Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

David Horowitz Is Homeless

The 1960s radical decades ago switched his politics, fleeing the New Left to become a conservative provocateur. Then the right wing left him behind.

Print Email
David Horowitz. (Steve Brodner)

The first thing that David Horowitz wanted me to know was that he rarely leaves the house anymore. But one evening this past January, he graciously mustered the energy to meet me at a strip-mall steakhouse down the road from his home in California’s Santa Maria Valley, because he wanted to make himself clear. “I’ve been ghettoized,” he said. “My wings have been clipped.”

Just a decade ago, a National Review editor labeled Horowitz “the Most Valuable Player of the Right.” Now, sequestered on an acre and a half of land with his wife and six dogs—five of them Chihuahuas—the 73-year-old ex-Communist firebrand juggles writing projects while keeping his distance from all manner of political distraction. “I don’t read any magazines. I hardly even read FrontPage,” he told me, though he is listed on the online right-wing journal’s masthead as editor-in-chief. “I don’t read the L.A. Times or the New York Times. I despise the Times.”

Within minutes, however, he was grumbling about an article that appeared in the Times Magazine a day before, a long and sympathetic profile of the jailed former leftist zealot Judy Clark, who currently serves a 75-year sentence for her role as accomplice to a 1981 armed robbery—committed in the name of something called the Republic of New Afrika—that left a Brinks guard and two police officers dead. The article begins skeptically but concludes that Clark has genuinely reformed. Horowitz wasn’t buying it. “What I hold against these people is their unreadiness even 40 years later to tell the truth. It’s a total deception.”

This sense of an ongoing total deception—the word “total” is the crucial descriptor–perpetrated by the American left has animated Horowitz’s tireless crusade over the past four decades. A Queens-born red-diaper baby turned architect of Berkeley’s New Left, he spent three decades behind enemy lines; as a result he sees himself as the man best positioned to discover the opponent’s hidden agenda. As chronicled in his gripping, anguished 1996 autobiography Radical Son, the seeds of his political disillusionment were planted by his father’s reaction to Nikita Khrushchev’s 1956 “secret speech” detailing Stalin’s crimes; instead of prompting a candid reassessment of his father’s loyalties, it merely confirmed the obstinacy of his Communist faith. Moving to Berkeley for graduate school, and later serving as editor of Ramparts magazine, Horowitz hoped that the New Left could advance a socialist agenda without the encumbrances of the God that failed. But David would eventually loosen the grip on his own deeply rooted dogmas in response to another leftist moral abdication: the support of brutal dictatorships in Cambodia, Vietnam, and elsewhere. “I thought to myself, would I rather be a prisoner in the hands of LBJ or Ho Chi Minh? It’s a no-fucking-brainer.”

Though the intellectual edifice of the revolutionary movement was already crumbling, it took the 1974 killing of Betty Van Patter, a friend he recruited as a bookkeeper for a Black Panther education center, to bring Horowitz to an emotional breaking point. Her murder remains unsolved, but Horowitz has mustered plenty of evidence suggesting that the killing was orchestrated by the Panthers, many of whom he had counted as colleagues and friends.

Rebranding himself as a Whittaker Chambers-style convert, Horowitz has since waged a compulsive rhetorical assault on new left icons like Kathy Boudin, Bill Ayers, Angela Davis, and Tom Hayden, who remind Horowitz of his former self and have built productive lives (and earned university sinecures) without fully reckoning with the enormity of past sins.

Atoning for his own youthful credulity with reactionary firepower, Horowitz has spent the past quarter-century in a mode of permanent apocalypse. “Being in the battle is kind of what I do for a living,” he said. He adopted an Al Pacino growl and likened his role to that of Mafia don: “I try to get out, but they keep pulling me back in.”

If what was once labeled extremism is now mainstream GOP boilerplate, then Horowitz deserves at least some of the credit. In a widely distributed 2000 pamphlet called The Art of Political War, praised by Karl Rove and endorsed by 35 state Republican party chairmen, Horowitz wrote: “In political warfare you do not fight just to prevail in an argument, but to destroy the enemy’s fighting ability. Republicans often seem to regard political combats as they would a debate with the Oxford Political Union, as though winning depended on rational arguments and carefully articulated principles. But the audience of politics is not made up of Oxford dons, and the rules are entirely different. … Politics is war. Don’t forget it.” If you can remember a time when conservative discourse sounded like an Oxford lecture hall, then you have a sense of how far Horowitz has helped to steer this ship off course.

Certainly he must have followed the recent Republican debates with glee, right? He looked at me with disgust. “They make me fucking ill. Politics makes me ill now.”

For Horowitz to remain authentic, and to keep the enemy on its heels, he must cloak himself in paradox. He has made a sport of provoking racially divisive confrontation, but three of his grandchildren are black. He still travels the country making the case for a muscular Zionism, but he has never visited Israel. He rejects economic determinism as a discredited Marxist method of interpretation, but on climate change his “leftist instincts are very suspicious. There’s too much money going to scientists to say there’s global warming.”

Yet in a media climate fueled by one-dimensional sound-bites, both Horowitz’s taste for scholarly provocation and his appetite for paradox no longer match the temper of the times. When not under direct attack, liberal commentators have mostly learned to tune him out, and, more painfully, no university archive has asked to collect his papers and reminiscences, a failing he understands as “a reflection of the ideological debasement of our institutions of knowledge by a movement whose hallmarks are narcissistic self-absorption and intellectual intolerance.” His most deeply felt grievance, however, is a perceived lack of encouragement from mainstream conservative institutions. (This is not necessarily a financial issue: His foundation, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is underwritten by the Bradley, Olin, and Scaife foundations.) In his turn-of-the-21st-century heyday, shortly after publishing Hating Whitey, an assault on affirmative action and race-based quotas—or “the anti-white racism of the left”—that preceded his campaign against reparations for slavery, Horowitz appeared on op-ed pages, talk radio, and television nearly every day. (He even wrote a bi-weekly column for the liberal But in 2012, his books are not just ignored by the New York Times, but by the Weekly Standard and National Review. “There are plenty of conservatives who don’t like my manner,” he admitted. “It’s too aggressive, too Jewish, too leftist.”


If you can do some heavy lifting and abstract his achievements from their corrosive consequences, David Horowitz has led an extraordinary American life. He is an authentically passionate and informed public figure standing at the intersection of autobiography, history, manners, and polemic, who has also managed to aggravate the entire American intelligentsia over the course of a long career in part because he can be such a crude and unapologetic propagandist. One need not subscribe to the lurid pamphlets sold by his Freedom Center to get the sense that Horowitz has sacrificed his intellectual capital to devote himself more fully to the movement.

Radical Son, which I would not hesitate to rank among the key political autobiographies of the 20th century, positioned the born-again Horowitz as a potential emissary to post-sixties progressives who had quietly lost hope in the idea of a liberated future. Though the book eventually seizes the opportunity to settle personal scores, most of his “generational odyssey” is charged with sympathy for those who felt that revolutionary ends could justify the most unsavory means. Horowitz’s riveting portrait of Huey Newton—at one time a close friend—paints the tempestuous, drug-addled Black Panther Party co-founder as both personally seductive and actively repellent—and by extension, renders the author almost criminally credulous. “I was naïve, always a slow learner,” Horowitz told me, but in Radical Son he chisels a kind of intellectual currency out of a postwar mass of accumulated disenchantment and trauma. This largely nonpolemical cautionary tale offers the same moral to radicals of every ideological stripe: The collapse of certainty is a universal constant.

