Thank you for a civilized and intelligent response
to my article. I am recovering from a surgery and have large responsibilities
as the immigration conference approaches and am therefore not
able to answer your points as fully as I would wish. However,
I will make the attempt to confront the issues that matter.
I am sorry that you felt so anxious in approaching this subject
with me. I don't take it personally, because I know that many
people have hair trigger responses on these matters. In point
of fact I became a critic of Pat Buchanan reluctantly in the Amen
corner days. I even defended him on Demanjuk, until it was revealed
that Demanjuk was a guard in a different camp than the one he
had been accused of being a guard in.
turning point for me came when despite all the appeals that were
made to him by the editors of National Review and others
he couldn't find it in himself to make one gesture towards those
who felt the sting of his words, not a word of regret that maybe
his formulations might be taken in a way that was hurtful, not
a single effort to build a bridge back across the gulf his remarks
had created. This indicated something else was brewing in that
pugnacious brain, something unpleasant for me to contemplate.
To your specific point. My remark about Buchanan in the version
of my piece published on Frontpage was about his support
for (or tolerance of) the PLO, not his attitudes towards Israel.
On other hand, before I received your letter, I had already decided
to take out the reference in the version I am about to produce
in pamphlet form. I didn't think it fair to pile on Pat. His new
book has many points with which I agree. Unfortunately in the
first chapters he confuses ideas and principles with ethnicity,
and there we part company. Perhaps I underestimate the importance
of actual Anglo-Saxons in sustaining an Anglo-Saxon political
culture that I admire and to which I am indebted. Perhaps he over-estimates
it. In any case, we disagree.
There are four issues to the matter before us. The first is the
legitimacy of the Jewish state in Palestine. The second is the
way the Palestinian leadership has conducted itself (and therefore
how one assesses the very possibility of negotiations). The third
is what is to be done about the West Bank. The fourth is: what
is the American interest?
focus on the latter questions first. No Israeli government known
to me has ever claimed the West Bank as a part of Israel. Since
the Arab states have been at war with Israel for fifty years and
three attempts have been made to destroy the Israeli state, Israel's
desire to maintain control of certain military points should be
reasonable to anyone. Since the Barak government offered the Palestine
Authority 95% of the land it demanded, this issue should also
be settled for any reasonable person. The obstacle to peace is
not any Israeli claim on the West Bank. It is the Palestinians'
refusal to make a reasonable peace.
The Palestine Authority is a Middle East Taliban. It is a terrorist
entity whose fundamental interests are anti-American. It is in
the American interest to undermine and dismantle the PLO and either
create or allow to be created an authority for the Palestinians
that will serve their interests and America's interests by making
a reasonable peace.
Arafat is America's enemy. He was created by the KGB, and was
their agent for decades. He has murdered American diplomats. He
sided with Saddam during the Gulf War. It is in America's interest
that Arafat and his terrorist apparatus be destroyed.
This brings us to the second issue, which is the PLO the current
instrument of Palestinian nationalism and its components which
include Hamas, a branch of al-Qaeda. The PLO was created by the
Arab states to destroy Israel. It is not the expression of Palestinian
nationalism. It is the warped creator of an intolerant, fascistic
al-Qaeda mentality which passes for nationalism among people who
have lost their moral bearings. Was Hitler a nationalist? You
bet. Should we have humored his claims to Czechoslovakia and parts
of Poland? That appears to be what you are arguing in this case.
Which brings us to the issue of the legitimacy of the Jewish state.
What does it matter to the answer to this question if Palestinian
nationalism came belatedly? Or if the Jews were more sophisticated,
more industrious, etc. Is 5% of a desert, bought and paid for,
too much to ask for a people that has been homeless for 2000 years
and for that reason saw almost half its global population exterminated
within living memory (and to the applause of the Arabs)?
You are a reasonable fellow Scott. The Arabs in Palestine are
not disfranchised and abused like the blacks in the South. The
displaced Palestinian Arabs are dead. Six hundred thousand Jews
lost their ancestral homes in Middle Eastern states that unlike
Edward Said and his friends they can't even visit. Call it
a wash. And begin from there.
You are wrong about my position on Oslo. I was against the Oslo
peace process from the start. It was a Munich for the Jews. You
cannot make peace with people who want to destroy you. The Israeli
settlements are an excuse not a cause. There has not been one
moment in the last 37 years when Arafat has abandoned violence.
When you blame the settlements for the derailment of Oslo, you
are forgetting the violence and the PLO charter with its call
for the destruction of Israel. Why do you think it was like pulling
teeth to get Arafat to remove it? Why do you think he repudiated
the removal in Arabic right afterwards? Do you read the Memri
translations of official Palestinian, Egyptian and Saudi positions?
Do you understand how they hate Americans, Christians, and democrats
generally? Palestinian school children aren't taught to hate "Zionists"
as you write; they are taught to hate Jews and to wish them dead.
I am not going to trade atrocity stories with you. You'll notice
I avoided them in my piece because they are only ways of distracting
people from the issues that matter. (But I note that your authority
is a magazine of the left, which I doubt you would source if the
issue were say, Cuba or Vietnam.) Atrocities will always occur
on both sides. My only point was that on the Palestinian side
they are officially committed, officially instigated and officially
comment of yours, however, is absurd: "When Palestinian women
are forced to give birth in ditches because Israeli checkpoints
make it impossible to reach the hospital, that is not a manufactured
grievance but a real one." The Arabs blow up Jews and then
get to have a grievance when the Jews attempt to protect themselves
and this causes the Arabs problems? Why doesn't Arafat use his
billions to build hospitals, for crying out tears? Why haven't
the Arabs done for their own people what the Jews did for the
600,000 displaced from Arab countries, let alone the hundreds
of thousands displaced from concentration camps? Where is your
Christian compassion my friend?
Arafat and the PLO are the Nazis of the Middle East. They behave
like Nazis, they think like Nazis and even though they are mercifully
infinitely weaker than the Nazis, they are identical when it comes
to negotiating a peace. You appear to think that the United States,
if not Israel, would be better off appeasing Arafat and his Islamic
terrorists. What on earth could possibly make you entertain this
illusion at this particular point in time? Barak's appeasement
led to violence. Bush's B-52 show of force has led to peace and
to increasing reasonableness among such former terrorist states
as Yemen. Do you think we should worry about the starving Iraqi
children when dealing with Iraq? Do you think Clinton should have
respected the sensibilities of the Wahhabi Saudis after 19 U.S.
servicemen were murdered in the Khobar Towers? Might we be better
off today if the American government had done some tough talking
and maybe taken some tough measures at the time?
Of course you're posting this on Antiwar.com a site dedicated
to disarming America in the face of its enemies. I'm curious as
to how you square this with your concern for America's self-interest.
Or do you think right-wing pacifism will do the trick? Have you
fallen for Anne Frank liberalism? Do you think people like Osama
bin Laden or the Taliban zealots who throw homosexuals off tall
buildings and blow adulterous women's heads off with machine guns
are really "good at heart" (a sentiment imposed on the
text by its "well-meaning" editors).
But back to the Middle East. I am not as I said in the article a Zionist. I see this issue through American eyes. In terms
of American policy the appeasement of Arafat by Bush pere and
Bill Clinton has been an unmitigated disaster. The new Bush White
House should tell Arafat exactly what it has told the terrorist
government of the Taliban and the terrorist government of Yemen:
behave or you are history. If the White House does that, there
will be peace in the Middle East and America will be a lot better
Comparing the Jewish remnant that found refuge in Palestine to
the British Empire is not a little stretch; it is a big one.