Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Regarding "In defense of France", Letters to the editor, Ha'Aretz, December 20, 2004:
For a long time it has been easy for us Jews to find reasons either to love or to hate France and the French. Similarly the French never really had a hard time looking for reasons to either admire and love or condemn and hate Israel ( and the Jews ). Relations between the Americans and the French and between France and the United States show similar patterns. Could it be that all this is the result of the three peoples having more in common than what divides them? To name but two elements that Israelis, Americans and French have in common, as can be seen and heard in the media coverage of the love-hate relationship between them ( e.g. Yoel Marcus' "Five comments on the situation", but also the remarks recently made by the French ambassador in Israel ): a certain arrogance and megalomania, and an apparently irresistible fondness for over-simplification. As a historian who deals with relations between Jews and non-Jews in France I can say that those relations sometimes have been troubled and often are emotionally charged but always will remain fascinating. Both French and Israeli authorities should invest ( even ) more than they do today in strengthening the deep, intriguing and mutually beneficial bonds between the two countries and peoples.

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