The facts are these: Ron Prosor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, was in a meeting in New York City last week with Marine Le Pen, the head of France’s National Front party who was touring the United States. Israel’s government has an official ‘no contact’ policy with the Front National, due to its longtime Holocaust denial, for which you can primarily thank longtime leader Jean-Marie Le Pen—Marine Le Pen’s father, who famously finished in second place in the 2002 presidential elections. The daughter has consciously attempted to distance herself and the party from its past in anticipation of next year’s elections; though still staunchly right-wing, its ire is now reserved chiefly for Muslim immigrants, not Jews.
Did Prosor intend to attend the Le Pen confab? Here is where things get tricky. On the “nay” side, we have a few words: “It was an error of judgment,” said a Foreign Ministry spokesperson; Prosor himself called it a “mistake.” (Did he trip?) On the other hand, you have him telling French television news that he and Le Pen had chatted about Europe and had “very much enjoyed the conversation.” And then you have the 1000 words which you can see: the two posing for a picture together. Indeed, “error of judgment” is a pretty opaque phrase, when you think about it: it could mean Prosor didn’t realize what he was doing; or that he did realize what he was doing, and, in retrospect, it was regrettable; or that he did realize what he was doing, and, in retrospect, it was politically inconvenient.
I’m betting on option 3. The current Israeli government has made connections to several far-right European parties, which, spurred by anti-Muslim xenophobia (as well as popular resentment of mass Muslim immigration, which to a limited extent is valid or at least understandable), have taken up Israel as one of their causes, and Israel has responded by esteeming them as allies. My understanding is that Zionism is not nearly as large a part of the FN’s programme as it is in Belgium’s Vlaams Belang or Holland’s Freedom parties. Either way, it should be troubling that, no matter the contemporary contingencies, Israel’s government continues to cozy up to these people. They are not our friends.
Israeli Diplomat: Le Pen Lunch Was an ‘Error’ [Independent]
‘Prosor Was Unwittingly in Photo With French Far-Rightist’ [JPost]
Earlier: Is Marine a Different Animal?
What To Make of the Oslo Attacker’s Zionism?