Buchanan equates Israel’s blockade of Gaza with Stalin’s blockade of West Berlin

(Comments in this entry begin here. Be sure to see my discussion of Buchanan’s statement that we must “win the hearts and minds” of Muslims.)

Yesterday I searched on the Web to see if Patrick Buchanan had written a column on the “peace flotilla,” but there was nothing. I looked again this morning and found this, his syndicated column dated today, in which he descends—not for the first time—into the realm of the unspeakable:

In June 1948, our wartime ally imposed a blockade on Berlin, cutting off and condemning to death or Stalinist domination 2 million Germans, most of whom, not long before, had cheered Adolf Hitler. [LA notes: by “war time ally,” Buchanan of course means Soviet Russia, but he avoids naming that regime because to make his equivalence between the totalitarian USSR and Israel explicit would be too gross even for his fans to handle.]

Harry Truman responded with the Berlin airlift, in perhaps the most magnanimous act of the Cold War.

For nine months, U.S. pilots flew into Tempelhof, carrying everything from candy to coal, saving a city and earning the eternal gratitude of the people of Berlin, and admiration everywhere that moral courage is admired.

That was an America that lived its values.

And today, President Obama should end his and his country’s shameful silence over the inhumane blockade of Gaza that is denying 1.5 million beleaguered people the basic necessities of a decent life. [LA replies: how does one find words to describe the obscenity of comparing the Soviet Union, which sought to starve West Berlin into submission and make it a part of the Soviet empire, and Israel, which voluntarily withdrew from Gaza four years ago, after which Gaza was taken over by Hamas which then immediately turned Gaza into a base to attack Israel? How does Buchanan compare an attempt by a Communist power to starve a free city into totalitarian slavery, with a blockade which allows every kind of food and other supplies into Gaza but blocks weapons and terrorists?]

Time to start acting like America again.

That bloody debacle in the Eastern Mediterranean last Sunday was an inevitable result of Israel doing what it always seems to do: going beyond what is essential to her security, to impose collective punishment upon any and all it regards as hostile to Israel. [LA replies: So, according to Buchanan, Hamas and Israel’s other enemies and the international left are not actually hostile to Israel; Israel merely perceives them as being hostile.]

Israel claims, and film confirms, that its commandos rappelling down onto the Turkish ship were attacked with sticks and metal rods. One was tossed off a deck, another tossed overboard into a lifeboat.

But that 2 a.m. boarding of an unarmed ship with an unarmed crew, carrying no munitions or weapons, 65 miles at sea, was an act of piracy. What the Israeli commandos got is what any armed hijacker should expect who tries to steal a car from a driver who keeps a tire iron under the front seat. [LA replies: Earlier Buchanan said that the blockade itself is “inhumane.” Now he’s saying that Israel’s crime was to enforce the blockade too far out at sea, meaning that the blockade itself is not the problem.]

And the response of these highly trained naval commandos to the resistance they encountered? They shot and killed nine passengers, and wounded many more.

But we have a blockade of Gaza, say the Israelis, and this flotilla was a provocation. Indeed, it was. And Selma was a provocation. The marchers at Edmund Pettus Bridge were disobeying orders of the governor of Alabama and state police not to march. [LA replies: now he obscenely compares non-violent civil rights marchers with jihadists who were seeking to break the blockade of Gaza in order to allow Hamas to bring weapons into Gaza with which to attack Israel. Again, since Israel allows food and medicine into Gaza, it is undeniable that the purpose of this flotilla was not to succor the starving people of Gaza, but to break the blockade on weapons and empower Hamas.]

Yet, today, liberal Democrats who regard Martin Luther King as a moral hero for championing nonviolent civil disobedience to protest injustice are cheering not the unarmed passengers trying to break the Gaza blockade, but the Israelis enforcing the blockade.

Where were these fellows when “Bull” Connor really needed them?

Comes the retort: Israel is a friend and ally, and we stand with our friends.

But is not Turkey a friend and ally of 50 years, whose soldiers died alongside ours in Korea and who accepted Jupiter missiles targeted on Russia, even before the Cuban missile crisis? Was it not Turkey whose citizens were wounded and killed in the bloody debacle? [These innocent citizens of Turkey were running a blockade, a blockade they were fully aware of, a blockade that Israel had repeatedly warned them would be enforced on them if they tried to break it. A blockade is a legitimate act of war. Outsiders who violate that blockade are going to be stopped. And if they use force against the soldiers stopping them, force will be used on them. These simple realities would ordinarily be understood by everyone—but, because the nation using the blockade to defend itself in this instance is the Jewish state, which Buchanan openly seeks to dissolve via the “one-state solution,” the normal understandings are turned on their head.]

Why are we not at least even-handed between our friends? [LA replies: Buchanan regards the Islamist, pro-jihad state of Turkey as a friend.]

On the trip to Israel where he was blindsided by news that Israel would build 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, Joe Biden told Shimon Peres, “There is absolutely no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel’s security.”

And that is the problem.

America is a superpower with interests in an Arab world of 300 million and an Islamic world of 1.5 billion—interests Israel treats with indifference if not contempt when it comes to doing what she regards as necessary for her security. [LA replies: the entire Arab and Muslim world wants destroy Israel. Buchanan doesn’t mention that. But he scolds Israel for not coddling its would-be destroyers.]

In the rest of the column, which you can read here, Buchanan leaves the issue of the “peace flotilla” and, trying to sound reasonable, argues that Israel does have a right to defend itself, but that it always goes “too far” in doing so. But of course Buchanan regards the blockade of Gaza itself as “going too far.” He regards the security fence, which finally stopped Palestinian suicide bombers from crossing into Israel and committing mass murder, as “going too far.” He regards the incursion into Gaza in late 2008, aimed at killing Hamas personnel and crippling Hamas’s ability to keep attacking Israel, as “going too far.”

The simple truth of the matter is that Buchanan regards the existence of Israel as “going too far,” as shown by the fact that he keeps reverting, with whining victimology, to the supposed injustices attendant on Israel’s birth and survival in 1948.

In 2004, Sean Hannity had Buchanan on his show to ask him about my article, “Buchanan’s White Whale.” In my account of the interview I wrote:

Then the conversation ended up going back to the origins of Israel. Buchanan starts rehearsing the ‘48 war, and, guess what, he even gets into the massacre of Deir Yassin!

Buchanan: “They were slaughtering people, they were cutting open pregnant women’s bellies, and then 600,000 Arabs fled.”

In other words, Buchanan makes the entire Arab flight from ‘48 Palestine a direct consequence of Deir Yassin.

Buchanan: “There were injustices, Sean.”

For Buchanan in the middle of this discussion about terrorism to go back to the founding of Israel and portray the massacre of Deir Yassin as the key event—this said to me that Buchanan truly is, as I said in my article, a Captain Ahab forever hunting his White Whale; he is fixated on the founding of Israel as the ultimate source of the evils we face today. Unfortunately, Sean didn’t challenge him on the implications of his statement that there were injustices. He didn’t ask him, “Ok, Pat, if there were injustices, what are you saying needs to be done about that now? Does Israel have the right to exist or not, Pat? And if Israel does have the right to exist, Pat, why are you going back to supposed injustices by the Israelis committed 55 years ago and ignoring all the much worse crimes committed by the Arabs?”

At the time of the Cartoon Jihad in 2005, Buchanan said that we must “win the hearts and minds of Muslims.” Like any left-liberal delusionist, he has no awareness that Muslims are commanded by their god to wage war on non-Muslims until the only religion is that of Allah, which means that the only way to win the hearts and minds of Muslims is to surrender to them. Which means, when it comes to Israel, that the only way to win Muslims’ hearts and minds is to become their ally in seeking Israel’s defeat and destruction.

- end of initial entry -

Josh G. writes:

” … liberal Democrats … are cheering … the Israelis enforcing the blockade.”

No comment on this? What is he talking about?

LA replies:

I did notice that in passing, and thought he meant the Jews. But where are these Jewish liberal Democrats who are cheering? Or if there are, how many are there?

Dave Levine writes:

Excellent piece! I’ve lost a lot of respect for Buchanan since I supported his run for President in 1996. Both he and his sister lost my support and respect in 2004 when they threw their support behind Amnesty-leading GW Bush. In one minute, Pat and Bay were railing against Bush for promoting Amnesty and Open Borders and the next minute they were asking their supporters to vote for him! Like Phyllis Schlafly (the supposed conservative who quietly backed McCain in 2008) and many other “Party first, policy second” folks, the Buchanans showed their true conservative colors at voting time.

From what people tell me, Americans get “more conservative” as they get older. With regards to Pat, it would seem he’s becoming more liberal as he ages. I wonder if it’s the influence of his leftist employer, MSNBC or maybe it’s his hatred for the State of Israel and not simply the aging process run amok!

An Indian living in the West writes:

A good example of Muslim “hearts and minds” is Pakistan—a country that American money has kept afloat for the entirety of its existence. Were it not for American aid, the country would have suffered a few famines and many people would have died of starvation.

But even with all this aid money, Pakistan is a basket case and its people regard America as its worst enemy (along with India). An astounding act of gratitude wouldn’t you say? Even better, the country is falling apart at the seams and law and order has all but disappeared. Armed gangs and militias control the country. Bombings (on Muslim mosques!) are now commonplace in Lahore and other major cities. An American parallel would be a bombing in a NYC church virtually every week.

These are the people whose “hearts and minds” Buchanan is trying to win. Why?

EP writes:


Nicholas T. writes:

What an absurd column. I’m convinced, as you are, that Buchanan must have some kind of deep-seated personal hatred for Israel, because it’s the only way to explain such a delusional stance. The most interesting part of this whole event, for me, is the media’s persistent unwillingness to address Israel’s repeated claims that a) the flotilla was given a chance to port elsewhere and refused, b) the IDF has already intercepted hundreds of tons (!) of weapons and ammunition from similar flotillas, c) in case anyone forgot, Gaza is occupied by an organization committed in word and act to the destruction of Israel, a fact that it does not try to hide. To my knowledge none of these facts has been disputed, but they are simply ignored, replaced by facts that do not matter, such as whether the blockade is justified by international law (as if Hamas were playing by the same rules), whether there is a “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza, or the fact that there have been anti-Israel protests around the world and that her image has been “tarnished,” as if those issues meant anything. What exactly does Buchanan expect Israel to do? I’d love to hear him answer that question.

LA replies:

He’s supposed to lay down and die
When his door is kicked in.
He’s the Neighborhood Bully.

True Seaborn writes:

As a long-time fan of Pat Buchanan (even voted for him in 2000) I was appalled by that article, which I happened to read yesterday. I’ve always regarded his attitude towards Israel as merely one of those intellectual/emotional blind spots to which we are all prone. But this piece was just sloppy thinking—and blind. Haven’t been following him recently, but if he thinks our task is to “win the hearts and minds of the Muslims,” he probably supports Obama’s Mideast policy. Incredible and disappointing.

LA replies:

Re “winning Muslims’ hearts and minds,” here are two excerpts from Buchanan’s February 2006 column, “The cartoon wars”:

Like white phosphorus, the mocking cartoons of Muhammad have inflamed and lit up the battlefield in the culture war between the secular and the sacred, between West and East.

Since 9-11, President Bush seems to have understood that if we wish to win the war on terror, we must separate the Islamic masses from the monsters. To defeat the Islamic extremists, we must win the hearts and minds of the moderates.

To this end, Bush has visited mosques. He has held White House celebrations for the breaking of the fast at the end of Ramadan. He has sent Karen Hughes to State to develop ideas to show we respect the Islamic faith and that our war is against terror, not Islam. He has said more times than many of us care to recall, “Islam is a religion of peace.”

Those cartoons—insulting, blasphemous, provocative to Muslims—have wiped out much of what Bush had accomplished. The cartoons have given the Muslim radicals visible proof to show the masses that the West mocks what they hold sacred.

And this:

Conservatives rage in rebuttal that Islamic nations tolerate cartoons, books, billboards and TV shows far more anti-Semitic and anti-Christian than these cartoons were anti-Islamic.

All of which is true, and none of which is relevant. For this is not a debate over double standards. It is a battle for the hearts and minds of Islamic peoples. And if we are to have any hope of winning that battle, we cannot condone insults to what they hold most sacred and dear: their faith.

Here is my entry responding to that column:

Dhimmitude, or dementia?

This Buchanan column is even worse than his last one. He’s passionately pleading with the Western world never, ever to do anything that will offend Muslims anywhere, because we’re trying to “win hearts and minds.” Yes—he actually said that. This America-Firster, this bomb-throwing opponent of Bush’s entire Iraq and democratization policy (a policy he said was made up by Jewish neocons in order to launch a war that was solely for Israel’s sake), is now saying that in order to democratize the Muslims (which now he’s in favor of?) we have to make the Muslims like us. Buchanan, the scourge of all U.S. involvement in the Muslim world, thinks we can make Muslims like us, and, moreover that our getting them to like us is the key to our safety. And therefore, he argues, it doesn’t matter if they go on printing the most horrific things about Jews and Christians in their newspapers, we must print absolutely nothing offensive about them in ours.

Dhimmitude, or dementia? Your guess is as good as mine.

There are numerous comments in that entry.

And here is a follow-up by me on “hearts and minds,” from March 2006:

Does Patrick Buchanan support any measures against Muslim terrorism?

It’s a legitimate question. He has written that the key to American and Western safety is to “win Muslims’ hearts and minds.” (Yes, he has really said that, and more than once.) But, as we all know, Muslims are offended at any effective steps against domestic terrorism, because it disproportionately affects Muslims. There is not a single measure, including the prosecution of terror supporters and funders, that Muslims have not angrily protested and denounced as evidence of anti-Muslim bias. Therefore, by Buchanan’s reasoning,

the only way to make America safe from Muslim terrorism is to cease all efforts to protect ourselves from Muslim terrorism.

Diana West writes:

Beyond the pale, wherever that is.

This is the most despicable thing he’s written yet (or am I forgetting something?).

LA replies:

Well, there was his column in April 2002, when he said that the Israeli government is “the mirror image of Hamas and Hezbollah.” That was when I denounced Buchanan for the first time:

An Open Letter to Patrick Buchanan

And there have been many other despicable things I don’t remember at the moment. But this one today I think shocked me more than anything I’ve seen by him.

Alexis Zarkov writes:

Buchanan fancies himself as an historian, yet he seems ignorant about facts pertaining to the Berlin Blockade. The western Allies had a formal written agreement with the Soviet Union that provided them with three twenty-mile-wide air corridors to Berlin. Unfortunately the western Allies had only a tacit understanding regarding rail and road access, providing the Soviets with an excuse for a land blockade. To my knowledge no formal unrestricted right of access of any kind exists for Gaza. Let’s also note that the USSR stopped providing food to the civilians in all the non-Soviet sectors of occupied Berlin, and cut off their electricity. Israel has cut neither food or electricity to Gaza. There is really no comparison between Gaza and Berlin, either morally or legally. Buchanan reveals himself as a historical ignoramus.

Buchanan also refers to the boarding of the Turk ship as an act of “piracy.” Evidently he doesn’t realize that a pirate is by definition a non-state actor. The IDF is an arm of the sovereign state of Israel; it can never have pirate status. Moreover pirates board a vessel with the intent of stealing its cargo, and possibly the vessel itself. I have never heard of a pirate boarding a vessel to conduct a mere search.

In view of these and many other errors and omissions in his diatribe against Israel, Buchanan appears to have taken leave of his senses.

Clark Coleman writes:

I think Buchanan makes a pretty good analogy here. Don’t you remember the Soviet Union allowing as much food and medicine into West Berlin as was needed, making an exception to the blockade? Don’t you remember the West Berliners constantly launching rockets into East Berlin, and becoming suicide bombers? Don’t you remember that West Berlin was ruled by a political party pledged to the genocidal annihilation of the entire Soviet Union, and that they indoctrinated their schoolchildren into being true believers in that annihilation? It all sounds pretty analogous to me.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 04, 2010 11:39 AM | Send

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