November 29, 2007
Letter from France: An incendiary TV news report’s truthfulness is on trial
(Page 2 - Previous Page)A few days after the poster was placed in the park, and just after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert found a few minutes to stroll through the garden when visiting his friend French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, an anti-Zionist group, the CAPJPO, tagged the poster with the inscription, "Occupation army," turning the tribute into an anti-Israeli message.
It was quite disturbing to see the soldiers' portraits covered with graffiti, although the move was expected, but my greatest surprise came when I visited Rabin Garden to see if the pictures have been further damaged. To my astonishment, new pictures of the soldiers had been put up, but this time even higher, so that vandals could not reach them easily.
The fact is that CAPJPO's operation, filmed and posted on the Web, led to even stronger support for the liberation. The pictures stand high, where passersby can see them, and the city stood by its controversial campaign.
As would any self-respecting Parisian, I would end the story with a slightly bitter note. MEP and Deputy Mayor Pierre Schapira is the official who managed the operation, which was somewhat surprising, since Schapira is one of those who remain reluctant to add Hezbollah to the EU list of terror groups.
When I asked him three years ago in a Jewish commemoration event if he thought Hezbollah should be added to the list, he simply answered that it already was on the list. When I insisted that I was asking about Hezbollah, Schapira answered, "I heard you. It's on the list." For a minute there, I almost believed that it was.
Olmert Sees Conference as Step
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited Paris in October, meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy mainly to discuss Iran and this month's Annapolis conference. When meeting with a small group of Jewish community leaders later the same day, Olmert gave little hope regarding the conference:
"Annapolis will not be a negotiation but an umbrella of support in order to move toward negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians," he said.
Olmert described Sarkzoy as a "genuine friend of Israel and the Jewish people" who, unlike others, "did not change his ways after his election to the presidency."
"If I could tell you what he told me ... you would feel much better, less preoccupied about our future" Olmert repeated, while smiling. "Unfortunately, I can't tell you."
Olmert concluded by telling the elderly community leaders, professors and businessmen that he was moved when he saw "their shiny eyes looking at him."
Paris-based journalist Shirli Sitbon's "Letter From France" appears monthly in The Journal. You can find her blog on the home page.
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