14 MARCH 1992, Page 30

Nothing personal

Sir: John O'Sullivan offers a left-handed (or is it right-handed?) defence of Pat Buchanan against the charge of anti- Semitism (`Some of his best friends are Jewish', 29 February). He offers three remarks 'which might well be regarded as the cut-and-thrust of partisan debate in Britain' as the basis of judgment.

In one, Mr Buchanan stated that there are 'only two groups beating the drums for war in the Middle East — the Israeli defence ministry and its Amen corner in the United States'. (Mr O'Sullivan neglects to say that those in the Amen corner were all Jews. And were these 'the only' groups? Not Mr Bush, for example?) The second remark was that the Congress was 'Israeli- occupied territory'. And thirdly he labelled four enthusiasts for war, all Jews, as against four others, all clearly non-Jews, who would have to fight.

Mr O'Sullivan states that 'each one of these statements can be defended individu- ally. . .' That reminds me of the statement of a young woman who remarked that at age fifteen she became pregnant acciden- tally, and a year later again became preg- nant accidentally, and a year later again had an accident. It may well be that each pregnancy was an accident, but it is also clear that the pattern was not accidental.

Mr O'Sullivan states that Pat Buchanan is not 'personally' anti-Semitic. Possibly not. But it is also clear to anyone who knows about the `cut-and-thrust' of politics in the United States that Mr Buchanan was

`I don't think I can take any more nail-biting finishes.'

using code-words which anyone in the United States would know to be anti- Semitic.

John L. Cabot

1336 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, Mass. 02138