It’s a list of “the world’s most powerful people,” 100 of the bankers and media moguls, publishers and image makers who shape the lives of billions. It’s an exclusive, insular club, one whose influence stretches around the globe but is concentrated strategically in the highest corridors of power.
More than half its members, at least by one count, are Jewish.
It’s a list, in other words, that would have made earlier generations of Jews jump out of their skins, calling attention, as it does, to their disproportionate influence in finance and the media. Making matters worse, in the eyes of many, would no doubt be the identity of the group behind the list - not a pack of fringe anti-Semites but one of the most mainstream, glamorous publications on the newsstands.
Yet the list doesn’t appear to have generated concern so far, instead drawing expressions of satisfaction and pride from the lone Jewish commentator who’s responded in writing.
Published between ads for Chanel and Prada, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, it’s the 2007 version of “The Vanity Fair 100,” the glossy American magazine’s annual October ranking of the planet’s most important people. Populated by a Cohen and a Rothschild, a Bloomberg and a Perelman, the list would seem to conform to all the traditional stereotypes about areas of Jewish overrepresentation.
Joseph Aaron, the editor of The Chicago Jewish News, thinks it’s a list his readers should “feel very, very good about.”
“Talk about us being accepted into this society, talk about us having power in this society,” Aaron wrote this week, in apparent reference to Jewish life in the United States. “Talk about anti-Semitism being a thing of the past, talk about Jews no longer needing to be afraid to be visible and influential.”
Maybe there has been little reaction because no one had read the list yet. (This issue of Vanity Fair arrived at my place a month ago, and I hadn’t even cracked it.) Jews among the Top 10 are the Google Twins, Stephen Schwarzman (finance), Steven Spielberg (media) and Michael Bloomberg (politics and finance media).