It's its not everyday that two senior ambassadors debate on one of the world's most popular social networks. But that's exactly what happened this week when the French ambassador to Washington, Gerard Araud and his Israeli counterpart Ron Dermer, exchanged barbs in front of everyone on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It all started with tweets by the senior French ambassador, who was formerly French ambassador to Israel and the United Nations. Araud retweeted statements made by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in conversations on achieving peace in Syria, which stated that "there can't be a political negotiation when one side is murdering the other."
Israel's ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, responded in kind to Araud's tweets, implying hypocrisy on the part of the French ambassador. "hmmm. Wonder if that wisdom will one day be applied to when Jews are being murdered in Israel," read his sarcastic tweet.
Araud waited a day and chose not to respond directly to Dermer, but his indirect response was sufficient:"Israel/Palestine. So predictable that any pretext leads one side to declare that the other one is evil."
After users responded to his tweets, including some Israelis, Araud addressed the subject with another tweet: "A tweet on Syria. An unrelated reaction on Israel/Palestine and an outpouring of one-sided tweets without any link with the first tweet." Araud later posted a third tweet: "Israel/Palestine. Feeding the passion instead of analyzing the situation from both sides is a good way to escape the real issues."
Araud has a problematic record in Israel. In 2004, when he served as ambassador to Israel, he complained about the Israeli attitude to his country and said in a radio interview that Israelis are compulsively anti-French.
Furthermore, he claimed that anti-Semitic incidents around the world go unmentioned in Israel, while any anti-Semitic graffiti in France makes headlines. As an example, he mentioned an incident in which two synagogues were burned in Europe. This went unnoticed in Israel, yet, he said, any statement by French personalities gets wide exposure in local media outlets.