What Made Britain Break Its 70-Year Ban on Royal Visits to Israel?

March 13 2018

Since its founding the Jewish state has never received an official visit from a member of the House of Windsor, although some have come to Israel in a private capacity. Recently, however, Britain announced that Prince William, the eldest grandson of the queen, will make an official trip to Israel later this year. Elliott Abrams speculates as to what caused this change in policy:

There are various theories. One is that Prince Charles was the wrong royal to send, and time had to pass until someone in the next generation came along. Another theory is that the Foreign Office, [which coordinates such visits], simply could no longer maintain its claim that a visit would sour relations with the Arab states when those states are improving their own relations with Israel. Finally, it has been argued that the Foreign Office and royal refusal (and it is not clear whether the “no” over the years came from the bureaucrats or the royals, or both) was based on Zionist violence against British colonial administrators in the pre-1948 years of the Palestinian mandate. That obstacle would seem very odd when the queen in 2012 was willing to shake the hand of Martin McGuinness, who had been a very senior IRA commander in 1979 when the IRA killed Lord Mountbatten, to whom she was close and who was Prince Philip’s uncle. . . .

[The visit] is very much in line with President Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, acknowledging that it has the right every other nation has to choose its capital city, and the American effort at the United Nations system to stop the unfair and unequal treatment of Israel. Seventy years is a long time to wait for normal treatment, and of course Israel is far from achieving it even now. But these steps are symbolic of real progress.

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More about: House of Windsor, Israel & Zionism, Prince William, 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