We are not amused…writes Michael Kuttner

July 17, 2013 by Michael Kuttner
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Israel has received official visits from a large number of heads of state during its 65 years of re-established independence.

Presidents and royalty alike from many parts of the globe have made their way to Jerusalem to pay their respects to our own head of state. Admittedly the number of monarchs in the world is far fewer these days but nevertheless a number of them have visited our shores.

Michael Kuttner

Michael Kuttner

Usually such a visit sees the streets of Jerusalem, especially those leading to the Knesset, the President’s residence and Yad Vashem, decked out with flags representing the honoured guest’s country as well as that of Israel and also the city of Jerusalem. Inevitably it also means that for the duration of the visit Jerusalemites will have to endure street closures, traffic chaos and delays in getting around the city. Some visitors elicit very little noticeable disruptions while others such as Obama snarl up the entire city for hours at a time. Nevertheless despite these inconveniences most people do not seem to mind as they realise that the benefits bestowed by these events outweighs any fleeting mess up of travel plans.

I always experience a cynical thrill when I see the black limousines with police outriders and other manifestations of security glide past as the entourage makes its way to the Prime Minister’s and President’s official meeting place. After all whether they realise it or not these state visitors who are here in Jerusalem are by their very presence proclaiming that it is indeed the capital of the Jewish State. Not that any of them or their minders and advisers would in any way ever openly admit that was the case. To a man and woman they still loudly proclaim that our capital is unrecognized and that half of it or more is illegally occupied. It is however a testament to the gross hypocrisy which prevails that this does not prevent them from actually meeting our leaders in the very city which is the seat of Government.

During all these years, one glaring absentee stands out as never ever having graced us with an official state visit. I refer of course to the fact that Queen Elizabeth having visited well over a hundred countries during her long reign has never been here and is not ever likely to do so. She has traveled to the furthest corners of the world, visited all continents, been to countries not far from us and yet has never dropped by. It seems at first glance to be inexplicable that the Middle East’s only true democracy has been so shamelessly shunned while Her Majesty and various other royals have made much publicised and lavish visits to feudal states in our vicinity where treatment of women and minorities are scandalous, freedom of religion is non existent and civil rights are a concept yet to be legalised.  None of these facts seems to have deterred the Royal House of Windsor or more precisely the advisers who determine which countries they should visit.

This of course is the nub of the problem. As a constitutional monarch, Queen Elizabeth must rely on the advice of her advisers which in this case is presumably the Foreign Office. Of course the Prime Minister of the day should he or she be so inclined could easily instruct the FO to reverse their boycott of Israel but as this has never happened one can safely assume that the whole British political establishment is perfectly content to continue their traditional disdainful treatment of Israel. The explanation given when questions have been raised is that a royal visit cannot take place until “peace” has broken out between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. The hypocrisy of this excuse is mind blowing and only someone with a warped sense of logic or an irredeemable case of historical amnesia would actually fall for this pathetic specimen of an explanation.

Despotic regimes, non democratic governments, countries which truly illegally occupy territories abound but none of these realities seems to have deterred the British Foreign Office from giving a seal of approval to royal state visits. Given the sordid history of the FO towards the Jewish State we can hardly be surprised of course. One could well ask why having visited Jordan with whom Israel has a peace treaty a visit to us was not also possible. Why should the demands of Fatah and the PLO for another piece of our homeland, ethnically cleansed of Jews, be the reason for a royal boycott? There is no logical answer other than the obvious one.

Someone of course is bound to point out that in fact Prince Phillip, Prince Edward and Prince Charles have all been here. The Queen’s husband only came because his mother was recognized as a righteous gentile by Yad Vashem having sheltered Jews in Greece during the war. She is also buried at her request on the Mount of Olives which ironically is classified as occupied territory by the UK and EU. Edward came on a brief visit at behest of a charity and the heir to the throne came to Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral. What all these visits have in common is the pain which the British took to clarify that they were personal unofficial visits and in no shape or form should be classified as official state visits. In fact the FO went into incredible contortions in order to make that perfectly clear just in case certain countries became upset.

Prince Charles once let the cat out of the bag when asked by a concerned person as to why there had never been an official royal visit. His reply says it all …”they won’t let me…”  The mysterious they was never specified and this inadvertent slip of the tongue was soon hushed up by a British Jewish establishment terrified at making unpleasant waves.

Two obvious observations in conclusion.

If Her Majesty truly insisted that she wished to visit the grave of her mother in law and pay homage to her heroic actions in saving Jews, as part of a State visit, I have no doubt that faced with a royal demand no matter how politically incorrect, the visit would take place.

Although Israelis would no doubt be delighted to host and greet an official royal visit I can guarantee that no one in Israel apart from a few diehard British ex. pats. is losing any sleep over the fact that the Royal House of Windsor will not visit the very country which had a royal family long before the United Kingdom was an independent fact.

At the present rate of progress it seems that the Messianic Age will arrive well before a representative of the British crown.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and works for The Israel Resource News Agency in Jerusalem.

Comments

One Response to “We are not amused…writes Michael Kuttner”
  1. ben eleijah says:

    “re-established independence”! What a myth. There was no state of Israel before its was created by displacing the Palestinians in 1948. And it is somehow re-established.

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