Only days after his unprecedented praise of Israel's "restraint", French Ambassador Gerard Araud has returned to form with a blistering attack on Israel for her "anti-French neurosis", stating that "you simply hate us. Everyone knows that Yatzpan the comedian has chosen France as a permanent target and loves to laugh on our account" reports The Jerusalem Post and Yediot Achronot (Hebrew).
Aside from the absurdity of citing a comedian's material as evidence of one country's dislike for another (the Irish would be pretty sore about the English if that were the case), surely this outburst is simply the most unbelievable Chutzpah? The French have set their face against Israel at every possible instant, never missing a chance to speak out against her policies or to hypocritically condemn Israel at the UN - are the French proud of their recent actions in the Ivory Coast? Or how about the atrocities committed in North Africa in the 1950s?
France is a country in which antisemitism is rife, both amongst the tratiditonal antisemites who sent the country's Jews to the concentration camps under the collaborative Vichy Government of 1940-44 and who are now headed by the Far Right's Jean Marie Le Pen, and amongst the 6 million Muslims who have swelled the population in recent decades. France, as a result, has one of the highest rates of Aliyah in the world.
President Mitterand was reputed to have said "France has no friends, only interests", a statement which President Chirac seemed to back with his recent chiding of PM Blair for getting nothing in return for helping the US in Iraq. France, in other words, looks at international politics in terms of what it can get out of it rather than what is moral and right. With morality and decency dispensed with, it is completely understandable that France backs the 22 Arab countries with all their oil instead of Israel. Having climbed into bed with these unsavoury characters, is it any wonder therefore that the average Israeli dislikes the French?
The French don't done themselves many favours. Gems such as allowing Hezbullah TV to broadcast it's vitriol or the French Ambassador to the Court of St James calling Israel a "shitty little country" together with historical reasons and a perceived ongoing French dislike (to use a very diplomatic word) of Israel are surely not going to endear them towards the Israeli public.
So Mr. Ambassador, the reason we don't like you is simple. If you denigrate us in order to pal up to your bunch of despotic cronies, if your representatives make snide remarks and look down their noses at us, if you continue to condemn us for actions which are trivial in comparison to what you have done in the recent past, we will continue to dislike you. If however, you level the playing field and cease talking with a forked tongue, you will find us more than willing to give you the respect and friendship that we extend to other countries.