[The following letters refer to some of the remarks about COMMENTARY generally in Murray Kempton's letter, above.]
Norman Podhoretz writes:
I was surprised to see Murray Kempton, of all people, characterizing as a species of “group abuse” certain recent analyses in COMMENTARY of the political interests and predispositions of Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Mr. Kempton himself, to his credit, has never hesitated to engage in the frank discussion of ethnic behavior as a significant factor in American politics; nor has COMMENTARY ever been inhibited (though always remaining, I hope, within the bounds of good taste and fair comment) in its treatment of ethnic groups other than Anglo-Saxon Protestants, including, of course, the Jews. It is strange to be attacked at this late date as ill-mannered and vulgar for talking in the same way about Anglo-Saxon Protestants. But of course the refusal to recognize itself as an ethnic group like any other has always been one of the prime WASP ethnic characteristics, as has its habit of instructing others in matters of manners and taste. Perhaps on both these counts, then, Mr. Kempton’s scolding should be taken as an especially elegant expression of his own ethnic heritage.
Mr. Kempton, by the way, is quite right in deploring as “injudicious” the tendency always to identify anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. I hope he would agree that it is equally injudicious to fail to see the identity of the two in many cases, especially these days and especially on the radical Left.
Nathan Glazer writes:
Mr. Kempton is very careless in his brief reference to my article. There was no “implication” that “anti-Zionism or even concern for the rights under law of an anti-Zionist equals anti-Semitism.” None at all. My point was that many intellectuals, by encouraging extremism in thought and action, had helped create an environment in which black anti-Semitism could be expressed, and grow. The appeal for Eldridge Cleaver was only one of a number of examples. There was an implication in my article that the signers of that appeal had associated themselves (because of the appeal, and where it appeared, not because they were defending Cleaver’s rights) in some degree with his political positions. Mr. Kempton should have addressed himself to that implication, not the outrageous one he has so casually attributed to me.
Milton Himmelfarb writes:
I am not vulgar. I am very refined. Neither am I mean-spirited. I am known far and wide for magnanimity.