Former Republican Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan’s most recent book - Suicide of a Superpower - addressed the alleged disappearance of American Jews by insinuating that there is a “collective decision” among pro-choice Jewish women to seek abortions. A brief analysis of Buchanan’s bogus argument reveals its absurdity and complete lack of logical reasoning or factual support.
Buchanan’s decades of work as an author, media figure, political commentator, and White House staff member in the Nixon and Reagan Administrations have firmly established his reputation as an extreme conservative with racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-immigrant views. The Anti-Defamation League has called Buchanan an “unrepentant bigot” who “repeatedly demonizes Jews and minorities and openly affiliates with white supremacists.” NJDC also reported on Buchanan’s long history of insensitivity regarding Holocaust diminution, citing columns such as “Did Hitler Want War,” in which Buchanan defended Adolf Hitler’s actions in World War II. He also sounded alarm bells over Supreme Court Justice Elana Kagan’s Jewish faith during her confirmation process.
Buchanan’s newest book is absolutely in keeping with this reputation. Buchanan wrote:
Israel became home to the largest Jewish population only because the number of American Jews plummeted in the 1990s from 5.5 to 5.2 million. Six percent of the U.S. Jewish population, 300,000 Jews, vanished in a decade. By 2050, the U.S. Jewish population will shrink another 50 percent to 2.5 million. American Jews appear to be an endangered species.
Why is this happening? It is a result of the collective decision of Jews themselves. From Betty Friedan to Gloria Steinem in the 1970s to Ruth Bader Ginsburg today, Jewish women have led the battle for abortion rights. The community followed. A survey in 2000 by the Center for Jewish Community Studies in Baltimore found 88 percent of the Jewish public agreeing that ‘Abortion should be generally available to those who want it.’ [Suicide Of A Superpower, page 176]
Media Matters’ Simon Maloy responded to Buchanan’s unfounded argument by acknowledging some seemingly obvious facts—something Buchanan “even acknowledges that he doesn’t really have”:
There are a couple of things to point out here. First and foremost, it’s perverse to suggest that strong Jewish support for reproductive rights translates to Jewish women enthusiastically seeking out abortion services. Second, it’s not entirely certain that the U.S. Jewish population has even decreased. A 2010 study out of Brandeis University found that from 1990 to 2010, the Jewish population in America increased by 20 percent.
Moreover, if there has been a decline in the Jewish population, surely there are more plausible explanations than a heretofore unremarked gusto among Jewish women for terminating pregnancies at the behest of Justice Ginsburg.
In another book excerpt included in Maloy’s article, Buchanan acts outrageously equated Jewish support for reproductive rights to the atrocities of Auschwitz:
As Jews were 2 to 3 percent of the U.S. population from Roe v. Wade to 2010, how many of the fifty million abortions since 1973 were performed on Jewish girls or women? How many Jewish children were never conceived because of birth control?
In Philip Roth’s The Counterlife, a militant Israeli character says, ‘what Hitler couldn’t achieve at Auschwitz, American Jews are doing to themselves in the bedroom.’ [Suicide Of A Superpower, page 176]
Maloy’s article does an excellent job of debunking Buchanan’s outrageous claims and can be viewed in its entirety here.
Given Buchanan’s bizarre fixation on Jews—including his beliefs that Jews are overrepresented in the government and have too much influence in Washington—it is surprising that he has decided to express concern over an alleged decline in the Jewish population - especially considering that the 2010 Brandeis study found an increase in the number of American Jews.