July 26, 2014
One event I regretted missing on my last visit to London was a party at the Polish Club, which has been refurbished and has a new Polish prince as its president and has good Poles and active members such as Ladies Belhaven and Hamilton, both friends of mine, keeping the home fires burning. I have often written about my love for Poland, a heroic country that has been betrayed by everyone throughout its history, but has always remained proud, refusing to play the victim, with 90 percent of Poles belonging to the Catholic Church in today’s greedy secular world. A Polish Pope was the first to challenge the Soviets, and Lech Walesa led the charge. But what really gets me about the Poles is their refusal to evoke the betrayals they’ve endured each time they go into a public forum. Just look at their foreign minister Radek Sikorski; have any of you heard him begin his speeches by reminding the world that seven million Poles perished during World War II?
Hint, hint. Yes, I mean Israel, and when was the last time an Israeli politician did not remind us of the Holocaust even when debating fruit prices from the Holy Land versus Spanish oranges? Now we all know because of such practices victimhood has been debased, except for real victims, like the Palestinians, for example. Victimhood in America is a badge of honor. Women, gays, transsexuals, criminals, blacks, Indians, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, even billionaires claim it. (The chief executive of Blackstone, whose net worth is somewhere over ten billion, recently did, comparing his taxes to Hitler’s march into Poland.) Victimhood, however coveted a status it is in America, I find terribly humiliating. Victimhood was the reason Israel became a state in 1948 at the expense of the local Arab population. And it would have taken a heart of stone to say no back then. There were some damn good people among Israel’s founders, starting with David Ben-Gurion, who admitted that had he been an Arab he would have fought Jewish settlers to the death, and the worldly Abba Eban, whose harshest criticism of the Palestinians was that they never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Compare these good men with the present thugs of today’s Israeli government, and weep.
The trouble with an all-powerful Israel today is how to remain a victim 69 years after the last Jew died in a German concentration camp. Ah, but that’s easy; bring in the American brigade of Podhoretz, Kristol, Decter, and others of their ilk who see anti-Semitism behind the slightest criticism of Israel, even when it comes from Israelis themselves. (Self-loathing Jews, they’re called.) Two American writer friends of mine, Joe Sobran and Pat Buchanan, had their careers more or less ruined by people like Norman Podhoretz and Abe Rosenthal of the Times who charged them with anti-Semitism for writing such pearls as “terrorism sounds more and more like a surrogate word for enemies of Israel,” or “the chief polemical project of modern Zionism has been to forge an ideological high redefinition of anti-Semitism that puts criticism of Israel on the same plane with Nazism.” The response to such pearls was immediate and rather over-the-top. Rosenthal asserted that such words “could lead to Auschwitz.” Bill Buckley simply fired Joe Sobran. Buchanan lost most of the 400 newspapers that syndicated his column. William Scranton, an ex-governor of Pennsylvania who reported to president Nixon on the Middle East that the U.S. should be more even-handed, was never heard of again.