July 19, 2000


The rising controversy over the accusation that Hillary Clinton made an anti-Semitic remark some 26 years ago has suddenly become the number one issue in the New York Senate race. Surely this is cosmic justice of a kind that we have not seen since the demise of the Wicked Witch on the West in the Wizard of Oz. "I'm melting!" Indeed you are, my dear, – and it couldn't have happened to a more deserving lady.


It remains to be seen whether the revelation that she called Paul Fray, her husband's former campaign manager, a "Jew bastard," will result in the meltdown of her campaign and the effective end of her political career. The President took time off from the tense Middle East peace negotiations to ring up the New York Daily News from Camp David: "All I'm telling you is, this is crap." Coming from a longtime crap connoisseur – indeed, the champion shit-shoveler of all time – you can practically bank on the President's expert opinion. Clinton is right, for once: the charge of anti-Semitism directed at Hillary Rodham is a lot of crap – but so what? After all, it wasn't all that long ago that Hil was hurling some of the same slimeballs at Pat Buchanan: in a pious peroration to the Independence Party of New York, Hillary declared that she would not accept their endorsement if it meant being on the same ticket with Buchanan. And why not? "If this party allows itself to become defined by the anti-Semitism, extremism, prejudice and intolerance of a few shrill voices of both the right and the left, you will be doing yourselves and our state a great disservice." I can only gawk in awed admiration at Hillary's ability to cram so many smear words into such a short sentence: and just look at the high ratio of epithets to boilerplate – nearly 50 percent!


Hillary didn't feel obliged to offer specific evidence of her charges against Buchanan, and not only because none exists. The New York media is not exactly friendly to Buchanan: the Post, in its role as the daily edition of the Weekly Standard, has been recycling the same swill about Buchanan for nearly a decade – and on the strength of much less substantive evidence than is now offered against Hillary. For daring to point out that Israel does, indeed, have an "amen corner" in the US – a fact of political reality recognized by virtually everyone, and brought into even sharper focus in the New York Senate race – Buchanan continues to be excoriated as a matter of course by both Mrs. Clinton and many of her journalistic antagonists. But of course the smear campaign against Pat didn't originate with Hillary: she was merely trying to cash in on it with her sanctimonious lecturing of the Independence Party. It originated with the same crowd that is now dancing around a large pile of kindling, with Hillary tied to the same stake. . . .


As Joe Conason points out in Salon: "From the beginning, the current controversy has been a Rupert Murdoch operation. The allegation that Hillary Clinton used ethnic invective against a campaign worker appears in a book published by HarperCollins, one of the many enterprises in the right-wing press lord's News Corp. conglomerate." While acknowledging that Matt Drudge had the exclusive story first, Conason goes on to note that it "was almost instantly picked up and headlined on Page 1 by the Post. In that awful moment, the Murdoch technique crystallized perfectly for the first time in this campaign." This technique has been used on other targets. Murdoch also owns the Weekly Standard, the neoconservative fountainhead, which led the way in the campaign to drive Buchanan and his supporters out of the Republican party. Long before the Post took out after Hillary over this, Andrea Peyser, the most venomous viper in that neocon snakepit, utilized what Conason correctly characterizes as "the ethnic inflammation that Murdoch long ago adopted as a circulation booster and ideological weapon" to incite Jewish passions against Buchanan, pegging him as "an urbane Khalid Muhammed." Peyser cited the fulminations of the Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman as a kind of declaration of holy war, indeed a religious war, against Buchanan, the alleged "anti-Semite," ripping quotes out of context and simply repeating the lie over and over again, as if it were a self-evident fact. With these new charges, the Murdoch technique is fully operational again, and the same propagandistic motifs predominate: repetition, innuendo, invective. But the revelations about Hillary's hissy-fit have really had a cathartic effect on Peyser, who, in a moment of sheer brazenness, now admits the dirty little secret of the professional anti-anti-Semites:

"Did Hillary Clinton really call a cowed campaign worker a "f – -ing Jew bastard"? It may not really matter. Clinton and her newly obedient husband are whining that the story of a slur Hillary is alleged to have screamed in disgust some 26 years ago was planted by a fuzzy conspiracy of disgruntled ex-staffers, unfriendly media and political rivals. . . . But this time, use of the trademark Clinton tactic points to a deeper problem. It may not matter to some Jews whether Hillary hurled the offensive phrase. Hillary's Jewish problem centers on the fact that the remark rings believable."


It may not matter if the charges are true? Graduates of the New York Post school of journalism are no doubt familiar with this axiom, while others may still be getting used to it. It's also a regional thing: this stunning indifference to the truth is nothing new in the top ranks of New York City journalists. What is shocking is that they now feel brave enough to come out and say what they really think, and how show they really operate, without mincing any words. Who cares, after all, if Hillary Clinton is a mean, nasty, Jew-baiting bitch, who could fly into an anti-Semitic rage as easily as Louis Farrakhan? Not Andrea Peyser. Her stunning admission is followed by a laundry list of Peyser's real beefs with the First Lady: she endorsed the idea of a Palestinian state (along with the current Israeli government), she was once connected to a foundation that gave money to some project having some vague connection to the PLO, she just sat there while Mrs. Arafat made an ass out of herself, blah, blah, blah. What Peyser seems to be saying is this: I don't care if you like me, or if you really are an anti-Semite, or if your private behavior is morally damaging and reprehensible. Just as long as you toe the party line.


