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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 3, 2008 / 26 Adar I 5768

Bill Buckley and the Jews

By Jonathan Tobin



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The impact of the writer who chased the anti-Semites out of mainstream politics


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Was there any major American personality in the last half-century who seemed more remote from the sensibilities of most American Jews than William F. Buckley?

Buckley, who passed away last week at the age of 83, was the fervent Catholic patrician whose work helped create the modern American conservative movement in the 1950s at a time when nothing could have been more removed from the thinking of most Jews in this country than his National Review.

Though much has changed in the 53 years since NRs debut, given that most Jews are still, at the very least, reliable supporters of the Democrats, if not hard-core liberals, its likely that most of them noted the passing of Buckley without emotion.

After all, Buckley's eccentric mid-Atlantic accent, his cheerful intellectual snobbery symbolized by his delight in $10 words where simple ones would have served just as well, his lavish lifestyle (skiing at Gstaad and sailing on the high seas), as well as his rock-solid conservative politics are not the sort of things that most Jews identify with.

SETTING THE STAGE
A chorus of commentators have rightly extolled his influence, gentlemanly grace toward his opponents and literary virtuosity as an essayist and novelist. His "Firing Line" television program was the granddaddy of all the political talk shows that have followed (though none have been as thoughtful or fair). It was he who made it clear that the expression "conservative intellectual" was not an oxymoron and inspired countless young writers to try to emulate him.

But there is one other aspect of his amazing career that deserves mention. It is the fact that as much as any other person, Bill Buckley cleared the way not only for a conservative movement where Jews would be welcomed, but that it was his leadership that set the stage for an American politics in which anti-Semitism was confined to the fever swamps of the far right and far left.

As conservative columnist George Will has written, without National Review, which Buckley started in 1955, much of what followed in American politics - including Barry Goldwater's capture of the Republican nomination for president in 1964 and then the electoral victories of Ronald Reagan and the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 - is unimaginable. American conservatism as we have known it, with all of its subsequent ups and downs, has its origins in the pages of that magazine in which its editor helped create a coherent movement out of what had previously been a loose array of cranks.

In order to give life to that movement, Buckley specifically chose to rid its ranks of people who espoused the sort of anti-Semitism that once was inescapable on the American right.

Buckley would himself acknowledge that prejudice was a presence in his own home growing up. And as a youngster, Buckley admitted that he was a fan of Charles Lindbergh and his "America First" movement, whose flirtation with anti-Semitism was of a piece with its advocacy of appeasement of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany.

But as National Review took flight in the late 1950s, anti-Semitic writers found themselves on the outside looking in. So, too, did apologists for the extremist John Birch Society.

But despite the fact that his conservatism was one that was informed by his own Catholic faith (something that was consistently made clear in the pages of National Review), Buckley made his journal, and by extension, the movement for which it served as an unofficial bible, off-limits to the anti-Semitism that was commonplace in the world in which he grew up.

Though he didn't always agree with all of its policies, Buckley was also a consistent supporter of Israel. A staunch anti-Communist, he was also deeply supportive of the movement to free Soviet Jewry at a time when many in this country (including some Jews) were loath to speak out because it might be interpreted as opposition to a policy of detente with Moscow.

Long after he chased the Birchers out of NR, Buckley found himself forced to confront the issue again. When longtime colleagues Pat Buchanan and Joseph Sobran used their bully pulpits on the right to bash Israel and stigmatize Jews for their support for the state, it was again Buckley who took on the haters.

Buckley repudiated Sobran's writing, which he labeled anti-Semitic, and pushed him off the magazine's masthead.

As the issue continued to percolate in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf war in December 1991, he devoted an entire issue of the magazine to an essay titled "In Search of Anti-Semitism" (which was also the title of the book he later published on the same subject), in which he took on Buchanan, who was preparing an insurgent run for the White House against the first President Bush.

His conclusion was damning: "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," Buckley wrote.

Though Buchanan would continue to snipe away on television, it was largely Buckley's doing that he and others like him would do so from outside a perch in one of our two major parties rather than inside it.

IN HIS OWN IMAGE
The long-term implications of Buckley's stands were enormous. By remaking the conservative movement in his own image, in which the emphasis was on anti-communism and a libertarian skepticism of government power, he ensured that it, and the Republican Party, which it came to dominate, would be a place where Jew-haters were unwelcome.

That enabled liberal Jews, such as Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz, to feel comfortable making common cause with the right on a host of issues as he began his own journey away from the left. Though expectations that the Jews would ditch liberalism en masse were always unrealistic, the birth of an intellectually viable brand of Jewish conservative thought in this country wouldn't have happened had not Buckley first cleaned out the GOP stables.

In terms of practical politics, Buckley's rout of the anti-Semites made it possible for the sort of bipartisan consensus in favor of support for Israel that we now take for granted. He replaced the Buchanan-like world of American conservatism that existed before National Review with something that was not only more successful, but purged of Jew-hatred. If Israel Lobby authors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt want to find the real father of the enormous support for Israel in our political system today, they can look no further than the irrepressible Buckley, whose life was a testament to the power of ideas.

His was a political faith that most Jews never embraced, but as we survey a political spectrum in which our enemies are confined to the margins, we should all remember the unique achievements of this American original. May his memory be for a blessing for all who love liberty.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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