Prince Philip and His Jewish Best Friend

Until 2018, no member of the British royal family had ever visited Israel in an official capacity, but the first to do so unofficially was Prince Philip, the late husband of Queen Elizabeth, who came in 1994 to a ceremony at Yad Vashem honoring his mother, Princess Alice of Greece, for rescuing Jews from the Nazis. Philip indeed had a long record of sympathy for Jews and Jewish state. While researching a book about Anglo-Jewish photographers, the historian Michael Berkowitz interviewed the duke of Edinburgh, and recalls the meeting:

Sterling Henry Nahum, [the Jewish photographer] known as “Baron,” asserted that he was intimate with the royal couple and especially friendly with Prince Philip. . . . Baron’s account, though not exactly a literary masterpiece, struck me as sincere, [and] his photos of then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip . . . inspired me to dig deeper. The couple appeared relaxed, even jovial when Baron was behind the camera. I thought this revealed a level of comfort they didn’t share with other photographers. I wondered: what were their own feelings about Baron? So I wrote to the queen in November 2011 and she suggested that I contact her husband separately.

I met with Prince Philip in his library, in Buckingham Palace, for some 45 minutes. . . . Prince Philip confirmed that Baron’s account was solid and that Baron was, indeed, his best friend—and squash partner. He did not recall if he ever knew about Baron’s specific ethnic or religious background, except for him being foreign. . . . One of the [other] questions I had for the duke was, in fact, about his wife’s relationship with photographer Annie Leibovitz. . . . He said they got on “like a house on fire.”

I appreciate, immensely, the honestly, generosity, and humility of the duke of Edinburgh. He shook my hand (what a grip!), we sat down (alone), talked seriously and quickly, and had more than a few loud laughs between us.

Read more at JewThink

More about: British Jewry, Photography, Queen Elizabeth II


Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict