Queen Elizabeth II Unofficially Boycotted Visiting Israel

Published: 12 December 2023

By Shofi Ahmed


Queen Elizabeth II, during her remarkable 70-year reign, visited more than 120 countries. She visited almost all the Commonwealth countries. When she turned 50, she visited 43 more different countries. Jordan, Egypt, in the Middle East and North Africa many countries you can name she visited – but never Israel. That a country she chose not to visit.

Notably she expressed her discomfort and concern following her visit to Jordan in 1984. When Israeli fighter jets flew past while she viewed the West Bank. Later, upon seeing a map of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, she remarked, ‘What a depressing map.


Later, the queen raised some alarm among British Jews according to a report in The New York Times. She made sympathetic comments on the plight of the Palestinians and her seeming disapproval of Israeli actions caused more than a flutter among British Jews.


Many wondered why, and it didn’t entertain many. The former Haaretz editor-in-chief David Landau wrote in 2012: “This marvellous, dedicated, 86-year-old sovereign is nobody’s puppet. If she wanted to visit the Jewish state or have one of her close family visit it, she could insist on it, and get her way.” But she decided not to unofficially boycott it. “She can and should…. end this boycott, added Landau.”


It underscores the Queen’s unwavering determination not to set foot in that direction. Interestingly, her resolve was no secret and was widely known in the common landscape. It was believed that the British Foreign Office, fearing Arab boycotts, had advised the Queen not to visit Israel. Then it all became clear even after there was no longer any real fear of boycotts and oil embargoes, the queen still did not pick her way towards that country she chose not to go!


To say the least, it unequivocally emphasises the Queen’s steadfast resolve and unwavering determination, firmly rooted in her decision not to tread the path leading towards that particular destination. This resolute stance, held with consistency over the years, speaks to the deliberate choice made by Queen Elizabeth II to abstain from setting foot in the direction of Israel. Her commitment to this decision remains a notable aspect of her enduring legacy, even as geopolitical dynamics shifted and fears of potential repercussions lessened over time.