Fury over Prince Harry’s ‘intimate’ public chat with Dr Gabor Maté who defended Hamas rockets

Prince Harry was today urged to reconsider holding an online event to promote his memoir, Spare, with a ‘toxic trauma’ doctor who has compared Hamas to the Jewish heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against the Nazis and once branded Israel’s government terrorists.

Gabor Maté, 79 – who has also defended Palestinian rocket fire at Israeli civilians – will join the Duke of Sussex on Saturday for an ‘intimate’ £17-a-head virtual conference to discuss ‘living with loss and the importance of personal healing’, followed by a live Q&A.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in New York, told the Jewish Chronicle: ‘Whoever made the arrangements to have this individual appear with Prince Harry, did him no favours. If Prince Harry knew this man’s record and still chose him for the interview, our center would criticise the prince for such an inappropriate choice.’

Harry’s memoirs are dominated by the death of his mother Princess Diana in 1997. Buckingham Palace will be watching what he says at 5pm GMT tomorrow, especially after it emerged this week that King Charles decided to evict the Sussexes from Frogmore Cottage in Windsor just 24 hours after the release of Spare.

The livestream costs £17 and comes with a free hardback copy of the duke’s memoir

Gabor Maté, 79, will join Harry (pictured with US chat-show host Stephen Colbert while promoting Spare) tomorrow to discuss 'living with loss and the importance of personal healing', followed by a live Q and A

Gabor Maté, 79, will join Harry (pictured with US chat-show host Stephen Colbert while promoting Spare) tomorrow to discuss ‘living with loss and the importance of personal healing’, followed by a live Q and A 

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in New York, told the Jewish Chronicle: 'Whoever made the arrangements to have this individual appear with Prince Harry, did him no favours'

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in New York, told the Jewish Chronicle: ‘Whoever made the arrangements to have this individual appear with Prince Harry, did him no favours’

Dr Maté, a Hungarian-Canadian physician, has his own harrowing story. Born in Nazi-occupied Budapest in 1944, when he was five months old his maternal grandparents were among the Jews murdered in Auschwitz. He was taken from his mother and hidden with an aunt until the war ended.  

But it is not clear if Harry is aware of some of the controversies – and hurt – Dr Maté has caused with some of his words, especially on Israel and Palestine. 

He has also recently defended Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn from claims of anti-Semitism. 

He has also appeared on a left-wing YouTube channel: The Grayzone, which has been branded pro-Kremlin.

MailOnline has contacted a representative of Prince Harry for comment and asked if the event is still going ahead and whether Harry was aware of the controversies surrounding Gabor Maté before the event was organised.

It is not yet clear who put Harry and Dr Maté together, and if they have spent time together in the past.

There is some speculation that Meghan could know him, given that he has links to Toronto and she lived there while filming Suits.

It could be the publishers of Spare or one of the Sussexes’ team who put them in touch.

Archewell’s executive director is Briton, James Holt one of Prince Harry’s longest-serving team members, having led communications for the Royal Foundation from October 2017, when it was run by Harry along with Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Mr Holt, who has previously worked for the Liberal Democrats, also acted as Harry and Meghan Markle’s UK spokesman and took on the role of executive director of the Archewell Foundation in March 2020. He is now based in LA.

There is also Mandana Dayani, who Harry and Meghan hired as a tech and media executive in June 2021.

There is also Ashley Momtaheni, one of the Sussexes’ most recent hires. She joined last May as executive vice president for global communications.

In 2021  Gabor Maté said in an online event that Hamas was ‘nothing compared to the terrorism of the Israeli government’, accusing Israel of wanting to seize all of ‘biblical Palestine’ beyond the Jordan.

He also appeared on a podcast with left-wing comic Russell Brand, saying of Israel: ‘It’s the longest ethnic-cleansing operation in the 20th and 21st centuries. It’s still going on.’ 

He then described Gaza as ‘the world’s largest outdoor prison’. 

In another controversy, writing in the Toronto Star, he compared Hamas terrorists to the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising  – the 1943 Jewish rebellion in German-occupied Poland 

Dr Mate said in in 2014: ‘The Palestinians use tunnels? So did my heroes, the poorly armed fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto.’ 

Defending the firing of rockets from Palestine into Israel, he said: ‘Out of impotent defiance, they fire inept rockets, causing terror for innocent Israelis but rarely physical harm’. 

He has spoken in friendly terms of Pink Floyd star Roger Waters, recently described as ‘antisemitic to [his] rotten core’.

Gabor Maté also taken in part in discussions hosted by a far-left, pro-Kremlin blog and defended Jeremy Corbyn against charges of antisemitism, according to The JC. 

Trauma expert Gabor Maté with his wife, Rae, who he married in 1969

Trauma expert Gabor Maté with his wife, Rae, who he married in 1969

Dr Maté is a Hungarian-Canadian best-selling author and physician who specialises in addiction and childhood development

King Charles

The Sussexes at Frogmore

King Charles (left) issued notice to the Sussexes (seen right, at Frogmore) that they would need to vacate the five-bedroom mansion on Tuesday

Harry will speak publicly tomorrow as the rift with his family appeared to deepen this week.

His father appears to have retaliated to Spare by evicting the Sussexes from their grace-and-favour UK home. 

The couple no longer have a base in Britain – in an act their allies say they consider to be ‘cruel’.

And a wrangle over money could also follow. 

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry could be owed a ‘refund’ after they were kicked out of Frogmore Cottage having spent £2.4million on refurbishments and apparently paying for rent up front. 

