While Chris Matthews’ special “Rise of the New Right” was nothing less than insulting to the intelligence, and pure propaganda, conservatives can learn something from it. If we do not clean our own house, somebody else will. There are many who march under the banner of conservative America, but who have their own agenda. They often keep this agenda to themselves until they are presented with the proper moment or event that provides them the opportunity of revealing themselves without risk of reprisal or censure.
Take the example of the Flotilla fiasco. The incident occurred on May 31, 2010 and was receiving wall-to-wall coverage by June 1st. By the time June 2nd rolled around, I had only one question. “Where’s Buchanan?” I did not have to wait long. On June 3rd, Buchanan came out with his article, Lift the Siege of Gaza.
The way to catch a pundit with Jewish issues, is to simply wait for an international incident involving Israel, and then watch. Anti-semitic authors or personalities will find it too difficult to ignore the opportunity to express their beliefs. This factor is just as true with liberals as with conservatives. It is also a great way to distinguish an honest writer who disagrees with Israeli policy on a case by case basis, from the individual on a personal anti-Jewish crusade. If this test works with any political commentator, it works with Buchanan. When Israel acts, Buchanan has an article concerning U.S. interests and how the Founding Fathers would have had nothing to do with defending Israel.
In his article, Lift the Siege of Gaza, Buchanan provides the historical example of how the U.S. valiantly defied the Russian blockade of Berlin. Then he proceeds to provide a litany of past Israeli aggression. As proof of his opinion on the Flotilla incident, he cites the tape! This is the very tape that shows the Israeli commandos being beaten Rodney King style. Buchanan wrote:
Israel claims, and film confirms, that its commandos rappelling down onto the Turkish ship were attacked with sticks and metal rods. One was tossed off a deck, another tossed overboard into a lifeboat.
But that 2 a.m. boarding of an unarmed ship with an unarmed crew, carrying no munitions or weapons, 65 miles at sea, was an act of piracy. What the Israeli commandos got is what any armed hijacker should expect who tries to steal a car from a driver who keeps a tire iron under the front seat.
And the response of these highly trained naval commandos to the resistance they encountered? They shot and killed nine passengers, and wounded many more.
Although it is amazing that Buchanan can make these statements after watching the video of the incident, these comments are not the most troublesome and clever of his article. The most problematic argument was:
Israel has a right to secure Gaza to deny Hamas access to weapons, especially rockets that could reach Israel. But that does not justify denying 1.5 million people what they need to live in decency.
It almost appears as if Buchanan is a friend of Israel and grants her the right to defend against Hamas, as long as she does not starve 1.5 million people while she’s at it. This is a subtle argument. Even Benjamin Netanyahu could not disagree with it. In fact, Buchanan while pretending to teach Israel a lesson, merely reiterates her policy. Israel blocks ships to search for weapons and contraband. Then she takes the food and supplies and hands them over to the1.5 million Gazastinians. Buchanan’s deception lies in the fact that he offers a solution that he knows Israel is already implementing.
Where is the public disagreement when Buchanan writes articles that reiterate the leftist line on the Arab Israeli conflict? How is it that Sean Hannity will spend hours attacking the liberal bias against Israel, but will then interview Buchanan as an expert? One can’t accuse every one of Buchanan’s associates of sharing his views, but we should expect that conservative use some introspection and apply the same rules to ourselves that we readily apply to the left. If we do not, then we should not complain the next time Chris Matthews wants to call us all extremists.