Les maudits Juifs!

Please stop sending me email. I got the message. Yes. Believe it or not I know that both Nicolas Sarkozy, the recently elected President of France, and Bernard Kouchner the current French minister of Foreign and European Affairs share a Jewish heritage.

Sarkozy lost 57 members of his family to the Holocaust and his Grandfather was Jewish from a notable Greek Sephardic family. Kouchner’s father is Jewish. OK, great. But get this – neither person is in fact Jewish, except maybe by Reform standards and, more importantly, neither considers themselves Jewish. Sarkozy, who leans to the right politically, is a Catholic who has expressed public admiration for the Pope and Kouchner, who is a limousine liberal with a swank apartment overlooking the Jardins Du Luxembourg, is too busy being fabulous to practice any religion.

Of course Sarkozy’s ascendancy in France is interesting. He was elected on an agenda meant to rid France of many of it’s cushy Socialist trappings in the hopes of making it more competitive in the world markets. He is also expected to take a hard line approach on issues addressing the rioting and dissatisfaction in France’s immigrant North African and Muslim communities. Kouchner, a leftist politician, a Nobel Prize winner and the founder of Doctors Without Borders, has serious Left wing street cred despite his independence of thought. Both are expected to foster warmer relations with the US.

But do you tipsters care about that? No. All you care about is that both politicians’ ancestors may have at one time eaten geffilte fish on Shabbat. You probably laugh whenever a character on a sitcom uses a Yiddishism, regardless of whether or not it’s funny. France is potentially about to undergo an upheaval unseen since the events of May 1968 and your interest in the matter parallels that of right wing conspiracy theorists and radical Islamic fundamentalists who see a Jew around every fucking corner. You think it’s a cause for pride, they think it’s sinister, but basically you’re both just as ignorant.

Fuck off! I got the point. I got it before you “tipped me off.” I didn’t care then and I don’t care now. The Jews have not taken over France. Sheesh.

About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • Well, I do want to say that Reform standards matter to many Jews, so let’s not dismiss them.

    Still, you’re right that neither man considers himself Jewish and the view of most Jews would be that they’re not Jewish. Neither is John Kerry, Paul Newman and although halachically Jewish, neither is George “Macaca” Allen.

    I didn’t write about this because I didn’t view them as Jewish or consider their policies to reflect their Jewish roots. If anything, this is a story about assimilation that destroys generations of Jews and keeps our numbers small and dwindling.

  • I totally agree and the apotheosis of this phenomenon is that ridiculous Adam Sandler Hannukah song. Maybe Sarkozy will make the next one.

    I can’t help thinking that if this election had been in the US much more would have been made of Sarkozy’s Jewish roots, no matter how Catholic he is now. Could he even have been elected? Never mind that he’s short which would have doomed him. God, we’re stupid.

    Also, had it been a US election, Ségolène Royal would have been uglier and worn pantsuits.

  • CK I heard a completely different story: Sarkozy’s family converted after the Holocaust, and his mother were born Jewish. He was unaware of this – as Madaline Albright was unaware that her family were JEWISH holocaust survivors.

  • Sarkozy’s election requires ck to leave off the francophobia, if only for Sarko’s honeymoon period. We feel your pain, ck.

    Sarko’s pro-US, pro-Israel, pro-Pope. What’s not to like?

  • meanwhile, content aside, what a great piece!
    CK, It’s good too hear you expressing, and growing as a bloggernalist — I sense Michael’s influence on some of the wrath here, and that’s perfectly respectable.

    France taken over by Jews– as if the Jews that come to power don’t struggle desperately to be more genteel than the gentiles, anymore than any elected official tries to transcend old identity for the sake of popularity–

    Jew-spotting is the dirtiest of guilty pleasures, and it’s scares me sometimes how much it keeps coming up in conversation– My strategy is just to let it get mentioned, and passed over as quick as possible, moving on into whatever is more interesting in the person–

    but yeah “values”? what do you mean, Yoav? What values?

  • And CK is it necessary to swear so unabashedly? Must you curse and swear like that to make a point?

    Instead of “Fuck off! I got the point.”

    You could say, “Thank you very much to all the annoying tipsters—now go away.”

    But lest I digress.

    Sarkozy will be good for France if he can continue to back up his rhetoric with action, a chronic issue that most politicians are not able to do.