But if Radical Son failed to provoke a collective mea culpa from Marxists and liberals, Horowitz’s public airing of his “second thoughts” also didn’t earn him a permanent front-row seat at the table of right-wing punditry. “There’s no solidarity among conservatives,” he said. “They don’t think of it as ‘Horowitz is a real asset, and we have to support him.’ That bewildered me. If I hadn’t created my own platform, I wouldn’t be able to function as an intellectual.”

He will say anything to get a rise out of the politically correct but is generally careful not to alienate his ideological compatriots. There is considerable political daylight between Horowitz and Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann, but both have accepted invitations to speak at recent Freedom Center retreats. Horowitz pointedly does not endorse candidates. The prospect of an unregulated free market does not enthrall him, and he does not vocally oppose same-sex marriage. The Freedom Center, until 2006 known as the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, rarely pretends to offer policy expertise. His experience with radicalism has left him suspicious of clarion calls to social progress.

Horowitz’s attachment to the right seems as much a product of his love of provocation as a sign of deeply held ideological beliefs. When New Republic editor emeritus Marty Peretz was vilified for writing in 2010 that “Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims,” Horowitz’s public response was to essentially wish that he had said it first. When Newt Gingrich courted outrage with his statement that Palestinians are an “invented” people, Horowitz used his FrontPage blog to back up the claim. Just last week, Horowitz’s Freedom Center took to his least-favorite major newspaper to publish an ad likening the anti-Zionist boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement to Nazism. “The Holocaust began with boycotts of Jewish stores,” it reads, “and ended with death camps.” For its principal agitation, the ad names specific American professors whose rhetoric Horowitz holds directly responsible for the recent anti-Semitic murders in Toulouse, France.

Horowitz is unlikely to ever abjure or muzzle his pugnacious, left-baiting side, and it’s unclear if he even wants to, but for the sake of his legacy it may not matter. Brooklyn College political scientist Corey Robin, author of The Reactionary Mind, told me that Horowitz’s bid for intellectual respectability is beside the point, because “the heroic age of conservative ideas is over. Not permanently. But for now it is, because the movement was so successful. Conservative ideas do best when the movement is in a minority position, and they are forged in the crucible of the struggle. They’re formed in battle. And there’s no battle today, because there’s no real Left.”


As Horowitz and I continued our dialogue, skipping from topic to topic with a pronounced lack of urgency, he kept urging me to read his books—specifically, three short recent memoirs, all written over the past decade, each one focused on Last Things and surprisingly devoid of certainty. And so I did.

The End of Time (2005), a collection of personal reflections written in the wake of Horowitz’s battle with prostate cancer, is consciously modeled on Pascal’s Pensées. Mournful and emphatically agnostic, the book continues Horowitz’s refusal of the consolation myth of historical progress, reaching the conclusion that “We are creatures blind and ignorant, stumbling helplessly through a puff of time.” It also extends Horowitz’s lifelong struggle with his father’s radical legacy, providing a new frame: “My father’s disappointment was the gift he gave me. … His melancholy taught me the lesson he was unable to learn himself.” In the book’s most provocative passage, Horowitz compares his father’s embrace of Marx’s secular prophecy to the murderous theological zeal of Egyptian terrorist Mohammed Atta, ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks. “Even though my father prided himself on being a practical man without illusions, he shared with Mohammed Atta and his believers an impossible dream. Their dream was to change the world. What Mohammed Atta wanted was an escape from this life.”

This is not an unusual Horowitzian rhetorical gambit, and Horowitz has elsewhere written at length about an apparent “unholy alliance” between the political left and radical Islam. But to read on is to find Horowitz caught in a rare but welcome humanist gesture:

Some may regard these speculations as unreasonable. How can a man invoke his father in the same sentence as Mohammed Atta? My answer is, How not? Was Mohammed Atta not flesh and blood; if you pricked him did he not bleed? What did Mohammed Atta hope for but a better world; and what progressive soul does not wish for that? […] The act that ended Mohammed Atta’s life and thousands of innocent others was surely evil. But except for the terrible deed itself, there is not an inconsiderate gesture attached to his memory. He appears to have been an ordinary man who was seduced into committing a great crime in the name of a greater good. Is this not the most common theme of the human tragedies of our time?

Coming from the man who invented “Islamofascism Awareness Week,” this impressive and deeply personal feat of moral relativism seems downright treasonous.

His more recent mini-memoir A Point in Time (2011) continues to court and then sidestep the possibility of personal and historical redemption through careful readings of Dostoevsky and Marcus Aurelius, and displays a mature and uncondescending attitude toward religious faith. “Can we dispense with this reverence for impossible worlds as atheists insist we must? Dostoevsky’s answer is that we cannot. … What can he have meant by this? Perhaps that if we were not inspired by an ideal world we would be reduced to the savagery of this one. Or, if we did not look forward to something better, we would not look forward at all.” He recognizes the human need for comforting stories while acknowledging that we are the only ones who can tell such stories. Unlike Leo Strauss or Irving Kristol, who prescribed religion as a political tool for the sustaining of moral order, Horowitz seems despondent that he cannot take the metaphysical leap of faith.

In his gestures toward the spiritual, Horowitz drew considerable inspiration and feedback from his daughter, Sarah, the subject of his most poignant and challenging memoir, A Cracking of the Heart (2009). Born with Turner Syndrome, a debilitating illness that impaired her hearing and eyesight, Sarah was a Democrat, a crusader for human rights and social justice, a poet, and an observant Jew. Despite her physical frailty, Sarah stolidly refused the role of victim, while devoting her life and resources to any individual or group she perceived as less fortunate. Sarah died unexpectedly at age 44 in her apartment, the day before, the previous iteration of Tablet magazine, published the first interview with the activist poet.

Sarah’s passions made her one of David’s most spirited interlocutors, and at times A Cracking of the Heart serves as an object lesson in political empathy—making it a poignant outlier in Horowitz’s oeuvre. In an earlier memoir, he attested to his inability to internalize the monotheistic religious prophets’ agreement that all human beings, no matter their trespasses, are incarnations of the divine spirit: “[I] cannot embrace this radical faith. I feel no kinship with those who can cut short a human life without remorse; or with terrorists who target the innocent; or with adults who torment small children for the sexual thrill.”

Sarah, who respects her father but harbors little patience for his bluster, hand-writes a response that aims to cut him to the quick. “First, have a little humility,” she begins. “You are not smarter than Moses, Jesus and Buddha.” She continues by articulating as eloquent a plea for understanding across ideological lines as I’ve ever heard:

If you see someone in the fullness of their humanity, you see how they are acting out their own confusion and suffering. This does not justify hurtful or evil acts. It doesn’t even always inspire forgiveness. But if you see someone this way, you respond more in sadness than in anger. And that is simply a more excellent state of being. Even if you’ve never had this experience (and more’s the pity), respect the experience of those who have.

She did not send her father these words. “Or if she did,” he writes, “I failed again to understand them.”


While a magazine profile from 2000 describes Horowitz’s corner office in “a tony highrise … which affords a stunning view of downtown Los Angeles from the twelfth floor,” and mentions a staff of 15 plotting the cultural counterrevolution in a “war room,” the comparably spartan David Horowitz Freedom Center I visited on a sunny January afternoon testifies to diminished circumstances. Having abandoned the West Side for modest quarters in an unmarked, nondescript two-story building in Sherman Oaks, the current Freedom Center is decorated with blown-up Horowitz book covers and posters of Islamofascism Awareness Weeks of the past—and not future: As one employee told me, despite a few successful campus campaigns, the brand eventually “got stale.”

Other than Horowitz, I counted only three full-time staffers, plus an armed security guard.

David Horowitz does not keep an office at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Instead, he met me in the windowless boardroom, sitting between a framed poster of the Italian Communist philosopher Antonio Gramsci’s revolutionary slogan “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will” and a signed original print of one of the notoriously incendiary Danish cartoons of Muhammad.

Satisfied with my progress on his more sober texts—the ones he said he would prefer to be writing—he handed me a collection of Freedom Center pamphlets—“the ones I have to write.” Recent pamphlets that Horowitz has written or co-authored include “Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future,” “From Shadow Party to Shadow Government: George Soros and the Effort to Radically Change America,” “Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Saul Alinsky Model” (which he called his best-selling book of all time), “Obama and Islam,” and “Obama and the War Against the Jews.” (“Obama: The Anti-Israel President” is available as a slickly produced, 10-minute DVD.) Each pamphlet costs $3, but the Freedom Center often sells them in bulk.

In 2009, Horowitz wrote a FrontPage column warning his fellow right-wingers not to fall prey to “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” calling the new president’s speeches “eloquently and cleverly centrist and sober … hardly in the Huey Long, Louis Farrakhan, Fidel Castro vein.” He lightly chastised a fellow conservative thinker for getting “swept up in the tide that thinks Obama is a ‘transformative’ radical.” That temperate language has since been tossed out the window. By 2011, he was calling Obama’s “the most dangerous administration in American history.”

At dinner the previous night, Horowitz had even alluded to the specter of “death panels,” citing health-care reform as proof that “government now controls human life.” He added, “I also believe that there’s an element of his radicalism that likes bankrupting the country. I see Obama as a radical like myself. The same Left. Except the worst part. The Billy Ayers part.”

When I mentioned the fact that Obama’s administration located and killed Osama Bin Laden, Horowitz could only see an improbable and deeply cynical political maneuver: “He understood that he had to protect his national security flank.”

Though Horowitz has an obvious partisan imperative to oppose President Obama, and can certainly market himself as the conservative best equipped to root out a secret Marxist master plan, I find his criticism of Obama, the world’s most prominent radical son, somewhat confusing. Despite his campaign rhetoric, the president is hardly a utopian, and his administration has repeatedly demonstrated its aversion to radical solutions. On questions of race, Obama, like Horowitz, is publicly skeptical of policies based on entitlement and victimhood.

Horowitz never stops testifying to his own break from progressive idealism, but he sees anyone else as irrevocably tainted by past associations. There is only room for one radical convert, and political sympathy has no place in hand-to-hand combat. But Horowitz can no longer deny that his origin story and its lessons have lost much of their cultural explanatory power. And the story was always the point. Horowitz pieced together a philosophy from the wreckage of personal disappointments and lost illusions, yet he knows that fatalism isn’t an easy sell.

“I came out of the left through a lot of pain and a sense of enormous waste,” Horowitz said. “I was an emotional powder keg. I had gotten to age 35—and I’m a very hard worker, and had written a lot—everything that I had done was a waste.”

This is the part of the story when the apostate sees the light. Horowitz isn’t sure he still does.

“Now that I’m older, I see that it’s all a waste. I gotta live with that.”


Like this article? Sign up for our Daily Digest to get Tablet Magazine’s new content in your inbox each morning.

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

CygnusA81 says:

Really David? The work that you have done over the decades has been incalculable . It’s people like yourself that helped me open my eyes on the true nature of The Left. And that, I want to thank you for exposing them for what they are.

salemst says:

Have to agree.  Too many Jews in my life have gotten caught up in leftist social justice causes excusing any means to their desired end.  I’ll always respect David for both coming to the personal conclusions he has and benefiting society through exposing their ends as bogus and their means reprehensible.

I understand his sadness, that he would see periods of his hard working life as wasted.  But what he’s accomplished, for millions, including me as a fellow Jew, is greatly appreciated even though we’ve never met as what he’s done is pull the covers back on an enormously societally turbulent period of my teens/twenties life which I didn’t fully understand.

He does.

Dick Stanley says:

I always enjoyed Ramparts and now read Front Page. Only the editor of the former could do such a good job with the latter. 

    dhorowitz10 says:

    The Tablet assigned this profile of me to a 24 year old Nation writer
    and credulous supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Its  text is
    as accurate a portrait of me as the caricature they chose to accompany
    it (I suspect even Ahmadinejad would get a more respectful treatment
    from the Tablet editors). I wasted my time with this young man, and am
    sorry I did. He read a lot of my work, appreciated some of it — in
    particular Radical Son — but hasn’t a clue as to what the conservative
    dimension of my life is about, and therefore  who I am. I am not
    “homeless,” as the title and much of the article implies, or a cynical
    propagandist as he suggests. There is in fact precious little  in this
    piece that accurately reflects what I think or even what I have said,
    that is because the writer has no respect for conservative ideas or
    thought generally. Aside from the ideas, among the obvious facts he
    could have checked but didn’t, my Center never occupied a “tony
    high-rise” let alone on the 12th floor, as the author claims — and
    never “in downtown L.A. My present staff is not three but fifteen (and
    my Center far from being in pathetic decline as he also suggests) has
    three times the budget it did in 2000 and about ten times the following
    or more (the Alinsky pamphlet I wrote has been read by 2.5 million
    people but you would never guess it from his description); there is no
    security guard in our present offices, the Olin Foundation no longer
    exists, I have 100,000 conservative financial supporters — not three
    foundations, and so forth. The Center’s pamphlets are only “lurid” to a
    far left kid who has absolutely no feel or respect for conservative
    ideas. And this is the main problem with the piece. A serious writer
    would have tried to understand the connection between the radical half
    of my life and work, and the conservative one. Instead the conservative
    Horowitz is merely a caricature, and while a caricature is built around
    recognizable features of individual it also distorts them beyond
    recognition. This is exactly what this caricature of text does so that
    it  misrepresents what I think even when the words it quotes are
    correct. Liberal commentators have not “learned to tune [me] out” — 
    for example. They never considered my work (something I foolishly hoped
    The Tablet would do). Instead they have snatched quotes from blogs I
    have written or — in the case of this article ads I have published —
    or titles of public events (like “Islamo-fascism Awareness Week) and
    used them to aggressively misrepresent what I have stood for and
    believed, much in the manner of the repulsive illustration which is
    attached to this text. I could go on but what’s the point? I don’t know
    of a single conservative magazine that would treat a comparable
    intellectual on the left as shabbily as the Tablet has treated me in
    this article.   

