The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, June 05, 2002  

Ambassador an Apparent Participant in Conspiracy

While Larry Miller and Andrew Sullivan traffic in fantasies of terrorism in the French capital, Israel's ambassador to France, Elie Barnavi, is standing by his original take on recent events, namely, that the May 23 fire at the Israeli Embassy in Paris was the result of an accident.

In the latest issue of the Jerusalem Report we find an interview of Ambassador Barnavi by Nicholas Simon, “Brief Encounter with Elie Barnavi.” Unfortunately, Simon does not provide the date on which the interview occurred, but it is the latest mention of the fire we have encountered in the U.S. and foreign media.

Asked how the fire affected him, Ambassador Barnavi said, “I feel sadness for the loss of collective memory and the efforts and work of dozens of years; but at the same time, great relief that no lives were lost. I thank all the French politicians, police and rescue services, private citizens and institutions who offered help.”

Then, asked specifically, “Was it an accident, or could it have been arson?”, Barnavi responded, “The investigation is still going on, but the signs indicate it was an accident caused by a short circuit.” [Ed.: Emphasis added.]

And that one sentence is all he had to say. We have not clipped the quote.

One can't help but think Miller and Sullivan would be thrilled to learn the fire was caused by arson, particularly were it sparked by native Frenchmen. Such an outcome would enable both men to continue avoiding the troublesome issue of “French anti-Semitism” and face up to the likelihood that this alleged phenomenon reflects the actions not of the French themselves but of a small minority of the many Arab and North African Muslims who have made France their home.

Or perhaps Miller and Sullivan will make Ambassador Barnavi a participant in their daydreams, the sordid conspiracies that have captivated their imaginations. He was, after all, appointed to the French ambassadorship by that old softy, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

Time will tell.

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