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British Press Hits Saudi Arabia for Withdrawing Acceptance of New Envoy

April 11, 1968
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The British press reacted sharply today over the Saudi Arabian government’s reneging on its agreement to accept Horace Phillips as the new British Ambassador, because he comes from a Jewish family.

The Daily Mail gave the story a front page banner headline stating, “Arabs ban our ex-Jewish envoy.” The paper noted that in addition to “disgust at the racialism” there is “irony in the fact that Phillips abandoned the Jewish faith long ago.” The diplomat’s parents were Jewish and he was a practicing Jew in Glasgow in his teens.

The Times said that no one at the Foreign Office could recall a precedent for the Saudian withdrawal from an agreement once it was given. “The Saudians indicated clearly that the decision was taken because of Phillips’ Jewish background.” The Daily Express declared that “diplomatic courtesy prevents a formal protest by Britain but the Foreign Office statement regretting the Saudian action only thinly conceals the indignation in Whitehall.”

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