Monday, December 04, 2006

Francophonic Zionism

Having found a way to make a paper about early 18th century France somehow about Jewish nationalism, it's probably time to call it a night. (So as to get up early and, you know, fix the paper.) That said, here's a fun article that's an open letter from an Israeli, Claude Sitbon, to French Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal. Sitbon calls for a new French policy regarding the Middle East, which is all well and good, but more interestingly calls for Israel to be included in something called the "International Francophone Organization (OIF)." Oyf, indeed!

Sitbon notes that Israel is "a country where about 1 million French-speakers live"--does this mean people who can conjugate "faire," or people whose first language is French? Beyond the often-cited numbers on the French aliyah, plus whichever Francophone Jews may have gone directly from North Africa to Israel, I'm almost certain I've heard both French Jews and Israelis comment on how much French you hear these days in Israel, more than Hebrew in some places, it seems. But can Israel be considered a Francophone country? If so, the possibilities for what research I could do under the header of French and French Studies have just expanded exponentially.


Anonymous said...

I don't know, but I think they stuff French fries into their falafel.

Jacob T. Levy said...

The linguistic standards for membership in La Francophonie are, let us say, not high. Members Albania, Bulgaria, and Greece, for no apparent reason; and every former French colony in the world, no matter how few French speakers there are in it (e.g. Vietnam) or how briefly it was a colony (e.g. Egypt). France is traditionally eager to have as many members as possible, so as to have a rival Commonwealth and to look internationally important. If Israel requests membership or observer status and is denied, that would be the first time I've ever heard of any country being shut out. It would also, of course, be entirely typical for Israel's international status.

Alex B. said...

I think it's a great idea. Israel is much more French-speaking than, say, Romania or Vietman, both members of the Francophonie.

Anonymous said...

Hah, very good article. At home Segolene Royal is not on the good side of most French Jews (most prefer her rival Sarkozy), but it seems like she was greeted quite warmly in Israel.
French Election 2007