Magazine article The Spectator

High Life: Taki

Magazine article The Spectator

High Life: Taki

Article excerpt

Credit: Taki

Last week in the Bagel, and then London here I come. As I write, hundreds of thousands of Jews are marching up 5th Avenue in 'Salute to Israel Day'. They have been marching for close to six hours and come close to the Puerto Ricans in terms of noise and provocation. Looking out from my window I see only blue and white Israeli flags, no stars and stripes whatsoever, and the chants I hear are those of the aggrieved. They want Palestine back! Why waste time with the truth when there's an angle to promote and a grievance to air? Palestinians should leave the West Bank because these late arrivals say so. Well, folks will say anything nowadays. Gerry Adams has just said that the torture and execution by the IRA of Jean McConville, a widowed mother of ten, was an injustice. (Very big of him.) Leading the parade is the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, a man whose pop-eyed look derives not from a prostate examination but from a fear of offending Zion. Next week it's samba and caramba time, but I shall be in dear old London.

'America, I think, was greatly improved thanks to Hitler,' Mary McCarthy once ventured in an interview. She knew what she was talking about. Her circle of intellectuals was enriched by European Jews fleeing the Führer, people such as Arthur Koestler -- who tried to rape her but failed -- Hannah Arendt, Paul Tillich, Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Albert Einstein, Arnold Schoenberg, Fernand Léger and the gruesome Marc Chagall. (I had the bad luck to meet the last in Cap d'Antibes, and he was as unpleasant as they come.) McCarthy thought American intellectuals were crude, and that the Europeaninflux was a civilising addition. Sartre, Malraux, Camus and Simone de Beauvoir also paid visits and homage to the victor, Uncle Sam, back in the Forties, still le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche . No longer.

Those must have been magnificent times to be an American or a friend of America. Koestler and Sidney Hook found a new direction -- with CIA money -- and began with James Burnham, Raymond Aron and Hugh Trevor-Roper a concentrated effort to counter Stalinist propaganda. Literary New York moved light-years away from when it fancied itself a Bolshevik Soviet, although Uncle Joe's crimes were still ten years from being exposed. And what crimes they were, in the tens if not hundreds of millions, yet there are those today who are trying to link Putin to him, as outrageous an accusation as those wild-eyed Zionists who claim they are the victims of the Palestinians.

When it comes to Ukraine, I see a man who chooses to kick Ava Gardner out of his bed and invite Hillary Clinton under the sheets. …

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