Queen Elizabeth Knighted an Anti-Israel Officer

King Abdullah of Jordan (1882–1951) with John ...
King Abdullah of Jordan (1882–1951) with John Bagot Glubb (1897–1986), the British commander of the Arab Legion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading through the 1948 account of Israeli forces battling the Arab Legion at Latrun, I was slightly peeved to find out that the Legion, widely considered the most potent force among the forces attacking Israel, was led by British officers, notably John Bagot Glubb (“Glubb Pasha.”) Not only was Glubb not censured for his actions against the UN mandate, which caused the British no small embarrassment internationally and was technically a violation of his British commission, he was allowed to continue his service leading the legion against Israel for eight years.

Worse, at the end of that time, when he lost his commission in a political struggle in Amman, Glubb went home to be created a Knight Commander of the Order of Bath by Queen Elizabeth II for his efforts.

After reading Anshel Pfeffer’s balanced 2012 Haaretz article, it is hard to see Elizabeth II or the Windsor family as anti-Semites, with the notable exception of the Queen’s uncle. The family’s opinion on Israel, however, is somewhat less clear. George VI had Lord Halifax advise Hitler that German Jews would not be permitted into Palestine as the tide of the Holocaust rose, and the Queen has in her six decades on the throne never visited Israel.

Knighting Glubb in 1956 may well have been the act of a young monarch acceding to the requests of Arabists in government or on her staff at the time. That record has never been clarified, though, and it compels British Jews and many of us in America and the Commonwealth to wonder whether succeeding generations of Windsors will continue to draw a line between Jews and Israel, or whether a different approach is in the offing.

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