Instant View: Sarkozy’s Netanyahu insult shows he's the aspiring clown of Europe

Nicolas Sarkozy has said Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is a “liar” in conversation with a pliant Barak Obama. But both men are mediocrities with no room to criticise anyone

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Send in the clowns
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The Commentator
On 8 November 2011 11:56

If there’s one European leader who must be trembling in his boots at the thought that Silvio Berlusconi might soon be forced from office it is surely Nicolas Sarkozy.

For, if the Italian leader goes, the title “Clown of Europe” is Sarkozy’s for the taking.

Only last month he was caught telling British Prime Minister David Cameron that he had “missed a good opportunity to shut up” over the woes of the Eurozone.

His incompetence as president is rarely disputed even by his supporters, many of whom are so appalled by his performance they’re leaving in droves for the far-Right alternative offered by Marine Le Pen.

But this strutting mediocrity’s arrogance knows no bounds.

Today it has emerged that he called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “liar” in remarks to President Obama at the G-20 summit in Cannes:

“I can't see him anymore, he's a liar," Sarkozy was quoted by the BBC as saying.

"You may be sick of him, but me, I have to deal with him every day," Obama replied.

Obama’s response is shameful in itself, not quite agreeing with Sarkozy’s characterisation though, passively at least, validating its legitimacy.  

But who does Sarkozy think he is? And in what sense is Netanyahu a “liar”?

On the contrary, if the Israeli Prime Minister can be criticised for anything it’s surely his candour.    

He is quite straightforward in setting out his vision for peace. Unlike his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas – a shape shifting weasel if ever there was one – he does not say one thing to the international community and quite another to his people back home.

He’s tough, yes. But he lives in a tough neighbourhood, and he acts accordingly.

So, again, in what sense is Benjamin Netanyahu a “liar”?

It could of course be displaced anti-Semitism: the image of the “shifty Jew” whom you can never really trust. It could be pure ignorance: French foreign policy in the Middle East is blatantly pro-Palestinian – a position you can only really sustain if you close your eyes and ears to all the evidence.

But then again, it may just be the petulant rantings of a man who knows he’s been a failure and needs to project those failings onto others.

In fact, that’s where we’ll leave it. Nicolas Sarkozy, the aspiring clown of Europe.

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