CHARLES: Who will stand up and take on ‘Jewish lobby’ in Amer­ica?

Prince posed deeply con­tro­ver­sial question in newly revealed let­ter to close friend... sug­gest­ing the ‘in­flux of foreign Jews’ was partly to blame for un­rest in Mid­dle East

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Royal Exclusive - By IAN GAL­LAGHER CHIEF RE­PORTER

PRINCE Charles was fiercely crit­i­cised last night af­ter it emerged he once urged the US to ‘take on the Jewish lobby’ – and blamed ‘the in­flux of foreign Jews’ for caus­ing un­rest in the Mid­dle East.

The Mail on Sun­day can re­veal the in­cen­di­ary com­ments are con­tained in a let­ter in which the Prince lays bare his thoughts on one of the world’s most bloody dis­putes.

Writ­ing to his close friend Lau­rens van der Post in 1986, the Prince makes a star­tling as­sess­ment of the Arab-Is­raeli con­flict. He ar­gues it was the ex­o­dus of Euro­pean Jews in the mid­dle of the last cen­tury that ‘helped to cause the great prob­lems’.

He goes on to say ter­ror­ism in the re­gion will only end when its causes are elim­i­nated. He then ex­presses the hope a US Pres­i­dent will find the courage to stand up to the Amer­i­can ‘Jewish lobby’.

The term ‘Jewish lobby’ is con­sid­ered by many to be anti-Semitic – sug­gest­ing wealthy Jews in the US op­er­ate be­hind the scenes to ex­er­cise un­due in­flu­ence over gov­ern­ment pol­icy. Other high-profile fig­ures have been heav­ily crit­i­cised for us­ing the term.

Last night, Stephen Pol­lard, in­flu­en­tial ed­i­tor of The Jewish Chron­i­cle, said: ‘To me this is the most as­ton­ish­ing el­e­ment of the Prince’s let­ter. The “Jewish lobby” is one of the anti-Semitic themes that have en­dured for cen­turies. It is this myth there are these very pow­er­ful Jews who con­trol foreign pol­icy or the me­dia or banks or what­ever.’

Mr Pol­lard de­scribed the let­ter as ‘jaw-drop­pingly shock­ing’, adding: ‘That they [the Prince’s com­ments] come from the heir to the throne is un­set­tling, to put it mildly.’

While the let­ter is in­flam­ma­tory, there is no sug­ges­tion Charles holds anti-Semitic views. He has many prom­i­nent Jewish friends and in 2013 be­came the first Royal to at­tend a chief rabbi’s in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­mony. In a speech that year, he ex­pressed con­cern at the ap­par­ent rise of anti-Semitism in Bri­tain.

In the past it has been re­ported that the Prince is pri­vately crit­i­cal of US pol­icy in the Mid­dle East, with one diplo­matic source ac­cus­ing him of hav­ing ‘fairly dodgy views on Is­rael’.

Charles has al­ways en­joyed a close and sup­port­ive re­la­tion­ship with the Jewish com­mu­nity in Bri­tain.

At the same time, he is seen as a de­fender of Is­lam, with one his­to­rian not­ing that no other ma­jor West­ern fig­ure has as high a stand­ing in the Mus­lim world. It has also been sug­gested he has pro-Pales­tinian lean­ings, a per­cep­tion the let­ter ap­pears to sup­port.

The Prince’s can­did let­ter sur­faced in a pub­lic ar­chive. It was writ­ten on Novem­ber 24, 1986, im­me­di­ately af­ter an of­fi­cial visit the then 38-year-old Prince made to Saudi Ara­bia, Bahrain and Qatar with Princess Diana.

He notes the tour was ‘fas­ci­nat­ing’ and that he learned ‘a lot about the Mid­dle East and Arab out­look’. He goes on: ‘Tried to read bit of Ko­ran on way out and it gave me some in­sight into way they [Arabs] think and op­er­ate. Don’t think they could un­der­stand us through read­ing Bi­ble though!

‘Also I now be­gin to un­der­stand bet­ter their [Arabs’] point of view about Is­rael. Never re­alised 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?

‘Surely some US pres­i­dent has to have the courage to stand up and take on the Jewish lobby in US? I must be naive, I sup­pose!’

Among those to come un­der fire for us­ing the term ‘Jewish lobby’ are Gen­eral Ge­orge Brown, the high­est-rank­ing mil­i­tary of­fi­cer in the US as chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was pub­licly re­buked and dis­owned by Pres­i­dent Ger­ald Ford in 1974 af­ter claim­ing that a ‘Jewish lobby’ con­trolled Congress.

For­mer Ukip leader Nigel Farage was crit­i­cised ear­lier this month when he re­ferred to ‘a pow­er­ful Jewish lobby’ in the US. In 2006, Chris Davies, for­mer leader of the Lib Dem MEPs, was forced to re­sign af­ter he used the term.

Arch­bishop Des­mond Tutu also came un­der fire when he used the phrase in a news­pa­per ar­ti­cle in

‘That the com­ments come from the heir to the throne is un­set­tling’

2002. The Prince’s ref­er­ence in the let­ter to the in­flux of Euro­pean Jews also caused dis­may.

It is not clear if he is re­fer­ring to im­mi­gra­tion be­fore or af­ter the Sec­ond World War, or both. Mr Pol­lard said: ‘It is the ab­so­lute clas­sic Arab ex­pla­na­tion of the prob­lems in the Mid­dle East.

