Is Pat Buchanan Anti-Semitic?

I pose this question to you, dear readers, because John Podhoretz and Glenn Reynolds are charging that he is and site this column in which he calls Israel’s action against Hezbollah and Lebanon “un-Christian” as proof. Here’s the quotation in its context, plus a little more from the column that I think goes to the question:

But what Israel is doing is imposing deliberate suffering on civilians, collective punishment on innocent people, to force them to do something they are powerless to do: disarm the gunmen among them. Such a policy violates international law and comports neither with our values nor our interests. It is un-American and un-Christian.


That Tel Aviv is maneuvering us to fight its wars is understandable. That Americans are ignorant of, or complicit in this, is deplorable.

Already, Bush is ranting about Syria being behind the Hezbollah capture of the Israeli soldiers. But where is the proof?

Who is whispering in his ear? The same people who told him Iraq was maybe months away from an atom bomb, that an invasion would be a “cakewalk,” that he would be Churchill, that U.S. troops would be greeted with candy and flowers, that democracy would break out across the region, that Palestinians and Israelis would then sit down and make peace?

How much must America pay for the education of this man?

Alright, let’s hear it; what do you think? I know where I come down and I’ll join in the discussion in the comments.

UPDATE (James Joyner): In a long-ago issue-length essay in National Review [“In Search of Anti-Semitism” December 31, 1991], subsequently made the cornerstone of a book, William F. Buckley, Jr. concluded, reluctantly, that Buchanan was indeed an anti-Semite. More precisely:

I find it impossible to defend Pat Buchanan against the charge that what he did and said during the period under examination amounted to anti-Semitism, whatever it was that drove him to say and do it: most probably, an iconoclastic temperament.

The problem, however, with the question in general is that we seem unable to distinguish anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism or even the idea that “What’s good for Israel isn’t necessarily good for America.” Buckley attempts to differentiate these aspects but finds it quite tricky, indeed.

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Greg Tinti
About Greg Tinti
Greg started the blog The Political Pit Bull in August 2005. He was OTB's Breaking News Editor from June through August 2006 before deciding to return to his own blog. His blogging career eventually ended altogether. He has a B.A. in Anthropology from The George Washington University,


  1. Anderson says:

    Well, a borderline Holocaust denier is liable to run into such charges.

    In a 1990 New York Post column defending Demjanjuk, Buchanan claimed a diesel engine could “not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody.” When asked for his source, Buchanan cited an article about children surviving the fumes of idling diesel engines while trapped in a tunnel. The article came from the Newsletter of the German American Information and Education Association, a publication accused of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

    Buchanan thinks the accusations of anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathies frequently leveled against him are unfair smear attacks, stemming from his political incorrectness and his controversial views on foreign policy. He has pointed out that the Holocaust did not become a Final Solution until 1942 when the Pearl Harbor attack had already ended any debate there was about U.S. involvement in World War II ….

    Lies, of course. Many Jews were gassed by diesel engines hooked up to the cargo compartments of trucks, tho indeed the efficiency was low enough that some victims had to be finished off.

    And the Final Solution was off and running on June 22, 1941, when the Einsatzgruppen began what became, in a month or two, the eradication of every Jewish man, woman, and child who fell into their hands.

  2. DC Loser says:

    Anderson – a technical point, but don’t most historians point to the Wannsee conference in Jan 42 as the official beginning of the “Final Solution?” From Wikipedia:

    The Wannsee Conference (January 20, 1942, during World War II) was a high level ministerial meeting of Nazi German civilian government and SS officials convened by Reinhard Heydrich, to bring together the leaders of the German organizations whose cooperation was necessary to carry out the Nazi plan for the extermination of the entire Jewish population of Europe and to make it clear to these other German ministers that this “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” was a strategic imperative of the Third Reich.

    The conference was held in the Wannsee Villa overlooking the Wannsee lake in southwestern Berlin.

    I’m not sure either way if Buchanan is an anti-semite or not. I just happen to be in agreement with him regarding Israeli influence on US Mid-East policy.

  3. Michael says:

    “Un-Christian” to “Anti-Semitic” is a pretty big stretch, no matter how good your imagination is.

    Buchanan suffers from what many American Christians suffer from, he sees the world through Christ-colored glasses. He perceives of world events in the context of his personal understanding of God, and either doesn’t realize or doesn’t care that other people take different perspectives.

    The bigger topic in the quoted article, however, isn’t even being addressed. Who is trying to convince the American people that Syria is involved, and why?

  4. MT says:

    Cox & Forkum nailed this issue in their latest post when they said “Every single Lebanese victim should be laid at the feet of Hezbollah and any Lebanese who have supported Hezbollah’s home in Lebanon.”

  5. Mikey NTH says:

    Pat Buchanan is an out and out 1930’s style isolationist. He wants nothing to do with any Wilsonian foreign policy ventures. I do not know if he is an abti-semite, but it is my experience that hard-right isolationists also tend to be anti-semitic.

    I think it likely, but I don’t know for sure.

  6. madmatt says:

    Israel is a state and thus not jewish or christian, so while he may be anti-semitic, criticizing the country of israel is not..their actions need to be measured the same way other countries are.
    It is unfair to give israel favorable treatment just because the population is largely jewish and moved into a global neighborhood that has hated jews for 2000 years.

