I like Pat Buchanan. I do. He's wise, funny and charming. But every so often . . .
Like tonight. If Buchanan wants to criticize Israel's conduct of the current war, and its treatment of the Palestinians, so be it. But in doing so, is it really necessary to employ terms associated with the Nazis? Appearing on "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," Buchanan accused Israel of carrying out a "blitzkrieg" against Gaza and turning it into a "concentration camp."
View video here.
Host David Shuster unwittingly touched off the fireworks.
DAVID SHUSTER: A lot of people have criticized Israel for its "disproportionate response." And yet, after 9-11, the United States went into Afghanistan and killed a lot of people--some would argue a lot more than were killed with 9-11. What's the difference?
PAT BUCHANAN: Well, the difference is, in my judgment, Afghanistan, that was--al Qaeda was responsible for bringing down those towers. If the Afghans had dealt with them, given us Osama Bin Laden, then we would not have gone in. We had a justification. That was an act of war. The Israelis have been hit for six months with these little rockets that didn't kill anybody. It was outrageous, cruel and stupid, and they triggered a blitzkrieg against the Palestinians in Gaza, which in my judgment is an Israeli concentration camp, where a million-and-a-half people are locked up, cannot come out or go in. They've been controlling food, electricity, fuel. And the innocent people in Gaza are the ones suffering.
SHUSTER: Concentration camp? Doesn't that diminish the significance of the real concentration camps?
BUCHANAN: I'm not talking about a death camp. I'm talking about what the British had in concentration camps in South Africa, and what the Spanish had in Cuba, and what others have had where they bring all these people, lock 'em in there, and treat them with great cruelty, and a humanitarian disaster, despite what Tzipi Livni says.
Like Shuster, Cliff May of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies had a measured response to Buchanan's provocation.
CLIFF MAY: The people of Gaza could have peace tomorrow, and they could have an independent state the day after. All it would take would be for Hamas to do two things. One: stop the missiles. You cannot have any country, even a country like Israel, simply accept that, OK, for the rest of our lives--and this has been going on for years now--we accept that they are going to be firing missiles at us. Some of them are small, some of them are bigger, they'll get bigger. But we accept this as a fact of life; we deserve to be hit with missiles. All Hamas would have to do is say: no more missiles starting tomorrow; we understand. And by the way, we accept Israel as a state, as a neighbor. Now, Hamas cannot do that because of its religious convictions that infidels may not, anywhere in the Middle East, be in power.
I can't psychoanalyze Pat. But somewhere in him, there's a nasty nerve that fires off from time to time.