Tête-a-tête: Is France 2 Anti-Semitic?

French Jews have cried foul over the recent airing of France 2’s Un oeil sur la planète (An eye on the planet). The weekly syndicated TV show attempts take a more in-depth look at stories that only get a few minutes coverage in the news. Presented by Etienne Leenhardt, the show is a Mendelian cross between Barbara Walter’s 60 minutes and PBS’s Frontline. The episode in question? A two-hour special aired October 3 about the viability of Palestinian statehood after the September U.N. stunt by President Mahmoud Abbas. To watch the whole episode click here


In an open letter to France Televisions, the head of the French Jewish Representative Council (Le Conseil représentatif des institutions juives de France, CRIF), Richard Prasquier, called the coverage one-sided saying that “it had reduced a decades-old conflict into a cartoon distorting and ridiculing the adversary without arguing against anti-Semitic conspiracy theories”. Everyone has weighed in. According to France Televisions, the show’s inbox was flooded with 800 emails within the first 24 hours. Israel’s ambassador to France and Prasquier have held various meetings with Rémy Pflimlin, President of France Télévisions and Thierry Thuillier, News Director at France Télévisions.


So is France Televisions anti-Semitic?


[Romina Ruiz-Goiriena] : No. Do I consider there were some editorial oversights? Absolutely.


The show was divided into five parts and wished to report on the progress made by the Palestinian Authority over the last two years to prove that they are a working state; decreasing inflation, weeding out corruption, increasing transparency and training a police force. It also tackled the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and the Settler movement, Gaza and the blockade, the controversial Right of Return for Palestinians— and even American lobbying efforts in the US through the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The problem wasn’t necessarily what was in the special; it’s more what was left out.


Yes, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has done amazing progress in the West Bank since the time he was appointed finance minister in 2007. Some would even argue, he’s the best friend the Palestinian people have had in a long time. And yes, Palestinians deserve a state to call their own and they continue being shafted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who refuses to halt settlement construction. However, no sound reportage can overlook (France 2 didn’t care to mention) the First nor the Second Intifada. Let’s not forget that between the Oslo and Taba talks, Yasser Arafat was handed a Palestinian state on a silver platter and he walked away. We can sit here and argue about whether or not former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount was a provocation but peace and statehood was once viable for Palestinians.





It wasn’t anti-Semitic. It was just slightly reductionist. Orthodox Jews, settlers and soldiers acted as stand-ins for the whole of Israeli society. Unfortunately this might be the only version of Israelis Palestinians ever come in contact with, but not international journalists who can come and go freely. It’s too easy to simply scratch the surface.





Then we get to the part about AIPAC and the three million dollars of U.S. aid congress pledges to Israel. Whilst I believe there is a huge problem with the way AIPAC secures uncontested funding for the Israeli government, AIPAC is not the main and only roadblock for peace in the Middle East. AIPAC is also not representative of the views of all diaspora Jews. In fact, Time Magazine recently reported these views are changing for the first time in over two generations.


According to a poll conducted by Steven Cohen of Hebrew Union College and Ari Kelman of the University of California at Davis a majority of American Jews of all ages continue to identify as ‘pro-Israel’. However those under 35 are less likely to identify as ‘Zionist’. “Over 40 percent of American Jews under 35 believe that ‘Israel occupies land belonging to someone else’, and over 30 percent report sometimes feeling ‘ashamed’of Israel's actions”. In another survey of conservative rabbinical students at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Cohen found that 70 percent of prospective rabbis report feeling “disturbed” by Israel’s treatment of Arab Israelis and Palestinians compared with half of those ordained between 1980 and 1994.





We Jews have plenty of pan-Jewish nationalism skeletons in the closet, but to believe that American Jews are responsible for the whole of Israel’s actions is ludicrous. Most of the time it has been the White House (both Democrat and Republican) that has interceded to cool down tensions.


Prasquier went a bit too far in calling France Télévisions’s editorial team anti-Semitic. However there is something to be said about simplifying the Conflict. They covered a lot of ground in Palestine beautifully. Had they bothered to show a more complex and multifaceted Israel, they might have had something to show for it. Instead two hours later, the audience left with the same impression they would have from searching “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” on Wikipedia.



[Gilad Halpern] : No. These accusations are totally uncalled for. Prasquier didn't just go "a bit too far" in accusing France Télévisions of anti-Semitism; he went over the bloody top. 


