In Reply to Scott McConnell
by David Horowitz
January 16, 2002

Dear Scott,

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.

The 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?

Let's 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 approved.

This 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 – 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 off.

~ David

PS: Comparing the Jewish remnant that found refuge in Palestine to the British Empire is not a little stretch; it is a big one.

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