In the past, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer has had some tough words for conservative commentator Pat Buchanan. In particular, he accused Buchanan of going around “fanning hatred for Jews with his sly and not so sly allusions to Jewish power, Jewish influence, Jewish disloyalty” in an October 1999 column.
Nearly 13 years later, the two found themselves on the same set on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report” Wednesday discussing Israel and its potential reaction to the tragic deaths of five Israelis in Bulgaria, for which Israel’s government says Iran is responsible.
According to Krauthammer, Israel’s reaction will be “strong,” but that the Israeli government will go after the terrorists responsible, a separate operation from anything it does over the Iranian nuclear program.
“I think Israel will react strongly but not rashly,” Krauthammer said. “When our embassies were attacked in 1998 in Tanzania and Kenya, we responded by launching attacks with missiles into Afghanistan and destroying a factory in Sudan. That’s not what I think Israel is going to do, because if it attacked physically Iran, it could trigger a war and that would not be at a time of Israel’s choosing. It will be pushed in a war, and I think it’s too wise to undertake that. I think what Israel will do is what it traditionally does as it did on the attack on its athletes in the Olympics 40 years ago, where it finds out methodically who did it and all of a sudden, terrorists all over the world turn up dead. That is, I think, the kind of response that Israel will do. On the nuclear issue, it with will or will not attack. But I think it will be on a different timetable.”
Buchanan, author of author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?” agreed with Krauthammer about the Israeli response, but suggested the act might be retaliation against Israel for the assassination of Iranian scientists disclosed earlier this year.
“Look, this was an atrocity — a murderous atrocity against civilians. Secondly, it was probably a reprisal for the Iranian scientists, five of whom were murdered in Tehran. But third, it was a provocation. Now, the Iranians to do something like this in broad daylight, murdering civilians, they had to think through what the Israeli reaction is going to be. And the Israelis ought to think through and ask themselves, ‘Why did they do this to our people? What do they expect to us do? When do they expect to us do it?’ That’s why I tend to agree with Charles on this — when the Israelis fought to think through how they are going to counter attack against this, not do anything rationally, this is like a red cape snapped in front of a bull. And the Iranians are expecting a reaction. Israelis ought not to comply. I would think here that the old adage, revenge is the dish best eaten cold.”
And that’s where Krauthammer voiced his disagreement. Host Bret Baier pointed to this being the anniversary of an attack on a Jewish community center in Argentina, which the Argentine government named Iran as the responsible party.
“Which is why that is a large piece of evidence,” he replied. “The Iranians, whom our own State Department has said is the bigger exporter of terror in the world, were clearly behind that, and that’s not Israel speaking or Zionist speaking. That was an Argentinean inquiry in to the bombing, and it concluded Iran behind it. And think about this — it wasn’t an Israeli embassy. It was a Jewish community center, as you have one in Washington. The attack was on Jews. It was a way.
And that’s why Krauthammer argued the terror attacks in Bulgaria weren’t retaliation the deaths of the nuclear scientist, but for Israel’s existence.
“Look, if this is retaliation for the attack happening today in Bulgaria on Jews, tell me what the attack on Argentina was in retaliation for?” he asked. “It’s in retaliation for Israel’s existence. That is the grievance Iran has with Israel.”
Buchanan, however, still wondered what was behind the Iranian’s timing on this attack.
“Do the Iranians want Israelis to strike Iran now?” Buchanan said. “That would be my question because you know, why would they — you do something like this in broad daylight, and the natural reaction is we’re coming right for you to pay you back and maybe we’ll hit Natanz or something like that. What do the Iranians want Israelis to do is my question?”