American Jewish Committee: Good for France, Bad for the Jews

Donors to the American Jewish Committee might find it curious that the organization recently issued a press release describing an incident that, a mere fourteen months earlier, it had vehemently denied. Last year, AJC Executive Director David Harris angrily rebuked donors responding to an article I published in Front Page Magazine on June 20, 2008, which he dismissed as a scurrilous lie. The article highlighted a clear conflict of interest resulting from AJC/France director Valerie Hoffenberg’s stewardship of a French government project in the Palestinian Authority. Her diplomatic efforts consisted of, in part, pressuring Israel to remove security checkpoints -- checkpoints that save Jewish lives from terrorist attacks -- in order to make way for a planned “Franco-Palestinian” industrial park in Bethlehem.

Specifically, I questioned AJC’s role in wresting potentially damaging concessions from Israel for the economic and political benefit of France and the Palestinian Authority. The industrial zone is intended to be a huge financial boon to the Palestinian Authority, which explicitly states in its national charter, articles 15 and 22, that its raison d’être is the elimination of the State of Israel. Expansion of its economic base will unequivocally result in the expansion of its terrorist base.

Fourteen months later, I still question the advisability, if not the morality, of AJC’s support of economic, political, and diplomatic initiatives on the part of entities that are hostile to the Jewish state. AJC’s donors overwhelmingly believe the organization exists to defend beleaguered world Jewry and the State of Israel. They do not contribute to the AJC for the economic benefit of an increasingly hostile French government nor that of the Palestinian Authority, whose determination to destroy Israel and to murder Jews is brazenly enunciated for domestic consumption by its police, military, media, educational, political, diplomatic, and religious institutions.

This month Hoffenberg resigned from AJC/France to join Sarkozy’s Middle East diplomatic team. She has been named France’s Special Representative for the Economic, Cultural, Commercial, Educational, and Environmental Dimensions of the Middle East Peace Process.

Hoffenberg’s new position accords her a wide-ranging portfolio. But Hoffenberg will not be creating French policy in the Middle East, she will be implementing it. And, as will be discussed, French policy toward Israel is even more unfriendly under Sarkozy than it was under Chirac. To make matters worse, Hoffenberg will join hands with the hostile European Union and the even more hostile Obama administration in determining Israel’s future. She is already referring to Tony Blair and George Mitchell as her colleagues.

It is self-evident that Hoffenberg’s U.S. and European Union “partners” are biased in favor of Arab Palestinian claims and are more than willing to turn a blind eye to the terrorism and relentless Arab hatred directed against Israel. Neither the European Union nor the Obama administration harbors any reservations about financial support for Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, despite knowledge that “humanitarian and other aid” is diverted to Jew-hatred, incitement, and terrorism against Israel. The brainwashing that their “humanitarian aid” guarantees is spawning suicide bombers for generations to come. With “partners” like these, Hoffenberg will be in an ideal position to wrest as many concessions from Israel as Sarkozy demands.

In her new post as an arm of the French diplomatic corps, Hoffenberg will harness her multitude of contacts, domestic and international -- many of which were gleaned from her years with the AJC -- to further French imperatives and to undermine those of the State of Israel. What could be more effective than choosing a supposed Jewish advocate to demand concessions that will weaken the Jewish state and strengthen her enemies? History provides a name for such individuals. Valerie Hoffenberg is a “court Jew.” Good for France, bad for Israel.

However, the ugly truth is that Hoffenberg’s role as a French diplomat preceded her appointment -- her stewardship of the Bethlehem industrial park is proof. The appointment merely formalized what AJC, until recently, had sought to conceal.

But, the real question is, how does David Harris intend to handle a situation so potentially awkward, so fraught with conflict, and so hazardous for French Jews, world Jewry, and the State of Israel once his American donors find out what has been going on?

Are they so naïve as to think that Hoffenberg’s new role as a French diplomat, which she achieved only because of her coveted position with AJC/France, can actually work in favor of Israel and world Jewry? Anti-Semites, particularly in France, believe that Jews are the power behind world governments, and to them, Hoffenberg’s ascendancy is merely another instance of Jewish power-grabbing.

In a comment to an article in the French daily, Le Figaro, one Frenchman said of Hoffenberg’s appointment:

The Zionists seized a new post ... She will advance Zionist interests first, revealing the principle objective of AJC/France, Zionist headquarters, working for the account of a foreign government.

In fact, AJC is the handmaiden of French interests and not the other way around. And what would you expect? AJC is proud of its prestige, influence, and access on the international scene. Serving the French government is a fail-safe guarantee that its access, influence, and prestige will only grow.

Furthermore, the phenomenon repeats itself elsewhere. A German Jew complained that:

The AJC is practicing appeasement toward the European governments and elites. That establishment, for its part, appreciates AJC giving them the kosher stamp of approval. AJC is thus working against Jewish interests in Europe.

But, what about French Jews? How do they view Hoffenberg’s rising star? It is wise to remember that the Fifth Republic retains certain vestiges of France’s monarchical past. Just as Louis XIV had his so called mignons -- favorites that no one dared cross -- so does Sarkozy. And Hoffenberg is one of his favorites. Neither the leadership of France’s Jewish institutions, nor Jews who enjoy power, wealth, and influence in France, are willing to exacerbate their mounting insecurity in the face of constant anti-Zionist public rhetoric by challenging Hoffenberg in her role as their supposed defender.