Skip To Content
Breaking News

Sarkozy Makes Nice With Bibi

French President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged his friendship to Benjamin Netanyahu in a condolence letter written to the Israeli prime minister.

“You have my friendship, and our differing views on the problems of the Middle East, and the interpretations appearing in the media, have no effect on it,” Sarkozy wrote, according to Reuters, citing two unnamed Israeli officials in the prime minister’s office. The message was included in a letter of condolence to Netanyahu over the death of his father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi.

The message comes more than a week after reports that Sarkozy called the Israeli prime minister a “liar” and said that he “cannot stand him” during a private conversation with President Obama on Nov. 3 during the G-20 Summit.

Obama, who also made disparaging remarks against Netanyahu, also reportedly sent a condolence message but did not mention the incident.

Obama addressed the content of his conversation with Sarkozy, including expressing his disappointment with France’s vote to give the Palestinians membership in the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, and excluding his private remarks about Netanyahu.

“I had a very frank and firm conversation with President Sarkozy about that [UNESCO] issue, and that is consistent with both private and public statements that I’ve been making to everybody over the last several months,” Obama told reporters after the incident came to light.

The Israeli government has not commented on Sarkozy’s most recent letter.

The French newspaper LeFigaro reported over the weekend that Sarkozy could come to Israel in January to clarify his statements in the private conversation, according to reports. While Sarkozy reportedly has agreed to the visit in a conversation with his former envoy to the Middle East, Valerie Hoffenberg, it has not officially been confirmed.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.