The French deserve our disapprobation - but don't like hearing it

France, throughout modern history, has done more damage to the Middle East than any other country, and it is continuing that damage with its focus on Israel.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld , | updated: 22:46

Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld


Authors in Israeli and Jewish publications often ask themselves whether they do not write for the already converted. Sometimes however, one gets indications there is an impact on the critics and enemies of Israel one exposes.

Some time ago I wrote that the French reaction to the recent Gaza border violence was in line with that country’s lengthy tradition of blackening Israel.  I pointed out that France had voted for a UN Security Council resolution which called for protective measures for Palestinians but did not mention Hamas.

Deputy Israeli Minister Michal Oren summarized it in a tweet: "Shame on France for supporting it. French government cannot say it is against antisemitism and vote for this antisemitic resolution."

I also quoted David Pryce-Jones who in 2008 published his book, Betrayal: France, The Arabs and the Jews. His conclusion can be summed up as:  France, throughout modern history, has done more damage to the Middle East than any other country.

My article concluded: “Frequently exposing the ongoing French hypocritical blackening of Israel is unlikely to stop it, but it may make it less worthwhile for the country’s official perpetrators.”


The percentage of Jews leaving France, because they see no future in the country, is higher than anywhere else in Western Europe.
I could not have expected - soon after that - to find a proof of this conclusion. Someone forwarded the article to a high French official. His reaction was far from indifferent. He wrote: “Let’s be serious. It is not an article; it is a pamphlet. On Gaza, France had the same position as 190 countries. Accusing all of them of antisemitism would be a bit farfetched so you choose France as the whipping boy of the international community. You reflect the narrative of Israel that only the US supports. It is your right. It is mine to say that you actually do a disservice to Israel by feeding a victimization discourse which covers the continuation of an incremental process of annexation of the West Bank – a tragedy for both sides.”

As usual, the ongoing French trend to blacken Israel is accompanied by a total lack of self-criticism. There are many historical reasons for Israelis to single out France for its official mischief-making and other shortcomings. France has allowed in, without barring antisemites, more immigrants from North Africa, where prejudices against the Jews are among the highest in the world. With at least 10% of the population now Muslim, France is the country where most of the West European murders of Jews for ideological reasons have taken place in this century. All of these, 12 in total, were perpetrated by Muslims. The percentage of Jews leaving France, because they see no future in the country, is higher than anywhere else in Western Europe.

There are several other good reasons to single out France for disapprobation. The arrogance of French diplomats often knows no limits. French Ambassador to Israel, Hélène Le Gal, regularly comments on Israel’s actions, which she should not. Last month she commented on the Gaza border violence: “There are extremely violent protests in France …and yet nobody is killed."

This statement expressed double standards for two reasons. French demonstrations do not include genocidal terrorists who shoot. And some people have not forgotten the murder by French police of 150-200 peaceful Algerians who demonstrated in Paris in 1961. For that reason alone, remarks such as those from the French ambassador to Israel should not be made for at least another few decades.   

It has not been forgotten in Israel either that Yasser Arafat died in a French hospital in 2004. France then bestowed upon him military honors. At the time it was already known that Arafat – after he had become a Nobel Peace prize winner -- personally signed off on the documents of how much money individual Palestinian murderers of Israelis should receive. These documents were found after the seat of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Jerusalem, the Orient House, was taken over by Israel in 2001.

The current French Ambassador to the United States, Gérard Araud was, at that time ambassador to Israel. He remarked that there was an anti-French neurosis in Israel. Neurosis is a type of mental disorder, but in fact, those who exposed the extreme misbehavior of a French government which gives honors to a mass murderer of Israelis had a lot of common sense.

The recent French vote for the Kuwaiti anti-Israeli resolution by the Security Council which did not mention Hamas fits a long pattern of France's sympathy for murderers of Israelis.

The extreme French criticism of Israel combined with the country’s inability to secure the future of Jews domestically results from a deviant mindset. The reaction to my article of the high French official was, however, a very promising sign. Irritation may help encourage reflection. 




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