Don’t blame Charles

The Prince of Wales has al­ways sup­ported our com­mu­nity. The email doesn’t change that


‘PUT NOT thy faith in kings and princes but trust only the Lord” is as good a bib­li­cal ad­mo­ni­tion as you can get, pro­vid­ing it is seen as ad­vi­sory rather than pre­scrip­tive. If there is one thing our Jewish his­tory tells us, it is never to be com­pla­cent or over-con­fi­dent in our re­la­tion­ship with those who walk the cor­ri­dors of power, be it princes or politi­cians. We know well that regimes come and go, at­ti­tudes soften and harden, and politi­cians’ at­ti­tudes are as change­able as to where their next vote is com­ing from. The re­cent Saudi royal visit to the UK is a good ex­am­ple of po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency over the pri­or­i­ties of Western lib­eral democ­racy. But it is the way the game is played, and each coun­try needs to serve its own best in­ter­ests.

Against that back­ground it is only too easy to see a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion as a slight or even an in­sult or, worse still, an at­tack. As the say­ing goes — just be­cause I am para­noid doesn’t mean they don’t hate me. So, how do we sur­vive our per­se­cu­tion com­plex? Let’s study the facts. The re­cent public­ity sur­round­ing the ad­vice given to the Prince of Wales by a gar­ru­lous For­eign Of­fice ap­pa­ratchik re­gard­ing a sug­gested visit to Is­rael high­lights a dilemma. Are the royal fam­ily closet an­tiZion­ists, anti-Is­rael or just an­ti­semitic? On his­tor­i­cal ev­i­dence, we can be re­as­sured there are no facts to give us a sleep­less night. In­deed, the only facts are re­as­sur­ing.

I have ob­served the Queen since she came to the throne and Prince Charles since he tod­dled. I read about them ev­ery day. I note their ac­tiv­i­ties, I watch their daily me­an­der­ings on TV, I fol­low their suc­cesses and fam­ily trau­mas. And I have come to the not-dif­fi­cult con­clu­sion that I am grate­ful for their sense of pur­pose and the sta­bil­ity they have brought to our so­ci­ety. Prince Charles can be some­what woolly in his un­der­stand­ing of dif­fer­ent faiths, but no one doubts the in­tegrity and well-mean­ing na­ture of his ideas.

Of course, lam­poon­ing roy­alty is a won­der­ful way to sell news­pa­pers, and our me­dia have brought the art to a high level. And the link­ing of Prince Charles with an im­prac­ti­ca­ble visit to Is­rael was fod­der to the me­dia. But that is the me­dia for you, and I still pre­fer that rau­cous voice to a con­trolled press.

Frankly, I thought the ad­vice was pretty sound. This is not the great­est mo­ment for Prince Charles to do a royal tour of Is­rael, or even plan it ahead of the An­napo­lis talks next week, and we should all hope that there will be a bet­ter op­por­tu­nity in the near fu­ture, al­though that out­come is highly un­cer­tain. In any case, politi­cians, sup­pos­edly with their own agenda and the coun­try’s in­ter­est at heart, make the de­ci­sions re­gard­ing overseas trips.

Prince Charles has al­ways given of his best as heir to the throne. It is a tough job for a think­ing guy, but in­so­far as our com­mu­nity is con­cerned, his views have been con­sis­tent, thought­ful and sup­port­ive.

On Mon­day night, he was the guest of hon­our for the sec­ond time in three years at a World Jewish Re­lief dinner in Lon­don. He spoke well about pro­vid­ing re­lief for those Jews who are suf­fer­ing in poverty in Rus­sia and else­where. Later on, and to­tally un­sched­uled, he pro­posed the toast to the Pres­i­dent of the State of Is­rael. It was a mag­nif­i­cent and pos­si­bly un­prece­dented ges­ture.

Prince Charles is a se­ri­ously good per­son and the Jewish com­mu­nity knows it. The Bri­tish For­eign Of­fice has al­ways had an am­biva­lent at­ti­tude to Is­rael. We know that as well, so we are fore­warned and fore­armed. Those are the facts. Lord Kalms, a for­mer Con­ser­va­tive Party trea­surer, is life pres­i­dent and for­mer chair­man of DSG In­ter­na­tional plc


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