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Long ago, Bill Buckley and Woody Allen agreed on occupation

on 9 Comments

The weekend is four hours away, and a friend sent me this video from 1967 or early 1968, evidently from a TV show. At 5:30 a woman asks Woody Allen, then 32, whether Israel should “give back the land that they won from the Arabs” in the Six Day War. Allen quips:

No I don’t think so. I think they should sell it back.

The late William F. Buckley (then 42) then takes over and says that the occupation is hunky-dory: in time the situation will work itself out and the Arabs will accept Israel. Allen seems to go along with Buckley as Buckley says that wars do settle things. “It’s unfashionable to say that they do, but this war does situate Israeli claims in a more viable way.” He says Israel has accomplished something with it. Boy was he wrong.

Note that Allen begins the sketch (first minute) by saying that he invited Buckley on to the show to “counterbalance my views, which are desperately liberal and criminal at times.” Not so liberal here.

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9 Responses

  1. adele on April 18, 2014, 1:42 pm

    Ha ha, Buckley. Bad childhood memories, horrifying man. I first saw Buckley on tv as a kid, right around the time when I first came to live here from Italy (early 80’s). His whole demeanor and arrogance and speech pattern made me shudder. I hated being here at first, and hearing that man speak confirmed for me all of my (unwarranted + self-manufactured) prejudices about the States. I’ve since evolved (as we all must and should) but Buckley is still such a potent symbol of the WASP culture that I encountered when I first came here (not that Italy doesn’t have it’s own Italian version). Just glad that I can now laugh about it :-) Thank you Bill Buckley for making me a more tolerant person.

    PS: I had seen that clip before, and it is very funny. It doesn’t hurt that Buckley was so wrong vis-a-vis Israel; but then again, when was he ever right?

    • W.Jones on April 18, 2014, 10:34 pm

      Buckley’s eyes flitter in a weird, somewhat creepy way when he talked. He has kind of a creepy attitude.

    • tokyobk on April 18, 2014, 11:43 pm

      He gave me the creeps too, the way he chewed on his pencil, though he did pick an important fight with the John Birch racists telling them they had no place in his conservatism. And he did have really controversial left and radical figures on his show and took their ideas seriously enough to debate them.

      Also Buckley was very much not a WASP but a WASC.

  2. American on April 18, 2014, 2:16 pm

    I have finally found a truism that isnt true….the one that says ‘ it takes all kinds’.
    We could do better without the Allen and Buckley kinds—dont need them.

  3. eGuard on April 18, 2014, 3:02 pm

    Not so liberal here. Zionism is not liberal ever.

    That’s the rule to understand it. As long as Mondoweiss thinks “liberal Zionism” has a meaning, you are not a good journalist.

    • W.Jones on April 18, 2014, 10:39 pm

      Well, strictly speaking it can just be religious Jews moving to the Holy Land. I don’t know that this is reactionary. However, I think many strands of Zionism, including Chomsky’s, have a conservative side that would formally segregate society.

  4. on April 18, 2014, 7:00 pm

    Buckley was an obnoxious buffoon so no surprise there.

    It is disheartening to see someone whose art you admire and who is progressive on most topics — Woody Allen, apparently Lou Reed, maybe Neil Young — turn into a raving racist when it comes to Israel

  5. Talkback on April 19, 2014, 4:54 am

    I know it’s offtopic here, but I just want to let you know, that Mariam Barghouti tweeted that she was released from jail:

  6. jayn0t on April 19, 2014, 9:11 pm

    This discussion from nearly 50 years ago is an illustration of the irrelevance of the concepts ‘progressive’ and ‘reactionary’ when it comes to Jewish interests. It’s a complete diversion. Allen agrees with Buckley on ethnic cleansing – his liberalism is irrelevant. “Giles” (above) is incredibly naive: “It is disheartening to see someone whose art you admire and who is progressive on most topics… turn into a raving racist when it comes to Israel”. Surely the most economical explanation is that it’s in Allen’s ethnic interests to be “progressive on most topics”, but “a raving racist” (that’s a bit of an overstatement) “when it comes to Israel”. There’s no point in being “disheartened”.

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