  • I have next to nothing to contribute to the analysis of Sarkozy’s merits and/or potential, but I would like to say that ck’s tone is really off-putting to me, and it’s not the first time. I don’t know whether you’re trying to be cute or whether your anxiety over your tipsters’ supposed stupidity is sincere, but can you maybe try to restrain yourself from time to time? Do you read over your entries before you hit publish?

    Yes yes, I know, I can fuck off and no one is forcing me to read. I gotta say, I have enjoyed Jewlicious in the past, but lately there hasn’t been much reason to check in.

  • I could also say “Hey! Let’s get some milk and cookies!” and yes, I was a tad potty mouthed, but you’re not getting all the email… plus our tipsters may sometimes be annoying but they are a good natured bunch who understand that I was mostly kidding…

  • What kind of cookies/I love cookies/cookies and milk.. Shavuous! Nice allusion to the holiday. I better put something up fast about the holiday before sunset.

  • I was also offended by the swearing, but only because it would have added to your theme if you had used putain or merde.

  • From the evidence you present he would not be considered Jewish by Reform stanards, as he was not raised and educated as a Jew. (Having a Jewish father is not sufficient.)

  • The correct expression is “Enufffff!!!”

    That is Old English. Some people prefer the more suggestive is a little questionable “Crikey!!!”

    CK’s brand of vinegar is very nutritional but he may be tired.

  • “But get this – neither person is in fact Jewish, except maybe by Reform standards and, more importantly, neither considers themselves Jewish.”

    Here comes Leah with her annoying corrections about the Reform movement.

    A child of one Jewish and one non-Jewish parent is considered Jewish if
    1. 1 parent is Jewish
    2. raised Jewishly.

    In fancy rabbi talk that is….

    “The Central Conference of American Rabbis declares that the child of one Jewish parent is under the presumption of Jewish descent. This presumption of the Jewish status of the offspring of any mixed marriage is to be established through appropriate and timely public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people. The performance of these mitzvot serves to commit those who participate in them, both parent and child, to Jewish life.

    Depending on circumstances,

    1 mitzvot leading toward a positive and exclusive Jewish identity will include entry into the covenant, acquisition of a Hebrew name, Torah study, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and Kabbalat Torah (Confirmation).

    2 For those beyond childhood claiming Jewish identity, other public acts or declarations may be added or substituted after consultation with their rabbi.

    as found:

    Apologies for never being able to figure out how to embed a link.

  • So, let’s see; it seems to have been conclusively established that Sarkozy is not a Jew according to the Reform definition, and that he is, indeed, a Jew according to Orthodox parameters. Hmm, makes me wonder which standard is excessively legalistic and inconsistent with the fundamental values of the Jewish community at large?

  • David, we should be grateful that it’s less confusing than it would have been had they been converted by a Conservative rabbi.

  • “David, we should be grateful that it’s less confusing than it would have been had they been converted by a Conservative rabbi.”

    You know what would have been more confusing? If he had been converted by a Modern Orthodox rabbi. The haredim might never have sorted that one out.

  • david smith: How is Sarkozy Jewish by Orthodox parameters? Andree Mallah, Sarkozy’s mother, was born of a Jewish Father who converted to Catholicism and a Catholic mother. That makes Sarkozy’s mother not Jewish, and Sarkozy not Jewish either. By Orthodox standards.

    Leah: Thanks for the clarification but, I did add a qualifier, I said “may.” As you no doubt know, “the Reform Movement uses a guidelines approach and its standards are not considered binding, they are understood and applied (or not applied) in different ways by different Reform rabbis and individual Reform Jews.” I got that from Wikipedia and if it’s wrong, please by all means, go into Wikipedia and change the entry.

    Ofri: Awwww… sorry for having offended you. Sometimes I have hard days and that’s reflected in the grumpiness of my posts. I’ll try to be more compelling…

  • Hey Kelsey, that’s the point I was making on Failed Messiah to a condescending MO dude in the post about the woman whose conversion was deemed unkosher 15 years after the fact.

  • CK,

    I know you did, that’s why I didn’t say, “You fucking asshole, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you 1000 times.”

    But for the benefit of others who might not know and, you know, so I can feel like a smarty pants from time to time.

    All my love,

  • Leah, thanks for the information. I guess this would make me an agnostic reformer with an immense appreciation for the orthodox.

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