  7. Ryan says:

    In your skewed calculations, anyone who dares to critisize Israel is anti-semitic. Israelis are certainly free to critisize their government, just read Haaretz! Why aren’t we?
    I salue the reps in Congress who had the moral courage to stand up to the Israel lobby and vote against American endorsement of the attack on the entire nation of Lebanon, not just Hezbollah.

  8. MT says:

    Some good info here.

    This is not a simple topic Greg, but while revenge is un-Christian, justice isn’t. The killing of innocents in Lebanon is horrible, but the blame lies more appropriately with Hezbollah for initiating the conflict and then hiding behind civilians. Israel has to defend itself.

  9. Shayne says:

    Personally, from all I’ve read about and from Buchanan, I’d have to say that yes, he is anti-Semitic. However, his comments were less anti-Semitic and more inaccurate. Israel is not imposing deliberate suffering on civilians. The fact is, as long as Hezbollah continues to store weapons and ammunition among the civilian population, that population will be targeted. It is a common tactic undertaken by a society that holds no value for it’s people, but knows how much human life is important to it’s enemy.

    No other country in the world has shown more restrain and more concern for the lose of enemy life.

    What do you suppose the world would say (Buchanan as well) if the roles were reversed? Do you think Hezbollah is just targeting the military? If so, why are they dropping bombs loaded with nails in civilian populations?

  10. legion says:

    Ummm… has anyone mentioned to PB that the Israelis are neither American nor Christian?

    I’m serious – he’s complaining that Israel has a different culture, with different values?!? Of course they do – that’s how you can tell they’re a different culture!

    Not to mention – “…imposing deliberate suffering on civilians, collective punishment on innocent people, to force them to do something they are powerless to do: disarm the gunmen among them.”
    Did he not notice that that’s exactly what Hezbollah & Hamas have been doing to Israel? What we judge them on is why they do those things – to eliminate an entire race or to defend themselves.

    I honestly don’t know if Pat is an anti-semite… I don’t pay enough attention to his writings. But I do know he’s an idiot.

  11. Steve Myers says:

    Patrick Buchanan’s article at is the work of a deranged, Jew-hating, Israel hating bigot. It is precisely because Buchanan is reasonably logical on other matters that his virulent anti-semitism is so apparent.

    Patrick Buchanan can speak on any topic he wishes, but his credibility and authority are reduced to zero by the same words that keep flashing in front of his face: “Anti-semite”. Just like Robert Novak, Patrick Buchanan has ruined his reputation by his bigoted and factually inaccurate venting of his anti-Jewish, anti-Israel spleen.

    With reference to the article, he derides President “Bush’s folly in subcontracting US policy out to Tel Aviv …”. He doesn’t see Israel as the true ally they are, and furthermore he means Jerusalem, as deliberately takes the extremist Arab position of denying that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is absurd, even for an anti-Israel, Tel Aviv is not the capital of Israel, nor are there any government ministries there.

    Buchanan asks where the Christians are. Allow me to enlighten him. They are on their knees praying for Israel’s speedy and decisive victory, and for Arab terrorism – and anti-semitism – to be vanquished once and for all.

  12. Anderson says:

    Anderson Рa technical point, but don̢??t most historians point to the Wannsee conference in Jan 42 as the official beginning of the ̢??Final Solution?̢??

    Well, I’ll step back a notch from saying Buchanan “lied,” as reputable historians debate the point. But the extermination of Jews in the USSR was underway by July 1941. So it depends on how you define “Final Solution”: did it begin with the Soviet Jews and spread to the other occupied nations, or was it not really underway until Wannsee?

    Myself, I suspect a certain “Western bias” here; the Eastern Front gets shorted in both world wars, for various reasons. What happened in Russia, beginning with the executions of Jewish men and rapidly spreading to all Jews, sure looks like the Final Solution to me. Doubtless it looked the same way to its victims.

  13. djneylon says:

    Being anti-Israel or anti-Zionist is not, in and of itself, anti-Semitic. Wishing the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel or of Jews in general is anti-Semitic. Is Pat Buchanan anti-Semitic? Well, he certainly is anti-Israel and anti-Zionist. He is also an isolationist. I do remember the National Review issue. I also remember thinking that the question was not answered conclusively.

  14. don surber says:

    Buchanan is so anti-Semitic he could be a liberal

  15. floyd says:

    i don’t think pat is anti-semitic. but to pat i say; DUH!! they are niether americans nor christians. you should expect them to act like israelis and jews! [read the pentateuch]. besides how would you react when constantly faced with emminent anihilation, [unprovoked]. they cannot afford the luxury of self deprecating introspection like america can [for a while longer].

  16. Kent G. Budge says:

    Criticism of Israel is certainly legitimate, as long as the same standards are applied as would be applied to any other country. When a double standard is evident, that’s prima facie evidence of anti-Semitism.

    By the same logic, anti-Zionism is legitimate as long as you reject every other nationalist movement. When you laud Palestinian nationalism and condemn Zionism, you are applying a double standard and, yes, this is prima facie evidence that you are an anti-Semite.

    I honestly haven’t read enough of Buchanan’s work to know if he is doing these things. I don’t have a strong enough stomach to venture beyond the idiocy he’s written that I have read.