(photo credit: REUTERS)
A 31-year-old letter penned by a young Prince Charles has stirred controversy for suggesting that “foreign Jews” were to blame, in part, for the troubles of the Middle East.
The letter, which was released by The Daily Mail on Saturday, also includes suggestions that the US should deal with the “Jewish lobby,” a term considered by some to be antisemitic in its conflation with age-old tropes about the wealth and power of Jews. Charles penned it immediately after returning from an official visit to Saudi Arabia with his then-wife Princess Diana.
“I now begin to understand better their [Arabs’] point of view about Israel. Never realized they see it as a US 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?” Charles wrote.
Over the course of the 20th century, millions of Jews immigrated to Israel from across the Middle East and Europe, many fleeing as refugees from oppressive regimes and institutionalized antisemitism.
In the years leading up to the Holocaust, Britain blocked Jewish immigration to Palestine, turning thousands away, many to certain death in concentration camps.
While the prince is largely an apolitical figure, he has been critical of American policy in the Middle East.
He has been seen in the past as a defender of the Jewish community in the UK, and has also been lauded for his support of the kingdom’s Muslim community. A 1993 speech by the prince encouraged cooperation between the West and the Muslim world, and said that “Islam can teach us today a way of understanding and living in the world which Christianity is poorer for having lost.”
While the prince has visited Israel before
, neither he nor any member of the royal family has made an official visit to the Jewish state. A trip was planned for fall 2017, but was canceled
over fears it would anger Arab allies. The trip would have coincided with the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Balfour Declaration, penned by a British lord, which called for a Jewish national home in the British Mandate.
No members of the royal family were present at the state-organized celebration of the declaration’s centennial earlier this month, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended.
The royal family has not released a statement regarding the release of the letter or its contents