Odd Endorser: Buchanan Vouches For Zbig on Israel

Like choosing Rosie O'Donnell to vouch that someone isn't a 9-11 conspiracy nut?

Of all the people Mika Brzezinski might have selected as a character reference for her father when he was portrayed as a problem for Obama with Jewish voters, Pat Buchanan isn't the first one who springs to mind. Yet that's who Mika [subbing as host for Joe Scarborough, home in Florida awaiting the birth of a baby] called on to defend her dad on today's Morning Joe.

The odd endorsement came at about 6:35 AM EDT today, after Mika highlighted an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal by Global View columnist [and former Jerusalem Post editor] Bret Stephens entitled Obama and the Jews. Stephens's item contained these lines [emphasis added]:

View video here.

So whatever his actual convictions, it is a matter of ordinary political prudence that Barack Obama "get right with the Jews." Since Jews tend to be about as liberal as the Illinois senator on most domestic issues, what this really means is that he get right with Israel.

And so he has.

Over his campaign's port side have gone pastor Jeremiah Wright ("Every time you say 'Israel' Negroes get awfully quiet on you because they [sic] scared: Don't be scared; don't be scared"); former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski ("I think what the Israelis are doing today [2006] for example in Lebanon is in effect – maybe not in intent – the killing of hostages"); and former Clinton administration diplomat Robert Malley (an advocate and practitioner of talks with Hamas).

A clearly upset Mika expressed her barely-contained ire.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Time for our must-read op-eds. And there's an editorial in the Wall Street Journal that really has me irked this morning. It talks about Barack Obama and the Jews and whether or not Obama is dealing with this problem he may or may not have with the Jewish community. And it actually mentions my father [Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor who had been advising Obama on foreign policy] and lumps him as a problem along with Jeremiah Wright. This guy Brett Stephens does this and I just, Brett, you know, I just want to tell you that before you lump my father with Jeremiah Wright as a problem, you might want to call me, and then I could tell you about the Jewish leaders that we've had over dinner who love my father. I can tell you about the decades of work that my father has done toward peace in the Middle East. I can tell you about my grandfather who helped a lot of Jews escape Germany by reinstating their passports at his own peril. So, I don't know, I just, that, Brett, you might want to give me a call, then maybe you wouldn't make that connection. Pat?

PAT BUCHANAN: Well, I think the connection with Reverend Wright is preposterous and your father, who's been an architect of American foreign policy for four years and a constructive critic his whole life, and what your father said about the Lebanon war happens very much to be true. The Israelis launched these air strikes on the whole country to respond to a border incident and the Israeli Air Chief of Staff was fired for it and almost lost his job and even the Israelis believe the war was a blunder and the war the war was a great mistake in the way it was fought. And so I think your father's got nothing to apologize for, but I do think it is outrageous, as you point out, to suggest that Zbigniew Brzezinski is in the same—should be put in the same paragraph—with Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

MIKA: Yeah, I agree with that. Thank you very much, Pat. We have other op-eds and I can't help but to defend my daddy.

WILLIE GEIST: You should!

MIKA: Can't help it, especially when it's true. What do you have, Willie?

GEIST: Same way Barack Obama defends his wife, you stick up for your dad. I agree with you.

MIKA: Thank you, Willie.

Let's begin by observing Mika had every right, perhaps even a duty, to defend her dad. If I had a daughter, I'd hope she'd similarly stick up for me. So good on Mika as far as that goes.

But let's turn to her father's actual statement, as quoted by Stephens:

I think what the Israelis are doing today [2006] for example in Lebanon is in effect – maybe not in intent – the killing of hostages.

So "maybe" the Israelis weren't intentionally killing hostages—but then again, maybe they were. Any surprise that Jewish American supporters of Israel would find that statement highly objectionable? However much Mr. Brzezinski has worked toward peace in the Middle East, and despite Mika's grandfather's very laudable risk-taking in WWII in helping save Jews, does Stephens not have a point that, as a purely political matter, it was necessary for Obama to disassociate himself from Zbigniew?

But above all, it was Mika's choice of Pat Buchanan to vouch for her dad that was jarring. Is Mika unaware that Buchanan has a long history [see section "on Jews"] of statements that cause many to accuse him of being, at the very least, no friend of Israel or the Jews? Surely she knows that, in something sounding eerily like Holocast denial, Buchanan has denied that thousands of Jews were gassed to death at Treblinka. That no less than William F. Buckley, Jr. wrote in the National Review in 1991: "I find it impossible to defend Pat Buchanan against the charge that what he did and said during the period under examination, the military build-up for the Gulf War, amounted to anti-Semitism."

If it takes one to know one, perhaps Zbiegniew Brzezinski is exonerated by the fact that Buchanan doesn't see in her father someone sharing his views. But does Mika—who doesn't try very hard to camouflage her support for Obama—really think Buchanan's endorsement of her dad will do Obama—or her father—any good?

Foreign Policy Religion Race Issues Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Israel/Palestine Christianity Judaism MSNBC Wall Street Journal New Republic Morning Joe Brett Stephens Mika Brzezinski Willie Geist William F. Buckley Jr. Jeremiah Wright Zbigniew Brzezinski