And on Balalaika–There He Is, Next to the Security Fence– Brooklyn’s Own– Alannnn Dershowitz!

on 23 Comments

I keep talking about Sheldon Adelson, America’s third-richest man, whose pro-Israel activities the Times all but ignored last week. Turns out his foundation shells out for a birthright-style happy tour of Israel, this one for Harvard law students that some non-Jews can go on, too on spring-break. Student Andrew Friedman describes a day that begins at Yad Vashem then

continued with a tour of the security fence that provoked substantive
debate on the tour bus about Israel’s rights and obligations in
erecting this barrier, then on to the fashionable seaside city of
Herzliya. There, we participated in a class Alan Dershowitz was
teaching to Israeli law students, and the evening ended with a banquet
dinner during which Professor Dershowitz sang the Yiddish song "Tum
Balalaika," accompanied by a klezmer band.

Get down, Alan! The dude is everywhere!

In Tel Aviv, the group toured the ancient port of Jaffa, a hillside
artists’ enclave of steep and winding stone pathways just south of the
modern city…

Chris Varley also just got back from Israel. He’s been passing around
maps of the ’47 Partition plan
, which was far more equitable to Arabs, at
56-44, than the current proposed 78-22. Note on that map that Jaffa, an Arab city, was left Arab. But that was in ’47.  In ’48 Jaffa was ethnically-cleansed.

23 Responses

  1. Jim Haygood
    April 14, 2008, 2:39 pm


    That 1947 partition map is interesting. It's not only the 56-44 split of area, but also the roughly 60-40 split of seacoast which is significant. Coastal land is more valuable than interior land — that's true everywhere, and in spades on the Mediterranean with its tourist potential.

    Yet the current two-state solution seems to imply that Israel would get ALL the seacoast except for Gaza. That isn't fair, even if the absurd 78-22 area split were to be ameliorated a bit. It means that even in the remote event that a crippled statelet should be shoved down the throats of the Palestinians with bribes and threats, it isn't going to stick long-term.

    Meanwhile, in the eternal present of Israeli stalling and footdragging, Gazans aren't even permitted to use the little strip of seacoast they've got. Not for trade, not for fishing. Even a family of bathers was annihilated by Israeli rockets last year. Gaza's coast is locked down by the Israeli Navy. Like shipwrecked passengers in a lifeboat, Gazans can only gaze out glumly on all that useless, menacing blue water.

  2. Richard Witty
    April 14, 2008, 2:45 pm

    The world has changed since 1947.

    And, the British 47 proposal, the UN 47 proposal, and the UN 48 proposal were ALL accepted by the Zionists.

    They were consistently rejected by the Arab states. (There was no Palestine yet.)

    You are SMARTER than to engage in propagandistic revision.

    Do you ONLY read Pappe for history?

  3. Richard Witty
    April 14, 2008, 2:49 pm

    Dershowitz tells some exagerations that are grounded in some truth.

    Finkelstein tells some exagerations that are grounded in some truth.

    Where is the actual truth? What is the actual good?

    It takes MORE thoughtful consideration, more research, from more varied perspectives to get there.

    Dershowitz has determined to not only be an "objective" academic, but has determined to be part of something.

  4. Richard Witty
    April 14, 2008, 2:53 pm

    Visiting Yad Vashem is a "happy tour" in your mind, Phil?

  5. Jim Haygood
    April 14, 2008, 2:55 pm


    "Dershowitz has determined to not only be an 'objective' academic, but has determined to be part of something."

    TRANSLATION: advocacy journalism is okay for Dershowitz, but not for Phil Weiss.

    Very tendentious, Richard. Better billow another cloud of rhetorical questions to obscure this post — quick!

  6. Jim Haygood
    April 14, 2008, 3:00 pm


    "Visiting Yad Vashem is a 'happy tour' in your mind, Phil?"

    You don't read the links, do you — not even the first sentence of the first paragraph:

    "When the El Al jumbo jet carrying forty-five HLS students touched down at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport last month, Tel Aviv was a city on the verge of celebration. Our arrival coincided with the Jewish holiday of Purim, in which Jews are commanded to celebrate in raucous fashion their deliverance from extermination in ancient Persia."

    Go sit in the corner facing the wall! Shame!

  7. Charles Keating
    April 14, 2008, 3:09 pm

    Witty hopes we will all be little Trumans forever , with his daughter at the piano and him, still selling hats with his partner.

  8. Richard Witty
    April 14, 2008, 3:37 pm


    My son went on a Birthright tour this past year, and spent some time conversing with Phil F2F about it, a month or so ago.

    Phil's comments to me about my son were glowing, including some references to the value of his experience in visiting Israel.

    I don't see that "balance" here, in print.

    I actually experience ridicule of the sentiment.

  9. LeaNder
    April 14, 2008, 4:46 pm

    Richard, Bill Pearlman insults Philip straightforward. Your technique is much more vicious. Your dirt no doubt will partly stick. This is the second breach of confidence. This time it concerns your son too. Did you ask him?

    So Phil is:

    lying, devious, underhanded.

    Is this what you are trying to tell us?

    Do me a favor keep your personal cognitions to yourself. Its easy to see that he loves his people but not their politics.