      I rest my case: the politics of disgust is the only politics David Horowitz has ever practiced, regardless of which extreme he’s chosen to inhabit.

      julis123 says:

      I think this article shows exactly why all journalism (including that of Mr. Horowitz) is propaganda. Some more some less. The journalist brings his agenda to the table when writing the article and chooses what facts to present and how to present them. The problem in this specific article according to Mr. Horowitz’s response is that the it contains many factual errors (lies?). Doesn’t Tablet do any fact checking? If these allegations are true I think that Mr. Horowitz should be given a chance to respond in an article and not a talkback.

        MLCBLOG says:

         The two are completely different, journalism and propaganda.  One is a researched search for the truth, the other an attempt to influence regardless of what the truth may be.

        People who propagandize, as in this case, are not interested in giving someone a chance for a fair rebuttal.

      CygnusA81 says:

      Thanks for letting us know what a hatchet job this profile is, Mr. Horowitz. When I read the essay yesterday, it just didn’t feel right. I never thought you were ostracized by the Republican Party, let alone the conservative movement.  Thank you for bringing to light that the ‘journalist’ in question writes for The Nation magazine. That information alone pretty much sums up the hackneyed persona the author tried to create for the piece. While I’m not surprised, it does sadden that Tablet is so wrapped up in its own self-worth and intellectual prejudices that it can’t even edit or fact check a leading Jewish figure that doesn’t subscribe to their own narrow, small and provincial worldview. Lower expectations indeed.
      Keep up the good fight David.


      Don’t forget that many great people are only appreciated once they’re gone. I assure you that there will always be freedom-loving folks who will always appreciate your great contributions — even hundreds of years from now.

      >“Now that I’m older, I see that it’s all a waste. I gotta live with that.”<Have you ever read King Solomon's Ecclesiastes? ('Vanity of vanities; all is vanity!') Of course that's not really true, but on the surface it certainly does appear to be.

        dhorowitz10 says:

        This is just another instance where the author of the article was out of his depth. I’m not sure I even said what he claims I said. In any case I have written about this at length in A Point In Time. Yes I believe that it is more than likely that in time we all vanish and everything about us, just as like the ancient civilizations that Marcus Aurelius laments. But that doesn’t mean that what we do in this life is a waste. I have battled the left because it is a reactionary force that will sweep us all back into a totalitarian dark ages. And if unopposed it will destroy the state of Israel and usher a new Holocaust of the Jews. I misread Gottleib and treated him like an earnest and honest inquirer. But I knew I was taking a gamble. Any Jew who can write for the Nation which is a supporter of and apologist for the Hamas Nazis, whose stated goal is to exterminate the Jews, has to be morally defective or just blinded by his leftist faith.

        Thanks anyway for the kind words.

          Something tells me one need only point out the Palestinians were expelled in 1948 and that most Gazans are from pre-1967 Israel to be considered an apologist for Hamas.

          dhorowitz10 says:

          Ah, I left out the third option: you have to be mind-bogglingly ignorant of what actually took place.

          Horowitz: it’s not difficult to figure out that you are an extraordinary attention-seeker and narcissist; your whole career has been a testimony to this. But it is unbelievable what a baby you are! A 24-year old writer–nearly a half-century younger than you are–comes to interview you, NOT because he’s so positively enamored of your spectacular wit and ingenuous insight, but because HE HAS A JOB TO DO. When he writes a long and rather complimentary profile of you that gives credit to your skills as a memoirist–amazing, the one subject you manage to write about thoughtfully is yourself!–that extends your 14 minutes of fame by an additional 30 seconds, what is your response? He miscounted the number of people who work at your office? He underestimated the millions of people who hang on your every word? He distorts your actual position on Marcus Aurelius? Who cares? You act like someone who expects to be taken seriously. The problem is, people who are taken seriously don’t usually hang out on the comments section of the articles written about them trolling for compliments and slinging pot shots. They work for a living. Do YOU work for a living? You might start acting like it for a change….

        MLCBLOG says:

         Is this the funeral dirge?  Not so fast, if you please!

      finnbar2 says:

      “i don’t know of a single conservative magazine that would treat a comparable intellectual on the the left as shabbily as the tablet has treated me in this article.”
      an amazing statement. incredible for its lack of self awareness and insight.
      i’ve read and watched and heard mr. horowitz. a bomb-thrower with little regard for objective facts, incapable of any fair assessment of those he disagrees with.
      if this author and the tablet got some facts wrong, shame on them, and respond to the allegations please. but mr. horowitz’ legacy will be as a bombthrower, not as any kind of “intellectual”.

      Dick Stanley says:

      Thanks for clearing that up. I’ll go on enjoying Front Page.

      ” I don’t know of a single conservative magazine that would treat a comparable 
      intellectual on the left as shabbily as the Tablet has treated me in 
      this article.” 

      Whatever this was, it was not vicious. I’ve seen plenty of truly vicious attacks on Noam Chomsky over the years.

      Anyone who could make that statement (left or right) has blinders on the size of Texas.

        MLCBLOG says:

         I disagree.  It was nasty.

          After I wrote this, I realized Mr Horowitz probably has written about Chomsky. A bit of quick googling pulled up this quote:

          “Without question, the most devious, the most dishonest and — in this hour of his nation’s grave crisis — the most treacherous intellect in America belongs to MIT professor Noam Chomsky.”
          — David Horowitz

          That (Horowitz/Salon) piece is full of over the top rhetoric. In one sentence he’s leveled three extremely serious accusations. Mr Horowitz’s rhetoric **is** vicious. Not a single element of this Tablet piece rises to that ridiculous, dare I say “shabby” level.

          Regardless, politics tends to the ugly. Mr. Horowitz’s response clearly demonstrates a thin skin. Bu to claim that his “treatment” is unprecedented is the height of both blindness and of hypocrisy. 

          MLCBLOG says:

           I still disagree.  I find Mr. H’s statements about the Chomsky to be factual.

      MLCBLOG says:

      It is my observation that, like the rest of the news media, they cannot report on what they do not understand.

      549106 says:

      Let me just suggest that if you feel the best means of defending yourself (in terms of impact, exposure, and use of one’s time) is to respond in the comments section of a good but low-circulation magazine then you’re already screwed.  While I can appreciate the desire to answer every critic and have every conversation, this really proves the author’s point about your irrelevance that this is now what your time is spent on–the very form of your protestations proves the the truth about the content which you are protesting against.  

      That said, I’ve enjoyed all of your memoirs immensely and I’d urge you to continue writing as your foundation is both stilted and silly, and the more you try to prove it’s not irrelevant the more you seem like a guy hawking the socialist worker on the street corner and boasting about how they have over 500,000 readers or some other absurd number.  Important people do not have to insist upon their relevance, they simply appear on the cultural horizon at every point in a way you never have, probably because you never abandoned the bombastic rhetorical aesthetic of the 1960s that simply doesn’t speak to modern people who aren’t already convinced or else using you for their own ends.

      I sort of hope you’re not still following all this, but if you are, here’s a short PS:

      I thought your short discussion with Slavoj Zizek was really great: he’s quite willing to pair with conservatives on projects and even if you hate his guts he has the star power to bring your ideas to a greater audience. Send out some feelers to his people and see if there’s any way you two can appear together  in some form for a series of debates.

        dhorowitz10 says:

        I’ll ignore your insults which are, well, silly. But what makes you think I’m not interested in small circulation magazine precisely because of its quality and the fact that unlike all other magazines of the left with which I am familiar is does not have totalitarian editors who can’t handle ideas they disagree with?

