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.

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Read more at JewThink

More about: British Jewry, Photography, Queen Elizabeth II

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela