IN SEARCH OF ANTI-SEMITISM by William F. Buckley Jr.
Kirkus Star

IN SEARCH OF ANTI-SEMITISM

KIRKUS REVIEW

Landmark essay by Buckley on anti-Semitism in American politics. When the piece ran in the National Review (Dec. 1991), it elicited over 200 letters, the largest response in the magazine's history. Some of the letters appear here, along with an epilogue by the author. Buckley's essay sent shock waves through political America: Here was the president and editor-at-large of America's leading conservative journal, the host of Firing Line, publicly accusing his brethren of anti-Semitism. Buckley scrutinizes four cases of increasing seriousness, three of them involving personal friends. After poring over the evidence, he shrugs off charges of anti-Semitism lodged against the conservative Dartmouth Review and skewers Dartmouth President James Freedman for promoting media hysteria. More serious is the case of National Review columnist Joseph Sobran, who, Buckley concludes, is obsessively anti-Israel but not an anti-Semite. But Patrick Buchanan, with his claim that Congress is "Israeli-occupied territory," seems to have gone over the line. As for Gore Vidal, the only liberal in the docket, Buckley details his writings in The Nation as "genuinely and intentionally and derisively anti-Semitic." The published responses to Buckley's essay are overwhelmingly supportive, although Sobran writes a long letter in self-defense. Alan Dershowitz, Hugh Kenner, Irving Kristol, and Robert Novak also chime in. In the epilogue, Buckley discusses Buchanan's presidential bid and explores the book's most vexing question: Is political opposition to Israel tantamount to anti-Semitism? HIS answer is no, but he says that to oppose military aid to Israel is ipso facto anti-Semitic, as such opposition will result in the dissolution of the Jewish people. More temperate, and even generous, in its judgments than Ruth Wisse's ultra-partisan book on the same subject (see below). A model of muckraking on high moral ground.
Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1992
ISBN: 0-8264-0619-X
Page count: 216pp
Publisher: Continuum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1992




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