France Plotzes as Sarko Jr Weds Jewish Heiress

Nuptials spark anti-Semitic debate
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2008 8:55 AM CDT
Jean Sarkozy, the son of French president Nicolas Sarkozy, walks the streets of Neuilly-sur-Seine, west of Paris, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2008.   (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
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(Newser) – Jean Sarkozy, the 22-year-old son of France's president, married his childhood sweetheart last night in a ceremony so under wraps that guests were informed via text message. A possible reason for the secrecy? His bride, the heiress to a huge electronics company, is Jewish—and the marriage has set off a wave of soul-searching in the French press about the country's legacy of anti-Semitism.

One of France's most popular columnists alleged that Jean Sarkozy would convert to Judaism, adding, "He'll go far, that kid." Those remarks got the writer fired, opened several lawsuits, and set off a huge debate in France. The younger Sarkozy, who is also a politician, said the rumors of conversion are false, and that he was so shocked by anti-Semitic graffiti and blogs that "I ask myself where it all comes from."