Antisemitism Campaigners Urge Prince Charles to Repudiate 1986 Letter Decrying US ‘Jewish Lobby’
Britain’s Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) added its voice to the chorus of condemnation of the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, after a 1986 letter he wrote replete with antisemitic motifs was made public on Sunday.
Charles wrote of his new-found belief in a powerful “Jewish lobby” in the US in a letter to the celebrated author and explorer, the late Sir Laurens Van Der Post, who was godfather to the prince of Wales’ eldest son, Prince William.
In the letter – written when the prince was almost 40, but reading as if composed by a much younger man – Charles related how much he had enjoyed his recent visit to the Middle East. “This tour has been fascinating and have learned a lot about Middle East and Arab outlook,” Charles said.
After confiding that he had “tried to read a bit of the Koran on the way out,” Charles said that his study of Islam’s foundational text “gave me some insight into the way they think and operate.” He went on to praise Middle Eastern rulers for their “accessibility” and Islam more generally for its “accent on hospitality.”
The prince went on to articulate a decidedly Arabist view of the conflict with Israel. “Also begin to understand their point of view about Israel,” he said, adding that he had – almost forty years after Israel’s creation – “never realised they see it as a US colony.”
“I now appreciate that Arabs and Jews were all a Semitic people originally and it is the influx of foreign, European Jews (especially from Poland they say) which has helped to cause great problems,” he went on.
“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 the US?” he wrote, before signing off, “I must be naïve, I suppose! Charles.”
CAA Chairman Gideon Falter said that Charles’s letter was “disturbing.”
“It appears that our future king believed in 1986 that the ‘influx’ of Holocaust survivors to Israel were not ‘Semitic,’ ’cause great problems’ including terrorism, and should be ‘eliminated,’ presumably through their removal,” Falter said. “The letter also appears to endorse the view that Israel is not simply the result of Jewish self-determination in the historic Jewish homeland, but the result of bullying by an all-powerful ‘Jewish lobby,’ which holds US presidents in its clutches. We view these comments as unmistakably antisemitic.”
Noting that Charles retains a good relationship with the UK Jewish community, Falter called on Charles to “urgently repudiate” these “historic remarks” as a gesture of reassurance.
The eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II – who this year became the longest-reigning monarch in British history – Charles and his suitability for the throne have long been a favored topic of discussion in the British press. Critics of the prince charge that his publicly-expressed views over the years on matters as varied as architecture and religion show him to be remote and out of touch.