BY VICTOR SHARPE, RENEW AMERICA—
Britain’s Prince Charles is currently on an official visit to Jordan, Oman and Qatar. But stepping foot in nearby Israel by any member of the British royal family is officially banned by the British Foreign Office.
Prince Charles’ latest trip is one more of the many routine visits by various members of the royal family to the Muslim Arab countries of the Middle East organized for them by the Foreign Office in successive British governments. Yet the same royals are never sent to Israel and one wonders if any of them ever express a desire to visit the Jewish state. If they do, no doubt the Foreign Office slaps them down quickly for fear that such a visit would upset their Arab and Muslim trading partners and endanger Britain’s extensive and lucrative bi-lateral economic and business ties in the Muslim Arab world.
There was one exception, however, to any of the royals setting foot in Israel. As Ruth King wrote some years back in her RuthfullyYours blog, “In 1994, Prince Philip and his sister, Princess Sophie, traveled to Jerusalem to receive Yad VaShem’s Medal of Honor of Righteous Among the Nations, awarded to their late mother. A tree in memory of Princess Alice has been planted at Yad VaShem. In fact Prince Phillip almost had to sneak into Israel defying a ban by his government on Royal visits to Israel.”
It was just over a year ago that the Countess of Wessex, wife to Prince Edward, was embroiled in a scandal after she had accepted a lavish set of gems and a solid silver and pearl cup from the Bharaini royal family during her visit to the Persian Gulf state. Her “duties” included attending an opulent and lavish banquet in the repressive and hardline oil rich nation and hobnobbing with King Hamad al-Khalifa and his prime minister, whose name is almost as long as a sentence – Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa.
Apart from accepting the gifts – or what some have described as bribes – Bahrain was wracked by demonstrations during the so-called Arab Spring in which fifty people were killed and many more arrested and tortured. Under such circumstances, perhaps the extravagant gifts should be returned by Buckingham Palace. So far they remain the property of what is called the Royal Collection.
The value of the jewels alone could be as high as $3.5 million. Back in 2007, the Duchess of Cornwall was given similar gifts by the Saudi royal family including three separate suites of jewels, also estimated at around $3.5 million.
So for the happy Royals, endlessly jetting off to some of the most despotic and autocratic regimes in the world, it is fair game. Visiting the only true democracy in the Middle East, however, is off limits. And the present visit by Prince Charles to Jordan means that only one of the bridges over the River Jordan separates him from the Jewish state: So near and yet so far.
This British ban on royals visiting Israel is no different than the divestment and boycott campaign against the Jewish state by the pro-Palestinian Israel haters of the BDS movement and by the Left. The lordly mandarins of the Foreign Office, influenced by the corrosive presence of the Arabists amongst them, maintain this outrageous boycott of Israel and have done so for 65 years since the Jewish state’s 1948 rebirth as a nation in its ancestral and biblical homeland.
Queen Elizabeth, during her 60 or so years on the throne, has made some 250 overseas visits attending, among others, functions in Sudan, Libya, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – including some of the most deplorable human rights abusers on earth. But a state visit to Israel, where she would be showered with immense affection by its people, is tragically out of the question.
So what would happen if, just once, Prince Charles ignored his Foreign Office handlers and made the moral choice to cross that bridge over the River Jordan?
© Victor Sharpe
Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer with many published articles and essays in leading national and international conservative websites and magazines