Monday, March 5, 2018

The House of Windsor’s Israel Problem - by Ben Cohen

...To entirely pin the blame for this unsettling indifference towards Israel on the Arabists at the British Foreign Office, who have been in a state of penance ever since the Balfour Declaration of 1917, would do Elizabeth a great disservice. True, unlike her forebears, her divine right to rule has been severely tempered by the more modern rule of law. But that manifestly does not mean she is a plaything of the British government, blissfully unaware of the soft power and international legitimacy that a royal visit grants.

Ben Cohen..
02 March '18..

Queen Elizabeth II is marking her 66th year of reign in 2018, which by any standards is an extraordinarily long time for a single individual to be a head of state. (By comparison, King David is said to have reigned for 40 years, and Queen Victoria—comfortably overtaken now by Elizabeth—managed 64.)

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any current ruler who has remained in place throughout the Cold War and beyond. In that sense, historians will have a grand second Elizabethan era to pour through, one so lengthy that those things that were features of the first half of her reign—ration books, royal family struggles with the Church of England, a snarling punk ditty by the Sex Pistols that rhymed “queen” with “fascist regime”—were misty memories by the time it came to its close in the age of social media.

But for all the momentous historic changes that Elizabeth witnessed from her vantage points at Buckingham Palace, Windsor and Balmoral—changes that were often blessed with royal visits, high honors, state banquets and so forth—one country went stubbornly unacknowledged: Israel.

Now that Elizabeth’s grandson, Prince William, has announced a first-ever visit by a British royal to Israel, in addition to Jordan and the “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” it is perhaps time to reflect on the relationship, or absence of one, between the House of Windsor and the Jewish nation.

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