For the First Time in 70 Years, Britain Will Permit a Royal Visit to Israel

March 5 2018

British officials announced last week that Prince William will pay an official visit to the Jewish state this summer. Although other members of the House of Windsor have come to Israel previously, they did so only in a private capacity—and even this was not allowed until 1994. The British Foreign Office, which coordinates such visits, had previously defended its unofficial boycott of Israel by stating that “many countries have not had an official visit.” To which Andrew Roberts replies:

That might be true for Burkina Faso and Chad, but the Foreign Office has somehow managed to find the time over the years to send the queen on state visits to Libya, Iran, Sudan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, and Turkey. So it can’t have been that she wasn’t in the area. . . .

At least she could be certain of a warm welcome in Israel, unlike in Morocco where she was kept waiting by the king for three hours in 90-degree heat, or at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda, where they hadn’t even finished building her hotel.

The Foreign Office ban on royal visits to Israel was all the more powerful for its being unwritten and unacknowledged, like so much “club” or “social” anti-Semitism in Britain. As an act of “delegitimization” of Israel, this effective boycott was quite as serious as other similar acts, such as the academic boycott. Now it is over, and hopefully there will be many such visits, including of Prince Charles and [his wife]. . . .

When he gets back to Britain after his visit, Prince William will be able to tell the rest of his family what a wonderful place they were forced to miss out visiting because of the ban imposed for 70 years by a small group of Foreign Office Arabists. He will hopefully open the door to plenty more such visits, advertising to the world how much Britain values her brave democratic ally in the Middle East.

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More about: House of Windsor, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, United Kingdom

 

For Israelis, Anti-Zionism Kills

Dec. 14 2018

This week alone, anti-Zionists have killed multiple Israelis in a series of attacks; these follow the revelations that Hizballah succeeded in digging multiple attack tunnels from Lebanon into northern Israel. Simultaneously, some recent news stories in the U.S. have occasioned pious reminders that anti-Zionism should not be conflated with anti-Semitism. Bret Stephens notes that it is anti-Zionists, not defenders of Israel, who do the most to blur that distinction:

Israelis experience anti-Zionism in a different way from, say, readers of the New York Review of Books: not as a bold sally in the world of ideas, but as a looming menace to their earthly existence, held at bay only through force of arms. . . . Anti-Zionism might have been a respectable point of view before 1948, when the question of Israel’s existence was in the future and up for debate. Today, anti-Zionism is a call for the elimination of a state—details to follow regarding the fate befalling those who currently live in it. . . .

Anti-Zionism is ideologically unique in insisting that one state, and one state only, doesn’t just have to change. It has to go. By a coincidence that its adherents insist is entirely innocent, this happens to be the Jewish state, making anti-Zionists either the most disingenuous of ideologues or the most obtuse. When then-CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill called last month for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea” and later claimed to be ignorant of what the slogan really meant, it was hard to tell in which category he fell.

Does this make someone with Hill’s views an anti-Semite? It’s like asking whether a person who believes in [the principle of] separate-but-equal must necessarily be a racist. In theory, no. In reality, another story. The typical aim of the anti-Semite is legal or social discrimination against some set of Jews. The explicit aim of the anti-Zionist is political or physical dispossession.

What’s worse: to be denied membership in a country club because you’re Jewish, or driven from your ancestral homeland and sovereign state for the same reason? If anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are meaningfully distinct (I think they are not), the human consequences of the latter are direr.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian terror