On these pages today, Menachem Rosensaft, general counsel of the World Jewish Congress and adjunct professor of law at Cornell re-posts an article that previously ran in the New York Daily News, describing the extent to which Pat Buchanan is "enabling Holocaust deniers."
In a March 17, 1990, syndicated column, Buchanan wrote that it would have been impossible for Jews to die in the gas chambers of the Treblinka death camp, and referred to a "so-called Holocaust survivor syndrome," which he described as involving "group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics."
In another column, Rosensaft notes that Buchanan once likened convicted Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk to Jesus Christ:
In his syndicated column of April 17, 2009, Buchanan not only called Demjanjuk "the sacrificial lamb whose blood washes away the stain of Germany's sins," but he wrote that the "spirit" behind the U.S. Justice Department's efforts to bring Demjanjuk to justice is "the same satanic brew of hate and revenge that drove another innocent Man up Calvary that first Good Friday 2,000 years ago."
Rosensaft also cites the presence of an ongoing discussion of the Holocaust on Buchanan.org, which is replete with both denialists ("I would like to see some rebuttal from Holocaust believers. Let's see some pictures of those gas chambers or those big cremation ovens. I'll tell you right now -- THEY DON'T EXIST. The same blinded people that believe that the Germans intentionally killed Jews -- also believe the myth of the Anne Frank Diary.") and, frankly, Nazi sympathizers ("Regarding Corrie ten Boom, the heroic Dutch Christian woman who risked her life to help Jews during World War II...People need to realize that what the Ten Booms did was engage in an illegal activity helping hide people and support the 'resistance movement.').
All of which leads to to this question:
Two years ago, Don Imus was unceremoniously dumped by MSNBC after making racially insensitive remarks about the Rutgers University women's basketball team.
Buchanan's sponsorship of a Holocaust denial forum is at least as offensive. Isn't it?
When I spoke to Rosensaft about the matter this morning, he made it clear that it was an issue of hypocrisy: "If these had been the comments of Sean Hannity, or Bill O'Reilly, there's no doubt that MSNBC would have criticized them for it...Keith Olbermann would have made Buchanan the 'Worst Person in the World.'" I think that there's little doubt that this is true. Rosensaft added, "If this were about another nationality or ethnicity, it would be different. I can't imagine that Chris Matthews or Mike Barnicle would stay silent in the face of slurs directed at Irish-Americans, or Joe Scarborough at southern Americans, or Mika Brzezinski at Polish Catholics."
An excellent point! It's worth remembering that a week after Don Imus insulted the Rutgers Womens Basketball team by calling them "nappy-headed hos" Steve Capus of MSNBC took the extraordinary step of cutting ties with Imus and his show. Yet Buchanan's support for Holocaust denialism is ever-present, ongoing, and -- as his Demjanjuk piece indicates -- very strongly stated. Yet NBC has done diddly-poo in response. Perhaps they should!