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The Day In Israel: Wednesday April 28th, 2010

Yesterday’s big joke: Hamas claiming it has morals.

Today’s big joke? The French lecturing on acceptable and not acceptable behavior.

Shimon Peres Nicolas Sarkozy
(Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)

Sarkozy: Netanyahu’s foot dragging on peace process is unacceptable

In a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, French President Nicolas Sarkozy  has criticized Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has told his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres that he is disappointed with Benjamin Netanyahu and finds it hard to understand the prime minister’s diplomatic plan. Sarkozy made his comments at the Elysee Palace two weeks ago.

The latest criticism follows the diplomatic crisis between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama and the subsequent fallout between Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

High-level Israeli officials briefed on the Peres-Sarkozy meeting called it “very difficult.” The officials, who asked to remain anonymous, said Sarkozy began criticizing Netanyahu at the start of the discussion and continued for around 15 minutes.

Sarkozy’s remarks were only slightly more measured than the condemnation he expressed over Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman last summer. “You must get rid of that man,” Sarkozy told Netanyahu at the time.

Sarkozy met with Obama the week before in Washington; the effect of the encounter was evident in the French leader’s discussion with Peres. Sarkozy expressed frustration at the continuing stagnation of the peace process and assigned much of the responsibility to Netanyahu.

“I’m disappointed with him,” he reportedly told Peres. “With the friendship, sympathy and commitment we have toward Israel, we still can’t accept this foot-dragging. I don’t understand where Netanyahu is going or what he wants.”

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)?

11:25PM: Yet more anti-Zionism-not-antisemitism from Britain:

A Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate in Yorkshire told a hustings meeting that “the power of the Jewish lobbies in Washington and Britain” are the reason a full arms embargo has not been imposed on Israel.

Madeleine Kirk, standing for the party in the new seat of York Outer, was speaking at the York University event on Wednesday afternoon.

A question was asked about whether the candidates believed arms sales to Israel should be banned.

Ms Kirk, a long-standing local city councillor, replied that an embargo should be in place, but was not, “because of the Jewish lobby”.

She then went on to back disgraced Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge’s call for an inquiry to disprove allegations that Israeli army medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims.

Baroness Tonge was stripped of her role as the party’s health spokeswoman in the Lords following her comments in February.

When contacted by the JC, Ms Kirk said: “I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused by my remarks.

“I recognise that the allegations against the IDF’s humanitarian operation in Haiti are completely unfounded and utterly reprehensible. I was not aware of the allegations when asked about them at the hustings and responded without considering their full implications.”

Ms Kirk has been a regular critic of Israel. In January last year she spoke at a rally against the Gaza conflict organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

She told the crowd: “I wholeheartedly condemn the attack on Gaza by the Israeli forces.

“The vicious attack is completely out of all proportion to the threat posed by Hamas in the region and will only serve the militants in both the Gaza strip and Israel.”

11:20PM: Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu has said China is ready to deepen cooperation with Israel in areas such as trade and economy.

I hope this means more Chinese restaurants in Israel.

10:55PM: Introducing our latest weapon: Zionist Traffic Lights of Death.TM

For the record, I think I’ve also located some antisemitic traffic lights on the way to work.

7:55PM: Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, currently in the US, is reportedly getting the cold shoulder from the Obama administration.

The US Administration rejected Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s request to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Special Mideast Envoy George Mitchell, Ynet has learned.

Barkat, who is visiting Washington, continued his attacks on the US government Wednesday, further embarrassing the Netanyahu government.

In an interview with MSNBC, the mayor said Israeli officials are uncertain about what the US attempts to signal. He added that what he termed bad American proposals will be futile in resolving the Mideastern conflict.

In the interview, Barkat said his positions on the Jerusalem issue are identical to PM Netanyahu’s views; however, an Israeli official expressed anger at the mayor’s conduct “at such sensitive period in US-Israel ties, when every housing unit in Jerusalem gains prominence.”

A senior Israeli official said “Jerusalem is a sensitive issue when we’re on the verge of entering talks.” Addressing Barkat’s visit and remarks, the official said: “He arrived here without any authority to engage in diplomatic issues and without any responsibility – he arrived and is causing damage.”

On Tuesday, Barkat met American reporters and was quoted as saying that President Obama’s move constituted a slap in Israel’s face.

While the Jerusalem mayor informed the Israeli embassy in Washington of his arrival, he independently coordinated meetings in Congress and with the US media, without coordinating his moves with Israeli diplomats in charge of these issues.

I have not been able to locate the MSNBC interview with Barkat, but here is a very revealing one with Fox News in which he lets his feelings on the Obama administration be known, albeit somewhat diplomatically.

5:36PM: The Knesset may strip of their immunity six MKs who met Libyan leader Moammar Ghaddafi  (not to be confused with immunizing those who strip near Moammar Ghaddafi, which is also advisable).

5:32PM: Moron of the day:

The May 25 Tel Aviv performance of American political soul/jazz pioneer Gil Scott-Heron is in doubt, only days after it was announced.

Appearing in London this week at the Royal Festival Hall, Scott-Heron said from the stage that he wouldn’t be going to Israel because “we don’t like wars,” The Guardian reported on Wednesday.

According to reports, his concert had been repeatedly disrupted by hecklers calling on him to cancel the Israel show.

Scott-Heron, best-known for the The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, was a leading voice in calling for the cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa, joining United Artist Against Apartheid in the 1980s.

Pro-Palestinian groups had appealed to the singer to cancel his show at the Barby  Club because it would be seen as giving legitimacy to Israel and its treatment of Palestinians.

A Facebook page urging the performer to cancel the Tel Aviv show was started and had gathered over 1,000 members.

No official announcement has been made from neither the artist’s management nor the local promoter of the show.

It’s a shame that Scott-Heron fails to realize the only people who actually like wars are those who pressured him to cancel his concert.

3:00PM: Robert De Niro was unavailable for comment.

2:40PM: Uri Blau, the Ha’aretz reporter who received confidential documents from ex-soldier Anat Kam,  is set to return them.

In the coming days Uri Blau’s attorneys are slated to submit to the security authorities the documents he received from ex-soldier Anat Kam. Attorneys Tali Lieblich and Mibi Mozer, who are representing the Haaretz journalist, told Ynet on Wednesday that they met with Blau in London, and that he informed them of the whereabouts of the documents in question.

Lieblich said, “We have received the information from Uri, and I would like to emphasize that the documents are in Israel and he did not take them anywhere. It is time this rumor is laid to rest. In the coming days we will hand them over to the authorities.”

Lieblich further noted that the defense establishment’s demand to receive all of the material in Blau’s possession is not new, but that Blau and the Haaretz newspaper refuse to hand it all over, and say the only material he plans to give to the defense establishment is that which he received from Anat Kam, since she waived confidentiality on it.

I’m not sure if this means the supposedly missing CDs are not really lost after all.

8:02AM: Photo of the day:

Ehud Barak Hillary Clinton

Ehud Barak: “Your boss really seems to know his stuff”

7:50AM: We are supposed to be a smart people, right?

6:25AM: Fascinating footage of 1951 Israel (hat tip: Matt).

6:10AM: Following a meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has admitted that Hizbullah has a s***load of rockets.

Syria and Iran are providing Hezbollah with rockets and missiles of ever-increasing capability, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Tuesday following a meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He added that the Shiite organization was at a point where it “has far more rockets and missiles than most governments in the world.”

The two officials did not elaborate on the types of missiles, but the comments followed claims made in recent days that Hezbollah had received Scud missiles, which are capable of hitting wide areas within the State of Israel.


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About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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