King Charles issued notice to the Sussexes that they would need to vacate the five-bedroom mansion on Tuesday in a dramatic move reportedly prompted by the repeated broadsides at Queen Consort Camilla in the Duke’s memoir, Spare. 

The decision was backed both by his wife and the Prince and Princess of Wales, it is understood. 

However, it has now prompted questions as to whether the Crown Estate, which leases out Frogmore to the Sussexes, might actually end up owing the couple money.

The Sussexes were given use of Frogmore Cottage in 2018 by Queen Elizabeth amid their explosive fall-out with William and Katherine.

It was originally five, run-down, staff residences but was knocked back into one large home with a private garden initially using £2.4million in taxpayers’ money. 

The couple themselves paid for anything over and above basic fixtures and fittings.

At the time, the couple were said to be ‘relieved and pleased’ to refund taxpayers for the renovations.  

‘They are ‘very relieved and very pleased’ to have been able to pay off the debt so quickly,’ a source close to them told Vanity Fair’s Katie Nicholl.

‘This has been a pro-active step and something they wanted to do from the outset.

‘There was no requirement [from the Queen] for them to pay the money back but it was important to them that they did, and after the Netflix deal they were in a position to do so. I think this is quite a significant moment for them.’

New data from the US shows the drop in the couple's approval ratings over the last three months

New data from the US shows the drop in the couple’s approval ratings over the last three months

The source added: ‘They’re now in their forever home, it’s the start of their new life and they’re very much looking forward to everything that’s about to come.’    

Gabor Maté has 20 years’ experience working with people suffering from addiction and mental illness, with other specialisms such as stress and child development. But it has since emerged he once caused concern with the authorities for using a ‘spiritual’ psychedelic drug to treat patients.

He was born in Budapest in 1944, his maternal grandparents were killed in Auschwitz when he was five months old.

Tragically he was separated from his mother as a baby to save his life, while his father was subjected to forced labour by the Nazis.

The academic has described how he was unable to look at his mother when they were finally reunited when he was a toddler due to feelings of ‘abandonment, rage and despair’. 

He says the trauma he suffered continues to affect his adult life, leading to an intense emotional reaction when he perceives a threat of abandonment, especially from his wife.

He also believes it may have shaped his ‘addiction’ to shopping for classical music. 

‘As I was writing about my hardcore, drug-addicted clients I was certainly able to recognize similar areas in myself and in their behaviors,’ he told Classical Voice in 2013. 

‘Working through the emotional dynamics and being with the emptiness that addictions attempt to fill, it just helped me understand myself better.’ 

The author is an outspoken supporter of decriminalising drugs, and has used the Amazonian plant ayahuasca to treat patients suffering from mental illness. 

The psychedelic plant, which is taken as a brewed drink, causes people to experience hallucinations and other side effects, including vomiting.

Ayahuasca has traditionally been used by shamans and traditional healers but is now popular among Western tourists. 

It remains illegal in the US, UK and Canada, and in 2011 Canadian officials threatened to arrest Dr Maté if he didn’t stop using the drug to treat his patients.  

Dr Maté regularly airs his opinions on a range of topics, and in 2021 appeared on a podcast series by the comedian Russell Brand where he discussed the Israel-Palestine conflict. 

‘There’s no way you could have ever created a Jewish state without oppressing and expelling the local population,’ he said. 

Dr Maté called Gaza the ‘world’s largest outdoor prison,’ and said that ‘given those conditions, of course people will go for extremist leadership’ – a reference to the 2006 election victory of Hamas.

‘The disproportion of power and responsibility and oppression is so markedly on one side, that you take the worst thing you can say about Hamas, multiply it by a thousand times – and it still will not meet the Israeli repression, and killing, and dispossession of Palestinians,’ he said. 

He has published a series of books including In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Close Encounters With Addiction, When the Body Says No, The Cost of Hidden Stress and Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder.

He has received the Civic Merit Award of the City of Vancouver and the Order of Canada for his work on addiction and other mental health-related contributions. 

Prince Harry’s decision to select Dr Maté to help promote his memoir is another sign of his interest in therapeutic healing, having previously discussed his experience of going through therapy. 

The event, organised in collaboration with Harry’s publishers Penguin Random House, will take place at 5pm UK time on Saturday March 4.

It comes at a fragile time for the Sussexes, who have seen their popularity ratings in the US drop significantly since the release of Spare last month – and now face a decision over whether to attend Charles’ coronation.

Since December last year, Harry’s popularity has sunk by 48 points and Meghan’s by 40, giving them net approval ratings of -10 and -17 respectively, according to a survey by Redfield & Wilton for Newsweek. 

Sources suggest neither William nor King Charles are prepared to offer any apology prior to the coronation, meaning the Sussexes may stay away.

‘There is still a huge amount of ill-will boiling over in the family,’ one said.

Save the date cards are set to be sent in two weeks to the 2,000 guests who have been chosen to attend the pared-down spring ceremony.

Numbers have been reduced from the 8,251 who attended Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953 to make the event more streamlined amid the cost of living crisis.

Formal invitations to those who have indicated they will accept will not be posted until three weeks before the event itself.

One well-placed source says Harry has made it clear that he wants a private apology of some sort from both Charles and William if he is to attend.

It is unclear whether Meghan will attend the ceremony if Harry chooses to do so, but as the date chosen for the coronation also falls on their son Archie’s fourth birthday, there are doubts she will be present regardless of the ongoing family feud.

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