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French Ambassador: Oslo Had ‘More Failures than Advantages’


Photo: French ambassador in Israel Christophe Bigot

French ambassador in Israel Christophe Bigot speaking at the Knesset, March 20, 2012.
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90

JERUSALEM, Israel, Sept. 5th–The Oslo peace process had “more failures than advantages,” French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot told a delegation of pro-Land of Israel rabbis during a meeting at the French Embassy in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

Bigot also joked that the embassy might be moved to Jerusalem, saying that while the space that housed the embassy had its drawbacks, it was only a  “temporary residence because” –switching to Hebrew– “Leshana Haba’ah Biyerusholayim” (next year in Jerusalem).

The statements are not typical of a representative of a European country which views advocates the creation of a Palestinian state or the “land for peace” formula behind the Oslo Accords and the so-called “peace process” which followed them.

France also believes, like the United States, that the status of Jerusalem should be determined in final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

By the time this article was published, Bigot could not be reached for a response, but his comments were confirmed by two members of the delegation who met with Bigot and with whom the Jewish Press spoke separately.

The delegation visiting Bigot represented the Rabbinical Congress for Peace, a group which says it represents 350 leading Israeli rabbis who oppose ceding any kind of territory. They met with Bigot in order to urge France to oppose the creation of a Palestinian state and to ask that France stop European Union funding of anti-Israel groups which operate in Israel.

“These groups operate under the guise of peace and human rights but the money that the EU gives them is used for incitement against Israel, against co-existence and leads to bloodshed,” Rabbi Shlomo Rosenfeld, Rabbi of Shadmot said.

In response to Bigot’s comment about the Oslo process, Rabbi Joseph Gerlitzky, the organization’s Chairman told the Ambassador, “let’s be precise – it was failures without any advantages.”

Rabbi Gerlitzky is the Rabbi of Central Tel Aviv.

Rabbi Avrohom S. Lewin, the organization’s director, told Bigot that “the past 40 years have proven that the ‘land for peace’ formula is a failure and only leads to bloodshed and instability in the region.”

The delegation presented Bigot with a “p’sak din” – a juridical ruling in Jewish law – holding that it was forbidden to cede territory from Israeli control because it would endanger people’s lives.

The ruling has been signed by the 350 rabbis who are said to support the Rabbinical Congress for Peace.

Speaking over the phone with the Jewish Press, Rabbi Lewin said that the ruling was drafted in 1993, marking the beginning of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace.

“What’s unique about the ruling,” Rabbi Lewin said, “is that this ruling is not based on kedushat ha’aretz (the holiness of the land) but pikuach nefesh (saving lives).”

During the conversation Bigot also noted that while French citizens view Israelis as “occupiers who are against Palestinian aspirations” they should not be blamed as “that is exactly how Israelis portrayed in its own paper, Ha’aretz.”

Rabbi Lewin said he believed Bigot was implying that Ha’aretz’s left-wing reporting played a role in the distorted European view of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

While Bigot offered counter arguments on many issues raised by the delegation, he said he would convey their requests as well as the ruling to the French government.

About the Author: Daniel Tauber is a frequent contributor to various prominent publications, including the Jewish Press, Arutz Sheva, Americanthinker.com, the Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz. Daniel is also an attorney admitted to practice law in Israel and New York and received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. You can follow him on facebook and twitter.


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9 Responses to “French Ambassador: Oslo Had ‘More Failures than Advantages’”

  1. Ethan Perks says:

    An honest Frenchman. And a brave one. Care to bet how long before his recall.

  2. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    I think that it's time we declared our patience has reached its limits. Since we have done most of what was requested of us by the Oslo Agreement, while the "Palestinians" haven't even started implementing their part, we should use our next speech at the UN to say that the contract has been broken by Abbas and that we are annexing all of Yesha starting NOW! If the Palestinians want to go home across the Jordan, we won't hold them back.

  3. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    Frankly, I'm surprised he is still here. Knowing the French Socialist Party's great "solidarity" with the "suffering Palestinian people", I'd have thought Hollande was going to recall him as soon as elected. Although, it may be that he actually doesn't want to name an ambassador to Israel at all, but lacks the gut to pull a "Erdogan" on us.

  4. Charlie Hall says:

    To the contrary, the French Left has always been MUCH more supportive of Jews than the French Right. Go relearn your history: Dreyfus was railroaded by the Right and defended by the Left (particularly Clemenceau, who would later support the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine). Vichy's roundups of Jews included a former Jewish Socialist Prime Minister. Leftist French governments during the 1950s supported Israel, but De Gaulle (whose 1965 election opponent was the socialist Mitterrand) was an anti-Semite who instigated the Six Day War with the intent of destroying the Jewish state. Jacques Chirac sold Saddam Hussein the Osirak nuclear reactor. I could go on and on….

