On the eve of Prince Charles taking his biggest step toward succeeding his mother as monarch of the United Kingdom, he faced a new embarrassment stemming from a 31-year-old letter he penned to U.S. diplomatic officials.
The letter, written after a state visit to Saudi Arabia in 1986, blames “foreign Jews” and “the Jewish lobby” for many of the problems in the Middle East. The letter, published Saturday by The Daily Mail, also states:
I now begin to understand better [Arabs’] point of view about Israel. Never realized they see it as a U.S. colony. I now appreciate that Arabs and Jews were all a Semitic people originally and it is the influx of foreign, European Jews (especially from Poland, they say) which has helped to cause great problems. I know there are so many complex issues, but how can there ever be an end to terrorism unless the causes are eliminated?
In Israel, those phrases are deemed inherently anti-Semitic. The British monarchy, in the eyes of many Jewish immigrants from Europe, shoulder much of the blame for the extent of the Holocaust because it prevented migration to the UK’s Palestine mandate in the early days of World War II. Prince Charles has appeared in the past to try to bridge the Jewish-Muslim divide by defending both communities in his country.
A planned trip to Jerusalem to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Balfour Declaration, which called for a Jewish state, was cancelled earlier this year. The stated reason was that it might anger Arab allies.
No British royal has ever visited Israel. Buckingham Palace has not responded to the letter’s publication.