Gurfinkiel on Israel, Trump, and the French-Jewish Community
December 22, 2016
Middle East Forum fellow Michel Gurfinkiel appeared December 22 on Tipping Point, the weekly podcast of The Israel Project (TIP), to discuss Israel, the new US administration, and the future of the French-Jewish community.
"One of the most disruptive factors affecting French society nowadays is the impact of mass immigration from non-European countries, and especially from Islamic countries. There was a reluctance to address this problem for many reasons - good reasons and bad reasons - but today it has become almost impossible to ignore the issue."
"The French are totally schizophrenic when it comes to Israel ... [one] hemisphere of the brain is anti-Israel, accepts all of the pro-Palestinian rhetoric and sees Israel as a problematic, neo-fascist country and so on. And the other part of the brain sees Israel clearly, as a start-up nation, as the only democracy in the Middle East, as a liberal country that doesn't burn homosexuals alive. So, in fact, the French are completely schizophrenic, as I said, and it will take some time before the better part of the brain takes over."
"France is a great nation and a great power but is undergoing a collective nervous breakdown."
"The French constantly come with that concept that they have an important role to play [in Israel-Palestinian negotiations]. No. Nobody pays attention to the role of France. France can be an important secondary actor, [but] it cannot be the prime mover.
"The question is whether Trump will shape into a neo-Reaganian president and restore American world power. If the answer is yes, everything else is irrelevant."
"Some of the most open-minded Arab leaders and decision-makers I've met are from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states -- not from Egypt, not from other places, but from these petroleum monarchies. They have now new generations of people who have been trained in the West and who met a lot of people in the West and understand that their countries must evolve. They know quite well the reality about Israel. They not only understand that Israel is strategically important for them against Iran and so on, but some of them say openly that Israel can be important for their [economic] development."
"I am moderately optimistic about the evolution of the Arab world and of the Islamic world."
"French Jews are pessimistic about their future in their home country. They experimented a revival since 1945 and cannot envision any regression to a near-Marrano status."
Related Topics: Immigration, Israel & Zionism, US policy
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