French Parliamentarians -2006 & 2007

Seminar Impact

Chantal Brunel, Députée (congresslady) of Seine et Marne

It has been an extremely interesting trip by the high quality of the personalities we met in Jordan, Palestinian Territories and especially in Israel. I have been impressed by the determination and the courage of Israelis to achieve peace.

Jean-Claude Lescure, Director of the Journalism School of Sciences Po

The trip to Israel was the occasion to the production of TV and radio subjects and the editing of a DVD. The discovery of Israel represented a very strong moment in the lives of the students. They had a better understanding of both Israelis and regional realities. The simplifications to which the press usually succumbs will not be theirs. Since they came back, some of them had to follow the Middle-East actuality  for media they work part time for and do an internship with. Some of them let me know that this trip had allowed them to understand  both Israel safety requirements and the complexity of the situation. I thank you on behalf of the students for the advices and help you may have brought them.

  • Jean-Pierre Plancade, president of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Commission of the Senate, joined one the trips to Middle-East. He then hosted AJC Board of Governors for lunch at the Senate and organized about 10 breakfast with  Senators members of the the Foreign Affairs and Defense Commission  and American and Israeli personalities for AJC.
  • Prime Minister Fillion recalled to the Jordanian Foreign Affairs Minister two days ago in DC that they first met a year and half ago during an AJC trip led by Valery Hoffenberg.
  • Francois Fillon, who traveled to Israel a year ago on an AJC trip and then a special advisor to UMP presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy, issued the following statement in response:

It was already a mistake on Ségolène Royal’s part to agree to speak with a Hezbollah representative; the Hezbollah is an organization that advocates for the destruction of Israel, an organization which started the war against Israel by going into Israeli territory and capturing Israeli soldiers; but to sit there and let them insult allies and friends of France without reacting, whether it was the U.S. or Israel, is an even bigger mistake.

  • Talking about Royal’s trip to the region, Sarkozy declared, “The situation over there is already very complicated.  It is thus necessary to act with great vigilance, and a great sense of responsibility.” A few days later, asked about Royal’s trip, Sarkozy insisted that had he been in a similar situation, he would not have accepted the comparison of Israel with the Nazi regime, and would have walked out of the room.  He also reiterated that Lebanon was a victim of its own lack of toughness toward Hezbollah.

2006 & 2007 Press

  • Article in the Jewish Magazine Tribune Juive citing  Valérie Hoffenberg, Jean-François Copé, and Jacques Kossowski, MPs who attended the trip
  • Article in the CRIF (umbrella Jewish organizations) Newsletter.
  • Interview on Itélé ( French tv news channel) by Claude Goasguen and Jean-François Copé citing the trip they made to MidEast in November.
  • Interview of Philippe Meunier by Al Jazira TV + article in a local newspaper in the Rhône region.
  • Excerpts Tribune Juive – monthly Jewish magazine-Issue February
    Will Peace go through an economic “new deal” ?
    by Olivia Cattan:

From her side, Valérie Hoffenberg is happy to see the enthusiasm reborn on both sides: “the skepticism made room for the will of dialogue. Out of the 37 businessmen contacted, 27 attended. The PMs were all favorable, while in the past some hesitated to go to Israel; some wondered if it was “politically correct”. It is important that the French MPs come to the Middle East and measure the difficulties of the peace process. They returned with a more just vision. It also allowed them to understand why their president is attached to Israel.

To prolong this journey, we decided to launch a press campaign in the Israeli media and in those of the Arabic world, entitled “the day after peace” to show the transformation of the region, the job creation, the economic revival if the peace was finally signed.

The Israeli and Palestinian leaders expect a lot from the French president. His frankness imposed the respect and his determination forces them to make move their lines. The trust finally returned.

  • Based on their meetings in Israel, both Jacques Kossowski and Claude Goasguen (2007 French Members of Parliament) posed questions about the French relationship with Israel to Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner:
    • Question to FM by Jacques Kossoswski – Assemblée Nationale (Parliament) February 6th 2008

My question goes to Foreign and European Affairs Minister Kouchner.

On June 25th, 2006, a Palestinian commando group of the Hamas attacked an Israeli military post, killing two soldiers and capturing the third, the corporal Gilad Shalit. Since this date, this twenty year-old man is held by his kidnappers somewhere, it seems in Gaza Strip.

The only track of life which we have is a message he was able to send to his relatives(parents) and to the Israeli authorities. I want to underline that this soldier has the double French-Israeli nationality and that his relatives(parents) are native of our country.

In the same way as Ingrid Betancourt’s unbearable situation, we have the duty not to cross(spend) under silence this captivity. Our diplomacy has to act to obtain the liberation of our fellow countryman.

So, sir Minister, I would wish, in the name of the office(desk) of the group of friendship unanimous France-Israel, so you light(enlighten) the national representation on what France begins or can begin, in dialogue with Israel and the Palestinian authorities, in particular with the president Abbas, so that the corporal Shalit can quickly find his.

  • Question to the FM by Claude Goasguen at the Parliament- November 29th 2007 Claude Goasguen, MP of Paris, chairman of the friendship group between France and Israel at the Parliament:

Mister Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, you attended yesterday the international Conference of Annapolis. The echo of this conference in the press leave a mixed feeling, between the hope which persists in seeing the enemies to take place side by side in the concert of nations yesterday, and many anxieties. We know that the topic is difficult. Since we went last week, with Jean-François Copé and other members of parliament, in Ramallah and in Tel Aviv, we understood well that things did not take place easily.

Today, sir Minister, we are a little startled by the reactions that we hear such as the comments of an absolute racism held by Hamas or those of the Iranian president, of whom we begin, regrettably! To be used to. How to manage it especially when an Algerian Minister makes comments which would be worth condemnation in front of any court in France? This person indeed accused France of being in the hands of a lobby, not hesitating to question the origins of certain French leaders.

We wonder in such a climate how to reach to set up a durable peace in this region which, for us French people, is essential.

Indeed, France, which counts a big Jewish community and a big Muslim community, cannot remain indifferent to what takes place in the Middle East.

What will be, sir Minister, the attitude of the French government following Annapolis and to prepare the conference of Paris, which, we hope for it, will be an essential stage of the march towards the peace?