- By James DownieJames Downie is an editorial researcher at FP.
Nicolas Sarkozy may want to keep his opinions to himself next time Benjamin Netanyahu comes to Paris — that is, if he ever wants to come back.
Israel’s foreign ministry has accused France of unacceptable meddling in its internal affairs over a reported comment by President Nicolas Sarkozy.
He was quoted by Israeli TV calling for Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who leads a far-right party, to be sacked.
The plea, which has not been confirmed nor denied by officials, was allegedly made during a meeting with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu last week.
Israeli Arab leaders have accused the foreign minister of anti-Arab racism[…]
Israeli Channel Two reported that President Sarkozy advised Mr Netanyahu to “get rid” of Mr Lieberman during their meeting in Paris.
He also suggested that his predecessor Tzipi Livni be restored to the post, according to the report.
“You need to get rid of this man… You need to remove him from this position,” Mr Sarkozy reportedly said, to which Mr Netanyahu replied that “in private [Mr Lieberman] is pragmatic”.
Sarkozy also compared Lieberman’s private pleasantness to French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who has often been attacked for anti-Semitic comments. Regardless, given that the meeting was private, it would be interesting to learn who leaked the details to Israeli TV.
GERARD CERLES/AFP/Getty Images
Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland.| The List |