Diplomats don’t make many mistakes. Certainly not mistakes like attending a reception for 20 minutes and posing for pictures and also giving positive comments.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz is keeping them honest. But what is afoot here? Let us take a look.
Marine Le Pen had invited about 100 diplomats to a luncheon earlier this month during a visit to UN Headquarters in New York. But only four accepted: the envoys from Trinidad-Tobago, Armenia and Uruguay — who obviously are of no concern to her at all — and the fourth guest, Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor.
No official American representative had agreed to meet with Le Pen. Neither did any leader of the Jewish community. She also failed in her attempt to stage a photo op at the Holocaust Museum. The French ambassador to the UN sent a sharp message that she is persona non grata in the United Nations building. But the Israeli envoy? He shook her hand and spoke of the importance that must be accorded to a wide variety of opinions. “We flourish on the diversity of ideas,” Prosor said. “We talked about Europe, about other issues and I enjoyed the conversation very much.”
For those who do not know, the party founded by Le Pen’s father is one of the most anti-Semitic and ultra-nationalist parties in Europe. What Israel hopes to gain from this is beyond comprehension. Or is it so desperate to counter Palestinian gains in public opinion in Europe?
Le Pen herself was quoted by French news agencies on Saturday, saying that the Israeli ambassador’s presence at the event “was not an error.” According to Le Pen, “Please, no one actually imagines that the ambassador burst through the wrong door.”
The National Front leader added, “It is impossible to converse with Marine Le Pen for 20 minutes without knowing who she is.” According to Le Pen, “There was nothing unclear or ambiguous about our meeting.”
Israel Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor said that the meeting with Le Pen was “a fundamental mistake and does not reflect a change in Israeli policy towards the National Front.” According to Palmor, “[Prosor’s] arrival at the event was the result of a misunderstanding, and everything that occurred afterwards was the result of an unintended mistake in judgment.”
However, sources in the Foreign Ministry noted that it was a highly embarrassing incident. “By comparison, Congo’s Ambassador to the UN, who also came to the event, realized at the door what kind of event it was, and immediately turned around and left,” the sources said. “It was a serious error.”