Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Candidates keep distance from Jewish group

The head of the largest Jewish group in France, CRIF, gave a speech yesterday in which he condemned Iran and its nuclear weapons program in the strongest of terms.

"Today, a new Hitler is born. His name is Ahmadinejad. At the Shoah Memorial you can see and hear Goebbels, Ribbentrop and Hitler express the same hatred, the same fantasies, the same slanders than Ahmadinejad in Tehran.

Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler but there is a difference between them: Ahmadinejad is about to get in 18 months or two years the atomic bomb.

The state of Israel has all reasons to worry but Europe and the Arab world too, because the Persian Empire is the Arab world’s rival since centuries."

While most candidates have attempted to forge cordial relations with the group, Nicolas Sarkozy, Segolene Royal, and Francois Bayrou were all absent, sending spokespersons instead. In addition to one fringe candidate, the mayor of Paris was in attendance.

All of the candidates' spokespersons expressed varying forms of agreement with the statements made, although when the spokeswoman for the French Communist party tried to speak about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, she was booed off the stage and left promptly.

With growing tensions between Iran and the US/Israel, the next president of France will have to carefully balance the Iranian issue. On the one hand, it will not be popular to impose more sanctions against the Iranian regime, but if Europe fails to up the ante, the risk of Israeli or US military intervention will certainly rise. Although Segolene Royal has been the harshest critic of the Iranian nuclear program, it is likely that any hints of global crisis will only strengthen the hand of Nicolas Sarkozy.

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Al S. E. said...

President Ahmadinejad's views are summarized on this website:

michel said...

The title of your article is "candidates keep distance from Jewish", but muslim people in France consider that Politicians and medias always are in favour of jewish group.

However, Israel is really criticized in France in comparison with other wester countries.

Boz said...

It is an interesting situation. Israel has often been criticized quite harshly in France, but this campaign both Royal and Sarkozy are sympathizing with its plight, and especially in Sarkozy's case, have reached out to Jewish groups.

I didn't know that French Muslims normally have that reaction; obviously France has some difficulties with its Muslim population, but France has usually leaned towards the Arab world instead of Israel.