The outrageousness of the frequency in which they are uttered has long since backfired: nobody in their right mind takes the CRIF (and the Anti-Defamation League, for that matter) seriously anymore – including the managers of France Télévisions, who fully endorsed the programme and its production team. Though blessed with political power and a skilful PR team, this diaspora group rarely goes beyond a fervent adherence to the childish principle of "my country – right or wrong", only that ironically the country in question is not even theirs. 


Israel is subject to critique, just like any other country that breaches international law, occasionally commits war crimes and imposes its formidable military power on a desolate and defenceless population. If pointing all this out is anti-Semitic, Adolf Hitler must be sleeping tight in his grave. But regardless of Hitler's wellbeing in his resting place, this should set the alarms bells ringing for everyone who thinks that eradicating anti-Semitism from its midst is one of humanity's paramount tasks. The renowned French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre famously said that "anti-Semitism is not an opinion, but a crime"; and these persistent attempts to associate one legitimate opinion – a critique of Israel – with a wholly unjustifiable one, are counter-productive as well as immoral.





But they are, above all, manipulative. Jewish leaders take advantage of the community's comprehensive emotional attachment to Israel – and of their feeling that any critique of Israel is equally levelled at them. Rather than calling for an informed debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, these allegations sway the focus of the debate to the unhealed wounds of France's tumultuous relationship with its Jews, that reached a low ebb in the Second World War, under the pro-Nazi collaborationist government, and have not fully recovered since.


We could debate whether Arafat was indeed offered a state on a silver platter, whether the bygone first and second Palestinian intifadas are relevant to the current prospects of a Palestinian state, and whether religious settlers are in fact a fair representation of Israel's attitude towards a Palestinian state – given that their encroaching presence in the West Bank is of much more relevance to Palestinian statehood than Tel Aviv's decrepit peace camp. But if reductionism is our concern, we should protest against one in particular: the unbearable lightness of the anti-Semitic argument.


Romina Ruiz-Goiriena and Gilad Halpern


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France 24 I invite you to watch this vidio the answer is in it . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIesXORjBps&feature=related
Romina Ruiz-Goiriena and Gilad Halpern It seems that you are from Palestine and let me tell you that the true Jew or Israeli will never talk like you . Please stop your hateful propaganda...there is no land of Palestine and there is no occupied land. The land belongs to Israel . Concerning the origin of the name "Palestine," I will quote several applicable segments of Israel's history as follows... • In 14 BC, Israel became a nation. • In circa 12 BC the Philistines invaded and occupied a strip of land by the Mediterranean Sea along the southwest coast of Israel. • In 61 BC, Israel was conquered by the Roman Empire. • For many years (including New Testament days) the Roman Empire allowed the Israelis to remain in Israel, as a subservient people. • In 70 AD the Roman Empire destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and dispersed all the Israeli people out of Israel. • Rome then renamed Israel as "Palestine" -- a name derived from the ancient name, "Philistines." (The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. Mizraim begot Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, and Casluhim (from whom came the Philistines and Caphtorim). Gen 10.6, 10.13-14 "Are you not like the people of Ethiopia to Me, O children of Israel?" says the LORD. "Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor (Crete & the Aegean Isles), and the Syrians from Kir?" Amos 9.7) In 1946 a portion of the land of Israel was returned to the Israeli people. Once again the land was known by the name "Israel." • In the Six-Day War in 1967, the Israelis captured Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. • The Israelis captured those areas from Jordan, NOT from a nation known as Palestine. • In fact, Palestine has never existed as an autonomous people or nation. • Accordingly, "Palestinians" are simply Arabs, Philistines, and other immigrants who occupied Israel after Rome displaced the Israeli people from their homeland in 70 AD. WISE MAN WILL NOT TALK BUT ACT. ISRAEL FOREVER !

Why is France 24 announcing program times as 'XXAM Palestine'?(Viewed from a city in Israel)

  1. Has France 24 taken upon itself authority to create a State of Palestine before the United Nations?
  2. Is it France 24 hoping to normalize Palestinian claims in the belief that if you say something over and over it becomes the truth?
  3. Is France 24 adopting the Palestinian claim that Israel is only occupied Palestine?
  4. How many France 24 viewers are you targeting?
  5. Can the residents of the Palestinian Authority even receive France 24 given that they are without cable TV?

This doesn't prove France 24 is anti-Semitic but it does cast further doubt on its neutrality. Criticism of Israel and the mirror position of supporting Palestinian claims is not automatically anti-Semitism but it morphs easily and often into it.

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