Meeting Alan Dershowitz

Israel/Palestine
on 55 Comments

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz is currently in Sydney for the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and last night debated, in front of 2000 people at the Sydney Opera House, lawyer Geoffrey Robertson on The Sins of the Father; Should the Pope be Held to Account? over the massive number of child sex abuse cases. Robertson called for legal action while Dershowitz urged understanding of a “changed” Vatican.

Dershowitz has received relatively friendly media interviews in Australia (here and here) and his obsession with Israel is simply seen as an extension of a lifetime commitment to human rights. “The problem with Israel is that it’s too democratic”, he said last week on local radio.

After last night’s event I attended an after-party where Dershowitz made an appearance. I wanted to speak to him about his views on the Middle East. Our exchange lasted around five minutes, alongside his wife, and I began, after introducing myself as a journalist, by asking him if he would ever back boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. He said he would only do so after every other human rights abuse was condemned around the world “and Israel is the 177th on the list.” He wanted to know why there was such a focus on Israel at the expense of China, Africa and the Arab world.

But what if Israeli behaviour won’t change without serious external pressure, I countered. BDS would never be the solution, Dershowitz argued, because Israel “is a democracy”. He acknowledged that the Netanyahu government, with a far-right coalition, wasn’t the best placed to convince the world of the Jewish state’s seriousness towards peace “but I’ve known Netanyahu for many years and he recently asked me to be Israeli ambassador to the UN but I refused.”

“Tzipi Livni [Israel's opposition leader] asked me to have dinner with her in Boston this Monday but I’ll still be in Australia.” He seemed to believe that peace was possible if she entered the coalition with Netanyahu.

I then asked if he feared BDS would continue to grow in international power. He thought it would. And then, after mentioning the current moves by the University of Johannesburg to end its relationship with the Israeli university, Ben-Gurion, unless certain conditions are met, he unloaded: “Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of the most evil men in the world. He never condemns China, rarely Zimbabwe or any other county, it’s only Israel. I was once in the same room as him and he said Israeli actions were ‘unChristian.’”

Tutu recently eloquently explained why Israeli behaviour in Palestine required a strong global response.

This was the Dershowitz I had expected, ferocious, irrational and utterly unwilling to allow anyone to condemn Israeli actions (something Jimmy Carter knows all about, saying in 2008 that there’s a “special place in hell for somebody like that.”)

It was a short but revealing encounter with a man who must wonder how the world has increasingly lost patience with Israeli excuses for violence and colonisation. Even during his presentation about the Pope, he regularly mentioned Israel and its supposedly democratic ways. And, in 2010, the groups in the world most in love with Israel are Christian fundamentalists, far-right politicians in Europe and Orthodox Jews. That’s quite a motley collection of friends.

Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney-based independent freelance journalist, author, documentarian, photographer and blogger. His website is http://antonyloewenstein.com/.

About Antony Loewenstein

Antony Loewenstein is an independent journalist and the co-editor with Ahmed Moor of After Zionism (Saqi Books, 2012)

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55 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    October 3, 2010, 11:03 am

    QUOTE: BDS would never be the solution, Dershowitz argued, because Israel “is a democracy”.

    What a non-sequitur! Against what sort of society/state if not against a democracy, then, would Dersh imagine that BDS would be “the solution”? Or even “effective”? Would he suggest (perhaps correctly) that boycotts are NEVER effective? But, in that case, what has “democracy” to do with it?

    USA 50-year boycott/embargo against Cuba (and more recently, and over less time, of Iraq for a mere 10 years) achieved nothing, presumably because these were dictatorships (during the boycotts). Whereas dictators can ignore the harm to their people, democracies can not do so, or not so easily.

    (NB: USA ignores harm to its own people from its madcap wars, but proposition that USA is a democracy is in serious question. As USSR was ruled by a politburo, USA is ruled by an “establishment” or by large corporations.)

    • Shingo
      October 3, 2010, 4:08 pm

      I never knew that Dersh was opposed to the sanctions against Iran either.

    • Citizen
      October 3, 2010, 4:32 pm

      Yes, USA is a plutocratic oligarchy with two core political branches providing welfare to their respective base, poorer people/minorities and bigger corporations/financial institutions/military-industrial-security complex.
      (CIA/Mossad partner for successive regimes.) In the middle of these two
      aggreggate welfare constituencies is the middle, who pay disproportionately the most for the least benefit. For this middle class, their vote is in the main, worthless to them. This class has been waking up the last year and more and more of them do not think either party represents their interests. They are correct.

  2. Shmuel
    October 3, 2010, 11:05 am

    “Archbishop Desmond Tutu … never condemns China, rarely Zimbabwe or any other county, it’s only Israel.”

