Sarkozy in Israel: 'To boycott a start-up nation makes no sense'

Former French president in Israel: While Mideast “peace today is not within reach,” it is incumbent upon Israel to take the initiative.

June 8, 2015 22:41
1 minute read.
Nicolas Sarkozy

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy speaks at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, June 8, 2051. (photo credit: EREZ HARODI - OSIM TZILUM)

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a likely candidate in the 2017 French presidential elections, said Monday that while Middle East “peace today is not within reach,” it was incumbent upon Israel to take the initiative and try to move something forward on the diplomatic process.

“We in France like Israel when Israel takes initiative, when Israel innovates, is a leader,” he said. “Not when Israel is immobile and paralyzed.”

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Sarkozy made the remarks in a warm speech at the IDC Herzliya Conference following a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sarkozy - who earlier in the day came out unequivocally against boycotting Israel - said that Israel's economic progress is perhaps its “best victory.”

Though a small country, he said, Israel was a huge force attracting investors from all over the world. “This is the best answer for those calls for boycotts, which are unacceptable and illegal,” he said. “To boycott a start-up nation makes no sense politically, economically, morally or financially.”

Sarkozy said that humanity owes a debt to the Jewish people for their persecution over the centuries, which culminated in the Holocaust. “The silence of the nations while the crimes were committed is a blemish on the conscience of humanity, he said. “We all failed and have a debt toward the Jewish people, and it continues to exist.” He said that the “only way to do something about it” is to always ensure the security of the Jewish people.

“Mankind has not yet understood that the fate of the Jews is always the forerunner of what will happen to others,” he said. “Fighting for the security of Jews and Israel is fighting for all those who make a difference in the world, and this is my profound conviction.' Sarkozy, in his remarks, was very critical of the nuclear deal being negotiated between the US and Iran, saying that the European countries were essentially left out of negotiations which were largely bilateral. He was also very critical of the western policy to Syria and Islamic State, slamming what he said was a lack of leadership.

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