French President Francois Hollande has criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over transforming a memorial ceremony in France into an electoral campaign, saying Netanyahu tried to hijack the event. The ceremony was held on November 1 to commemorate a Rabbi and three Jewish children who were killed during a shooting in France’s southern city of Toulouse in March. “Netanyahu came to France to campaign and we knew that,” Hollande said.
“Since I was there, he toned down his speech but it wasn’t good to transform this ceremony into an electoral meeting,” Hollande stated, adding, “It wasn’t appropriate.”A French weekly recently exposed Hollande’s remarks. Last year, former French President Nikolas Sarkozy called Netanyahu “a liar” in a private meeting with US President Barack Obama during a G20 summit. He was not aware the microphones in the meeting room had been switched on. “I cannot bear Netanyahu, he’s a liar,” Sarkozy said. According to a French interpreter, Obama replied, “You’re fed up with him but I have to deal with him even more than you.” MKA/HSN/AZ