Remembering William F. Buckley as a Man who Fought Against Hate

As I do most mornings one the first emails I opened in the morning was the NRO Morning Jolt (which if you don’t receive you should).  Today’s Jolt was penned by Jack Fowler rather than the usual author Jim Geraghty who began with a tribute to William F. Buckley.`

As is our custom, the offices of National Review are closed the day following Thanksgiving. The turkey does make you groggy, after all. Never mind the hard cider.

But a day without a Jolt? Perish that thought. We’ll keep it short and sweet, but keep it we will — enjoy this classic piece by Bill Buckley on gratitude.

By the way, today would have been Bill’s 92nd birthday. My colleagues at NRO put together a terrific photo essay …

I remember and honor William F. Buckley for a different reason than most conservatives. William F. Buckley, who was a very observant Catholic opened up the conservative movement to Jews, by kicking out the haters.

The December 1991 issue of  National Review was almost entirely devoted to an essay by Buckley called “In Search of Antisemitism” which he turned into a book a year later. But his efforts started well before that.

From its initial issue in 1955, the National Review became the bible of conservative thought, but it was also void of the Jew-hatred that was a big part of the conservative movement. Conservative favorites such as aviator Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford were staunchly anti-Semitic, as were the post-war conservative anti-communist groups such as the John Birch Society and The Liberty Lobby. Buckley didn’t let those groups anywhere near his magazine, and publicly denounced the John Birch Society and its leader Robert W. Welch, Jr.

In his 1991 essay, William F. Buckley gave former National Review contributor and presidential candidate Pat Buchanan the label he deserved, anti-Semite.

During the run-up to the first Iraq war, Buchanan said:

 “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,”

And who was that “amen corner?” Well according to Buchanan it was composed of people like A.M. Rosenthal, Charles Krauthammer, Henry Kissinger and Richard Perle, all Jews. In his essay, Buckley asked why Buchanan didn’t mention any of the famous Christian commentators who backed the war such as James J. Kilpatrick, George Will, Frank Gaffney and Alexander Haig?

Buchanan also wrote that if the United States went to war, the fighting would be done by “kids with names like McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales, and Leroy Brown.” Buckley, in his usual opaque writing style, argues that this amounts to charging Jews with starting a war they wouldn’t fight in a genuine slur against them. He adds: “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.”

There is much more to say about Buchanan’s Antisemitism and Holocaust denial, you can read about it at this link…

 

Read the Rest of the Story at Lid Blog…

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