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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Buchanan’

Buchanan Revisited

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

The Monitor requests some forbearance from readers; with preparations in high gear for an extended 10th anniversary column which, barring catastrophe, will appear as the front-page essay in the July 4 issue, this week’s offering is a reprint of a piece that garnered significant reader feedback when it first appeared several years ago.

Running the column again is more than apropos, as Patrick Buchanan is back in the news with the release of his new book, Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War, which argues that World War II and all its death and destruction was ultimately the fault of the Allies, particularly Winston Churchill. When considering Buchanan’s thesis, it’s important to recall his previous statements and writings.

Pat Buchanan’s strange concern for former Nazis (Alan A. Ryan, Jr., a former Justice Department prosecutor, once characterized Buchanan as “the spokesman for Nazi war criminals in America”) is coupled with a disdain for Holocaust survivors, whom he’s described as suffering from “group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics.”

A constant critic of the late Kurt Waldheim during the latter’s tenure as UN secretary general, Buchanan suddenly became supportive when the nature of Waldheim’s wartime activities was made public. The ostracism of Waldheim by the U.S. and other countries, wrote Buchanan, had to it “an aspect of moral bullying and the singular stench of selective indignation.”

Buchanan actively lobbied then-Attorney General Edwin Meese on behalf of Karl Linnas, who had headed a Nazi concentration camp in Estonia (Meese ignored Buchanan’s entreaties and Linnas was deported to the Soviet Union), and made his unhappiness known when the U.S. apologized to France for having sheltered the “Butcher of Lyons,” Klaus Barbie. (“To what end,” Buchanan asked rhetorically in a column on the Barbie matter, “all this wallowing in the atrocities of a dead regime…”)

Buchanan, who in his autobiography describes being brought up in a milieu of pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism by a father whose “sympathies had been with the isolationists, with Charles Lindbergh and the America First Committee,” seems always to be spoiling for a religious war, particularly when he feels that his church has been slighted or trumped by Jews or Jewish interests.

His deep-seated resentments are perhaps best summed up in his complaint about what he calls “the caustic, cutting cracks about my church and my popes from both Israel and its amen corner in the United States.”

The controversy that erupted in the late 1980’s over the desire of some Carmelite nuns to erect a permanent convent at Auschwitz was made to order for Buchanan. 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.”

Although he likes to say that he was at one time an “uncritical apologist for Israel,” Buchanan was already on record as early as the mid-1970’s imploring Congress not to listen “to the counsel of the Jewish lobby” and criticizing legislation designed to counter the Arab boycott of Israel.

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.”

And so Buchanan already had 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.”

As international-affairs scholar Joshua Muravchik wrote some years ago in Commentary, Buchanan “is hostile to Israel….sprinkles his columns with taunting remarks about things Jewish…rallies to the defense of Nazi war criminals, not only those who protest their innocence but also those who confess their guilt … [and] implies that the generally accepted interpretation of the Holocaust might be a serious exaggeration.”

When confronted with a man who does all these things, suggested Muravchik, a fair conclusion would be that his actions are consistent with the succinct definition of anti-Semitism – “an embedded hatred of Jewish people, manifest in writing and conduct” – given, in a 1990 column, by none other than Patrick J. Buchanan himself.

The Buchanan Files (I)

Wednesday, April 16th, 2003

As he did back in 1990 and 1991, Patrick Buchanan is once again fanning the flames of anti-Semitism with his allegations that an American administration is calling the nation to arms at the urging of Jews on behalf of the Jewish state.

Buchanan, of course, is far from alone in charging that a nefarious pro-Israel cabal has implanted itself in the Bush White House and is tailoring American foreign policy to suit Israel’s needs. It is an argument that has gained considerable traction in the fever swamps of both the extreme right and the extreme left, and over the past several weeks has begun making some inroads into mainstream public opinion.

While Buchanan is nowhere near as influential as he was at the time of the Gulf War – three unsuccessful presidential runs, the most recent of which featured a disastrous alliance with the fringe Marxist Lenora Fulani, have greatly diminished his standing and appeal – it would be foolish to dismiss him as a political has-been reduced to editing a magazine with a minuscule readership.

This is not some moon-faced Klansman with an IQ barely above moron level, but rather a brilliant writer and razor-sharp polemicist who, according to those who know him, possesses a not inconsiderable amount of personal charm.

And that is precisely why it is so important to never lose sight of Buchanan’s many pro-nouncements that over the years have caused him to be viewed with such suspicion and alarm.

Back in 1998 the Monitor compiled a number of those pronouncements in a two-part column that readers were still requesting reprints of two and three years later. Now that Buchanan’s anti-Jewish paranoia is again a matter of public discussion (see the lead editorial in this week’s Jewish Press), it seems as good a time as any to revisit the Buchanan files.

Although he has described anti-Semitism as “a grave sin, a disease of the heart,” Buchanan habitually employs words and phrases that leave a Jew with a kicked-in-the-gut sensation - and he does so with what at times seems like barely concealed glee.

His strange concern for former Nazis (Alan A. Ryan, Jr., a former Justice Department prosecutor, once characterized Buchanan as “the spokesman for Nazi war criminals in America”) is coupled with a disdain for Holocaust survivors, whom he’s described as suffering from “group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics.”

A constant critic of Kurt Waldheim during the latter’s tenure as UN secretary general, Buchanan suddenly became a whole lot more supportive when the true nature of Waldheim’s wartime activities was made public. The ostracism of Waldheim by the U.S. and other countries, wrote Buchanan, had to it “an aspect of moral bullying and the singular stench of selective indignation.”

In addition to weighing in on Waldheim, Buchanan actively lobbied then-Attorney General Edwin Meese on behalf of Karl Linnas, who had headed a Nazi concentration camp in Estonia (Meese ignored Buchanan’s entreaties, deporting Linnas to the Soviet Union), and made his unhappiness known when the U.S. apologized to France for having sheltered the “Butcher of Lyons,” Klaus Barbie.

“To what end,” Buchanan asked rhetorically in a column on the Barbie matter, “all this wallowing in the atrocities of a dead regime…”

He also took up the cause of Arthur Rudolph, the father of Hitler’s V-2 rocket program who after the war had become an American citizen and part of the U.S. space effort, and that of John Demjanjuk, alleged to have been the infamous Treblinka guard known as Ivan the Terrible.

The latter became something of an obsession for Buchanan, who in his zeal to prove Demjanjuk innocent came dangerously close to making common cause with Holocaust revisionists.

Claiming in a 1990 column that diesel engines “do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody” - diesel exhaust being the very substance used in the gas chambers at Treblinka – Buchanan triumphantly declared that “Demjanjuk’s weapon of mass murder cannot kill.”

(Continued Next Week)

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/the-buchanan-files-i/2003/04/16/

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