in the garden

 

Feb 2005 Journal

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A tale of Jewish Delilahs

I was only moderately surprised at the news (Jewish Chronicle, 10 December) that Kimberley Quinn is Jewish. My blasé attitude does not stem from a suspicion that many Jewish women are femmes fatales, but rather from pride in the fact that their allure can bring down governments - or, at least, home secretaries.

It was ever thus! If you don't believe me, a reading of the Megillah Esther at the upcoming festival of Purim should cure your scepticism.

A crowned monarch who, within living memory, fell under the sway of a Jewish charmer was Carol of Romania. He made Madame Lupescu his mistress at the same time as his subjects grew increasingly antisemitic. Small wonder that he lost his crown in 1940.

During the previous decade Austria's Catholic Chancellor Schuschnigg, widowed in a Nazi-engineered car accident, paid court to the half-Jewish sculptress Anna Mahler - only to be turned down by the great composer's daughter.

A more bizarre story involved the second most powerful man in 1940s Russia, Premier Vyacheslav Molotov, and his Jewish wife Polina, Commissar of the Perfumery Industry. Polina greeted the newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Moscow, Golda Meir, in Yiddish - a transgression that earned her six years in the Gulag. However, after Stalin's death, the Molotovs were re-united again, and lived happily ever after.

A romance across the Judeo-Christian divide which almost provoked a constitutional crisis was, of course, President Clinton's dalliance with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

This is a show that will run and run. In a year or two the spotlight will switch to France, where the Young Pretender Sarkozy stands poised to snatch the crown from the grizzled head of President Chirac. And who do you think is Madame Sarkozy - a Jewess of course!
Richard Grunberger

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