image Je fais un don

Op-Ed by Shimon Samuels published in the Jerusalem Post
December 1 2016

Remember the 1960s anti-war folk song, “Last night I had the strangest dream I never dreamed before, I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war”? It was just sullied by 1984 Orwellian “double think.”

Last June, France convened a halfday meeting of 25 invited European and Arab states, plus the United States, to seek a resolution to the Middle East conflict, billed as “the French Peace Initiative” – while markedly announcing that Israel was to be excluded.

Redolent of the Munich Agreement of 1938 reached behind the back of the doomed Czechoslovakia, “Paris 2016 peace” seemed more likely, in “double think”, to presage war at the cost of Israel.

France is bent on holding a brief, full-blown conference to rubber- stamp a draft resolution for the United Nations Security Council that would recognize Palestinian sovereignty and demand Israeli withdrawal, within one year, to the 1949 armistice lines that were effaced by the 1967 Egyptian-Jordanian- Syrian invasion.

The French response to Israel’s victory was then-president Charles de Gaulle’s canard, denoting the Jews as “an elite people, arrogant and domineering,” followed by a consistent Arabist policy encouraging French companies to accede to the Arab boycott.

Indeed, while claiming to militate for peace, Paris only last week declared the launch of a European Union boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign against Israeli products from across the 1949 armistice lines, evoking memories of the Nazi slogan of “Kauft Nicht Dei Juden!” (Don’t buy from the Jews!) It has been suggested that a common interest is shared between the unpopular President François Hollande, as an unlikely candidate for reelection, and the lame-duck President Barack Obama, both seeking to secure their legacies.

The road map is the Paris-hosted international conference-endorsed resolution, to be voted by the 15-member State Security Council within the 50 days until President- elect Donald Trump’s January 20 inauguration.

If denied the longstanding American veto applied whenever Israel’s vital interests are at stake, the resolution would cast a defensively recalcitrant Israel as a pariah state,- subject to sanctions.

This week has featured a hardly coincidental New York Times op-ed by former president Jimmy Carter and outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks to the Women’s Foreign Policy Group in Washington both signposting the Franco-UN scenario.

The incoming Trump administration may then wish to revoke the resolution, viewing it as a renegade desecration of American policy, but will not find the votes for reversal.

With the dangerous array of conflicts in the Middle East and their terrorist blowback at home, one might ask why is Paris compulsively obsessed with Israel? Is it a subliminal Vichy syndrome in dealing with French Jewry? Is it demography-driven, in a Socialist hope to garner millions of Muslim votes in the forthcoming elections and to acquire the aggrandized power-player image France seeks? And what of Obama’s motive? To cock a snook at Bibi and Trump while securing, not only a legacy, but a future political career vehicle? His rental of a stately Washington home ensures his continued proximity to the complex of power.

The bottom-line is an impending diktat to Israel that discourages the Palestinians from any concessions for peace-building, while encouraging further violence against Jewish targets in Israel and the Diaspora, while reinforcing the Arab perception of Israel as transitory, permitting a policy, not of salaam (peace), but of “salami” – piece by piece attrition.

The French “peace” initiative or Middle East road map is not a peace plan, for it ends at the abyss.

Last night I dreamed the strangest dream, but awakened to a nightmare.