Jack Engelhard
Jack EngelhardJack Engelhard

This has now become a witch-hunt. Because of Putin, anything Russian is now anathema.

Since his war in Ukraine, don’t even think about going to a Russian restaurant and ordering vodka.

Don’t even think about going to a Russian restaurant, period, and if you run such an establishment, tough luck.

New York City’s landmark “Russian Tea Room” isn’t even owned by American Russians anymore, but its business has been damaged severely.

The hysteria is all over the place, and the madness reflects human nature at its worst…the reflex to change sides on a dime to follow the raging mob.

That is something we Jews know from bitter experience as the pursued…and now everybody with any connection to Russia has the stigma.

The New York Post’s Karol Markowicz documents the various individuals that have been boycotted over the past few weeks because they show signs of being Russian.

Singers can’t sing, dancers can’t dance, conductors can’t conduct due to the craze of the moment that sweeps up everybody.

Even to have a Russian name is unsafe.

Soon they’ll be asking…was your grandmother on your mother’s side Russian? Ach zo. We have ways of finding out.

So happens I’m hooked on Russian literature…to name only Babel, Chekhov, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy, tops.

There, it’s out. I admit. I confess…and I won’t be deterred.

In all my self-imposed Tolstoy studies, I have yet to find a hint of anti-Semitism in him. (Otherwise Dostoyevsky.)

We cannot say the same for hundreds of American writers, most famously Hemingway; most recently Jews themselves like Philip Roth and Michael Chabon.

The thousand pages of Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” read as smoothly as the one hundred pages of James M. Cain’s “The Postman Always Rings Twice.”

Each one is a great novel in its own way…and each one is for readers to appreciate and for writers to learn.

Tolstoy would not have approved of Putin, and today, this Count who feared neither the church nor the tsars, would have been the first to denounce Putin’s adventure in Ukraine.

That’s made clear in “Anna Karenina” where, at the end, Tolstoy ridicules Vronsky and the others who seek glory for themselves and the empire by going off to fight foreign wars.

All is futile, Tolstoy learned from Ecclesiastes.

Nor did he fear his critics and nitpickers. The small minds who misread him or misunderstood him…too bad.

Tolstoy was Russian down to his boots and would have been joined by millions of his countrymen who likewise are dismayed at what’s come to pass through Putin.

They want no part of this, but lack a Tolstoy to speak on their behalf.

I am no Tolstoy…though I thank Cassell and the others for daring to favorably compare the novel “Indecent Proposal” with “Anna Karenina.”

But I’ll risk speaking for Tolstoy because I feel that I know him.

To say…this behavior of pointing fingers is neither the Jewish nor Christian way.

New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva.

He wrote the worldwide book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal,” the authoritative newsroom epic, “The Bathsheba Deadline,” followed by his coming-of-age classics, “The Girls of Cincinnati,” and, the Holocaust-to-Montreal memoir, “Escape from Mount Moriah.” For that and his 1960s epic “The Days of the Bitter End,” contemporaries have hailed him “The last Hemingway, a writer without peer, and the conscience of us all.” Website: www.jackengelhard.com

Engelhard books
Engelhard booksJ.Engelhard