<<APRIL 27, 2001
((((World Jewish Congress Executive Director Phil Baum declared that
"Weyrich's effort to slander the Jews for the death of Jesus places him at
odds not only with the
Jews he has demonized, but with the ****whole of Christendom****}}}}}
DOES ANYONE RECALL THE WHOLE OF CHRISTENDON APPOINTING MR BAUM AS OUR
A 'Christ-Killer' Slur Stirs Rightist Tussle in D.C.
By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
WASHINGTON - A leading Beltway conservative has set off a firestorm in
right-wing circles after repeating the historic **libel** that "the Jews
Paul Weyrich, one of the most prominent conservative **agitators** and
for the past two decades, wrote in an article published on Good Friday that
"Christ was crucified by the Jews.... He was not what the Jews had expected
so they considered Him a threat. Thus He was put to death." Mr. Weyrich
gained fame in the 1980s by running a high-profile direct-mail operation for
The article, titled "Indeed, He is Risen!," appeared on Mr. Weyrich's Free
Congress Web site on April 13.
The comment elicited an immediate condemnation from the American Jewish
Congress. Executive Director Phil Baum declared that "Weyrich's effort to
slander the Jews for the death of Jesus places him at odds not only with the
Jews he has demonized, but with the whole of Christendom, which has now
repudiated the effort to blame the Jews for Jesus' death. Over the centuries,
that view, now ***resurrected*** by Weyrich, led to endless pogroms, crusades
Mr. Weyrich's essay also echoed throughout Washington conservative circles,
bringing to life a debate started by ***William F. Buckley, who has sought to
purge the right**** of the alleged anti-Semitism that stained the so-called
Mr. Weyrich's commentary was first denounced by Evan Gahr, a senior fellow at
the conservative Hudson Institute, in another conservative journal, the
on-line edition of The American Spectator. In a second wrinkle, Mr. Gahr
first submitted his article to the FrontPage Web site run by David Horowitz,
for which he had been a freelance contributor.
Mr. Horowitz refused to publish the column, and, after Mr. Gahr disclosed
that fact to The Washington Post, fired him from the Web site and demanded he
apologize to Mr. Weyrich.
Mr. Horowitz went on to label Abraham Foxman, national director of the
Anti-Defamation League, as "an unexpected prosecutor in this
witch-hunt...whose organization has already joined in the Weyrich bashing."
In fact, the ADL and Mr. Foxman made no comments about the Weyrich affair
before Mr. Horowitz's blast against them appeared. The Jewish civil rights
agency later issued a statement characterizing Mr. Weyrich's comments as
"appalling and deeply offensive,
especially from a religious figure of national standing and a political
analyst of experience and high repute."
Calls to Mr. Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation were referred to his press
representative, Notra Trulock, who said he doubted Mr. Weyrich would add any
further comments to the debate.
But in a subsequent posting on his Web site
this week, Mr. Weyrich wrote, "My breath has been taken away at all of this.
I defy anyone to hear [the Christian] Gospels read and to conclude anything
other than that Jesus Christ was handed over to the Roman soldiers to be hung
on the cross at the insistence of [his emphasis] the local Jewish
authorities.... The people, egged on by their leaders, Jewish leaders, the
chief priests and scribes, rallied the crowd. This is historical fact. Are we
now to be forbidden to mention historical fact?"
Mr. Weyrich further protested that he had employed and worked with Jews on
social causes. He also said that today's Jews are no more responsible for the
the crucifixion of Christ than are today's whites for slavery in the
Americas, or German-Americans for the Nazi crimes of World War II.
decisions by the Catholic hierarchy to renounce the claim that Jews killed
Christ, he added, absolved modern Jews but not those contemporary with Jesus..
Mr. Weyrich concluded, "I write a defense yet I feel I need no defense. In
saying what I said I was merely quoting Scripture. Scripture is truth. And
the truth shall set you free."
A call to Mr. Horowitz's office in Los Angeles had not elicited a response by
Friends as well as opponents of Mr. Horowitz, who recently generated an
uproar when college newspapers refused to publish his advertisements
attacking the concept of reparations for African Americans, condemned him for
his defense of Mr. Weyrich and dismissal of Mr. Gahr.
"I think it is sad that this could be the demise of David Horowitz," Mr. Gahr
said. "I think he has been a hero in his defense of free speech. But he has
now made himself a fellow traveler of a demented anti-Semite rehashing the
blood libel." Mr. Gahr, like Mr. Horowitz, is Jewish.
Mr. Gahr, who said he was acting independently of the Hudson Institute, said
he was unafraid of legal action by Mr. Weyrich, who has a litigious
reputation. "So sue me," Mr. Gahr said.
Mr. Weyrich, who has had a lengthy career as a conservative activist in
Washington, was described in The Washington Post earlier this month as a
"Catholic conservative," enthusiastic about the administration of George W.
According to The Post, "Weyrich wrote that he recently asked senior Bush
adviser Karl Rove to tell the president 'that he has mastered the art of
However, Mr. Weyrich's views are clearly out of line with present Catholic
theology, according to Eugene Fisher, director of Catholic-Jewish relations
for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Catholic Church, Mr. Fisher said, had repudiated any collective guilt for
the Jews in the crucifixion of Christ, in 1965, during the Second Vatican
Council. Last year, when Pope John Paul II visited Israel, he described the
Church as "deeply saddened by the hatred, acts of persecution, and displays
of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews."
Mr. Horowitz pointed out that Mr. Weyrich's comment reflected the latter's
"capacity as a Melkite Greek Catholic deacon."
Melkite Greek Catholics are a small denomination based in the Middle East,
who maintain a "Byzantine," or Eastern, ritual while accepting the leadership
of the pope in Rome. Such believers are known as Uniates.
Announcing the dismissal of Mr. Gahr, Mr. Horowitz wrote this week, "to say,
even in passing that 'the Jews killed Christ,' (or in this case words to that
effect) is regarded as politically offensive (and therefore politically
incorrect).... On the other hand, the statement somewhat clumsily (and
inaccurately) constructed by Weyrich is also a reasonable interpretation of
the history of the crucifixion told in the Gospels.... Mightn't this
[accusing Weyrich of anti-Semitism] be considered a little excessive? Like
identifying someone as a witch in 17th-century Salem?"
Mr. Gahr was unapologetic. "How long will it take for Republicans to denounce
Weyrich?" he asked in an interview with the Forward.
Meanwhile, the ex-leftist historian Ronald Radosh, another contributor to Mr..
Horowitz's Web site, compared the Weyrich flap with the weekend's uproar over
anti-Semitic statements in The New York Times Magazine by New York Knicks
player Charlie Ward.
"At least the Knicks members have a good jump shot," Mr. Radosh said.
"Weyrich has no excuse.">>