          549106 says:

          That’s plausible, but you’re sort of married to that approach now anyway–nothing wrong it, but I’d like to see you push your ideas along a broad front at the high level of subtly and intelligence I’ve come to enjoy in your memoirs.  Pamphletering was fine for Thomas Paine but your talents would really be better directed elsewhere: you’ll notice my insults are silly rather than venomous because you don’t display your dangerous intellect to the public of ten enough to warrant it, and the left really needs a better class of enemy.

          Might I suggest Jacobin Magazine?  They’re a bit strange but they have no “editorial line” as such: OWS is simultaneously denounced and celebrated, communism is dead and alive, a disaster and a salvation, etc.

          dhorowitz10 says:

          I’m too old to be chasing audiences, and despite what my detractors say have little interest in doing so, and little expectation that it would make a difference in the number of people who might become familiar with my work. The pretty much controls the intellectual universe — which is why an intellectual clown like Zizek can be such a star. The left can’t handle a dissenting voice in the room, particularly someone like me who knows their game. My notoriety, such as it is, has come entirely from pissing them off — most notably my efforts against the racist reparations campaign, but also in my failed attempts to get leftwing professors to present students with two sides of controversial issues and let them make up their own minds. None of my intellectual presence in the leftist media or mind  is the result of an honest interest in intellectual issues and intellectual exchanges. None. 
          I became interested in the Tablet because its predecessor NextBook gave my daughter Sarah her only interview, which was her last one. When I wrote a book about her which was really a book about a father and daughter and their disagreements over politics and other things and the way they managed to love and understand each other, I thought the Tablet would take an interest in it, for her sake at least. She was a wonderful person, a gifted writer and would have found the Tablet’s world view congenial to hers. The Tablet turned its back on her and on the book as did the entire Jewish media — at least the thirty odd Jewish publications  whom I tried to interest in it. So much for “liberalism.” 

          However I did persist with the Tablet, partly out of my perverse nature but also because it has editors like Marc Tracy who do have a genuine interest in ideas, and because they have published writers like Lee Smith and Bret Stephens. When they sent this kid to interview me, I thought even though he’s a Nation leftist, he doesn’t seem like an ideologue. I’ll let him take a look at me and see if it leads to an opening — not to persuade a large public — but because I actually do enjoy an intellectual dialogue. The most positive thing about this travesty is that it has made me aware of people like you and others in this comment section. BTW I am publishing a longer rebuttal to the article because it has some damaging implications if left unanswered. The article will appear in Frontpage tomorrow.As for Jacobins, it’s an unpromising name — sort of like the French SS — but I’ll take a look at it. Thanks for the appreciative words and advice.

          dhorowitz10 says:

          That sentence should have read “The left pretty much dominates the intellectual media universe which is why an intellectual clown like Zizek can be a star. An amusing fellow but not a serious intellect.

    MLCBLOG says:

    Yay! another person who loved to read Ramparts and now reads Front Page!!  I wondered if I were the only one.

emunadate says:

We have to wonder about the left. What do they really care about?

    serfbaja says:

    They care about defeating and obliterating anyone and anything that disagrees with them.  Beyond that they really dont care about much of anything.  Their allignment with radical islam proves they care nothing about women, gays, or basic human rights.  Their allignment with communist dictators proves they care nothing about raising people from poverty.  Their allignment with radical environmentalists prove they care nothing about the environment.

       First, I hate it when people refer to “the left” as if all of us are marching lock-step.  My friends on “the right” don’t like to be stereotyped, and neither do I.  There are many shades of political opinion out there.  I generally vote for Democrats (although I have several times voted for moderate Republicans), but I am not “aligned with Radical Islam.”  However, I am aligned against people who like to spread wild and inaccurate generalities.  It’s a cheap rhetorical trick for Mr Horowitz and some of the commenters to select a few outrageous remarks (often ripped from their context) and claim these represent “the left.”  So, do the most extreme comments of Santorum, Gingrich and even Horowitz represent “the right”? 

      But where David loses me entirely is when he becomes a shill for discredited Republican talking points.  Death panels? Check. Obama palling around with terrorists? Check.  Obama and Bill Ayers?  Check. And this man thinks of himself as an intellectual?  At the risk of defending President Obama (with whom I do not always agree), he is NOT anti-Israel, nor did he even know Mr Ayers back in the latter’s radical days (Obama was eight years old at the time), and every reputable fact-checking service has debunked the “death panels” meme.  I am friends with Michelle Obama’s cousin (a rabbi) and I have absolutely no evidence that Obama hates Jews or hates Israel.  He has policy differences with Netanyahu (as do many Israelis) but Horowitz and his band of anti-Obama right-wingers have cynically turned this into “proof” that Obama is a danger to Israel.  Sorry, but screeds aside, there is no credible evidence of this.  Just more superheated right-wing rhetoric.

      I understand that many of the commenters are supporters of Mr Horowitz and that’s fine.  But in supporting a man who does not want to be misrepresented or misquoted, please accord President Obama and Democrats the same courtesy.

        emunadate says:

         Obama is a danger to Israel and that is a fact. Take a look at the borders that he wants Israel to return to…
        How would any country survive that?

        Thank you Donna, I believe you have responded very well to what can best be described as a derisive chorus piling on to defend the indefensible while also advocating a cult of personality.  Very well said, indeed.

        AmericaninIsrael says:

        Type your comment here. “I have absolutely no evidence that Obama hates Jews or hates Israel.” Excuse me, there’s plenty of evidence for both: Obama’s State Department won’t recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. They won’t allow a US Embassy in Jerusalem; Obama pressed Netanyahu for a building freeze in Jewish West Jerusalem, and got it, but gave Israel nothing in return; Obama treated Netanyahu in a rude, ignorant manner when he left Netanyahu alone, while he had dinner(You remember THAT, right?) Obama stopped a shipment of bunker buster bombs to Israel, in 2010. Obama’s policies of supporting the Al-Qaeda backed Libyan rebels, and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, has de-stabilized the region, and made a war between Israel and Egypt very likely; and his failure to reign in Iran’s mad stampede to build a nuclear bomb has done likewise. And last but not least, Obama sat in the anti-semitic Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church, week after week, month after month, for Twenty years, and made no effort to either disagree with Wright, or leave the church, until a scant five months before being elected President in 2008. You can tell a lot about someone by the company he keeps.And by the way, Obama is a close friend of PLO supporter Rashid Khalidi; and I also have heard that one doesn’t have to be a Baptized Christian to join the Trinity United Church. And there ARE death panels in Obamacare(read the bill). You see, there’s PLENTY of evidence that Obama hates Israel, and dislikes Jews, only YOU choose to ignore it. It is YOU that needs a reality check. Checkmate.

      In the same vein, the Republican/Conservative alignment with Christian fundamentalists (some of whom go abroad where they encourage passage of laws that penalize sodomy with life sentences or capital punishment) also speaks for itself. And they actually just passed 5 anti-lgbt laws in my state over the last 2 years. And the same can be said for women’s rights. The laws that slowly attempt to take apart women’s rights movement’s achievements have been promulgated in most states where Republicans are in power.

