What Is Anti-Semitism? An Open Letter to William F. Buckley, Jr.
I have just read “In Search of Anti-Semitism” [National Review, December 31, 1991], and I am, quite frankly, relieved. The reason is that it did not confirm my deepest apprehensions upon first hearing the top-secret rumor that you were writing a very long essay by that title which would take a new look at the charges of anti-Semitism against Joe Sobran, Pat Buchanan, Gore Vidal, and the Dartmouth Review.
No doubt you are wondering, perhaps a little testily, why this rumor should have made me so apprehensive. Well, our mutual friend George Will once observed that one does not call a conference on “Whither Incest?” in order to reaffirm the prohibition against incest. Just so, it is reasonable to suspect that one does not necessarily go in search of anti-Semitism in order to find it. Anti-Semitism is, after all, easy enough to unearth without a search warrant; conversely, if one needs to search in order to find it, the possibility arises that it may not be there at all.
About the Author
Norman Podhoretz has been writing for COMMENTARY for 56 years.