This past week, the French Foreign Ministry chastised Frédéric Desagneaux, the French Consulate General in Jerusalem, because he intimated that the Jewish people have no historical connection to the land of Israel.
At a recent event held in Jerusalem celebrating “the 150th anniversary of France's contributions to archaeology in Palestine”, Desagneaux testified to the “important archaeological projects that French archaeologists had helped to uncover in Palestine,” including the Qumran Caves and Masada, only mentioning them in connection with Palestinians: “We have seen how important these heritage sites are to international recognition of Palestine, and France intends to continue to lead the movement to recognize the Palestinian's management of these sites.”
Praising the cooperation between France and the PA, Desagneaux said that “in 150 years we have moved from French archaeology to Franco-Palestinian archaeology, and of course this is a wonderful development … in 150 years we have moved from French archaeology to Franco-Palestinian archaeology, and of course this is a wonderful development.”
Desagneaux felt comfortable invalidating Jewish history because only representatives of the Palestinian Authority were invited; no Jews were there. Desagneaux never mentioned the Israeli or Jewish connection to the historical sites, and never mentioned any of the extensive cooperation between Israeli and French archaeologists.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said he was:
“shocked that the French Consul General was joining forces with those who would rewrite history to reflect specific agendas and erase the Jewish and Israeli connection to the Land of Israel.” He added that France had, wittingly or unwittingly, joined in with the PA on “denying the Jewish history of the Land of Israel, an official policy of the Palestinian Authority. It is unworthy for an official representative of France to provide assistance to this kind of propaganda, at the expense of fairness and historical truth.”
The French Consulate in Jerusalem didn’t respond to the charge, but then it’s obvious they are more interested in coddling the Arabs then in seeking historical truth. Every time the name Palestine is used, those who cherish history should remember that the name Palestine is derived from the ancient Romans’ desire to erase the fact that Jews had ever lived in Israel. After they exiled most of the Jewish people, they named the land Philistia, after the ancient enemies of the Jews, the Philistines.
But when have the French ever been known for standing up for truth? Just ask Alfred Dreyfus.