      So, unlike your ideas about the hidden agenda of the Left, the not-hidden-at-all agenda of the Right is quite clear and present right now.

David Horowitz is right where he needs to be. He is fantastic. He simply tells it like it is. He is truth teller. That riles up people who don’t want to hear nor face it. I don’t think it is a serious thing that there are those on the Right who have abandoned him. They are idiots if they do. I am a staunch Conservative and I adore Horowitz because I love The Truth no matter what. It is often painful to face up to it but it is necessary and you have to have chutzpah which I do! I need Horowitz to keep writing and who care if the New York Times or anyone else doesn’t review it? Let the American public review it. Forget these political parties. They are toxic to the hilt. Horowitz is perfect not being aligned with either party. Now he is free. Aligning with a party muddies the waters of truth. Every political party has their sinister agendas. They will all abandon their own mothers for a profit. Every one of them. They are constantly trying to “calm everyone down” and “don’t upset the apple cart too much.” Well, Horowitz is an apple cart upsetter because he is looking for all those rotten apples that spoil the bunch and we need him to keep digging into the back of that cart to expose and get rid of the rot! Or else we will all lose the whole crop! So, keep up the good work and stop caring what anyone thinks. I never do!

In a long career of cultivating political disgust via extremism, character assassination, and irresponsible distortions, David Horowitz now declares that politics disgusts him. It’s the first accurate statement he’s ever made in the public sphere. And the feeling is mutual.

    serfbaja says:

    Ah…so when Horowitz was ranting from his radical leftist viewpoint he wasn’t “accurate”?  I would think someone, like you, who irresponsibly distorts facts and uses character assassination to make your point (obviously a leftist) would have thought his early radicalism was accurate.

    Shows how silly it is to assume a leftist could ever have a logical thought

Once a fanatic always a fanatic regardless of which side of the political spectrum one inhabits.

    Cash Money says:


    No matter his politics, Horowitz will always be guilty of spectacular bad judgment. Which is why serious people will never take him seriously.

    Back when he was a lefty, he sucked up to people we Cold War liberals always knew were bad guys. Now, as a rightwinger, Horowitz attacks liberals not doing more to renounce his old pals. Sorry, David, that’s your cross to bear, not ours. 

    We always knew Bill Ayers, say, was a fraud and a lightweight. A bad guy who isn’t locked away for life because he has a rich father. But Ayers is too spectacular a wanker ever to threaten the Republic. (Bernardine Dohrn, however, is another story.)

    For Horowitz to argue that Obama supports Weather Underground-ish causes because he knows Ayers as a Hyde Park neighbor and fellow board member of a Chicago foundation is risible.

    Come on, David, aren’t you smarter than that? (I get why linking Obama and Ayers works as a smear, but that’s politics, not serious analysis.) 

      “risible” this.  

      Ayer’s pal Jodi Evens has raised MILLIONS for Øbama’s campaigns in between meeting with Amadinijad as well as  Hamas  and funding their blockade runners.Sounds like David is MUCH SMARTER than you.

At 19:58, Horowitz comes out with this:  “He [Obama] has killed more civilians and the left lets him get away with it.”  Ironically, admitting the US military kills civilians puts him to the left of just about everyone else.

    The U.S. military itself admits it kills civilians/noncombatants. (Admittedly, they don’t cop to it in each and every case where they are charged with doing so, but that’s not what we’re talking about, is it, and they are generally attacking combatants who wear neither uniform nor insignia.)

      You might also mention they are attacking whole countries who can’t fight back on US soil or even the bases overseas. 

Eurobaby says:

If he’s homeless, he can come live with me – free of charge. Mr. Horowitz, I salute you for all you have done – nothing is a waste. Honors are dispensed even in the Valley of Humility. 

Hack job….Tablet should know better

herbcaen says:

how about discovering the dignity of labor? It would do you a world of good

    Saint_Etienne says:

     Huh? Clarify to the ignorant what ponderous meaning you had in mind, please.

A little long for an epitaph, don’t you think? Better to say “Here lies (see what I did there?) David Horowitz. A schmuck as a youth. A schmuck as a man. A schmuck in his second childhood.”
Horowitz lost any last scrap of dignity in 2001, when he denounced as a “politically correct attack on Christians” the objections Jews raised to Paul Weyrich’s “Christ was crucified by the Jews” Easter message.

    Saint_Etienne says:

    Did he? I’ve just read the article you linked to and found it quite convincing. Have you actually read it? If yes, would you care to point out why Horowitz was wrong there, in your opinion?

This is a fairly sympathetic portrait if not without its critical tone. It does not however discuss the courage of Horowitz in his taking on the liberal often radical Left  establishment at various universities where he was an eloquent champion in defense of academic freedom. As for Horowitz’s series of memoirs they are moving and profound, true classics. And though Horowitz may never have visited Israel his understanding and support of it is much appreciated by many of us who do live here.

I saw Mr Horowitz speak once, many years ago, at the University of Wisconsin. He made for a rather pathetic, somewhat ranting, Hyde Park like figure in a lather about the take over of major universities by Black radicals with breathless asides about statistics on Black on White crime. Sparsely attended, it had the ring of a sad nostalgia trip, one in which Mr. Horowitz seemed to entertain the notion that at any minute he might incite the kind of excitement within the masses that he felt in early 60’s Berkeley. 

Like many ‘true believers’ Mr. Horowitz slides from left to right consumed by the false belief that there exists some perfect ideology of being, some ideal social order that can be achieved only by drinking the kool-aide offered by the proponents of the extreme and by demonizing those with whom you might find even the slightest diversion from ideological purity. 

Most people were able to conclude that the immorality and human toll of Vietnam ( were too great to sustain, and that America would be a more cohesive and stronger society by practicing racial justice, without becoming bomb throwing leftists. Too bad Mr. Horowitz never learned that lesson.

    “that the immorality and human toll of Vietnam ( were too great to sustain,”
    Ah, the VC and N Vietnam, the workers paradise…tiger cages, reeducation camps, no exit visas, churches closed… PARADISE!

    ” and that America would be a more cohesive and stronger society by practicing racial justice,”

    What, no “social” justice? TRAYVON! 


xedy says:

 Since he has changed sides, I don’t really know which way he will jump next.

    Elizabethdhfc says:

     He “changed” sides because he has an open mind and is not afraid to explore beyond what he was indoctrinated in in his childhood. Maybe you should read “Radical Son” so you can understand WHY he “changed sides”, you might find it revelational.

      He went from one indoctrinated position to another.  Only someone with the mentality of a worker ant could support an aggressive invasion.

