French Pres Asked Benjamin Netanyahu To Stay Away From Solidarity March. He Didn't.

by
Suzanne Robertson
Originally planning not to attend, Mr Netanyahu changed his mind after learning that two political rivals were going.

Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks in Paris are not being taken lightly.  Instead of showing support and sympathy for France and the victims of the vicious attack, he called for French Jews to emigrate to Israel.

Was his message "France can't protect you, we will"? 

It wasn't just his remarks that infuriated some, his appearance there was not appreciated as it shifted the focus away from supporting the people of France. 

Francois Hollande, the French president, reportedly did not want the march overshadowed by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and asked that the prime minister stay away. He initially agreed but reversed his decision based on two political rivals who were going - Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, and Naftali Bennett, the industry minister and leader of the Jewish Home party.

Once Netanyahu announced he was attending, French authorities invited Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority leader, as a counterweight, reported the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

The Israeli prime minister was also taking to task for elbowing his way to the front of the parade to join other world leaders. Additionally, he tried to cut in line for a bus that took guests to the start of the march.  Once the march began, things didn't get any better. When a woman gave a pro-Isreal shout, Netanyahu waved to the crowd, an inappropriate gesture in light of the somber mood remembering slain journalists

In defense of his attendance at the march, Netanyahu said “There is great significance in what the world saw, the Prime Minister of Israel marching with all the world leaders in a united effort against terrorism, or at least in a call for unity. This is something the State of Israel has been saying for many years.”

Meanwhile, President Obama's administration admitted it erred by failing to send a higher-ranking US representative to the Paris unity march.

"I think it's fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

 

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