Leon Wieseltier was quoted as saying that "there's no question" that a religious Catholic can have a theological basis for antisemitic emotions {"Pat Buchanan and the Jewish Question," Style, Sept. 20}. He is wrong.

There are, of course, and always have been Catholic antisemites in both clergy and laity. But there is no valid theological basis in Catholicism for antisemitism.

To the extent that a Catholic is antisemitic, he or she is a bad Catholic, both morally and theologically.

WILLIAM D. BRODERICK Arlington

For decades, Pat Buchanan has been a staunch, indispensable supporter of Israel. He was one of the few who vociferously called on Israel to annex the West Bank and Gaza. By his own admission, he was a Menachem Begin man.

As a Palestinian, I never could smile at anything that Mr. Buchanan said about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Now suddenly he is an antisemite. What could he have done? Perhaps say the truth for once about Israel's network of lobbies, operatives and schemes? Maybe he disclosed that Israel is selfishly working to draw the United States into a potentially bloody war with Iraq in order to obliterate Iraq's military capability at no cost to Israel?

As a Palestinian who had never felt an iota of respect or sympathy for Mr. Buchanan, now I do. I admire him for being man enough to say the truth when he finds it.

HATIM S. KHATIB Annandale

As a child of Holocaust survivors I am appalled at Pat Buchanan's words and deeds. If a liberal Democrat can be branded a traitor for opposing aid to the contras, then certainly one who espouses Holocaust revisionism may be labeled an antisemite.

Today's antisemite is not the Cossack pillager or Nazi butcher of the past; he is even more subtle than the quota maker or country club membership denier of yesteryear. The modern Haman questions our loyalty, accuses us of conspiracy and seeks to deny our legitimacy by rewriting our history. Though some of Mr. Buchanan's actions may be individually defensible, they collectively form a pattern of antisemitism.

Jews have served this country faithfully from Haym Solomon to Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.). To accuse us of attempting to embroil America in a war with Iraq in order to serve Israel's needs is reminiscent of the xenophobic paranoia found in "The Protocol of the Elders of Zion." Labeling Capitol Hill as "Israeli-occupied territory" is, at best, inflammatory. If Mr. Buchanan feels that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is influential on Capitol Hill, let him state it as such. We regard its influence as testimony to the lobby's organization and the moral and historical correctness of Israel's policies and positions.

I would further remind Mr. Buchanan of the pluralistic nature of our society, which is based on the separation of church and state. We do not seek to de-Christianize America, because it is not a Christian state.

Mr. Buchanan's remarks on the Holocaust are indefensible. Let me remind him of this irrefutable fact: 6 million Jews were butchered by the Nazis at such places as Auschwitz and Treblinka. Attempts to revise the historical record can only be construed as an attack on the cultural history of the Jewish people. Holocaust revisionism is antisemitism at its ugliest and darkest core. Debating the lethality of diesel exhaust serves only to demean the memory of those Jewish martyrs.

Innocent old men, women, teenagers and children were gassed, shot, hung, tortured, electrocuted and starved (where are your complaints, Mr. Buchanan?) at death camps such as Auschwitz, which were established to solve the "Jewish problem." Placing a Catholic convant on the site of Auschwitz obscures the inescapable fact that these souls were sacrificed for their Judaism.

Why does a self-proclaimed ACLU-basher such as Pat Buchanan defend such murderers as John Demjanjuk and Klaus Barbie? Surely he is not concerned with their Miranda rights. One can only conclude that he is seeking to trivialize and condone their heinous deeds if not actually rewrite the history of that era. The evidence against "Ivan the Terrible" and "The Butcher of Lyons" is voluminous, accurate and irrefutable; certainly it deserves its day in court.

I am not a "contract hit man" for the Anti-Defamation League, nor am I a spokesman for A. M. Rosenthal. I am a simple American Jew who is cognizant of his culture, history and tradition. I know an antisemite when I see one.

CARY C. SCHWARTZBACH Springfield