MEDIAnDefiningnAnti-Semitismnby Allan C. BrownfeldnPat Buchanan andnHis CriticsnThere was much discussion last autumnnof the charge of “anti-Semitism”nmade against syndicated columnistnand conservative spokesman PatricknBuchanan by New York Times columnistnA.M. Rosenthal.nWhat sparked the attack was a statementnmade by Buchanan on the televisionnprogram The McLaughlin Group,nin which he said, “There are only twongroups that are beating the drums nownfor war in the Middle East, and that isnthe Israeli Defense Ministry and itsnamen corner in the U.S.”nIn response, Rosenthal declared thatnBuchanan was guilty of engaging in an”blood libel,” by implying that “Jewsnhave alien loyalties for which they arenwilling to sacrifice the lives of Americans.”nA number of others joined in thenattack. The New York Post (whichncarries Buchanan’s column) wrote innan editorial that, “When it comes tonJews as a group . . . Buchanan betraysnan all too familiar hostility.” Taking anVITAL SIGNSndifferent tack was Jacob Weisberg innthe New Republic. Weisberg admittednthat “Most of those who knownBuchanan — including ideological antagonists—nfind it hard to countenancenthe charge of anti-Semitism.” Still, henstates, this “becomes a kind of semanticnquibble: depending on how youndefine anti-Semitism.” He indicatesnthat his real concern is not the chargenof anti-Semitism but Pat Buchanan’sntotal ideological perspective, which hendescribes as “powerfully authoritariannand anti-democratic, and in a distinctnsense, fascistic.”nThe unsigned editorial the NewnRepublic ran prior to the Weisbergnarticle was not even this circumspect,ncalling Buchanan “an anti-Semiten. . . twisted … a connoisseur of intolerancen… a disgraceful man.” Writingnin the Jerusalem Post, David Bar-nIllan referred to Buchanan as “thenAmerican Le Pen.”nBuchanan’s answer was as follows:n”Now, about this charge, anti-Semitism.nThe word has several meanings.nOne is an embedded hatred of Jewishnpeople … As such, it is a grave sin, andisease of the heart, a variant of racism.nWhich brings us to a second definitionn. . . And that is a word to describe thenbranding iron wielded by a tiny clique,nto burn horribly heretics from theirnpolitical orthodoxy. It is used to frighten,nintimidate, censor and silence; toncut off debate; to so smear a man’snreputation that no one will listen tonhim again; to scar men so indelibly thatnno one will ever look at them againnwithout saying, ‘Say, isn’t he an anti-nSemite?'”nInterestingly, not a single personnwho has known Pat Buchanan fornmany years, as this writer has, hasnjoined the attack. Indeed, while manyndisagree — as this writer does — withnhis views about the Middle East andnabout the cases of several accused Nazinwar criminals he has defended, not ansingle manifestation of anti-Semitismnhas been reported. Syndicated columnistnJack Germond noted that he hadnknown Buchanan for twenty-five years,ndisagreed with him on most politicalnnnquestions, and never observed anynmanifestation of anti-Semitism. EvennMorton Kondracke of the New Republicnsaid, when the tempest first broke,n”I say calling someone an anti-Semitenis the worst, one of the worst things,nyou could possibly call him, and younhave to have lots of proof, and AbenRosenthal does not have the proof”n(Only later, after his magazine joinednthe attack on Buchanan, did Kondrackenbacktrack with, “I’m not chargingnanti-Semitism, but there is a patternnof hostility.”)nIf there is no proof of Pat Buchanan’snanti-Semitism, there is a good dealnof proof to indicate that Abe Rosenthal’snattack was part of a more generalnplan to silence free and open debate onnAmerica’s Middle East policy. Rosenthalnbased his attack upon Buchanannon material provided to him — andnother journalists around the country —nby the Anti-Defamation League ofnB’nai B’rith. Abraham Foxman, nationalndirector of the ADL, acknowledgesnthat the ADL issued a statementncritical of Pat Buchanan. “I’m sure thatnAbe Rosenthal saw it,” Foxman says.n”It wasn’t a secret. He then did whatnhe did.” Foxman maintains that thenADL, in contrast to Rosenthal, did notncharge Buchanan with anti-Semitism.nBut Foxman adds that he believesnBuchanan is “a mirror image of annanti-Semite” and has charged that Buchanannhas an “obsession” and “anproblem” with Jewish issues. Some ofnBuchanan’s comments, Foxman toldnthe New York City Tribune, have beenn”reminiscent of a lot of anti-Semiticnstereotyping and we raised our voicesnin concern.” Still, Foxman disputes thenidea that the ADL was seeking toncensor Pat Buchanan: “One way tonfight bigotry is to expose it, which isnwhat we did.”nThe ADL is part of a larger coalitionnof groups, some of which have assumednfor themselves the role of attemptingnto silence those advocatingnideas with which these groups disagree.nThe house organ of the AmericannIsrael Public Affairs Committeen(AIPAC), Near East Report, urged itsnJANUARY 1991/49n