The Corner

Britain & Israel

Andrew Roberts has a depressing but eye-opening piece on how one of my favorite countries has treated Israel over the years. I’d say Israel is one of my favorite countries (and in many ways it is), but I’ve actually never been to Israel (contrary to what many of my more anti-Semitic correspondents seem to think). Some excerpts:

The White Paper was published on November 9, 1938 – the very same day of the Kristallnacht atrocities in Germany – and was approved by Parliament in May 1939, a full two months after Hitler’s occupation of the rump of Czechoslovakia.

The Manchester Guardian described it as “a death sentence on tens of thousands of Central European Jews,” which in sheer numerical terms was probably an underestimation. Although the Labor Party Conference voted to repeal the White Paper in 1945, Labor Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin – a bitter enemy of Israel – persisted in it, and it was not to be repealed until the day after the State of Israel was proclaimed.

In late April 1948, Bevin ordered that Arab positions in Jaffa needed to be protected from the Jews “at all costs,” and when Israeli independence came the next month, the departing British sometimes handed over vital military and strategic strong points to the five invading Arab armies, the most efficient of which, Transjordan’s Arab Legion, was actually commanded by a Briton, Sir John Glubb.

And:

One area of policy over which the Foreign Office has traditionally held great sway is that of royal visits. It is therefore no coincidence that though the queen has made over 250 official overseas visits to 129 different countries during her reign, neither she nor any other member of the British royal family has ever been to Israel on an official visit.

Even though the mother of the queen’s husband Prince Philip, Princess Alice of Greece, who was recognized as “Righteous Among the Nations” for sheltering a Jewish family in her Athens home during the Holocaust, was buried on the Mount of Olives, Prince Philip was not allowed by the Foreign Office to visit her grave until 1994, and then only on a private visit.

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