last updated: October 7, 2013
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- The Dennis Prager Show:Radio host
- Creators Syndicate: Syndicated Columnist
- TownHall.com: Featured Columnist
- Benador Associates: Former speaker
- U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council: Former Member
- U.S. Delegation to the Vienna Review Conference on the Helsinki Accords: Former Member
Dennis Prager is a conservative radio talk show host and syndicated columnist. A vocal proponent of U.S. exceptionalism and the "culture war," Prager was an enthusiastic supporter of the invasion of Iraq and has supported an aggressive “war on terror.” His writings have appeared in TownHall.com, the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and David Horowitz's FrontPageMag.com, among other outlets. In his writings and on his Los Angeles-based radio show, Prager frequently extols the virtues of American wars overseas, champions hardline Israeli policies, and berates liberals.
Many of Prager's commentaries are focused on social and cultural issues. He has argued that court rulings legalizing same-sex marriage are comparable to Egypt's military coup ("In America we don't need the army to overthrow elections"), claimed that he would prefer his children to smoke cigarettes instead of marijuana ("tobacco doesn't kill young people"), blamed poor race relations in the United States on blacks ("Virtually all black leaders have [hatred] toward white America"), and posited that political liberalism provides a cover for immoral behavior ("There is great benefit to the liberal sinner in being a liberal").
Although not a participant in neoconservative-led advocacy campaigns like the Project for the New American Century, Prager consistently espouses views that buttress the neoconservative line on world affairs. For example, he champions the notion that the United States should act as the world's policeman. "Those who oppose America being the world’s policeman need at least to acknowledge that the world needs one," he wrote in September 2013. "If that policeman is not the United States, who or what will be?" After speculating that a world without U.S. intervention would be largely run by Russia, China, and a "nuclear-armed Iran," Prager turned his fire on international law and institutions. "The U.N. is only what the General Assembly, which is dominated by the Islamic nations, and the Security Council, which is morally paralyzed by Chinese and Russian vetoes, want it to be."
Prager is an enthusiastic supporter of U.S. intervention in Syria's civil war, although he previously supported "allowing the two sides to kill each other," a view that some other neoconservative writers—including Daniel Pipes—have advocated. He warned in September 2013 that failure to intervene would be a victory for Russia as well Iran, whom he deems “America's greatest enemy." Lamenting the Obama administration's decision to delay going to war in Syria after the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons, Prager concluded that "Bashar al-Assad is a lucky man to be in power at the same time as Barack Obama. For him, Allah really must seem great." He characterized the Obama administration's agreement with Russia for an international supervised destruction of Syria's chemical weapons as an "American defeat by Russia, Syria, and Iran."
Prager berates those who argue that interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have been major policy failure for the United States. "It is leaving—not fighting in—Iraq and Afghanistan that will lead to failures in those countries," he wrote, echoing an earlier injunction that "America will have lost in Iraq when America decides it has lost. And then it becomes what is known as a self-fulfilling prophecy." In 2007, he wrote that "Even if the war was a major blunder and even if everything the Left charges—including 'Bush lied'—were true, none of these contentions has any bearing on the question of what should be done now. If we leave Iraq: It will be a great victory for the most dangerous ideology on earth today."
A major theme in Prager's writings on foreign policy is the alleged antipathy of progressives towards the United States and apathy toward "evil" more generally. Many on the Left are … not particularly happy," he wrote after Saddam Hussein's capture by American forces in late 2003. "Saddam's capture is a victory for American force and for George W. Bush, and the Left hates both more than it hates Saddam." Prager went on to explain that "Most of the Left does not hate evil; hatred of evil is primarily found on the Right." In a 2012 piece asserting his support for the "pro-Israel" GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Prager echoed neoconservative trailblazer Norman Podhoretz in arguing that fellow Jews were unlikely to vote for Romney because "for many American Jews, Leftism is their religion, while Judaism is merely an ethnic identity."
Prager's comments on the Middle East and terrorism are often laden with Islamophobic rhetoric. Following a 2013 attack by al-Shabaab-linked militants on shoppers at a Nairobi mall, for example, Prager brushed aside the actual condemnations of the attack from Muslims leaders and instead demanded that "Muslim religious leaders around the world must announce that any Muslim who deliberately targets non-combatants for death goes to hell." But, musing that "the protestations by Muslim spokesmen that 'Islam is religion of peace' are beginning to wear thin," he concluded that "perhaps not that many Muslim religious leaders do believe that Muslim terrorists are going to hell." Previously, in 2003, while discussing the Middle East and Israel, Prager declared that "Hundreds of millions of Muslims—Arab and non-Arab, Sunni, and Shi'a—hate Israel more than they love life."
Prager created a national controversy in 2006 when he argued in a column that Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, should not be allowed to be sworn in to office using the Koran, which Prager argued "undermines American civilization." He wrote that it would be "an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism—my culture trumps America's culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book. Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is."
Prager's column prompted outrage from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which argued that Prager should be removed from his position as a presidential appointee on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, which oversees the Holocaust memorial in Washington, DC. "No one who holds such bigoted, intolerant, and divisive views should be in a policy-making position at a taxpayer-funded institution that seeks to educate Americans about the destructive impact hatred has had, and continues to have, on every society," the organization wrote in a letter to the memorial council. In a statement, the memorial's executive council promptly condemned Prager's remarks as "antithetical to the mission of the Museum as an institution promoting tolerance and respect for all peoples regardless of their race, religion, or ethnicity."
Along with right-wing commentators like David Horowitz, Prager holds that conservative voices on U.S. campuses are being stifled and that "intellectual life on conservative radio is far more diverse than intellectual life at most American universities." To redress this perceived imbalance, Prager launched something called "Prager University," a collection of "courses"—mostly five-minute web videos—featuring Prager and his friends extolling conservative talking points. In various "university" offerings, Prager explains everything from how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a "simple" matter of Arabs refusing Israel's right to exist to why wives shouldn't worry if their husbands leer at attractive women in public ("It's impossible for women to understand how deep this is among men," he explains). Other videos feature commentaries from conservative comedian Adam Carolla, "pro-Israel" writer Anne Bayefsky, and American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks.
Prager was previously affiliated with the now-defunct Benador Associates, a promotions agency whose list of experts included a number of neoconservative writers, including Michael Ledeen, Charles Krauthammer, Richard Pipes, James Woolsey, and Meyrav Wurmser.
Prager's books include Think a Second Time (1996), Happiness Is a Serious Problem (1999), Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism (2003), and Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph (2012).