European leaders are fond of commenting about Israel’s treatment of non-Jews and about how that issue should be resolved. But when Ariel Sharon commented on the treatment of Jews in France, offering the reasonable advice that French Jews should leave that country, this was too much for Jacques Chirac. The French President has informed Sharon that he is no longer welcome in Paris. One wonders how welcome Sharon ever was there. He’s certainly not welcome in Belgium (France’s close ally), where he is considered a war criminal. And at least one French diplomat has referred to Israel as “that shitty little country.” Indeed, the present controversy arose because even French Jews have reason to wonder how welcome they are in Paris these days.
It can’t be easy being Chirac. In addition to Sharon, he has publicly rebuked George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and various leaders from Eastern Europe who “missed a good opportunity to shut up” about Iraq. In the nature of things, the head of France is almost always going to be petty. But even the French deserve a leader who doesn’t publicly exhibit this much pettiness.
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