Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sarkozy Reaches Out to America, and to Its Jews

From The New York Sun, November 8, 2007, BY NICHOLAS WAPSHOTT:

WASHINGTON — Reversing the anti-American stance of his many predecessors as president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy heralded a new and optimistic era of American-French relations yesterday on his first state visit here.

... Mr. Sarkozy said France is ready to defend the existence of Israel, but the existence of a Palestinian Arab "nation state" is essential to end the Jewish state's differences with the Palestinians. And while he said Iran should never be allowed to have nuclear weapons, he said he thought both Iran and Syria should be granted a nuclear energy capacity.

Mr. Sarkozy shrugged off France's reputation for anti-Semitism, declaring his full support for the security and integrity of the state of Israel, which, he said, should be guaranteed by international agreement....

...Mr. Sarkozy told of his efforts, while interior minister, to confront the poison of racial hatred, only to discover that anti-Semitic attacks were not even recorded by his department, which was responsible for law and order. "If we want to fight anti-Semitism, the first thing is to refuse to play it down," he said. "Racism, anti-Semitism, these are such hateful beasts that the first reaction of a democratic society is to deny it, to say it doesn't exist. But unless you agree on the diagnosis, then you cannot find the remedies to fight the source of the problem....

...Mr. Sarkozy denied that the French were intrinsically anti-Semitic. "France isn't an anti-Semitic country, but there is such a thing as anti-Semitism there. I want to acknowledge the fact," he said. "Once you have recognized and acknowledged the condition, you can take it on."
He pledged that France would guarantee the existence of the state of Israel, which he described as "a miracle." "Look at the history of the world," he said. The state of Israel "took millennia to arrive."

"It isn't because I am Jewish," he said. "By defending the Jews, you are defending everyone in a minority." He described the Holocaust as "this period marred by barbarism, when the 20th century returned to the Middle Ages.".....

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