There is something intriguing about François Hollande, the socialist president of France. Many of his policies boil down to sheer liberal mantras in the style of Paul Krugman or the New York Review of Books. He indulges in overtaxation, big government, inflated social programs, and such cultural demagoguery as compulsory gender parity, gay marriage, and electoral franchise for resident aliens. On the other hand, he departs sharply from the left-wing agenda on some issues.
He seems to be serious about abiding by the EU free market rules, submitting to the euro's deflationary discipline, cutting the national debt, and balancing the budget. And he is expressing, along with his Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls, genuine sympathy and concern for the French Jews — and Israel.
On June 30, barely three weeks after Hollande's election, the French President's Office devoted a dignified obituary to Yitzhak Shamir, who had just passed away in Jerusalem, calling him a "builder of the state of Israel" and a "courageous man." The French Left used to describe the late Israeli prime minister as a "former terrorist" and a "fascist."