‘And it is what ev­ery­one has al­ways said the Bri­tish aris­toc­racy ac­tu­ally thinks – the idea that Jews were some kind of for­eign­ers who had no real place in Is­rael un­til we de­cided to make it their home­land. His­tor­i­cally it is non­sense and it’s quite stun­ning when it comes from the heir to the throne.’

A se­nior Is­raeli diplo­matic source said last night: ‘He [Charles] was trav­el­ling around the Gulf states [just be­fore he wrote the con­tro­ver­sial let­ter], which in those years were very anti-Is­rael. It seems he was pre­sented with a nar­ra­tive in a very con­vinc­ing way.’

Ear­lier this month, Bri­tain marked the cen­te­nary of the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion, the doc­u­ment that paved the way for the state of Is­rael, with a gala din­ner in London at­tended by Theresa May and Is­raeli prime min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu.

The Prince called the cen­te­nary a ‘deeply sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment’, adding ‘a great deal re­mains to be done if we are to bring about a just and last­ing peace for Is­rael and her neigh­bours’.

Sug­ges­tions that Charles holds pro-Pales­tinian views are sup­ported by his let­ter to van der Post. He writes there is much to ad­mire about Is­lam ‘es­pe­cially its ac­cent on hospi­tal­ity and ac­ces­si­bil­ity of rulers’.

In 1993, Charles de­liv­ered what was then con­sid­ered to be the most pro-Is­lamic speech ever made by a mem­ber of the Royal Fam­ily. He said: ‘Is­lam can teach us to­day a way of un­der­stand­ing and liv­ing in the world which Chris­tian­ity is poorer for hav­ing lost.’ He added: ‘These two worlds, the Is­lamic and the West­ern, are at some­thing of a cross­roads in their re­la­tions. We must not let them stand apart.’

In 2003, it was re­ported the Prince had not been to the US for the pre­vi­ous six years on Foreign Of­fice ad­vice, largely be­cause of his crit­i­cism of US pol­icy in the Mid­dle East. A diplo­matic source said at the time the Prince had ‘in Amer­i­can terms and in­ter­na­tional terms, fairly dodgy views on Is­rael. He thinks Amer­i­can pol­icy in the Mid­dle East is com­plete mad­ness.’

In 2007, leaked emails be­tween se­nior Clarence House staff put Charles at the cen­tre of a row about the Roy­als’ at­ti­tude to­wards the Jewish state. Ex­changes be­tween Sir Michael Peat, the Prince’s then prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary, and Clive Alder­ton, Sir Michael’s deputy, con­tained ap­par­ently dis­parag­ing re­marks about Is­rael.

Ear­lier that year, the Is­raeli em­bassy in­vited the two se­nior aides to Is­rael for a four-day visit as guests of the Knes­set, the Is­raeli par­lia­ment.

Sir Michael ini­tially replied en­thu­si­as­ti­cally, say­ing: ‘The in­vi­ta­tion is hugely ap­pre­ci­ated and Clive and I would love to come.’ But a month later, there was an ex­change of emails be­tween Mr Alder­ton and Sir Michael that were ap­par­ently ac­ci­den­tally copied to the out­go­ing Jewish am­bas­sador.

In the emails, Mr Alder­ton com­plains of be­ing ‘pur­sued’ by the am­bas­sador and says: ‘Safe to as­sume there is no chance of this visit ever ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing?

‘Ac­cep­tance would make it hard to avoid the many ways in which Is­rael would want HRH [Prince Charles] to help bur­nish its in­ter­na­tional im­age. In which case, let’s agree a way to lower his ex­pec­ta­tions.’

Over the years, the Prince has forged a close re­la­tion­ship with the Saudi royal fam­ily. But no Royal has ever vis­ited Is­rael in an of­fi­cial ca­pac­ity. Of­fi­cials say it is be­cause there is no per­ma­nent peace deal in the re­gion.

Ear­lier this year, how­ever, Charles was pen­cilled in to visit the coun­try to mark the Bal­four cen­te­nary and hon­our thou­sands of Bri­tish war dead. But the idea was ve­toed by the Foreign Of­fice amid claims it would up­set Is­rael’s Arab neigh­bours.

Last night a Clarence House spokes­woman said of the 1986 let­ter: ‘This let­ter clearly stated that these were not the Prince’s own views about Arab-Is­raeli is­sues but rep­re­sented the opin­ions of some of those he met dur­ing his visit which he was keen to in­ter­ro­gate.

‘He was shar­ing the ar­gu­ments in pri­vate cor­re­spon­dence with a long-stand­ing friend in an at­tempt to im­prove his un­der­stand­ing of what he has al­ways recog­nised is a deeply com­plex is­sue to which he was com­ing early on in his own anal­y­sis in 1986.

‘Over the years, the Prince has con­tin­ued his study of the com­plex and dif­fi­cult themes he ref­er­enced here. He has built a proven track record of sup­port for both Jewish and Arab com­mu­ni­ties around the world and has a long his­tory of pro­mot­ing in­ter­faith di­a­logue and cul­tural un­der­stand­ing.’

‘This let­ter clearly stated that these were not the Prince’s own views’

‘DODGY VIEWS’: Charles, with Pres­i­dent Rea­gan in 1985, was said to be crit­i­cal of US Mid­dle East pol­icy

DESERT STORM: Charles and Diana visit Saudi Ara­bia in 1986, the year he wrote his con­tro­ver­sial let­ter

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