Those following yesterday’s gigantic Paris “Charlie Hebdo” solidarity march along at home picked up the presence of Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu among that gaggle of official freedom-of-expression hypocrites:
[S]‘est invité: he invited himself! Originally, France President François Hollande’s office had actually requested that he not attend. The reason was quite straightforward: President Hollande did not want to muddy the waters by introducing the whole Israel-Palestine mess into the occasion.
But Netanyahu insisted. According to this account, this is why he insisted: he found out that his foreign minister (Avigdor Lieberman) and economy minister (Naftali Bennett) had already arranged to go to Paris. There’s an election campaign going on in Israel right now, you have to remember, and while they are both currently part of Netanyahu’s cabinet, they also both belong to another, competing political party, Yisrael Beiteinu (“Israel Our Home”) and, accordingly, have consistently been even more reactionary and outrageous in their statements concerning Palestine and the Palestinians than Netanyahu himself, if that can be believed.
But if they were going to be there then, by all that is Holy, Netanyahu was going to be there as well. As French President, what can you do? Well, you can be sure you invite Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as well. And he was there, parading, even though he had originally had no intention to attend and in fact had sent his regrets, constrained by a combination of his schedule and heavy snow impairing flights from that part of the world. Then again, if Netanyahu was going to be there – well, by all that is Holy, he would be there, too.
As a sordid coda to a sordid tale: One other thing Netanyahu did in Paris, after Hollande had graciously permitted him to come, is to tell a gathering of French Jews at the hostage-scene Jewish supermarket to emigrate to Israel, since they clearly weren’t safe in France! What a guy!
(He also apparently behaved rather boorishly during the solidarity march itself; this, and his emigration urgings mentioned above, are not in the Libre piece but you can read about them in English in this article from the Telegraph.)
UPDATE: Here we go: