web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Remembering Eric Breindel


Media-Monitor-logo

Share Button

Rearranging the bookshelves the other day, the Monitor came across a volume published in 1999 titled A Passion for Truth. The book is a collection of columns by the late Eric Breindel, whose death in 1998 at the shockingly young age of 42 deprived the nation of one of its most articulate conservative polemicists.

The void Breindel left behind was especially acute in New York City, where for better than a decade, as editorial-page editor and featured columnist at the New York Post, he gave forceful voice to views not often granted serious consideration by the town’s liberal establishment – or by many of its residents, for whom voting Democratic long ago replaced the religion of their forefathers.

This is, after all, the city that early in the 20th century served as an incubator for almost every strain of radicalism to infect the American body politic; a city where the screams and rants of left-wing demagogues and anti-white race-baiters have been accepted as enlightened discourse; a city where a far-left loudmouth like Bella Abzug could be elected to Congress and the Rev. Al Sharpton taken seriously as a candidate for public office.

It is also a city where in 1997 better than four in ten New York voters preferred not to reelect Republican Rudy Giuliani, who by the end of his first term had done nothing less than restore to the city a level of safety and livability undreamed of just four years earlier.

This is the daunting environment in which Breindel labored, a one-party town that in its rigid adherence to a single ideological standard brought to mind the closed systems that once thrived behind the old Iron Curtain.

In A Passion For Truth, Post columnist John Podhoretz brought together sixty-nine columns that, taken individually, highlight his late colleague’s rigorous analytical ability and graceful prose style – and that in their totality provide an overview of the some of the more contentious issues of an era.

A Passion For Truth is divided into four sections, with each of the first three representing particular areas of Breindel’s interest. The final section, an epilogue of moving eulogies, offers readers a taste of the affection and respect Breindel inspired in others, no matter how much or how little they had in common with him ideologically.

Part One, “The Anti-Communist Struggle,” focuses on a subject that consumed Breindel over the last years of his life: The never-ending campaign by many on the Left to whitewash the activities of the American Communist Party in its heyday – a campaign that has survived confirmation, from Soviet archives, of widespread espionage on the part of American Reds in the 1930’s and 40’s.

Part Two, simply titled “New York,” reminds us of how gloomy and dangerous a place the city was during the Dinkins era (and how things weren’t all that much better under Dinkins’s charismatic predecessor, Ed Koch, which at least partially explains the resentment Koch harbors toward the more successful Giuliani).

More than half the columns in this section deal with matters of race, and the reader is struck anew by the realization that, for all the vanity protests and manufactured outrage mounted by the city’s civil liberties and race-baiting contingents during Giuliani’s years in office, New York’s always-simmering racial tensions were never more acute than during the tenure of a black mayor elected as a “healer.”

Part Three, “The Fate of the Jews,” consists of 25 columns on specifically Jewish issues. As Podhoretz writes in his introduction to the columns on Israel, “Breindel believed that in the wake of the Holocaust it was a sacred duty of all Jews to defend the state of Israel…. He viewed the PLO and its chief, Yasser Arafat, as a successor to the Nazis in their determination to wipe the Jewish state off the face of the earth.”

The latter perspective, Podhoretz notes, “became increasingly rarely heard in the mainstream media in the years Breindel was writing his column.”

Chancing upon A Passion for Truth for the first time in years proved to be serendipitous in more ways than one. Rereading it provided general intellectual stimulation as well as the answer to an ongoing argument the Monitor had been having with an admirer about the 1991 Crown Heights riots.

And it served, in a literary sense, to bring Breindel vividly back to life just weeks before his ninth yahrzeit – the date of his death is March 7, which in 1998 coincided with the ninth of Adar.

Share Button

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Remembering Eric Breindel”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Arab rioters hurl objects at Israeli security personnel who use pepper spray to quell the violence emanating from the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.
Arab Violence Closes Temple Mount to Visitors Again
Latest Indepth Stories
Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

Dov Shurin

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

Perhaps worse than all the above is the acute lack of unity among Jews

At our seder we emulate the way it was celebrated in Temple times, as if the Temple still stood.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Bob Grant

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

Camelot-112213

With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.

As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.

George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.

Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.

Shakespeare had it right. The evil that men do indeed lives after them. Case in point: Nahum Goldmann, who served in a variety of Jewish and Zionist organizational leadership posts from the 1920s through the 1970s.

Oscar “Ossie” Schectman, who scored the first basket in the history of the league that evolved into the National Basketball Association, died last week at age 94.

It’s certainly been a while, hasn’t it? And yet it seems like the conversation was never really interrupted, as I’ve enjoyed, in the three and a half months since this column last appeared, many an interesting exchange, via e-mail and phone, with some very intelligent readers.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/remembering-eric-breindel/2007/02/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: