Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Segolene and "the Lobby"

David Seaton's News Links
For an American politician Segolene Royal's treatment of France's powerful Jewish lobby must seem like science fiction. In fact it is very simple. Imagine if say, the entire African-American community in the United States were militantly pro-Palestinian and decided their vote mainly on that issue. How would a Democratic politician play that? Lose media support and financing or lose a solid 18% of the popular vote on an issue that is not decisive for the rest of the electorate? The price of elitist politics is that when issues become so simple and self-evident that "you don't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows," then the media's "gate-keeper" function ceases to exist and numerically small, but powerful groups being able to control the behavior of the elites no longer guarantees their achieving desired outcomes. DS
A snub from Segolene Royal - Haaretz
Abstract: It was a very embarrassing moment. The scene: the lobby of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. The players: Segolene Royal's spokesman Julian Dray and a representative of CRIF, the umbrella organization of the Jewish community in France. "I have nothing to talk to you about!" said Dray heatedly to the astonished Jewish representative. "You have sold your soul to the other side; you have nothing to look for with us. Go back to your friend Nicolas Sarkozy; he's your landlord." The CRIF representative tried with all his might to convince Dray that his organization is taking an absolutely objective position with regard to the presidential race in France. But Dray stuck to his guns. "You are going to pay dearly for your one-sided mustering," he went on to shout. "Segolene will be president, and you will have to pray for her to receive you for a discussion."(...) It is an open secret that the Jews as an organized body have sworn allegiance to the candidate of the right, Sarkozy. At every opportunity, he meets with them and consults with them. At every opportunity they evince enthusiasm for him that is intended to convey the impression they are supporting him in his race for the presidency. This is the reason Royal did not accept an invitation to meet with the heads of the organization in recent months. This is also the reason she ignored their existence when she decided at the last minute to pop over to Israel and the reason the party spokesman related to the representative of the organization as though he were a leper.(...) recently they have been attacked by an acute desire to resemble the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). For years, the American lobby has been standing up as a defensive wall behind the hawkish views in Israel. The heads of the right have been greeted as heroes at its conferences, whereas the heads of the left have pleaded in vain for similar treatment. The heads of CRIF took a step and learned it came with a price. "It has never yet happened to us that we have not had a connection with any key person in a candidate's headquarters," admitted a senior figure in the organization.(...) It is no wonder, then, that the first to make accusations against Royal in the wake of her visit to Israel have been the heads of CRIF.(...) When the alliance between the Jews and the presidential candidate of the right becomes a consolidated fact, the voters from Muslim backgrounds will flock to the Socialist candidate to serve as a counterweight to the Jews. To the extent that the Jews will expect a return for their support of Sarkozy, the Muslims will expect a similar return for their support of Royal. If this happens, the distance between the two communities, which are embroiled in any case, is liable to grow even larger. READ IT ALL

1 comment:

Boz said...

I really think this article described the dilemma for French Jews excellently. The organized Jewish community has already thrown in their lot with Sarkozy (to the anger of the Royal camp), but now all of a sudden Royal is the toughest candidate on Iran and a stronger supporter of Israel than Chirac.
French Election 2007