France's Dr. Dumb

Michael Freund,

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צילום: ערוץ 7
Michael Freund
Michael Freund served as Deputy Communications Director in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office under Binyamin Netanyahu during his first term of office. He is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that searches for and assists the Lost Tribes of Israel and other "hidden Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. In addition, Freund is a correspondent and syndicated columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and authors a popular blog on Middle East affairs, Fundamentally Freund. A native New Yorker, Freund is a graduate of Princeton University and holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia. He has lived in Israel for the past 19 years and remains a loyal New York Mets fan....

He is a prominent businessman and philanthropist, well-known to his French countrymen and to statesmen alike, and he even received an honorary doctorate this week from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

But don't let all that fool you. Baron Eric de Rothschild is still the purveyor of some of the most inane opinions you are ever likely to hear (outside Israel's present governing coalition, of course).

In an interview last week with the Jerusalem Post, he laid bare his outlook on everything ranging from Israeli Beduin to Jacques Chirac. Here is one of Mr. Rothschild's choice pearls of wisdom: "The one thing you can't say is that France is an anti-Semitic country."

Oh, really? Tell that to the thousands of French Jews moving to Israel each year who are fleeing the hatred back home. Or to the family of Ilan Halimi, the 23-year old French Jew who was tortured and murdered several months ago by anti-Semitic thugs.

But perhaps Mr. Rothschild's most ridiculous comment of all had to do with Jewish charitable giving. The Post story reported as follows: "the priority for Jewish giving, he said, should be helping Israeli Arabs."

That's right. Despite Israel's crumbling educational system, underdeveloped development towns, and myriad other social and economic problems, Mr. Rothschild nonetheless thinks that the Jewish people's number one philanthropic priority should be helping the Arabs.

All one can say in the face of such astonishing foolishness is that while Mr. Rothschild may indeed be a "baron", it would seem more appropriate to refer to him as France's own Dr. Dumb.