Tablet assigned the profile of me to a 24-year-old Nation writer and credulous supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Its text is as accurate a portrait of me as the caricature they chose to accompany it (I suspect even Ahmadinejad would get a more respectful treatment from the Tablet editors). I wasted my time with this young man, and am sorry I did.
He read a lot of my work, appreciated some of it — in particular Radical Son — but hasn’t a clue as to what the conservative dimension of my life is about, and therefore who I am. I am not “homeless,” as the title and much of the article implies, or a cynical propagandist, as he suggests.
There is in fact precious little in this piece that accurately reflects what I think or even what I have said. That is because the writer has no respect for conservative ideas or thought generally. Aside from the ideas, among the obvious facts he could have checked but didn’t, my Center never occupied a “tony high-rise” let alone on the 12th floor, as the author claims — and never “in downtown L.A.”
My present staff is not three but fifteen and my Center far from being in pathetic decline (as he also suggests) has three times the budget it did in 2000 and about ten times the following or more (the Alinsky pamphlet I wrote has been read by 2.5 million people, but you would never guess it from his description); there is no security guard in our present offices, the Olin Foundation no longer exists, I have 100,000 conservative financial supporters — not three foundations, and so forth.
The Center’s pamphlets are only “lurid” to a far left kid who has absolutely no feel or respect for conservative ideas. And this is the main problem with the piece. A serious writer would have tried to understand the connection between the radical half of my life and work, and the conservative one.
Instead the conservative Horowitz is merely a caricature, and while a caricature is built around recognizable features of the individual, it also distorts them beyond recognition. This is exactly what this caricature does, so that it misrepresents what I think even when the words it quotes are correct. Liberal commentators have not “learned to tune [me] out,” for example. They never considered my work (something I foolishly hoped Tablet would do).
Instead they have snatched quotes from blogs I have written or — in the case of this article, ads I have published — or titles of public events (like “Islamo-fascism Awareness Week”) and used them aggressively to misrepresent what I have stood for and believed, much in the manner of the repulsive illustration which is attached to this text.
I could go on but what’s the point? I don’t know of a single conservative magazine that would treat a comparable intellectual on the left as shabbily as the Tablet has treated me in this article.

He betrayed the New Left just as the Feminist Movement began to have some clout.  If he winds up a urine soaked,  agoraphobic, drinker his fate will be too good for him.  He’s got a great house in a great neighborhood he’s only homeless because he’s politically alone shooting at targets that long ago fell down.

serfbaja says:

I’m not going to read past the first sentence……”he graciously mustered the enerty to meet me…”  Such an insult is unworthy of print.

Horowitz has more “energy” in his little finger than the wimp that wrote this piece.  And Howowitz is obviously smarter by factors than the foolish Akiva Gottlieb (who thinks insulting a true intellectual will somehow prove him/her smart…as they say on the internets…WAJ)

Ironic that a man who lives the motto of the New York Times (Without Fear or Favor) actually has as few supporters as he does. He is a clear and honest writer who does not shy away from offending anyone’s sensibilities and doesn’t  shill for left or right. This should be a badge of honor.

jbkburack says:

This hit job is as ludicrous as the ugly and clutsy illustration accompanying it. It is about a phantom. It is not about David Horowitz. It is about the world view of its author and those who kid themselves that it is about anything else.

This article would probably have been better if written by an adult, who could at least attempt to separate his interview from his world view.

David Horowitz answered this garbage with a reply in the comments and a very similar letter to Powerlineblog which is published here…

Mr. Horowitz becomes irrelevant each time he decides that proscription is more important than description, or each time he decides that he’s a sloganeer and not a writer.

“Radical Son” was relevant because Mr. Horowitz wrote a story about a specific kind of American political and intellectual development that only someone who’d lived through that development could have told. Such histories are invaluable because very few people can write them. They give us something we can’t find anywhere else.

Sloganeers are dime-a-dozen, interchangeable. Slogans are pervasive and serve only to inform us, as simplistically as possible, of what the sloganeer wants us to think or do: “Buckle Up for Safety,” “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires,” “A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste.”

Writers encourage discussion and contemplation; sloganeers, by their nature, cannot. As American conservatism has grown more rabidly anti-intellectual, it has of course jettisoned collegiality because collegiality fosters the meaningful exchange of ideas.

As a sloganeer, Mr. Horowitz could never embrace yiddishkeit because Judaism teaches us that learning Torah is better than Heaven itself, that discussion, debate, amendment, and analysis aren’t means to an end, but are ends in and of themselves.

As a writer, Mr. Horowitz could likely come to love yiddishkeit because Judaism urges us to engage our hearts and minds in endless give-and-take with others about human existence, our G-d, this world and our rightful place in it.

Mr. Horowitz may be 73-years old, and he may be understandably burdened by the sorrow and difficulties of his 73 years.

But the game isn’t quite over, the fat lady hasn’t sung, the icing isn’t yet on the cake: Mr. Horowitz can still choose life.



Elizabethdhfc says:

Akiva, I met you when you came to David’s office. I am stunned by the absolute meanness  of your article. I have worked for David for 12 years and I can not believe after spending the amount of  time you did  with him THIS is what you came away with. To me it really looks like you came in here with a preconceived idea of David and you were not willing to let go of that under any circumstance.  There are SO many errors in your article that it is obvious it is a smear piece. 1st of all, the Olin Foundation, that you claim underwrites us, has been closed for at least 4 years. Also, David told you that our main support comes from over 100,000 donors, NOT foundations, so in your attempt to make us look like we are funded by large foundations you used incorrect and incomplete data.  As for the office…Akiva, you came here during LUNCH hour that is why there were only 3 people here. Everyone else was out having lunch. We have 8 people working in this office and 7 people working for us off site, and we do NOT have and never have had a security guard in the office. I am not sure what you saw here that you were able to interpret as a “armed security guard” since the only people that were here were  our receptionist and our campus campaign person and me….and none of us carry a gun…Also, just as an FYI since you never asked, we are here in the Valley in the “nondescript office” because our last office had gotten too small for us and we were able to get a much bigger space for a more reasonable price here and is close to where many of our employees live. It’s interesting how different the truth it compared to what you wrote isn’t it? I hope those few inaccuracies I pointed out will make people think about the accuracy of the rest of the article.

    I am SHOCKED that you would think Tablet would do a character assassination of a major Right of Center figure like David Horowitz.

    In shocking later news, Tablet justifies Obama stabbing Israel in the back by delaying any action on Iran until AFTER Iran launches a nuke at Tel Aviv.

    549106 says:

    Like most foundations that are very successful and have millions and millions of dollars, the one Horowitz heads prefers to respond to criticism via anonymous internet comments with no possibility of verifying anything that was said. If you’ve been misrepresented and can prove it, issue an official statement: this backchannel flack is unprofessional at best and stupidly incompetent propaganda at work. 
    Why, I could just as easily write, if I was as much of a hack as you: “I was also there that day, and everything the reporter said was true–also, Horowitz cries in the broom closets every Wednesday and I haven’t been paid in six months.” 

    But then again it wouldn’t change anything: when you live in a giant echo chamber, the concept of verifiability disappears, since everything you already agree with must be true and everything you don’t agree with must be false. The worst thing about senility is that it doesn’t seem to hurt like it should!

David Horowitz has always been a self-promoting sophist, irrespective of what “side” he declares he’s on. Get off the stage old man. Your time has passed.

    AmericaninIsrael says:

    “Get off the stage old man. Your time has passed.” Is THIS all you’ve got to say? Make you feel better? I thought so.

Are you not a bit ashamed for being so dishonest?  You clearly have made most of this up: shame on you.

Patriot493 says:

“I thought to myself, would I rather be a prisoner in the hands of LBJ or Ho Chi Minh? It’s a no-fucking-brainer.”
And he immediately volunteered for the military…no?

“If what was once labeled extremism is now mainstream GOP boilerplate, then Horowitz deserves at least some of the credit.”

