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Breaking: New French FM Doesn’t Hate Israel

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Good news from France, where the man picked by Nicolas Sarkozy as his foreign minister is not the execrable Hubert Védrine, but Bernard Kouchner—a socialist who supports Israel and the invasion of Iraq. (Hat tip: Occasional Reader.)

First, the press likes him because he likes them; as the co-founder of a fairly no-nonsense humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders, he likes publicity and understands the media. “He is not shy about the press,” a Paris-based journalist friend told me. “He likes it.”

Second, he’s a Socialist — although, according to a depressed Le Monde, now an officially shunned one — so his appointment is being trumpeted as an ecumenical gesture.

Third, he’s not the guy everybody thought earlier this week was in line for the job, the odious anti-American énarque poseur, Hubert Védrine.

Fourth, he’s quite popular and his appointment by Sarkozy has the zest of irony about it; Sarko’s ambition was to reverse the excesses of ’68, the student-led riots that first catapulted Kouchner into prominence.

Fifth, and for our purposes, most importantly, he’s one of the few political leaders in France open in his support for Israel and the American decision to invade Iraq. (My own favorite Kouchner moment, captured in brief by Le Nouvel Observateur, was in October 2003, when he described Tariq Ramadan, the putative Muslim “scholar” and anti-Semite so beloved by Time, the New York Times, this way: “Cet homme est une crapule intellectuelle.” Consider “crapule” a cognate. I wrote about the guy here, way back when.)

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