Pulitzer Prize-winner, Jewish American conservative political commentator, columnist, author, and psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer, whose weekly column was syndicated to more than 400 publications worldwide, including The Washington Post, and who was a frequent commentator on Fox News, died on Thursday. He was Jewish, but described himself as “not religious” and “a Jewish Shinto” who engages in “ancestor worship.” Both his parents were refugees from Europe.
— David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) June 21, 2018
Still, Krauthammer held that “atheism is the least plausible of all theologies. I mean, there are a lot of wild ones out there, but the one that clearly runs so contrary to what is possible, is atheism.” And he opposed the mosque in downtown Manhattan for “reasons of common decency and respect for the sacred. No commercial tower over Gettysburg, no convent at Auschwitz, and no mosque at Ground Zero. Build it anywhere but there.”
He was a staunch supporter of the Jewish State throughout his public career, although his views on Jewish-related issues fluctuated over the years.
Krauthammer was strongly against the Oslo accords, warning that terrorist PLO leader Yasir Arafat would use his foothold in Judea and Samaria and Gaza to wage war against Israel. In a July 2006 essay in Time, he wrote that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict was fundamentally defined by the Palestinians’ unwillingness to accept compromise.
During the 2006 Lebanon War, Krauthammer wrote a column headlined, “Let Israel Win the War,” in which he argued: “What other country, when attacked in an unprovoked aggression across a recognized international frontier, is then put on a countdown clock by the world, given a limited time window in which to fight back, regardless of whether it has restored its own security?”
A supporter of Israel’s rightwing, he then criticized Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who “provided unsteady and uncertain leadership. Foolishly relying on air power alone, he denied his generals the ground offensive they wanted, only to reverse himself later.”
Nevertheless, later, in 2004, Krauthammer expressed his support for the two-state solution—on security grounds, as well as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from Gaza.
Krauthammer strongly criticized Richard Goldstone’s biased UN report on the 2008 Gaza war, calling it “a blood libel ranking with the libels of the 19th century in which Jews were accused of ritually slaughtering children in order to use the blood in rituals.” When Goldstone retracted, Krauthammer wrote that “this weasel-y excuse-laden retraction is too little and too late,” suggesting Goldstone “should spend the rest of his life undoing the damage and changing and retracting that report.”
As a Jew, Krauthammer was aghast at President Donald Trump’s failure to condemn the white power riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, calling it a “moral disgrace.”
Krauthammer wrote a letter to his friends and viewers on June 8, reporting, “I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me…
“Recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned. There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.”
He continued, “I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life – full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living.”
He left his wife, Robyn, whom he married in 1974, and their son Daniel.