Hollande: Netanyahu used memorial to campaign

French president says PM used Toulouse ceremony speech for political propaganda, is "obsessed" by Iranian issue.

November 9, 2012 01:47
1 minute read.
Sandler, who lost husband in attack, PM, Hollande

Eva Sandler, who lost husband in attack, with PM, Hollande 3. (photo credit: Eva Sandler, who lost husband in attack, with PM, )

French President François Hollande has accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of using last week’s Toulouse memorial to benefit himself in the run up to January’s national election, according to Le Canard enchaîné, which is known for its reliable sources.

According to the satirical weekly, Hollande spoke on the airplane to Beirut last week about his joint visit with Netanyahu to Toulouse, where they participated to a ceremony at the Ohr Torah school in memory of Jews murdered by Islamist Mohamed Merah last March.

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“His visit was planned in two parts, memorial first, then speech. Since I was there, he modified his speech a little bit, but it was not good to change that ceremony into an electoral meeting,” said the French president, whose decision to visit Toulouse with the prime minister was taken at the last minute.

The newspaper also reported also that Hollande complained that his guest is “obsessed” by the Iranian issue. “He didn’t stop talking about Iran during lunch” at the Elysee Palace, the president said.

But after the visit, Netanyahu warmly praised Hollande for his strong fight against anti-Semitism and for his efforts to increase the sanctions against Iran. “Israel has a new friend at the Elysee,” a high ranking diplomatic source said.

A Jewish Zionist website, AlyaexpressNews, gave a slightly different version of the complaints reported by Le Canard enchaîné.

“Netanyahu used the ceremony in Toulouse for his political propaganda... [I] am sorry that [he] came to France in order to make propaganda at two levels,” Hollande reportedly said.

The site’s headline: “After Netanyahu the ‘liar,’ it is now Netanyahu the ‘obsessed,’” referring to the attitudes of French politicians toward the prime minister.

It reminded its readers that then-president Nicolas Sarkozy told US President Barack Obama in November 2011: “Netanyahu is a liar.”

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