By Jack Engelhard
Over at the racetrack, on Sunday, two of us were talking about the Kentucky Derby, me, sipping vodka, and this horse player, drinking beer. This man was a professor, also a gambler. His choice for the Derby was a horse coming from Dubai. Maybe I’d had a vodka too many, and I said that plenty horses these days were coming from Dubai. In fact, our entire racing system, here in America, was being dominated by horses from United Arab Emirates.
Nothing wrong with that, I added, except that an Israeli tennis player was denied access to Dubai even after she qualified for some sort of tennis championship over there in the Emirates. The princes didn’t like the fact that she was Israeli. So maybe, I suggested – speaking as an American – we ought to return the favor and deny them access to our racetracks. Goodbye Dubai.
The gentleman said – “We need to change our policy in the Middle East.”
I caught the drift right away. I know the lingo. I know the code. So I knew what came next.
“We have to stop our unconditional support for Israel,” said the man. “That’s the cause of all our troubles.”
Oh hell – why did I even let this get started? It has become so tiresome.
I started to say that the Arabs have 22 countries; can’t the Jews have one? But I knew that this man, this professor, already had his mind made up. There’s no talking to people about Israel, especially when they tell you that they’re followers of Pat Buchanan. This man’s bottom line was that Israel is always at fault. In other words, blame the Jews, but not in so many words. That would be so rude!
Later that night, back home, I decided to behave. This means sports only. No news. I know the news. I know what’s coming. So this was my plan. Hockey! There’s this one player from Washington, named Ovechkin, who reminds me of Maurice Richard. That’s as good as it gets. Ovechkin did score a razzle dazzle goal and it gave me a thrill.
So between periods, I switched channels, and there I am at C-Span, the book talk segments, and it is good. The talk is about people who’ve recovered after being brought low. Everybody can identify with this. Certainly, I can, though I have been brought low but have not yet recovered.
The host of this panel was author Sara Davidson and she spoke well about her own recovery. Then there was the actor Mike Farrell and he also spoke well. The man in the middle was someone named Danny something (a Jewish last name) whose specialty was sports. They all spoke about being down in life, and getting back up again. I was really into this.
Then the Q and A began. A lady – a sweet young lady – got up and thanked Mike Farrell for being so forthright in his comments about Israel, specifically all the wonderful work he’s been doing in alerting America to all the money that’s being squandered on Israel, a nation that “suppresses the poor Palestinians.” She said (quoting from memory), “We have to do something about Israel.” (Translation: We have to do something about the Jews.)
I wondered how this got into the conversation – a conversation that, until that moment, has nothing to do with politics, certainly not Israel.
This involuntary reaction — is this like Tourettes? Always Israel, and never anything good.
Farrell responded that yes, it’s time we stopped supporting Israel. I was about to switch back to hockey, but I was curious as to what Danny would have to say. Wouldn’t he be outraged? He’s Jewish, after all. But he agreed with Farrell and then he went on to list all the websites that are viciously anti-Israel, and urged people to visit those places for a second opinion, which is the same as Farrell’s first opinion.
Obviously, then, it is true that many American Jews have left Judaism and have adopted Leftist Liberalism as their religion.
Another member of the audience got up and really blasted Israel. I expected the host, Davidson, to step in to restore the original discussion, but she let it go so that Farrell got in more licks, until finally she did suggest that we get back to the topic at hand. But she did not defend Israel. No one defended Israel.
Of course, no one actually came out and said, “Kill the Jews.” But I am a grownup and I have heard it all and I have even been through it all, so I know the code.
Even the Nazis seldom came out and said, “Kill the Jews.” No, they used code – like “Final Solution.”
The Wannsee Conference, where Hitler’s top officials gathered in 1942 to work out all the details for the Final Solution, was never about a Holocaust. That word wasn’t being used. The men around the table knew that it was about killing Jews, but they spoke in parables. The Wannsee Conference was about TRAIN SCHEDULES.
We’re still there, even in 2009, even in America. We’re still back at Wannsee.
Remind me to stick to hockey, and the horses.
In horse racing, by the way, we trust breeding.
Even if the horse appears to be a loser, and the public keeps sneering at him, we know that eventually that horse will end up in the winner’s circle on the power of his lineage. Therefore, never underestimate a horse – or a people – that traces back 3,500 years and that throughout those years overcomes everything set in its path.
In that case, Israel is a safe bet, yes, a sure thing!
Novelist Jack Engelhard is the author of “Indecent Proposal” and “The Bathsheba Deadline.” His latest novel, “The Girls of Cincinnati” is available on Amazon. He can be reached at his website www.jackengelhard.com.