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In a case of life imitating the blogosphere, since I began writing the previous article about Shimon Peres, there been ‘breaking news’.
Apparently the President of the Apartheid State in Palestine (ASP) has been honoured by Queen Elizabeth II.
Now he is a knight commander of the Order of St Michael and St George, no less!
I had no idea this was in the offing, but apparently so – for some time.
It isn’t just crazed pseudo-Kabbalist tinsel-queens like Madonna who shake his hand. Mr Peres gets to schmooze with real Royalty!
There are indications that the Palace was bullied and/or embarrassed into granting this ‘honour’ to Peres.
See Queen to Snub Israeli Knighthood Bid by the Daily Express’ royal correspondent, published on November 3rd 2008 – and as of today still retrievable from Google’s cache.
The original of this article has been scrubbed from the Daily Express online edition. Not surprising really. It suggested that the Palace stood up to Israeli stand-over tactics and rejected Peres’ unseemly ‘hints’. As it has turned out, it eventually caved in to Israeli / Jewish pressure.
Here’s an extract from the Daily Express report earlier this month:
“THE Queen has been drawn into an embarrassing diplomatic wrangle with Israel after Britain snubbed efforts to have the Jewish state’s President Shimon Peres knighted.
“She will meet Mr Peres, the architect of several stalled Middle East peace plans, when he begins a three-day official visit to Britain on November 18.
“But the Queen, on the advice of ministers, has rejected efforts by Israeli diplomats to secure an honorary knighthood for Mr Peres.
“It’s not going to happen. There is no knighthood,” a British official told the Express.co.uk, only hours after Israeli diplomats indicated it was something that was still under discussion.
“The 82-year-old monarch was dragged into the controversy after Israeli officials breached protocol by leaking early discussions about the knighthood to their media, perhaps in an attempt to force the issue.”
Over the years, the Express has not exactly been my favourite British newspaper and I don’t usually follow Court gossip – but this article is a real corker.
Here’s what it had to say about Prince Charles and Israel:
Reports in Israel said the Queen would make Mr Peres an honorary knight commander of the Order of St Michael and St George for his contribution to the Middle East peace process and to improve British-Israeli ties. Foreigners can be made knights but are not allowed to use the prefix Sir.
It was presented as an attempt to smooth over tensions created by a diplomatic row with Prince Charles last year, when his aides rejected an invitation to visit the Middle Eastern country.
Israelis were furious after the Prince’s deputy private secretary Clive Alderton inadvertently sent their London ambassador an email meant for Charles’s principal private secretary Sir Michael Peat
“I’m being pursued by the ambassador; no doubt you are too,” he wrote. “Safe to assume that 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 (Charles) to help burnish its international image. In which case let’s agree a way to lower his expectations.”
Charles and the Queen both undertake official royal visits at the request of the Foreign Office and Britain has made it clear that it is unlikely that either will go to Israel on State business until there is a lasting peace settlement with the Palestinians.
However, the heir to the throne and several other members of his family have been there on lower-level visits, either in a private capacity or to visit charities.
Charles went to Israel for the funeral of the country’s murdered prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.
So there we have it. The Israel Lobby has extorted an ‘Honour’ for its Pres.
Now here’s a tabloid headline that probably won’t appear in print: ‘Zionists Mug Palace in Royal Backflip!‘
What a shame Steven Sackur never thought to inquire about any of this on ‘HardTalk’ just a day ago. How poorly briefed they must be at the BBC! Yet they can predict the collapse of skyscrapers half an hour in advance. It’s a paradox!
The overall impression created by this sordid Israeli behaviour is that an ‘honour’ has been granted – but it’s honour without respect.
Bullies can extort. Bullies can blackmail. Bullies can threaten and demand. But bullies are never liked – however much they may persuade themselves to the contrary. Bullies don’t gain real respect, not do they deserve it.
It was nice to see Peres finally caught up with a little HardTalk on his excursion to speak to students in Oxford.
Bravo to the protestors who shouted their opposition to the old liar! You have my respect.
You are the future. Apartheid is not.
At least Peres is in good company as a recipient of this particular award. Not so many years ago, Robert Mugabe was another. In that case, the honour has been retracted.
So – on your best behaviour from now on, Shimon – if you want to keep the gong.
No more ‘extra-judicial’ Israeli assassinations! Free all Palestinian political prisoners! Free Morchechai Vanunu! No more collective punishment for Gazans! Stop Israel behaving like a rogue State. No more attacks on neighbours. Abolish all Israeli WMDs! End apartheid in the Holy Land!
Think you can manage that? If so, for all we care call yourself ‘His Most Revered Excellency Grand Duke Shimon of Dimona’.
Appalled that vocal protests against the Peres visit to England were unmatched by any significant demonstrations of support, the headline in the Jewish Community Online screams: Israelis ask: where is the community support?
Now that IS a good question.