Oops Report: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner

French FM Bernard Kouchner almost got Israel into some serious trouble yesterday, when he misspoke and said Israel would “eat” Iran. Reuters reports:

“I honestly don’t believe that it will give any immunity to Iran … because you will eat them before,” Kouchner was quoted by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper as saying in an interview about the possibility of Tehran gaining a nuclear weapon.

But the French Foreign Ministry issued a brief statement later saying Koucher had said ‘hit’ — meaning carrying out a surgical pre-emptive strike — rather than ‘eat’.

We all know that native French speakers often drop the H from English words. A little more prudence on the part of Kouchner and Ha’aretz wouldn’t have been so hard, though, right? It seems like a silly mistake to make when tensions between Israel and Iran are so high.

Reuters, at least, had the wit to remind us of “Allo Allo,” a British sitcom whose humor relied almost singularly on French mispronunciation (see video above).

You can find Kouchner’s Ha’aretz interview, corrected, here.

Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

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