In French elections, a European Avigdor Lieberman emerges

Jordan is Palestine, Turkey should not be in EU, argues French parliamentary hopeful Phillipe Karsenty in interview with 'Post.'

Phillipe Karsenty 311 (photo credit: Courtesy of Phillipe Karsenty)
Phillipe Karsenty 311
(photo credit: Courtesy of Phillipe Karsenty)
Jordan is Palestine, Greece must leave the euro zone and Turkey has no business applying for European Union membership, declared French parliamentary hopeful Phillipe Karsenty in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post.
The Jewish deputy mayor of the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur- Seine, who is seeking election as the first representative of the eighth overseas constituency, a newly-created district which includes Israel, laid out his political manifesto last week in unequivocal terms.
“I’m a rightist in France and if I had to vote in Israel I would be a right-winger as well,” he said.
Indeed, Karsenty is a hawk even by Israeli standards. In his opinion the Oslo Accords were “the worst mistake you ever had in Israel” because it “armed terrorists.” He supports a two-state solution but in his understanding of such an outcome the country beside Israel is not a Palestinian sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza but one in Jordan.
“Jordan is the real Palestinian state,” he said. “The king has nothing to do there, he has no legitimacy.
This is the simple historical truth.”
Karsenty is currently one of six candidates – all Jewish - in the 2012 race for the constituency which covers Israel, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and Malta. Of the six, he believes only one of them is a serious contender.
“There are only two serious candidates me and [France’s former special envoy to the Middle East Valerie] Hoffenberg,” he said. “But she has no popular support; she is not connected to the people.”
The 47-year-old businessman is no stranger to controversy. Born in Paris to a Jewish family who emigrated from Algeria, the businessman made a name for himself challenging the accuracy of the reportage of the Muhammed al- Dura incident.
“There is not a single doubt that the al-Dura news report was a hoax,” he said.
According to Karsenty, the death of the eight-year-old boy in 2000 during a shootout in Gaza was staged by Palestinians in an effort to discredit the Jewish state.
“Some court Jews are still defending the blood libel,” he said.
Karsenty was sued several times for defamation but eventually acquitted. He believes his involvement in the al-Dura affair will help win over the 70,000 voters in Israel but his campaign is not entirely focused on the Jewish vote. He said he just came back from Greece where he shared his opinions on the country’s financial troubles with local voters.
“Greece, one day or another, will be out of the euro zone,” he declared. “France and Germany are lying to the world. They have built an EU which is a masquerade. Have you been to Greece? Have you been to Germany? Spend five days in each and you’ll understand.”
On Turkey, Karsenty came out strongly against accepting the country into the European Union and criticized its Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Go to Anatolia in Turkey – it has nothing to do with Europe,” he said. “If you want to build a continent then it has to be uniform.
Turkey is a different country, it doesn’t mean I don’t respect Turkey, but look at Erdogan and his Islamist behavior. It proved we were right to refuse Turkey in Europe.”
Karsenty also has strong convictions on French domestic issues. He adamantly opposes attempts to lower the age of retirement in France back to 60. In fact, if it were up to him it would be over the age of 65 the way it is in the US and Israel.
“Retiring at the age of 60 as we used to do in France is absurd. We live longer, so we need to work longer,” he said. “People have to be free to work more if they want.”
Karsenty knows some of his ideas won’t go down well with everyone, but he isn’t trying to win a popularity contest. Like his opinions on the al-Dura case, he believes his truth will eventually prevail.