But the comparisons between the case of Hillary Clinton and the outrageously false accusations leveled at Buchanan can be overdrawn. For Buchanan's accusers never contended that Pat had ever expressed any personal animosity toward individual Jews: all concurred that he is a charming guy utterly bereft of personal prejudice. They argued, instead, that his ideas and policies were somehow objectively anti-Semitic, albeit purely by implication. In Hillary's case, however, the issue is whether or not she burst into an obscene anti-Semitic invective directed at her husband's 1974 campaign manager, calling him unprintable names invariably preceded by the same sneering derogatory prefix: Jew. The three alleged witnesses to this momentous event have all had their reputations completely ruined, even at this early stage, and I'll just duck while the combatants duke it out. The latest is that, as Drudge headlined it: "ACCUSER SAYS HE'D TAKE LIE DETECTOR TEST, TRUTH SERUM – no doubt simultaneously. Conason and Richard Cohen make the trenchant point that, as Conason puts it, "the Jew-bastard is a Baptist." "Her accuser, Paul Fray, the man whom she allegedly vilified as a 'fucking Jew bastard' during an election-night blowup in 1974, is in fact a Southern Baptist who has variously claimed that his father, grandfather, great-grandfather and grandmother were Jews," Conason informs us. "To use a Jewish slur on a Baptist is both inexplicable and a sheer waste of anti-Semitic invective," quips Cohen, who dismisses the whole incident on the grounds that a) "we will never know," and b) even if we do know, we ought to write it off to the First Lady's well-known "hot temper."


On the face of it, the accusation that Hillary Clinton is an anti-Semite seems self-evidently absurd: here, after all, is a candidate who is seriously considering whether or not to call for a presidential pardon for convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, who stole highly-sensitive state secrets on behalf the Israelis and is to this day unrepentant. But anti-Semitism isn't what it used to be. It used to mean a personal distaste for all Jews, not one particular Jew, and the advocacy of legal sanctions against Jews, as in the case of the ideology that animated the National Socialist German Workers Party. Today it can mean anything, from a phrase lifted out of a 26-year-old conversation to any hint that Israel may not deserve every penny of $3 billion-plus in US "foreign aid." It is an epithet thrown casually around, in this era of politically correct tyranny and all-pervasive thought control, and is now a wielded as a deadly ideological weapon to devastating effect: after all, it has practically reduced Hillary Clinton to tears.


Having been inducted into the ranks of those unfairly smeared with the broad brush of "anti-Semitism," Hillary joins some pretty distinguished company, including T.S. Eliot, H.L. Mencken, Gore Vidal, Charles Lindbergh, and William Shakespeare. Certainly she is out of her league.


While not even aspiring to keep such company, my regular readers will recall that even I have been accused of harboring "hate-thoughts" of a similar character by one Jonah Goldberg, pipsqueak-in-chief of National Review Online – a baseless and vile charge that originated in a dispute over the wisdom of invading Africa! While trying to engage the National Review crowd in some kind of dialogue about what kind of a foreign policy we need, I was accused by Goldberg of harboring disdain for "rootless cosmopolitans" – a code word for Jews. As I wrote at the time, in answer to Goldberg's hallucinations, "We know that all sorts of standards, both moral and journalistic, have been lowered in the Clinton Era. But does this have to apply to the conservative movement, and specifically the conservative press as well? Sadly, the answer is yes." Naturally, Goldberg believes the accusations, but declares, like Peyser, that it doesn't really matter one way or the other – I don't think it matters if she did say it" – as long as the voters get the general impression of Hillary's all-around evil, that's fine by him. The election of Hillary Clinton to the US Senate would be a disaster, and it is good that conservatives are mobilized to defeat her. To engage in this kind of smear campaign is not only morally wrong, but politically counterproductive. Leave it to the neocon crowd to lash out with such ferocity that they make Hillary a sympathetic figure and generate enough of a backlash to put her in the Senate – and on the road to the White House. Good job, guys.


The President took a break from the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations to intercede on his wife's behalf, and this is really the crux of the matter: in an effort to appease voters who take the New York Post seriously, what price will Clinton be willing to pay for his wife's Senate seat – not to mention a legacy? Billions in more "aid" to both the Israelis and the Palestinians? Almost certainly. Freedom for Jonathan Pollard? Maybe. US "peacekeepers" keeping the nonexistent peace between the Israelis and the newly-emerging Palestinian entity? Don't rule it out.


In her speech to the New York Independence Party, remember that Hil also took a swipe at party leader Lenora Fulani as an example of anti-Semitism and extremism on the left, a charge Fulani denounced as "slanderous." Now that Lenora has recanted, however, and denounced her former ally Buchanan for "sabotag[ing] the core principle of our alliance" perhaps these girls can sit down, have a heart-to-heart, and forge a working alliance, commiserating about how they were both unfairly accused of Jew-baiting. For what better symbol of politics, Hillary-style, than the touchy-feely warmed-over Marxism of Fred Newman and Lenora Fulani, who speak in bromides like "democracy" and go to great lengths to hide their real agenda? In one of her less incoherent columns for WorldNetDaily – why oh why do they keep her on? – Fulani explains that Buchanan "sabotaged the core principle" of their "left-right alliance" without actually identifying what this "core principle" amounted to. But by her own admission, a motivating factor behind the break was Buchanan's refusal to back her candidacy for National Chair of the Reform Party, as she reveals at the end of her typically off-the-wall pretentiously self-referential letter of resignation from the Buchanan campaign. This is the "core principle" of Fulani-ism – high office and prestige for Lenora Fulani – and when Buchanan "sabotaged" it, the alliance was over. But the "core principle" of Fulani-ism may yet be served. It's not too late for the Independence Party of New York to withdraw its candidate, and give its coveted third spot on the ballot to the most left-wing Senate candidate in the field this year. Fulani has recently endorsed John Hagelin, the disciple of the Guru Maharishi who believes in "yogic flying," for the Reform Party presidential nomination: just think, if she also endorses the First Lady, maybe they can all get together and Hillary can teach them how it's really done – on a broomstick.

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.

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