Prince Philip and His Jewish Best Friend

April 28 2021

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


Israel’s Covert War on Iran’s Nuclear Program Is Impressive. But Is It Successful?

Sept. 26 2023

The Mossad’s heist of a vast Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 provided abundant evidence that Tehran was not adhering to its commitments; it also provided an enormous amount of actionable intelligence. Two years later, Israel responded to international inspectors’ condemnation of the Islamic Republic’s violations by using this intelligence to launch a spectacular campaign of sabotage—a campaign that is the subject of Target Tehran, by Yonah Jeremy Bob and Ilan Evyatar. David Adesnik writes:

The question that remains open at the conclusion of Target Tehran is whether the Mossad’s tactical wizardry adds up to strategic success in the shadow war with Iran. The authors give a very respectful hearing to skeptics—such as the former Mossad director Tamir Pardo—who believe the country should have embraced the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Bob and Evyatar reject that position, arguing that covert action has proven itself the best way to slow down the nuclear program. They acknowledge, however, that the clerical regime remains fully determined to reach the nuclear threshold. “The Mossad’s secret war, in other words, is not over. Indeed, it may never end,” they write.

Which brings us back to Joe Biden. The clerical regime was headed over a financial cliff when Biden took office, thanks to the reimposition of sanctions after Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal. The billions flowing into Iran on Biden’s watch have made it that much easier for the regime to rebuild whatever Mossad destroys in addition to weathering nationwide protests on behalf of women, life, and freedom. Until Washington and Jerusalem get on the same page—and stay there—Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will remain an affordable luxury for a dictatorship at war with its citizens.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, Mossad, U.S. Foreign policy