  10. LeaNder
    April 14, 2008, 4:50 pm

    not always their politics, not their contemporary US Likud style politics … US influence politics …

    Your know what I mean


  11. MM
    April 14, 2008, 6:45 pm

    "The world has changed since 1947."

    Simple, and beautiful.

    Discerning observers will note that Witty's justifications for zionism rarely need even two full independent clauses.

    Zionism is just that righteous. Witty's mind is just that beautiful.

    And, lest you think yourself apt to comment, be reminded: none of us have lost relatives to state terror, only Witty and his tribe.

    They have special needs.

    And Palestine is a special place.

    And Alan Dershowitz is a special kind of guy, so if he has to lie a little bit, then let's just come out and be honest about it: Norman Finkelstein is a liar.

    That Phil actually engages this moralizing leech is evidence of his greater humanity; he casually knocks the leech off but it always finds a way back on to him, evidence of the leech's narrow minded tenacity.

    The leech is only sucking, sucking, sucking–the intent is not to engage, more like disengage.

    Phil ought to deal with more challenging and important comments made on his writing. Witty's secret formula has already been revealed, it is: mediation minus scruples equals schmooze. Y nada mas.

    Say, Phil, you ever heard of this thing, the Federal Reserve?

    Did they give any classes on monetary theory back there at Hahvahd?

    Does the Barack Obama Campaign of Hope™ sponsored by Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Harvard got any new ideas on our money supply and fiscal policies? Any idea who exactly is going to pay for Greenspan's mess?

  12. Richard Witty
    April 14, 2008, 8:58 pm

    I justify BOTH Zionism and Palestinian nationalism.

    We are two peoples that each deserve safe and vibrant home.

    Even if there are more Jews in the US than in Israel, and even if it is physically safe for Jews in most of the states.

  13. Charles Keating
    April 14, 2008, 8:58 pm

    Who will pay for Greenspan? LOL. The dumb goys. They fight in the fight in the field, they truck the debt. I agree, the goy are dumb. Feudal society live on!

  14. Charles Keating
    April 14, 2008, 9:03 pm

    Just keep those goys volunteering for US Marine or Army. So long as it is not my son. I need to have my cake and eat it too. My name is Richard Witty and I am a zionist American jew.

  15. Todd
    April 14, 2008, 11:35 pm

    Yeah, the Palestinians are going to accept Charley Varley's partition plan. If only the Palestinians had understood how equitable things were in 48! The whole mess in Palestine will end in disaster for everyone involved.

    With all the talk of Sheldon Adelson, are the reports than Jack Abramoff diverted lots of his stolen money to Israel true? Does anyone know?

  16. Charles Keating
    April 15, 2008, 7:26 am

    Jack? He financed an Israeli sniper school and a Jewish religious school with the money he bilked from the Indians who were afraid their casino income was about to be taxed. Put in 4 hours of lobbying? Make that 60 hours, no problem. He considered the Indians sub-human.

  17. LeaNder
    April 15, 2008, 9:00 am

    Charles Keating: You are the only person that brings up First Nations subjects here. Is that an accident?

    Richard Witty: "I justify BOTH Zionism and Palestinian nationalism."

    The problem may well be nationalism. Times change.

    Yesterday I received a mail telling me about a book by one of the main initiators of the Shalom5767 Declaration.

    link to

    The declaration in English:
    link to

    If I judge from his contents, I don't have a copy yet, Rolf Verleger suggests that nationalism and anti-antisemitism may well be substitutes in times when religion is not so important anymore.

    "Irrweg" there is no ideal English word, The wrongs path would be falscher Weg. Irre means the path has led into a much more difficult situation, from which it is harder to get back on the right track.

    Israel's misleading path. A Jewish perspective.

    link to

    Will you do me a favor and keep confidential informations to yourself, even if you realize you have no other arguments left?

  18. LeaNder
    April 15, 2008, 9:03 am

    Hmmm? Israel's path into the wilderness.

    Too long but closer.

  19. Kati
    April 15, 2008, 11:31 am

    How about "aberration" for "Irrweg"?

  20. LeaNder
    April 15, 2008, 12:33 pm

    Hmmm? yes not bad.

    At least as long as it is understood as: to go astray. Not an ideal solution either since: Irrweg doesn't carry any psychological or biopolitical associations? Maybe that's a very German problem.

    Aberration seems to contain some kind of moralistic evaluation. Irrweg simply means going astray without any moral evaluation.

  21. Kati
    April 16, 2008, 6:28 am

    Hm, German is my first language and for me it doesn't contain any of those associations you mentioned. But it's not just the wrong way, it is a wrong way, which leads you into a kind of labyrinth, from which you cannot find an easy way back to the point from which you can take the right path. But maybe Verleger and his colleages put those associations in the surrounding context, I have to read the declaration of Schalom 5767 again before I can answer that question. I hope, I can read it again today and gonna answer that point later on.

  22. Ed Iglehart
    April 16, 2008, 8:41 am

    Good blogs, Phillip. Namaste

    Talk about maps, how about this one:
    link to
    or this one:
    link to
    or, the British Mandate map of 1944/45:
    link to
    (signed by Moshe Dayan)


  23. Ed Iglehart
    April 16, 2008, 8:43 am

    Good blogs, Phillip. Namaste

    Talk about maps, how about this one:
    link to
    or this one:
    link to
    or, the British Mandate map of 1944/45:
    link to
    (signed by Moshe Dayan)


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