Buchanan and the Jews: a clarification

I’ve just realized that there is a contradiction in my statements about Patrick Buchanan and the Jews.

Here is my usual view of him, reiterated at VFR in January 2009:

For example, as I’ve explained many times, though Patrick Buchanan is an inveterate bigot against Israel, I’ve never called him anti-Semitic, because he has never attacked Jews as Jews.

However, that statement is contradicted somewhat by what I said in a thread in June 2008:

Why do Buchananites and paleoconservative act like naive, pie-in-the-sky liberals when it comes to dealing with the mortal enemies of Israel?

The obvious explanation is animus against Jews. Let’s call it a rebuttable presumption. If Buchanan and others want to rebut it, let them do so.

As long as this animus against Jews is harbored and protected by the paleoconservative and Buchananite movement, leading its members to side with our Islamic enemies and say that it would have been better for Hitler to have survived and controlled all of Europe, the good causes that paleocons are associated with, such as immigration restriction, will be discredited and hobbled….

To which Paul Gottfried replied:

Your dismissal of pro-Palestinian members of the Old Right as Jew-haters is much too simplistic. This group for the most part, including Buchanan, are decent men of the Right, who would agree with you on all important social issues. But they are striking out against something that their enemies on the left, who are disproportionately Jewish, love or pretend to love more than anything else on earth, namely the Jewish state. By beating up on Israel as insufficiently ‘democratic’ and egalitarian, the Old Right is trying to pay back their (and our) enemies by belittling what they presumably adore, for failing to meet the political standards that liberal and neocon Jews set for gentile societies. It’s all a game, like destroying a tree that one’s hostile neighbor happens to like in order to get back at that neighbor for poisoning one’s life.

To which I replied:

So Mr. Gottfried (who is of course Jewish) acknowledges exactly what I’ve been saying for many years: that the paleocons who attack Israel are doing so to get back at the hated neocons, even though Israel herself has done nothing to offend the paleocons and is fighting for her existence against an entire world that is seeking to destroy her.

Paleocons who do this, including Buchanan, are morally despicable; and they are Jew-haters, as they are attacking Israel solely because of its Jewishness.

It is astonishing that in the act of defending the paleocons as “decent men,” Mr. Gottfried admits that these “decent men” are for the lowest of reasons indulging in the demonization of, and giving moral support to the monstrous enemies of, a besieged country fighting for its life.

So it’s not exactly the case that I’ve never said that Buchanan is anti-Semitic. I have said that it is a rebuttable presumption that his attacks on Israel are motivated by an animus against Jews, and I’ve said that he is among those who are “Jew-haters, as they are attacking Israel solely because of its Jewishness.” But again we do not know for a fact that Israel’s Jewishness is the reason Buchanan attacks Israel. Gottfried (who strangely thought he was clearing Buchanan of the anti-Semitism charge) says that it’s the reason, but that’s Gottfried’s view of Buchanan’s motivation. Buchanan to my knowledge has never said that it is his motivation.

Bottom line: it is not true that I have never said that Buchanan is anti-Semitic. I’ve said that it is a rebuttable presumption that he’s anti-Semitic. And he is the only one who can rebut it, by giving a non-Jew-hating explanation why he singles out the Jewish state of all countries in the world for his obsessive hostility.

- end of initial entry -

LA writes:

See also my March 18, 2009 piece, “Freeman’s admirers,” in which I condemn Buchanan and others in the strongest possible terms for their vicious mischaracterizatios of Israel.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 02, 2009 09:04 AM | Send

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