Talk about a life ill-spent!

dpd500 says:

I got bored, a few pages in.

akivagottlieb says:

Horowitz is correct in noting that in addition to funding from the Scaife and Mellon foundations, the majority of the Freedom Center’s budget comes from other conservative financial supporters. I should have made this clear in the article, especially as it confirms the point that Horowitz does indeed continue to receive financial support from the conservative movement.
I do quote a 2000 Nation profile of Horowitz that describes his former office as being located on the 12th floor of a “tony high-rise,” but do not say that the office was located in Downtown Los Angeles.
While I spent four hours at the Freedom Center on a weekday, I saw and met three staff members (other than Horowitz). The Freedom Center website lists a complete staff of fourteen, many of whom work off-site, and I should have made this clear in the article. According to my notes and recollections, there is a security guard at the entrance to the office.
I have not written in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement, nor am I 24 years old. 

Though we don’t see eye-to-eye politically, I wrote this piece with the sense that Horowitz’s disappointments are largely justified: he’s a valuable intellectual figure whose work should be appreciated (or at least grappled with) by left and right.


    Elizabethdhfc says:

     Akiva, the problem is that your article has a decidedly negative tone about David and most of your readers saw it too. When you mention that we have 3 people working here, it is written in the context of making David and the organization sound pathetic and like we are a declining foundation. Both cannot be further from the truth. I wish you would have asked how many people we have here instead of assuming it was the few you met. We have a receptionist, an accountant, a campus person, me, an event person, a researcher, a publication sales person and our president all here on site. We do not have a security person.  I am only clarifying this because the way these things were mentioned was very derogatory and since you felt it was important enough to mention these aspects of David and the organization, I wonder why you did not include the the whole of what David said or why you wouldn’t ask for facts instead of making assumptions.  I agree that David is a valuable intellectual figure, I just wish that would have come through in your article so people could see David as a person, not some caricature.

      eertneerg says:

      Funny thing–I found that in Gottlieb’s article DH comes across as a complex, interesting and likable figure, not a caricature at all. On the other hand, in his rebuttals to this article (both in this comment thread and his website) he comes across as a caricature of an angry crank. The article brings David’s books to the attention of audiences that might not otherwise be inclined to seek them out. Factual errors in the article are regrettable, but the overwrought defensiveness isn’t good advertising. 

Horowitz began as a left-wing loony. He later became a right-wing loony. Please note the common denominator.

dizzyizzy says:

I wrote about the article in the context of utopian hopes for unity in a conflict-ridden world. Here is the link:

I see so many conservative comments here, I wonder if there’s an untapped market for right-wing Jewish writing? 

    The fact that Hadassah has yet to inaugurate an “Otto Weininger Award for Political Literature” suggests that the very notion of right-wing Jewish writing has so far failed to touch the hearts and minds of the Jewish mainstream.

    eertneerg says:


davidpgoldman says:

It seems entirely odd to suggest that David Horowitz has been abandoned by the Right. One of Tablet’s resident right-wingers, namely I, reviewed his book “A Point in Time.” See 
 It was blurbed by Norman Podhoretz. That’s hardly abandonment.
Otherwise, I spoke at Horowitz’ West Coast retreat in March, which was fully booked,  and addressed by the Republican top drawer. Horowitz continues to be lionized by prominent conservatives. Akiva Gottlieb’s report simply does not square with reality.

Warren Green says:

I don’t know who David Horowitz is but I can quickly identify a slanderous article before reaching the second paragraph. If someone is not in line with your political thinking, then so be it but at least be open minded enough to read what Horowitz has to say in response to  Gottlieb’s accusations. 

Perhapps you’ll post his retortr to your article? ;-)

What I like and admire about David Horowitz is that, for better or for worse, for clarity or not…he listens to himself, he thinks for himself. So many people simply argue for their ideological outlook, without examining the variables, without a willingness to state the truth. They, in other words, want to “win the argument”, not articulate the various considerations. In other words, most people would rather be partisan than be right. He doesn’t take his cue from “his side’s ” position paper, he’s not committed to “his side’s” talking points – he wants to be truthful (as best he can see it) 

yevka says:

“First have a little humility.” Wise words.

valles says:

Once a Stalinist always a Stalinist -just the party differs. A sad case.

vladdrakul says:

David Horowitz is the very epitome of the false intellectual. I have met many former ‘Maoists’ and Stalinists here in Sween and what is amazing is how they ALL became reactionaries. WE have fomer Maoists who are the leading paladins of Swedens  position as THE anti drug liberalisation laws pushing nation within the rightly dying undemocratic and illegitimate oligopoly called the EU ; or they are the very worst radical feminists; openly contemptous of ‘the family'; peoples right to truth and respect (no changes there just differant master plans).
  All of them are loud, extremist, screeching Narcissits. Many of them are part of the ‘If you don’t support the Imperialims of the West (of course they no longer use the word ‘imperialism’ but like the far more talented hack Christopher Hitchens they play the ‘save the world from the barbarian wogs’ racist game to the hilt.
  In fact today the situation is akin to that of the 1930’s with the Muslims playing the Roles of the Jews and the Jews playing the role of the Boers and apartheid South Africa.  The Germans were never better or worse than anyone else as a people as any impartial study of the period 1870-1945 shows ; just a little more effective in their use of their more limited resources. Anti semitism was widespread through out Europe and Churchill and so many others were not as far from Hitler (who like the Kaiser admired the British and their racial empire of ‘little people’.)
   This is the whole truth just as is the fact that the West never stopped it’s racism, it’s imperialism or anything else, although a real attempt to make ordinary peoples lives valuable was attempted in the West; in the now deliberatly sabotaged and dying welfare states as the needs of the people could not be ignored so soon after the terrible sacrifices of WWI and II.  Now they can be as the ever increasing concentration of wealth since the era of Voodoo Economics prove. (and which like Rome will inevitalby lead to collapse or the New Dark Ages.
   I would love to engage this ‘intellectual giant’ as he and the also underserving but less so Christopher Hitchens are called; but then I would run rings around them. The numbers of true independant thinkers who actually give a damn about Liberty, humanity, a sustainable future or any of the other important questions are so small.
  David Horowitz is not, never has been a true intellectual or a philospher. I am one and know he is not. A pygmy shallow mind with a gargantuan self regard loved by the immature and poseurs. A total fraud and a very nasty human being.
  I am being too kind!

Terrye Godown says:

I received a pamphlet in the mail today from “Freedom Center”. Being familiar with the “Freedomworks” organization, I wondered if they’d changed their name. Seeing the size of the small book, I read it within an hour and then decided to look up David Horowitz as I had heard his name, but nothing much more about him. My Googling brought up this article, “David Horowitz is Homeless”. Being enlightened so much by the little pamphlet, I eagerly read about the substance of who he is and what he is about. Thus, keeping this short, I am amazed that he appears to be a shadow behind the forces of conservatism today, when he should be among those leading it. What wisdom, common sense and passion seemingly diluted by his obvious feeling of inevitable predetermination. That said, I will be following Mr. Horowitz’s literary political musings from now on! A thumbs up to a good article about him.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

David Horowitz Is Homeless

The 1960s radical decades ago switched his politics, fleeing the New Left to become a conservative provocateur. Then the right wing left him behind.