Over the years the Monitor has on several occasions revisited the matter of Pat Buchanan’s apparent obsession with Jews and Israel. The list of his statements about Jews and Israel, ranging from the insensitive to the derogatory, continues to grow, most recently with his complaint that if the Senate confirms Obama nominee Elena Kagan, “Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats.”
As with almost every one of Buchanan’s previous remarks concerning Israel or Jews, there are those who insist his words are being taken out of context or willfully misinterpreted. But with Buchanan it’s long reached the point where even if one were inclined to cut him slack on this or that individual comment, the sheer body of his work amounts to a damning indictment of his attitudes and mindset.
Buchanan’s strange concern for accused Nazi war criminals, coupled with his disdain for Holocaust survivors, whom he’s described as suffering from “group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics,” led Alan A. Ryan, Jr., a former Justice Department prosecutor, to characterize Buchanan as “the spokesman for Nazi war criminals in America.”
And Buchanan’s deep-seated resentment of what he’s described as “the caustic, cutting cracks about my church and my popes from both Israel and its amen corner in the United States” exploded to the surface in the late 1980s over the controversial move by Carmelite nuns to erect a permanent convent at Auschwitz.
Upset with conciliatory statements made by the late Cardinal John O’Connor and other church leaders, he sneered: “If U.S. Jewry takes the clucking appeasement of the Catholic cardinalate as indicative of our submission, it is mistaken. When Cardinal O’Connor of New York declares this ‘is not a fight between Catholics and Jews,’ he speaks for himself. Be not afraid, Your Eminence; just step aside, there are bishops and priests ready to assume the role of defender of the faith.”
In 1982, Buchanan referred to the mass killing of Palestinians by Lebanese Christians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps as the “Rosh Hashanah massacre,” and opined that “the Israeli army is looking toward a blackening of its name to rival what happened to the French army in the Dreyfus Affair.”
So Buchanan already had something of a history when he gained notoriety, shortly before the 1991 Gulf War, by describing the U.S. Congress as “Israeli-occupied territory” and claiming that “There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East: the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States.”
If anything, Buchanan has become even more outspoken about Jews and Israel over the past two decades. He’s authored books and columns arguing that the U.S. should not have fought Nazi Germany in World War II and has been in the forefront of those charging that the war in Iraq was dreamed up by a cabal of neoconservative Jews and their Knesset handlers.
In 2004, he accused President Bush of “outsourcing American Middle East policy to Ariel Sharon.”
In 2005, he asked, “Who would benefit from a war of civilizations between the West and Islam? Answer: one nation, one leader, one party. Israel, Sharon, Likud.”
Also in 2005 he wrote, “Neocons say we attack them because they are Jewish. We do not. We attack them because their warmongering threatens our country, even as it finds a reliable echo in Ariel Sharon.”
In 2007 he observed, “If you want to know ethnicity and power in the United States Senate, 13 members of the Senate are Jewish folks who are from 2 percent of the population. That is where real power is at .”
And then just last year, in a column that appeared on Good Friday, a seemingly demented Buchanan wrote that the Justice Department’s determination to deport John Demjanjuk to Germany was reminiscent of “the same satanic brew of hate and revenge that drove another innocent Man up Calvary that first Good Friday 2,000 years ago.”
In other words, Buchanan likened the plight of an accused Nazi war criminal to that of Jesus Christ, the very object of his – Buchanan’s – religious veneration.
For every comment noted above, there are at least four or five others in the Buchanan oeuvre – dozens and dozens of statements oozing hostility and vitriol. A simple Google search using words like “Buchanan” and “Jews” will keep anyone busy for quite some time.
Jason Maoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.