Monday, May 24, 2010

Scapegoat Politics

Believe it! There is really no two ways about it. Pat Buchanan is an anti-Semite. He will vehemently deny it. But he is - and he knows he is.

As a proud American Jew I state here once again that most Americans repudiate this man and his views about the Jewish people. I need not bring up all those arguments again. Been there and done that. Many times. Pat Buchanan is the exception that proves the rule about American attitudes vis-vis the Jewish people. But exception or not make no mistake. He is a clever and dangerous man who can manipulate public attitudes.

He never says anything that is explicitly anti-Semitic. But his views are so transparent only the most naïve of his supporters would deny it.

This became evident yet again in his most recent tirade. This time it was in the guise of calling for diversity on the Supreme Court. His problem is Jewish Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. If she gets confirmed there will be too many Jews on the court. 3 to be exact. That is 33% of the court. Jews make up less than 2% of the population. His claim is that the religion of the 3 Jewish Justices will unduly influence their decisions. The fact that 66% of the court is Catholic while Catholics are less than 25% of the population is not a problem for him. It is all about the Jews.

He makes his complaint very craftily. He laments the fact there will be no Protestants on the court. But does he truly care about that? Had Ms. Kagan been Catholic would he be lamenting that there are no Protestants on the court? The answer to that is pretty clear.

Jews are like any segment of the American populace. Their political views run the gamut from liberal to conservative – although the vast majority of Jews tend to be liberal. But that is more of a reflection of their secular humanistic values than it is of their Jewish ones. The irony is that Mr. Buchanan’s supposedly conservative political philosophy would be furthered by more religiously observant Orthodox Jewish Justices. Orthodox Jews tend to be far more in line with the conservatives on many issues. Like being pro life or pro voucher. And yet he says that Jewish Justices - because of their religious beliefs - will impair their impartiality and thus forward a more liberal (Jewish) agenda.

I would have no problem if he opposed these Jewish Justices because of their liberal leanings. In fact many conservatives I respect have made that accusation and are vehemently opposed to Ms. Kagan. But their opposition is to their liberal views and has absolutely nothing to do with religion, any more than it did the with opposition to liberal retiring Justice John Paul Stevens whom Ms. Kagan will replace. But Buchanan said Jews. And his Amen chorus among racists like David Duke and various groups of neo-Nazis stand there and cheer.

I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of decent Americans - even those that agree with the Obama’s policies on Israel would rather stand with Israel’s Amen chorus in congress (Buchanan’s term for congressional supporters of Israel) than with Buchanan’s amen chorus of neo-Nazis.

Oh he will publicly repudiate them. But we know exactly who he is pandering to. And by avoiding being explicit he attracts innocents who support his brand of ‘America First’ conservatism. They will come to see the Jewish citizens exactly as he does - as a cabal of traitors whose secret aims are to build up Israel at America’s expense!

Mr. Buchanan is an anti-Semite. I don’t think that’s even arguable. His conservative ideals seem to have taken a back seat to his current obsession with the Jewish people. No one said it better than the Jewish Press did in a column by its editor Jason Moaz. While he was reticent to actually label Mr. Buchanan for the anti Semite he is -it is quite clear that he believes that to be the case - and that it has been the case for many years. Here are excerpts from his excellent article replete with examples that demonstrate it:

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.