Two thoughts about Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund and currently Riker’s Island’s most distinguished resident…
Before his arrest, he was considered the clear front-runner in France’s upcoming presidential election, set for next April. Were he elected, he would have been the sixth Jewish leader of France. Despite its reputation for anti-Semitism, France has elected five Jewish prime ministers. The only other country with a comparable record is Israel (10 Jewish prime ministers, nine Jewish presidents).
Here they are in chronological order: Leon Blum (1936-37, March-April 1938, 1946-47; Rene Mayer, January-June 1953; Pierre Mendes-France, 1953-54; Michel Debre (Jewish father), 1959-62; Laurent Fabius (Jewish father), 1984-86.
They don’t settle for halfway measures when they pick a French Jewish leader. Compare that to American Jewish leaders, who don’t lead America and don’t lead Jews.
If Strauss-Kahn manages to overcome his legal troubles and come back to win the election, France will become the second country to have a Jewish alleged sexual predator in its presidential palace.
Jon Stewart pointed out last night that Strauss-Kahn’s alleged victim is an African immigrant, which means that the head of the IMF was (allegedly) doing to an African woman what the global economic system is doing to Africa. “He’s posing for his own political cartoon,” Stewart said.
Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).