Thursday, March 23, 2006

Le Monde's Israel Correspondent and his two Centimes

The first Le Monde article about the Harvard study just gave a synopsis of the main claims made by the authors of the study. Turns out that Le Monde's Jerusalem correspondent also wrote a little piece. From the reporter Gilles Paris's first lines, in which he cites a Yedi'ot Ahronot article that compared the study to the Protocols, I thought that this would be a typical supercilious European piece about 'hysterical, paranoid, and backward Jews crying wolf.' To his credit, however, the reporter does follow up those obligatory first lines with a fairly good description of how the Israeli press received the study. Ha'aretz predictably interpreted the study as a clarion call to Israeli governments to desist from unilateralism. The Yedi'ot piece by Gidi Taub (I didn't read the original, only the Le Monde description) seemed to suggest that a new generation of Jewish leaders who came of age in the era of Vietnam protests was poised to take over the Jewish "Lobby" and that this would affect the line pursued by it. I don't think this is true, actually, although I'm no expert. From what I know, a lot of Jewish organizations are already headed by baby-boomers.

I especially liked the article's concluding paragraph, though. It's actually a real punch-line whose significance will probably be lost on many of the people who read the paper and might not even have been intended. Responding to the Ha'aretz editorial, which asserted that this study is a "warning signal" for Israel, Gilles Paris writes:

"A la vérité, il ne s'agit pas du premier. Après la reprise en mars des ventes d'armements israéliens à la Chine, les Etats-Unis, estimant que leurs intérêts étaient menacés, avaient vivement réagi."
(my ad-hoc translation: In truth, this is not the first [warning signal]. After the renewal in March of Israeli arms sales to China, the US, believing that its interests were being endangered, responded vigorously.)

In other words, when Israel does something that REALLY harms American interests, the US reacts. That should be a no-brainer, especially for self-professed foreign-policy realists like the authors of the study, but the fact is that it took me by surprise to see it in this piece.

For Gilles Paris's article in Le Monde:

La presse israélienne y voit un "signal d'alarme"LE MONDE 23.03.06

1 comment:

Amos said...

Well ain't that interesting. I certainly would not have picked up on that.

It would be good to find some of the other coverage in Ha'aretz. Levy's article is more critical of the study. I think I read something by Eldar that was really annoying. I'll try to post it.