    Utter rubbish, but I’m guessing Dershowitz knows that.

    • DICKERSON3870
      October 3, 2010, 11:22 am

      RE: “Utter rubbish, but I’m guessing Dershowitz knows that.” – Shmuel
      DERSH: “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but facts will never sway us!” – Neocon Creed (works for most Republicans, too)

    • tree
      October 3, 2010, 11:55 am

      Maslow’s Hammer at work? If all you are focused on internationally is defending Israel from criticism, then it looks like only Israel is being criticized, because that is all that you notice. Tutu’s criticism’s of China and Zimbabwe, which are easily revealed by a quick internet search, are possibly unknown to those who are not interested in such criticism.

      Now Dershowitz may well be aware that his comment is false, but it appeals to and rings true for those who can only recognize, and are only upset by, criticism of Israel. I find the same dynamic works whenever the UN or a UN body, or a human rights organization criticizes Israel. Statements are made,and believed, that the body is singling out Israel, but a quick look at agendas reveals that this is not true. But it does not register with those who believe. It has become an article of faith.

      • Citizen
        October 3, 2010, 4:44 pm

        American citizens should be focused on Israel–it’s security has been the top priority of the US for many years now; our foreign policy and foreign aid reflects this obsession. Those who argue America’s best interests, foreign policy strategy, and (once world respected) values are not always the same as Israel are quickly muzzled and relegated to the status of crackpots and/or anti-semites.

      • Citizen
        October 3, 2010, 4:54 pm

        Also, of those other countries Dershie thinks we should be focusing on first, how many of them constantly proclaim themselves to be a full-fledged democracy defending human rights with the most moral army in the world? China? No. Any Arab country? No. Any African country?
        No. Dershie sees no problem in one the one hand saying Israel represents the highest standards, and on the other, when details about Israel are pointed out, he wants us to first cure the countries with world-recognized bottom-of-the-barrel human rights standards. This is just another version of counting jewish heads for
        Noble Prizes but not for excellence in the shoddy arenas.

      • Shingo
        October 4, 2010, 1:35 am

        My point exactly Citizen,

        As far as Dersh is concerned, the “democracy” argument is a get out jail free card when it suits, and tossed out the window when it doesn’t.

      • Shmuel
        October 3, 2010, 4:45 pm

        Well said, tree.

      • sherbrsi
        October 3, 2010, 10:20 pm

        It has become an article of faith.

        You are absolutely right. In my assessment, the “Israel is only targeted” meme has become the number one excuse to reject any criticism or articulation of Israel’s numerous and unending crimes against humanity. In argumentative terms, it is very much rooted in shooting the messenger instead of challenging the substance of the argument, but politically it represents that dismissing dissenters as anti-Semites regularly has been wearing thin as a tactic, so instead people are maligned as focusing just on the “Jewish state,” whose motivation is then indicated to be the tried and true “anti-semitism” of the messenger. It’s really just another way of insinuating racism, instead of blindly labeling. It is character assassination all the same.

      • Shmuel
        October 4, 2010, 9:28 am

        Right, sherbrsi. It is the main basis for the claim that anti-Zionism is “the new anti-Semitism”. Given: Israel is singled out for opprobrium. Why: hatred of Jews. If the critics were really motivated by concern for justice and human rights, so the argument goes, they’d be spending far more time on other abuses (“Israel is 177th on the list”). Inherent to this POV is not only that Israel is no worse than others, but that Israel’s abuses are really not that bad – which brings us back to the only possible motive for criticism: Protocols-waving, blood-libelling, Hitler-loving, Holocaust-denying, foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Semitism (or clinical self-hatred). Case for Israel closed.

        For anyone who hasn’t yet read Jerry Haber’s Singling Out Israel for Moral Opprobrium.

  3. eljay
    October 3, 2010, 11:56 am

    >> He wanted to know why there was such a focus on Israel at the expense of China, Africa and the Arab world.

    Dershowitz must be a “humanist”. He sees no problem with Israel’s self-proclaimed (moral) superiority and the fact that it engages in aggression, occupation, theft, colonization, murder and torture. All of which it can halt immediately, completely and forever…but chooses not to.

    But, hey, China and Zimbabwe are worse, so that’s the standard against which Israel should be compared. What a joker.

