Where's the outrage?

Pat Buchanan is entitled to his opinions, but MSNBC should not provide a platform.

douglas bloomfield224.88 (photo credit: )
douglas bloomfield224.88
(photo credit: )
Accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk, who is wanted in Germany in connection with the murder of 29,000 Jews at the notorious Sobibor death factory, may be the only illegal alien Pat Buchanan wants to keep in the United States. Demjanjuk was stripped of his American citizenship by federal courts for concealing his past as a concentration camp guard, but has evaded deportation by a series of last minute legal maneuvers. His staunchest defender is the conservative writer who, in a column published on Good Friday called him a victim of "the same satanic brew of hate and revenge that drove another innocent man up Calvary that first Good Friday 2,000 years ago." Who's behind the "un-American persecution" of Buchanan's hero? The Jews, of course. Specifically the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, which he has portrayed as being in cahoots with the KGB and tried to shut down when he served in the Reagan White House. Jesus wasn't the only Jew Buchanan likened to Demjanjuk; he also called him an "American Dreyfus," as if to suggest he is the victim of religious persecution by those who were once the victims of French bigotry. What Buchanan wants for Demjanjuk is nothing less than a "reward" for "prolonged success in eluding justice," said Eli Rosenbaum, the Justice Department's top Nazi hunter. Demjanjuk isn't the first accused Nazi Buchanan has defended; others include Austrian president Kurt Waldheim, a victim of "moral bullying"; Klaus Barbie, the "butcher of Lyon"; Karl Linnas, an Estonian concentration camp chief; and Arthur Rudolph, a Nazi rocket scientist implicated by his own admission in the persecution of slave labor. "Buchanan's real target is Israel. Like [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad with Holocaust denial, his real goal is to delegitimize Israel," said Neal Sher, a former OSI director. Sobibor was not a labor camp, it was strictly a killing factory where the life expectancy of arriving Jews was measured in hours. In the time Demjanjuk served there, an estimated 29,000 Jews went to the gas chambers. But Buchanan insists "Demjanjuk's weapon of mass murder cannot kill." The lethal diesel engine exhausts piped into the gas chambers at Sobibor, Treblinka, Chelmno and Belzec "do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody," Buchanan insisted. Does he think they all committed suicide? LIKE THE IRANIANS, the Arabs and many anti-Semites, Buchanan seems to want it both ways - denying key aspects of the Holocaust, but, when convenient, using that same history to compare Israel to Nazi Germany. When Israel retaliated in January against Hamas's ongoing barrage of rockets, missiles and mortar shells from Gaza, Buchanan was outraged. The Palestinians fired "these little rockets that didn't kill anybody," and Israel responded with "a blitzkrieg against the Palestinians in Gaza," which is "an Israeli concentration camp," he told David Shuster on MSNBC, where he appears regularly as a commentator. Buchanan is entitled to his opinions, as disgusting as they may be, but MSNBC should have better judgment than to provide such a platform. The network acted quickly when African-American leaders were outraged by a racially insensitive joke by Don Imus. Where is the outrage when Jews and Israel are compared to Nazis? He has called Hitler a man "of great courage, a soldier's soldier," and he wrote Ronald Reagan's infamous Bitburg speech that honored German soldiers and SS members buried in that cemetery as "victims of the war." When Buchanan wants to go after those whose views he opposes - whether backers of the Iraq war, members of the Supreme Court or the financial industry - he tends to single out individuals or firms with clearly Jewish names. He has accused George W. Bush of "outsourcing American Middle Eat policy to Ariel Sharon," complained that 13 percent of US senators "are Jewish folks from 2 percent of the population. That's where real power is at." And he wants to "investigate whether there is a nest of Pollardites in the Pentagon who have been transmitting American secrets through AIPAC, the Israeli lobby, over to Reno Road, the Israeli embassy, to be transferred" to Jerusalem. A colleague asked, "Why bother writing about Demjanjuk and Buchanan? Nobody cares about those old Nazis anymore, and everyone knows what Buchanan is." That's why. Because there can be no statute of limitations on murder. "It remains essential to pursue justice" in cases of genocide and crimes against humanity, as Eli Rosenbaum has said, and "the mere passage of time in no way diminishes the gravity of those offenses." Buchanan wrote his latest outrage on Good Friday; this week we marked Holocaust Remembrance Day. For those who find Buchanan's diatribes insulting to the memory of the Nazis' victims and his attacks on Jews and Israel unacceptable, this is a time to share their outrage with MSNBC. Why are so many Jewish leaders quick to condemn the venom of the likes of Ahmadinejad, Nasrallah, Bin Laden, Chavez and their ilk but so reluctant here at home where they could have a real impact? Is Buchanan an anti-Semite? Here's how he himself defines anti-Semitism: "an embedded hatred of Jewish people, manifest in writing and conduct." What do you think?