by Sarah Honig
Napoleon had no doubt whose ancestral land this was and who were the only people who ever made it a distinct sovereign unit.
In 1799, just before he failed to conquer
When Napoleon aspired to establish a renascent state in
Addressing Jews as the “rightful heirs of Palestine,” Napoleon announced he was fighting to avenge “the almost 2000-year-old ignominy imposed upon you; and, while time and circumstances would seem to be least favorable to a restatement of your claims or even to their expression – and indeed compellingly advocate their complete abandonment – France offers you at this very time, and contrary to all expectations, Israel’s patrimony!”
BUT WHEN the current French head of state speaks of the rightful heirs of
Sarkozy fails to mention that the Arab state he fancies on Israel’s eastern flank, will leave Israel’s soft underbelly – its densest population center – exposed and that the Jewish state’s narrow waistline would shrink to nine untenable miles. Minor quibbles like Jewish survival mustn’t interfere with automatic compliance with his grand scheme.
Sarkozy moreover is petulant and demonstratively impatient. His will must be done and done now. He, after all, is a superior purveyor of wisdom who must be dutifully acknowledged as such with no hesitation or deviation.
When obedience isn’t immediate or sufficient, Sarkozy is understandably piqued. That’s why he lashed out at
Herein lies the crux. Sarkozy isn’t just making imperious demands; he is issuing his diktats as a friend. Professed friends presume they possess moral authority to put their protégés in their place. Righteous rebuke from friends is meant to sting far more than chiding from unfriendly sorts.
He’s not the only apparent pal to have taken the liberty to lecture to us. So has the most popular Italian of them all – Silvio Berlusconi. In all other matters Berlusconi relishes flaunting his nonconformity. On occasion,
Something of the sort probably motivates Sarkozy. Even the most in-your-face idiosyncratic politicos need to shore up their power bases. Sarkozy is no exception. One way to suck up to his detractors is by expressing exasperation with inexplicable Israeli insubordination. No better way exists to regain admission to the cozy club of popular sanctimony.
WHAT INDISPUTABLY unites all shades of opinion in
By joining this composite chorus Sarkozy instantly becomes one of the bunch, rather than a discordant oddity.
What most French know but decline to own up to is that while their burgeoning Muslim communities demand fairness, they don’t appreciate decency nor respect their hosts’ multiculturalism and moderation. They exploit Western freedoms but don’t espouse them. They don’t wish to integrate but to transform
THE HOUSE next door to mine was for a while rented by a family of immigrants from
That’s why on the streets all around my neighborhood so much French can be heard now. For more and more French Jews,
What Sarkozy peevishly characterizes as “foot-dragging” is anything but unreasonable. To behave any differently would be the unreasonable thing to do. This isn’t an frivolous European parlor game. Carelessness with the country’s existential interests would be unconscionable and the consequences deadly and irreversible.
Even in inherently different times and circumstances, Napoleon grasped the essence of Jewish self-preservation issues – to say nothing of our rights in our homeland. He urged Jews to seize “the moment, which may not return for thousands of years, to claim the restoration of civic rights among the populations of the world which had been shamefully withheld from you for thousands of years – your political existence as a nation among the nations.”
Sarkozy now bids us to subjugate these to his whims.
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