A Pyrrhic Palestinian Victory in France
Dogmatism may be at stake: supporting the state of Palestine, whatever that means and even if it might turn into an Islamic State of Palestine, is part of the Left and Far Left mantras worldwide. A further explanation may be that the Left’s last hope to survive in the coming election is to garner as much support as possible from the immigrant Muslim community, which will provide an average of 5 to 10% of the vote.
Finally, Hollande and Valls are so unpopular among their own constituency that the entire socialist and left-wing political class needs to distance themselves from them on almost all issues, either domestic or international.
Sarkozy, who was elected on November 30 as the new chairman of the conservative UMP party -- an important step for being reelected as president in 2017 -- campaigned against the Palestine resolution. This point will not be lost on pro-Israel voters in the future, nor on a growing number of voters, both on the Right and the Left, that are concerned with the rise of jihadism in Europe as well as in the Middle East. Sarkozy’s main rivals among the conservatives, Alain Juppé and François Fillon, both of them former prime ministers, did not take part in the ballot. They had previously supported the socialist resolution; this too will not be easily forgotten.
The two National Front members of the National Assembly abstained, but one of them, barrister Gilbert Collard, delivered a passionately pro-Israel speech on November 28. While the National Front’s old guard is seen as “anti-Zionist,” its new supporters are generally pro-Israel. In a rare instance of circumstantial convergence, Meyer Habib, the centrist representative for the 8th French expatriates district (Italy, Israel, and other Eastern Mediterranean countries), heartily applauded Collard’s speech.
Some Eastern European countries recognized a so-called state of Palestine even before the Oslo accords and the creation of the Palestinian Authority, when they were still under Soviet control, and neglected thereafter to mend that move. Sweden -- under a leftwing coalition dependent on the immigrant vote -- was the first Western European country last September to grant formal recognition to post-Oslo Palestine. Some national assemblies, in the United Kingdom, in Spain, and now in France, followed and quite frivolously indulged in non-binding resolutions.
However, the French vote was passed under such Pyrrhic conditions that the whole exercise may come to an end.