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Is Pat Robertson an Anti-Semite?

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To the Editor:

Norman Podhoretz [“In the Matter of Pat Robertson,” August 1995] is to be commended for his honesty in belatedly conceding that I have been correct all along in alleging that Pat Robertson, if not an anti-Semite, is an energetic retailer of anti-Semitic libels: “The conclusion is thus inescapable that Robertson, whether knowingly or unknowingly, has subscribed to and purveyed ideas that have an old and well-established anti-Semitic pedigree.” He is also commendably honest in admitting that his sole criterion for deciding whether to support or oppose Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, or Louis Farrakhan is support for Israel. Here Mr. Podhoretz and I part ways. I am opposed to all Jew-baiting demagogues who lead mass movements in the United States, whether they are anti-Israel or pro-Israel. (As far as I can judge, Israel is not so devoid of American friends that its champions must cultivate American kooks.)

Having conceded that my message about Robertson was accurate, Mr. Podhoretz spends much of the article trying, rather ineptly it must be said, to smear the messenger. In constructing an elaborate and necessarily ill-informed theory about my strategy and motives in exposing Robertson, Mr. Podhoretz fails to follow the first rule of historical fiction—get the dates right. “Curiously,” he writes,

though Lind complained [in Dissent] about the defense of Pat Robertson by a number of conservative intellectuals, he said almost nothing there about anti-Semitism. It was only a little while later, when he repaired that omission in his article about The New World Order in the New York Review, that he hit pay dirt.

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