Once I heard the following story from the then Swedish ambassador in Paris:
“In 1947, when the UN was discussing the plan to partition Palestine,
I was a member of the subcommittee dealing with Jerusalem. One day, the Jews
sent a new representative. His name was Abba Eban. He spoke beautiful English,
much better than the British or US members of the committee. He talked for about
half an hour, and at the end there was not one person in the room who did not
hate his guts.”
I was reminded of this episode when I saw on TV the press conference held by
Dore Gold, the Director General of our Foreign Office. Its subject was the recent
Paris peace conference, which was vehemently denounced by our government.
From the moment I saw Gold for the first time I disliked him. He was our new
ambassador to the UN. I told myself that my attitude was an unworthy rejection
of foreign Jews (“Exile Jews” in Israeli slang). Gold speaks Hebrew
with a very pronounced American accent and is no Apollo. I would have preferred
as our representative an erect, Israeli-looking pioneer-type who speaks English
with a pronounced Hebrew accent. (I know this sounds racist, and am thoroughly
ashamed of myself.)
Gold’s conference was about the French peace initiative concerning the Israeli-Palestinian
I have a lurking suspicion – it is still lurking around – that this is not
really a French initiative, but a camouflaged American one.
It arouses the fury of the Israeli government, and no American president can
do that if he wants – himself or his party – to be reelected.
There is a terrible fear haunting our government. Barack Obama abhors Netanyahu,
and for good reason. But he cannot do anything against him openly – not until
midnight on election day. Whether Hillary Clinton or (God forbid) Donald Trump
is elected, Obama remains in office for almost another three months after the
elections – and in this period he is as free as a bird (as the Germans would
say). He can do whatever he likes. Whatever he dreamed about, day and night,
for eight long years. And what he dreamed about was Binyamin Netanyahu.
Ah, the sweet revenge. But only in November. Until then he has to dance to
Netanyahu’s tune, unless he wants to hurt the Democratic nominee.
So what can he do in June? He can farm things out. For example, ask the French
to convene a peace conference to prepare the way for recognition of the State
Asking the French to convene a high-ranking conference in Paris is like asking
the cat if it wants some milk. You don’t have to wait for an answer.
France, like Great Britain, is mourning its imperial past, when Paris was the
center of the world and educated Germans and Russians, not to mention Egyptians
and Vietnamese, spoke French. The passports of many nations were printed in
That was the…