Purim 2003

The Haman/Saddam analogy is rife this year – but wrong. The better analogy is Haman/Pat Buchanan & James Moran.

The Haman/Saddam analogy is rife this year – but wrong. The better analogy is Haman/Pat Buchanan & James Moran.

In short, Haman, advisor to King Ahashverosh in Persia, demanded that everyone bow to him. Mordechai, a Jew, refused to bow before any but the Lord. Haman went to the King and told him the Jews were disloyal to the Crown and should be killed by royal decree. The King, a weak man at best, agreed at first, but then discovered that Mordechai had actually performed a great service to the King and to the State. Torn between his own royal decree and his new knowledge that he had been betrayed by the baseless Jew-hatred of Haman, the King ordered that the Jews be allowed to fight back. Haman was hanged and the Jews defeated those sent to destroy them.

The key points are “baseless Jew-hatred” and the old canard of “Jewish disloyalty to the State,” themes prevalent in the latest ravings of Mssrs. Buchanan and Moran.

The term “anti-Semitic” should never be used lightly and cannot be applied simply to those who criticize Jews or Israel. It would not be appropriately applied to Mr. Moran’s simple but mistaken understanding of the diversity of opinion in the American Jewish community about the need to disarm Iraq. However, it is appropriately applied to Mr. Moran’s comment, “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq we would not be doing this.” Mr. Moran asserts that the war is caused by a small group forcing the American government to take action not in the interest of the American people and American interests abroad.

Mr. Buchanan says it up front: “We charge [Jews] with deliberately damaging U.S. relations with every state in the Arab world that defies Israel or supports the Palestinian peoples’ right to a homeland of their own… [Jews] “harbor a passionate attachment to a nation not our own that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country and to act on an assumption that, somehow, what’s good for Israel is good for America.”

This is the sinister canard of “dual loyalty.” Perhaps even more sinister is the implication that if “The Jews” cause the war, the resulting casualties will be the fault of “The Jews.” The laying of blame on the Jewish community – in advance – for any potential consequences of necessary action taken by the Administration in defense of American interests abroad is, without question, anti-Semitic.

The merits of the disarmament of Iraq can and must be debated with the highest level of attention to fact and a minimum of hyperbole and blame laying. The lives and well being of American service personnel are at stake. The future of the Middle East and places beyond are at stake. The ability of American to wage war against terrorists and the states that harbor and support them is at stake.

Words have consequences. Haman found his at the end of the gallows.