One of the criticisms most often hurled at Philippe de Villiers is his association with Paul-Marie Coûteaux, who is now a member of de Villiers' party, the MPF. Coûteaux has a long CV that includes numerous ministerial posts in various governments, authorship of several books, including studies of Charles de Gaulle, of whom he is, apparently, a disciple, and the position of European deputy in the Parliament of Strasbourg, where, on May 16, 2001, he made the remarks translated below.
These comments by Coûteaux to the European Parliament are taken from Israel-Diaspora.
The most astonishing thing in our debate is our own astonishment, considering that the expansionist policies of Israel are the inevitable and predictable result of the growing imbalance in the region, a situation for which we bear a large measure of the responsibility. First, because most of our member States - with the notable exception of France - have not ceased, since 1967, to give the impression to Israel - a State ever more sure of itself and domineering - that it can with impunity violate international law and the UN resolutions.
In reality, in this regard as in others, we have followed Washington and we continue to close our eyes to the theocratic course of this religious State whose successive governments have been under the aegis of fanatical parties and minorities who have no cause to envy other religious fanatics of the region. For these reasons, we must envisage sanctions against Israel.
But there is another serious imbalance for which we have our share of the responsibility, and that is the imbalance of military force. We must envisage - I do not hesitate to say it - providing the Arab nations with sufficient military strength, including sufficient nuclear power, so that Israel does not get it into its head that it can get away with anything. That was the policy adopted by my country in the '70's when it provided Iraq with nuclear capability. We destroyed it.(1) So now we are persisting in our policy of imbalance and what is happening today is but the unfortunate, yet inevitable, result of our blindness and our collective cowardice.
(1) It is not entirely clear who destroyed what. It sounds like he means that the attempt to balance the power between Israel and the Arab States was destroyed.
It is difficult to imagine a more ignorant point of view. No matter how much he hates Israel, he cannot say that Israel is out to dominate the region, when it has been clear for years that the Arab/Muslim States and the jihad they wage are the "domineering" world-conquering force that must be stemmed and prevented, at all costs, from acquiring nuclear weapons. This man belongs in the Front National, or in Dieudonné's camp, not in the MPF.
A French-language Jewish website, Primo-Europe, responds to Paul-Marie Coûteaux.
Paul-Marie Coûteaux would have a hard time explaining how Israel has violated UN resolutions (especially the one put forth at the time he was born, agreed to by the Jews, refused by the Arabs, that has resulted in only the Hebrew State celebrating its 56th birthday last May, instead of two States that would have been celebrating a 56th birthday. The Palestinian State, refused by its people, is instead celebrating 56 years of Naqba - catastrophe).
While he's at it, Mr. Coûteaux would do well to show us how this country is under the aegis of fanatical parties (...) Is it because it possesses a Supreme Court that has sided more often with Arabs against the Jews than our own 17th Chamber (of deputies), which has sided with Jews in cases where, at issue, was the assimilation of the Jewish faith to Nazism?
He envisages sanctions? Was the MPF already slumming in the sterile land of that most idiotic of organizations: France-Palestine?
Note: France-Palestine is a French organization of solidarity with the PLO.
Mr. Paul-Marie Coûteaux can relax. The Iranian president is in the process of fulfilling his wishes. The only difference is that he has the firm intention of using this nuclear weapon against all "Islamophobics", Jews and Crusaders combined.
Mr. Coûteaux is perhaps unaware that the definition of Islamophobia established by Tehran, includes all women who are not decently veiled and all human beings who drink alcohol or eat pork?
On November 21, 1999, at the convention where the RPF party (see note at end) was founded, Coûteaux declared: "In truth, what are we? Not very much if we cannot think big, if we are not able to rise to the occasion that History affords us."
"Not very much"? The future proved him right. We must savor the few moments of lucidity of this bizarre character...
Jean-Gérard Lapacherie of the MPF responds in turn to Primo-Europe and explains how Coûteaux came to be a member:
Madame, monsieur, dear friends,
The facts on which your reasoning is based and the texts that you cite are accurate. My only reservation is on the interpretation that you make of them.
In 2001, Paul Marie Coûteaux had been a European deputy since 1999 (or '98). But he was not part of the MPF. At the time he was on the slate headed by Charles Pasqua and Philippe de Villiers, that is true, but he "belonged" to "Demain la France" (Note: I have no knowledge of this group) and to the RPF. He was follower of Pasqua. The position he expressed was not that of the MPF. In and of itself, this position is in the direct line of "France's Arab policy", which Coûteaux, being a diplomat posted in Cairo, knew perfectly. It was in the name of this policy that France (with Chirac as Prime Minister) in 1975, delivered to Iraq a laboratory of nuclear research, that was to allow Saddam Hussein to acquire the atomic bomb. The laboratory, Osirak, was destroyed by Israel in 1981.
But where, in my opinion, the position taken by Coûteaux is false (and I don't know if he would defend it today), is that he did not understand the nature of "nuclear dissuasion" or of the balance of terror. This functioned perfectly between the United States and the Soviet Union, in view of the immense size of both countries. Israel is too small, too limited, for the atom bombs that it possesses to dissuade other atomic powers from attacking it. Even before Israel had time to respond, its territory could be destroyed by two or three bombs.
The position taken by Mr. Coûteaux in 2001 is not that of the MPF. The MPF, it is true, is attached to Lebanon (especially Christian Lebanon) for historical reasons, but it considers the security of Israel, a nation among others (the MPF advocates the rights of nations), and the right of Israel to assure its own security, as an absolute, that cannot be reduced, negotiated or bartered.
He is very careful not to blame Coûteaux for the Arab policy itself, but only for his misguided belief in a balance of terror between Israel and the Arab world. But Coûteaux, though not the author of the Arab policy, not only "knew" it but advocated it. It is hard to believe he really thought Israel's power would be fairly counterbalanced by numerous Arab States having atomic weapons, unless he had a completely paranoid vision of Israel as a supremely powerful terrorist State bent on destroying everything in its path.
If Lapacherie does not know how Coûteaux feels about this today, he should ask him.
Note: A brief search on the RPF (Rassemblement Pour la France) mentioned above yielded this result: On November 21, 1999 the RPF was founded, bringing under its banner dissidents from the RPR (Rassemblement pour la République) and the MPF (Mouvement pour la France). On July 19, 2000, the MPF left the RPF, apparently taking Coûteaux with them. Why did Coûteaux not stay with the RPF, if he was, as Lapacherie says, a follower of Charles Pasqua, the leader of the RPF?
I am not familiar enough with the RPR or the RPF to know what their ideological differences were.