(March 19, 2018 / Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C.) Acclaimed for his intellect, literary style and noble gentlemanly bearing, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer is one of the most influential writers in America. On subjects ranging from American foreign policy to baseball to modern culture, Krauthammer has for decades framed the political debate in Washington, D.C. While the arc of his political sympathies has taken him from “writing speeches for Walter Mondale to Fox News,” his defense of Israel has been an unwavering constant.
Born into a Jewish-Francophone home in New York City, Krauthammer was raised in Montreal. While a student at McGill University, he served as editor of the McGill Daily, upholding a sober liberal political position in opposition to the radicalism of the late 1960s. Graduating from Harvard University Medical School, Krauthammer embarked on a career in psychiatry, but turned to political writing because of his deep reading of Jewish and world history, coupled with a conviction that the good things in life ultimately depend on a decent political order.
The defense of Israel on moral and political grounds has been a dominant concern of Krauthammer’s career. As he told his friend and colleague William Kristol in an interview, support for Israel has been central to him since “the beginning of [his] consciousness.” Krauthammer has used his incisive, analytical powers to expose the faulty logic and moral lapses of Israel’s enemies.
As he put it, “Israel is different. … It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago. You dig the soil and you find pottery from Davidic times, coins from Bar Kokhba and 2,000-year-old scrolls written in a script remarkably like the one that today advertises ice cream at the corner candy store.”
Writing that the return of a people to its land after 2,000 years of exile is “a unique event in human history,” Krauthammer has argued eloquently for what might be called “Israeli exceptionalism” and has explained compellingly why America—and indeed, all supporters of democracy—owe Israel their support.
The Jewish state has certainly been exceptionally blessed that the powerful pen of Charles Krauthammer has come to its defense decade after decade.