  5. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    Supportive of the Jews as long as it's a religious minority. They haven't been supportive of Israel since the 70s. I know my history, but do you know the French? Antisemitism is endemic in the "patrie des droits de l'homme" I should know, that's where I lived my first 24 years.

  6. Charlie Hall says:

    Muriel, you clearly don't know your history if you didn't know that for over a century the French Left has been far better for Jews than the French Right. The Left never persecuted a Dreyfus, and never produced a Laval or De Gaulle.

    Also, I visited Paris just last year. I had expected to find massive anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, and hostility to a non-Francophone. My expectations were not met. Paris is the only city in Europe where I have seen Jews wearing yarmulkes in the streets in the subways; I wore mine all over the city and nobody gave me a second look. Nor did anyone seem to mind that I was obviously not French as soon as I opened my mouth; to the contrary, the Parisians seemed excited to be able to practice their English with me.

    I spent a wonderful Shabat in an incredibly friendly Sefardic congregation. The Jews there told me that the old traditional racist anti-Semitism is pretty much a thing of the past; even the National Front has stopped promoting it (yes, miracles do happen). The problems in France today — and they have big ones — are from two sources. The first is a Muslim minority that has been resisting assimilation, with successive governments doing nothing about it. You of course know, having lived in France, that it demands a much higher level of assimilation by immigrants than does the US. The second is a government that is basically anti-religious (not anti-Semitic) and won't allow things like eruvim and won't allow any form of religious headwear in public buildings. But on the other hand, France pays a large fraction of the cost of Jewish schools; would we had such "hostility" in the United States!

  7. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    The left of the 2nd Empire and the 3rd and early 5th Republics was pro- Jews -as many of its leaders were Jewish themselves, (Leon Blum, etc.). During the 70s and 80s, as Israel showed it was a country able to defend itself, the left replaced the defense of the Jews by the defense of the Palestinians (the New "underdog") and started to spew the same BS about being anti-Zionist, but not antisemite. The last French politician who actually considered that Israel had the legitimate right to insure its survival by any means was Lionel Jospin, and he was retired by the French voters.Mitterand wasn't an antisemite, his own brother in law, and best friend, was a Jew from Algeria, yet he continued to afford the sinister Papon (who had voluntarily deported Jewish children from the free zone the Germans hadn't even asked for) the same protection DeGaulle had. Chirac did sell Ozirak to Sadam Hussein and upbraided his Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin when that man dared say that Israel had the absolute and inalienable right to do any and everything to ensure its survival, yet he is also the 1st French politician who accepted to face that France was responsible for sending French Jews to concentration camps. So, in one brief visit you got a deeper knowledge of the situation that I got spending my first 25 years being told by teachers, school mates, and coworkers that if I weren't happy about the constant jibes and bullying, I could always return to live among my Arab brothers. You could wear your kippa in the subway, so it becomes irrelevant that, in the lycées and facs of France, the exams are deliberately scheduled on Saturday mornings by some teachers and professors. You spend a good Shabbat with a Sephardi family, so it's OK when my brother has to bring 3 times as many documents to renew his "carte d' identité" than the "real French". Marine LePen knows how to sugarcoat what is, in essence, exactly the same fascist and antisemitic positions as her Dad's, so to thank her for her party's new-found diplomacy, you're willing to forget OK that, almost daily, Jewish graves are profaned by her followers. Synagogues are stink and/or firebombed by young Muslims the police refuses to arrest, but of course, that's in the poor suburbs, so it doesn't affect affluent Jews in Paris. Jews are set upon, assaulted, and yes even sometimes killed just for being Jews. Why don't you ask the friends you visited about Ilan Halimi or the Rabbi and his children gunned down on their way to school in Toulouse this year? If you wonder how long it's been like that, ask him about the Rue des Rosiers and the Bombing of the Tati store. Please don't give me lessons in French History, my family and I have lived it long enough.

  8. Charlie Hall says:

    Muriel Coudurier-Curveur Sorry your logic doesn't make sense.

    'he left replaced the defense of the Jews by the defense of the Palestinians (the New "underdog") and started to spew the same BS about being anti-Zionist, but not antisemite.'

    "The last French politician who actually considered that Israel had the legitimate right to insure its survival by any means was Lionel Jospin"

    Jospin was a Socialist, as you correctly point out. In fact, he was the leader of the French Left! I'm not denying that there are some anti-Semitic leftists, but neither Mitterrand, nor Jospin, nor Hollande are and they are the people who have led the Left in recent decades.

    I don't defend the National Front. They still look like rashaim to me. But why did the younger Le Pen drop her father's explicit anti-Semitic appeals? Did she realize that it wasn't working any more?

  9. Charlie Hall says:

    Muriel Coudurier-Curveur "the Rabbi and his children gunned down on their way to school in Toulouse this year"

    The murder of the four Jews was preceded by the murder of three French soldiers by the same rasha. The murder of the soldiers resulted in collective indifference; the murder of the Jews spawned national outrage.

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