“Whenever Israel does anything to defend itself, it is accused of acting disproportionately or committing war crimes. That there is a new form of anti-Semitism at work here is unquestionable” • An interview with my father, Norman Podhoretz.
Ruthie Blum, ISRAEL HAYOM
Since the 1980 U.S. presidential election, Norman Podhoretz has been called — along with the late Irving Kristol — one of the two “founding fathers of neoconservatism.” A member of the Democratic Party disillusioned with what he and a growing group of other liberals viewed as a radical shift away from the values they held dear, Podhoretz supported Republican candidate Ronald Reagan.
A mere four years earlier, he had voted for Jimmy Carter — who ran against incumbent Gerald Ford — on the grounds that “when in doubt, go for the Democrat; he will at least be better for Israel, and probably for America.”
Podhoretz’s complete about-face on this score was a gradual process, however, that began ?during the Vietnam War. Though initially opposed to it, he became increasingly disgusted by the anti-war movement. When fellow members of the intellectual Left began to spew vitriol against America — even likening it to Nazi Germany — Podhoretz was not on board, ?to put it mildly.
The editor-in-chief of Commentary magazine between 1960 and 1995, and the author of hundreds of controversial articles and 12 books (among them “World War IV: The Long Struggle against Islamofascism”), Podhoretz was awarded the 2004 Medal of Freedom by ?George W. Bush, and the Guardian of Zion award by the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at Bar-Ilan University in 2007.
He is married to author and social critic Midge Decter, whose own political journey from Left to Right coincided and was enmeshed with his. Separately and together, they have been vilified for their politics and vindicated by them.?
They also happen to be my parents. And in spite of having been accused decades ago by ideological foes of “dual loyalty” to the U.S. and Israel, when I made aliyah in 1977, my father, now 84, was not happy about it.
”You are the only person I know with downward mobility,” he quipped at the time.
Since then, he has made his peace with my move, often joking that my columns in Israel Hayom “are liable to turn me into the kind of Zionist everyone has accused me of being.”
During an interview with him at his home in New York in June — a few weeks before the outbreak of Operation Protective Edge — Podhoretz summarized his complex worldview in a nutshell: “When in doubt, go for the Republican; he will at least be better for Israel — and certainly for America.”
The new war in Iraq spurred you to write an article defending the Bush administration’s original invasion and critical of President Barack Obama’s subsequent policies. Now that the Sunni terrorist organization ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) is taking over the western part of the country, Obama is sending U.S. troops there. What is your position …read more