French Diplomacy in action.
December 20, 2001 8:15 AM   Subscribe

French Diplomacy in action. Is this guy insane, or is he just trying to make Prince Philip look like a good ambassador?
posted by phalkin (15 comments total)
My only reaction to this was that one should never accept an invitation to dinner at the Blacks: dinner-party conversation ends up as fodder for Babs's next column. I think Bernard was sandbagged. Even if attributed correctly, I could read those comments as an off-the-cuff complaint about Israeli policy — and that's not the same as anti-Semitism, and never has been. Amiel puts what he said in the context of dinner-party anti-Semitism, and that may have been unfair. (Note also that Black owns The Jerusalem Post, and has considerable interest in making hay of this issue.)
posted by mcwetboy at 8:37 AM on December 20, 2001

Calling Israel a "shitty little country" is not the same as anti-Semetism. I have great misgivings over the way the state of Israel was set up in the first place, and I certainly do not believe Israel's current policies are conducive to peace in the Middle East.
posted by salmacis at 9:02 AM on December 20, 2001

On the one hand, it really sucks that Amiel would print the contents of a private conversation. On the other hand, given the fact that she's a columnist who apparently makes a living off the clever dinner conversation of others, Bernard probably should've been on his guard. I'll bet his comment about Israel seemed pretty witty to him after a couple bottles of wine. But, the next morning, as he read the paper...a big French "D'OH!"
posted by Ty Webb at 9:06 AM on December 20, 2001

I don't know what's the big deal, really. Private dinner with (supposedly) private conversation...
I myself refer to politicians in Isreal and surrounding countries as a "bande de crétins/cons/...", and I'm not an anti-semite for that. Daniel Bernard was just expressing an everyday-guy feeling, which are not ment to be politically-correct.
The disturbing thing is that this conversation was printed the next day. If "famous" people can't even badly talk about politics at private parties without making the front page the day after, so much for privacy...
posted by XiBe at 9:14 AM on December 20, 2001

If there's one thing I'm sick of, it's israelis beating everybody over the head with accusations of anti-semitism anytime they say anything negative about israel or israeli policy. I guess it's no different than americans accusing people of anti-americanism whenever they question US policies. Wake up people, it's not the same thing. Sure, the way he worded the comment was somewhat innapropriate for a diplomat, but the sentiment (disagreement with israeli policy) is perfectly acceptable.
posted by jnthnjng at 9:42 AM on December 20, 2001

The original column.

Sample: "For the past 25 years, I've watched sad-faced Israeli activists trudge around Western capitals with heavy hearts beating under ill-fitting suits. [...] Today, after years in the media desert, Israel's experts and front-line activists are slowly finding some media doors opening to them."
posted by Mocata at 9:51 AM on December 20, 2001

It's interesting that this comment came from a French *diplomat* whose main job is to set and ensure diplomacy between countries. Totally unimpressive. While I'm sure this happens all the time around "dinner conversations" in world capitals, the French should know better. Incorrectly or not, the French government is rarely perceived as friendly to Jewish causes and interests.
posted by boardman at 12:43 PM on December 20, 2001

posted by XiBe at 3:12 AM on December 21, 2001

SURRENDERED NATION I.S.0. IMPERIALIST VICTOR, By Ann Coulter: "As pundits mull whether America's next target in the war on terrorism should be Iraq or a smaller quarry first, such as the Sudan or Somalia, it's time to consider another petri dish of ferocious anti-American hatred and terrorist activity. The Bush doctrine is: We are at war not only with the terrorists, but also with those who harbor them. We've got to attack France."
posted by Carol Anne at 6:20 AM on December 21, 2001

yeah, a famous "political puppet show" (how do you call it ?) in france is currently making a lot of jokes on the american having to attack france next summer - too bad they aren't translated or else i'd put the link here
posted by aureliano buendia at 10:08 AM on December 21, 2001

a famous "political puppet show"

Would that be Les Guignols de l'Info?
posted by mcwetboy at 10:18 AM on December 21, 2001

I put Google's (beta) Language Tools to work on "Les Guignols de l'Info", but about all it gave me translated into English was "We are in 2001 and the Eiffel tower is become again the third higher building of the world..." No wonder Ann Coulter (aka the Blonde Beast) is ready to invade France!
posted by Carol Anne at 11:23 AM on December 21, 2001

You think that's bad, Carol Anne? You should have seen their spoof of an SNCF ad. The SNCF is the state railway; their slogan is "À nous de vous faire préférer le train" — loosely, "It's our job to make you want to take the train." Their spoof was in the form of a beautifully filmed airline ad that ended, abruptly, guess where (flinch!), and the punchline, about the terrorists, was "À eux de vous faire préférer le train" — "It's their job . . .", etc. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

The Guignols are the French equivalent of Spitting Image and excel at bad taste, but they're some of the fiercest political satirists in France.
posted by mcwetboy at 12:04 PM on December 21, 2001

Look. I'm sure that diplomat calls the United States "that shitty big country," so wear Israelis should treat it as a complement. Any country, or any European Union which things Bin Laden doesn't deserve the death penality can go to hell.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:48 PM on December 21, 2001

Look. I'm sure that diplomat calls the United States "that shitty big country," so Israelis should treat it as a complement. Any country, or any European Union, which thinks Bin Laden doesn't deserve the death penality can go to hell.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:49 PM on December 21, 2001

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