is how the anti-Buchanan method works. Surmise, suggestion and
insinuation take the place of facts. Where are the clear statements
by Buchanan that are readily identifiable as "anti-Semitic"?
Where is guff about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,
the Jewish World Conspiracy, rootless cosmopolitans? What we get
instead are snippets of sentences pulled from his voluminous writings
and innumerable tv appearances. Taken out of context, their meaning
distorted, they are then all mixed up together in the hope that
the resulting stew will be sufficiently toxic.
his Journal article Podhoretz offered a number of examples
of the method. I will cite only two. Like many others before him,
Podhoretz refers to a past column in which Buchanan is supposed
to have lavished praise on Hitler. Buchanan describes Hitler as
"an individual of great courage, a soldiers soldier
in the Great War
[a] genius." However, what Buchanan
really said in this 1977 column was, "Though Hitler was indeed
racist and anti-Semitic to the core, a man who without compunction
could commit murder and genocide, he was also an individual of
great courage, a soldiers soldier
" etc. Significantly,
the word "genius" appears somewhat later and in a different
context. Buchanan says, "[Hitlers] genius was an intuitive
sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading
as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood
in his path."
wrote this column to attack the policy of "appeasement."
Indeed, throughout the column he sounds a lot like Podhoretz:
"Men like Chamberlain and Daladier needed a moral justification
for their acts of weakness and betrayal
Almost alone among
European statesmen, Churchill saw that under the guise
of restoring Germany to her rightful place among nations
Hitler was marching along the road toward a New Order where Western
civilization would not survive. The vision lacking in the statesmen
of 37 appears lacking as well in the men of 77."
one could say that Buchanan has changed his view of Chamberlain.
However, by no stretch of the imagination could the piece be described
as "soft on Hitler." Yet how many people will take the
trouble to dig up a column from more than 20 years ago and see
for themselves what Buchanan actually said?
makes another familiar charge against Buchanan. Writing about
the Gulf War, he describes the time that Buchanan allegedly listed
"four prominent Jews who thought war might be necessary.
he counterpoised them with kids
with names like McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales and Leroy Brown,
who would actually do the fighting if these Jews had their way."
According to Podhoretz, this "juxtaposition of the prominent
Jewish figures who favored the war with the non-Jewish kids
who would be sent to die in the Persian Gulf" was a "traditional
it came to digging up anti-Semitic filth from the foul swamps
where it was buried," Podhoretz concludes, "Mr. Buchanan
was deterred neither by facts nor by the stench arising out of
his exhumations." Thems strong words! They would have
greater force if Buchanan had actually said what he is supposed
to have said.
the first place, Buchanan never counterpoised "four prominent
Jews" with kids "who would actually do the fighting."
Buchanans comments come from two different columns. It is
the editors of the British magazine The Economist that
he contrasts with the "kids." Here is what Buchanan
actually said: "The civilized world must win this fight,
the editors [of The Economist] thunder. But, if it comes
to war, it will not be the civilized world humping
up that bloody road to Baghdad; it will be American kids with
names like McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales and Leroy Brown."
It is obvious from the context that Buchanan is having a go at
the Brits, not the Jews.
for the other column, the one in which he upbraided A.M. Rosenthal,
Charles Krauthammer, Richard Perle and Henry Kissinger
the "four prominent Jews," to use Podhoretzs phraseology
for their enthusiasm for war on Iraq, nowhere did Buchanan
suggest that their advocacy had something to do with their being
Jewish. Podhoretz fails to mention, moreover, that one of the
culprits Buchanan listed was The Wall Street Journal.
approvingly from the 1991 Commentary article, Podhoretz
then suggests that Buchanan was a dove during the Gulf War only
because of "his animus against Israel." For the last
10 years, Buchanan has been a "dove" during every single
U.S. engagement abroad. Podhoretz knows this well. So how can
he continue to stand by this judgment?
can he claim that Buchanan defended John Demjanjuk out of eagerness
to champion "the cause of almost anyone accused of participating
actively in Hitlers genocidal campaign against the Jews"?
Where is the evidence? Buchanan was not defending the mans
alleged actions. He was defending him from the charge that he
was the Treblinka guard Ivan the Terrible a stance that
the Israeli Supreme Court eventually vindicated.
alleges that Buchanan "lent his weight to some of the preposterous
those who believe either that the Holocaust never
occurred or that the Jews have wildly exaggerated
the number of lives it claimed." But he is unable to quote
a single sentence by Buchanan that expresses any skepticism about
system of justice is based on the principle that the more serious
the charge, the higher should be the standard of proof. Yet people
toss around words like "anti-Semitic" and "racist"
with cheerful abandon. Proffering evidence is unnecessary. Every
hack simply quotes every other hack. Besides, once we know a man
is "anti-Semitic," whatever he says or does will always
manifest his "anti-Semitism." The effect is to rule
certain people and certain positions out of serious consideration.
the poison and bitterness that such words carry increasingly ensure
that just about every issue is now off the table. The former editor
of Commentary is normally, and rightly, among the loudest
to denounce the promiscuous deployment of the "racist"
barb. It is a shame that he is not as vigilant when it comes to
the toxic "anti-Semitic" slur.