate times, a time when Irgun terrorism was rampant. To wit the bombing of Jerusalem’s King David Hotel that toppled the entire six-story left wing, killing 91 people, including 41 Palestinians, 28 Brits, 19 Jews, Armenians, Syrians, and an Egyptian. Landau’s lament was acrimonious: “Is there another member state of the UN which the British royal family treats with such consistent and studied contempt. The sad but inescapable conclusion, therefore, is that she herself is part of this nasty, petty British intrigue to deny Israel that ranking vestige of legitimation that is in their power to bestow or withhold a royal visit.” He called on the Queen “to bin these sour-smelling inhibitions and end this boycott.”

Ironic, isn’t it, that the King David Hotel stood/stands directly across from Jerusalem’s iconic YMCA. Also ironic is the fact that Menahem Begin, terrorist par excellence, was the mastermind who would later become Israel’s prime minister and the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace. That’s like giving Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, the Humanitarian of the Year Award.

On September 9, 2020 Al Jazeera reported that “on his first official trip to the occupied West Bank [in January 2020 Prince], Charles expressed his heartbreak over witnessing the ‘suffering’ and ‘hardship’ endured by the Palestinian population under Israeli occupation. … During his speech from Bethlehem, Charles said: ‘It is my dearest wish that the future will bring freedom, justice and equality to all Palestinians, enabling you to thrive and to prosper.” And Sky News TV stated that “the speech constituted the biggest show of support that a member of the Royal family ever has [expressed] for the Palestinians.”

Further, quoting Prince Charles, royal reporter Robert Jobson stated that the Prince’s words ring true: said, the prince, “I believe that the Israel-Palestine conflict is the fundamental reason for the hostility and all the ‘pent-up poison’ throughout the Islamic world.”

Like mother like son, Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III observed firsthand the unvarnished truth about Israel’s brutal occupation, and they refused to remain silent. Their royal affiliation gave them the political cordon sanitaire from the vengeful and hateful diatribes of Israel’s acolytes. On other hand, Jeremy Corby, former Labour Party leader’s truthful criticism of Israel’s brutal policies cost him his job. For daring to stand up to Israel and her powerful and well-heeled minions, Corbyn was pilloried by his own opportunistic Labour Party members (led by Keir Starmer) who joined the chorus to accuse Corbyn of being an anti-Semite.

Unfortunately, because Britain is a constitutional monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III are constitutionally prevented from overtly commenting and effecting policy changes on Britain’s skewed Israel/Palestine question. That decision is solely in the hands of political hacks whose personal integrity is bought and sold in London’s exchange markets and corporate board rooms, a policy that is no different from Britain’s counterpart, the US’s Joe Biden and I am a Zionist to the bone policies.

Raouf J. Halaby is a Professor Emeritus of English and Art. He is a writer, photographer, sculptor, an avid gardener, and a peace activist.

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