IN a newly revealed letter from 1986, Prince Charles suggested the “influx of foreign, European Jews” was a cause of turmoil in the Middle East.
After a visit to the Gulf , Charles wrote to his friend the author Laurens van der Post, that he had gained greater insight into Arab hostility toward Israel.
“Also begin to understand their point of view about Israel. Never realised they see it as a US colony,” he wrote. “I now appreciate that Arabs and Jews were all a Semitic people originally + it is the influx of foreign, European Jews (especially from Poland, they say) which has helped to cause great problems.”
In the next sentence, he said, “I know there are so many complex issues, but how can there ever be an end to terrorism unless the causes are eliminated?”
Charles ended the letter, stating, “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.”
Slamming the letter as “anti-Semitic”, Britain’s Campaign Against Anti-Semitism released a statement. “It appears that our future king believed in 1986 that the ‘influx’ of Holocaust survivors to Israel were not ‘Semitic’, ’cause great problems’ including terrorism, and should be ‘eliminated’, presumably through their removal,” said chairman Gideon Falter.
“The letter also appears to endorse the view that Israel is not simply the result of Jewish self-determination in the historic Jewish homeland, but the result of bullying by an all-powerful ‘Jewish lobby’ which holds US presidents in its clutches.”
However, Falter said that since the letter was written, Charles “appears to have warmed to the Jewish community”, noting his friendship with former chief rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, and his attendance at the inauguration of Sacks’ successor, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.
“In order to reassure the worldwide Jewish community, including Jews living in Israel, that the heir to the throne has changed his views, these historic remarks must urgently be repudiated by Prince Charles,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Charles, who in 2015 became patron of World Jewish Relief, said he was not expressing his views but only recounting those he encountered during his trip.
“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,” the spokeswoman said.
She also said Charles “has continued his study of the complex and difficult themes he referenced here” and defended his “proven track record of support for both Jewish and Arab communities around the world”.
Despite numerous invitations over the years, no British royal has ever come to Israel on an official “royal tour.” Prince Charles attended the funerals of Israeli prime ministers Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, but did not hold diplomatic meetings.