PERES AND THE FRENCH

by Felix Quigley

 Last night on our television screens in Europe there were lengthy segments of news about Peres, the Israeli President, meeting in Paris with Sarkozy and his pregnant crooning wife (or should I say cooing wife). It was a strange looking affair.After all many people on blogs refer to Peres as from the Left. But it was a glittering and a bourgeois affair and had nothing to do with the Israeli working class, less with the Jewish religious youth murdered in Jerusalem. But it was the speech which Peres gave which really opens our eyes to the right wing, Stalinist type social democrat politics of Peres.

I take the report from the antisemitic Haaretz newspaper:

Peres State Dinner with Sarkozy

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/963510.html

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PARIS – Who was not present at the festive dinner French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave for President Shimon Peres? Some thought that Sarkozy’s wife, Carla Bruni, stole the show when she displayed her “pregnant belly.” But Peres, being Peres, did not pass up the opportunity to give a historic perspective to his visit. In his keynote speech, which he worked on for weeks, Peres cited Rashi, the medieval French Jewish commentator on the Bible who “rescued hundreds of ancient French words from oblivion”; Napoleon, who declared in Jaffa that the time had come for the Jewish people to take its place among the nations; and Chateaubriand, who described the Jews as a tiny nation that had miraculously escaped assimilation and finally been resurrected in its ancient homeland. And also Leon Blum, Andre Malraux, Francois Mitterand and even Jacques Chirac, the first French president to publicly acknowledge France’s responsibility for the crimes of the Vichy regime.

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The people who Peres refers to here are most interesting. They are people who have a history of antisemitism. The most important perhaps is Blum, because it raises the issue of the Popular Front of 1936 in France. This was an alliance of Stalinists, Social Democrats and the Radical Party. The “Radicals” were as Leon Trotsky pointed out the party of the bourgeoisie and so the Popular Front was a mechanism of placing the interests of the workers and petty bourgeoisie (small peasants) behind the programme of the ruling capitalist class. This led to defeat of the workers, the war and then the emergence of Fascist collaborators in France during the war. So the link that Peres made with Blum (who led that Popular Front movement and government in 1936) tells a lot about Peres today.

Today Peres is doing his utmost to betray the Jewish mass movement to the Fascists of Hamas and Fatah. Something similar happened under Blum. The workers elected the Popular Front Government headed by Blum in 1936, then in the follopwing months encouraged by what they thought of as a victory, the workers moved quickly in a revolutionary direction, strike action increased rapidly and built up into a General Strike. The General Strike brought onto the stage up to 3 million workers and events were moving towards revolution. The Stalinists and social democrats, also the trade union leaders, at first were taken by surprise, then (remember their alliance with the Radicals) set about destroying the General Strike. One leader, Maurice Thorez, remarked “It is necessary to know when to end a strike”. Indeed, Peres of today, in his reference to Blum who betrayed the French workers in the 30s with such repercussions later for the Jews of France has given a lot away about his own politics in Israel as President.

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Of course, Peres himself was also not absent from the speech. He apologized to his listeners for his frequent use of the word “I,” saying it stemmed from the fact that he is one of the few people left who still can tell the “great story” of Israel’s birth from personal experience. He described how, a year before the War of Independence, David Ben-Gurion showed him the list of weapons in Israel’s possession: “Not a single plane. Not a single piece of artillery that actually fired. Not a single tank that rolled properly.”

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Then, following the establishment of the state, he recalled the massive flow of Soviet arms to Arab states, Israel’s vain appeals for help to the United States and Britain and, finally, the salvation that came from France. “I will never forget my first steps on French soil,” Peres said. “It’s hard to describe the warmth, the solidarity and the support, a la francaise, that I received in every corner of this land.”

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Even this history of Peres in front of Sarkozy and his wife crooner is deceitful. After the establishment of Israel it was actually Stalin who saved Israel, certainly not the French. This is affirmed by Paul Johnson in his book “History of the Jews”. Johnson is clear that Israel only managed to survive because of a “small window of opportunity” and this involved Stalin’s turn towards antisemitism in Russia in the beginning of 1948. But before this happened on an international scale Israel had been born, Russia had supported and in the war of independence Stalin arranged that Czechoslovakia organise an airlift of arms to Israel. That saved Israel. Peres is deceitful above, tailoring history to suit his French audience. 

begin quote hereBut though his speech dwelt at length on the past, he also devoted a few sentences to the present – and, as befits a visionary, a fair amount of time to the future.

Earlier, in a conversation with Haaretz, Peres said the friendship between Israel and France “had no parallel” in human history. He said he did not see his visit as the “closing of a circle,” but as a chance to say thank you for the past, and to open a new chapter of cooperation in facing the challenges of the present and future – first and foremost, Iran’s nuclear program and terrorism.

Asked whether his comment on the eve of his visit, that Israel would not act alone against the Iranian threat, had been coordinated with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, he replied: “If we act alone, we’ll remain alone. [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is the whole world’s problem; it should not be reduced to Israel’s [problem]. There is no issue here of coordinating statements, but of coordinating policy.”

Regarding Sarkozy’s plan for a “Mediterranean Union,” which has been criticized as a hasty initiative unveiled without first consulting his colleagues in the European Union, Peres said: “The idea that the European Union should serve as a model for the Mediterranean region is daring and interesting. Following 1,000 years of war and bloodshed, an economic merger came along that succeeded in overcoming Europe’s political wounds. Sarkozy is a groundbreaking leader. He operates like a whirlwind: He doesn’t dally, he leaps. The fact that he is unpopular should not affect his mode of behavior, because if leaders acted according to the polls, they would all have to be conservative and do nothing.”

He added that he is convinced Sarkozy will overcome opposition to his plan within the EU.

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Peres is pushing here for some sort of Mediterranean Union, what could it mean. The idea of it being modelled on the EU means that it aims to rob any nation of its nationhood. That would be then an Islamic Mediterranian Union. This is a totally Imperialist and Capitalist idea that Peres is pushing and Sarkozy is certainly no socialist! So where does that leave Peres. The reality is that this all shows that Peres is a capitalist politician through and through. Why then do people call Peres from the “Left”!

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Despite his courageous display of friendship during your visit, Sarkozy and his Foreign Ministry have not hid their unhappiness over the operation in Gaza and Israel’s “destructive settlement policy.”

“The events in Gaza and Jerusalem [Palestinian terror attacks] do not grant Israel any breaks on the settlements. But in any case, [Israel’s] policy is that no new settlements will be built. Ultimately, the French policy on this matter is based on the principles laid down by the Quartet, which Israel also signed.”

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This then is the great French Imperialists that the “Left” Peres is associating with. I could find no mention in this report of Peres sympathy with the Jewish religious students assasinated in Jerusalem. And the Imperialist French bring Peres down to earth.

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