  4. justicewillprevail
    October 3, 2010, 12:13 pm

    Interesting how obsessed he is with using ‘democracy’ as a defence of Israel. As if the fact that Jewish people could choose a parliament somehow ensured the conduct of the IDF and the likes of Lieberman and the settlers. I can only guess that people like him imagine that the mention of democracy somehow equates Israel with the Western democracies. But anybody who looks closer will know that Palestinians have no effective say in this supposed democracy. As South Africans had no say in the white run government. Democracies are vulnerable to gerrymandering, as we know from the Florida ballot to Afghan and Iraqi elections. Israel is the most egregious form of gerrymandering, in that its deliberately borderless state includes Jewish people in occupied Palestine but not Palestinians. Very conveniently. Meanwhile Israeli Palestinians are allowed a vote, but one which can never result in enfranchisement or ability to affect their circumstances, which are invariably refusal of access to the same privileges and services as Israeli Jewish voters. Democracy is a fig leaf for people like Dersh, behind which he’d rather not look too closely.

    • Donald
      October 3, 2010, 12:25 pm

      “Interesting how obsessed he is with using ‘democracy’ as a defence of Israel.”

      That’s a very common fallacy–the notion that if a country is a democracy it polices its own behavior and will therefore never commit serious human rights abuses, at least not for very long. It’s hard to believe anyone could have ever taken this seriously. The US was a democracy when it had slavery and when it massacred or ethnically cleansed the various Native American tribes. Our Cold War behavior is further evidence against it. But people managed to overlook this. I think Bush’s torture policies plus the fact that he’s not going to be prosecuted for them are further evidence that democracies are perfectly capable of committing war crimes and not policing their own behavior, but someone like Dershowitz will continue to spout this nonsense because it is convenient for him to believe it.

      (You also hear the claim that democracies never fight each other, which glosses over how the US has helped overthrow democracies when the “wrong” side wins. And again, the US was a democracy as it steadily pushed across the continent, stealing the land from the Indians as it went.)

      • sherbrsi
        October 3, 2010, 10:28 pm

        Just another way to categorize and label. Perhaps bumbling Bush was more profound than commonly recognized when he said that “you are either with us, or against us.” Dershowitz and other neo-cons like him views the conflict with the same mindset. Since the Israelis are “democratic,” thus they must be peace-lovers and inherently fair and reasonable people, unlike the Palestinians who are just the opposite.

  5. VR
    October 3, 2010, 12:33 pm

    It is obvious why Mr. Dershowitz uses “democracy” as a magic wand, it is because most people do not even know what democracy is, nor its roots, or how it is used by modern states. In fact, people mindlessly chant it even among resistance groups, having no idea what they are talking about – it is a throw away word. As an example of what I call a really correct view of “democracy,” here is a quote from my latest post from Peter Gelderloos –

    DEMOCRACY IS NOT YOUR FRIEND

    “Both Spain and Greece transitioned from fascist or military dictatorship to democracy in the ’70s, and both dictatorships were instituted with the complicity of the bourgeoisie at a time of growing anarchist and communist social struggles. Because they have kept this memory alive, more people are aware that democracy and dictatorship are just two sides of the same coin, and it is a coin the elite will fl ip whenever they need to improve their luck. There is less trust in government; therefore the illusion of social peace and the trick of participation, the two tools a democracy has that a dictatorship does not, are less effective. Anarchists in these two countries do not consider themselves a part of the Left, because they understand the Left to be nothing more than the leftwing of Capital. Just as the state has two wings, it has two basic strategies of counterinsurgency: repression–violently crushing social struggles; and recuperation- -bribing and diverting social struggles to become civil and focus on rejuvenating the system rather than destroying it.

    Using democracy as a good term, understanding it as anything other than the slave system it is and has always been going back to ancient Athens, prevents us from understanding the primary way social movements are defeated these days: by being tricked into participating in the system and trusting the authorities who are to blame for all the problems we are opposing.

    In Spain and in Greece, anti-capitalists understand that NGOs are the enemy every bit as much as the police are. NGOs get their funding from the Ford Foundation, the government, and similar state and capitalist enterprises precisely because they provide such a useful safety valve, preventing social tensions from becoming social struggles. NGOs turn revolutionaries into careerists, radical politics into office politics, struggles into bureaucracies.

    The Left, through its political parties as much as through its non-governmental organizations, is structured to control resistance. Those of us who really want a free and egalitarian world in which everyone can meet their needs and pursue their desires would be better off understanding our relationship with the democratic system as an antagonistic one.

    People in the social movements in the US need to assert the autonomy of our struggles. Political parties, politicians, and corporate or state funding are not welcome. Projects that do need to rely on funding to alleviate harm in the short-term need to be open and honest that they have traded in their autonomy, and while they are doing important, compassionate work, they have not embarked on a sustainable, long-term path of struggle that can address the root causes of social harm.”

    Hence, Dershowitz chants democracy, it is an appeasing word that relies on the ignorance of the people.

    Secondly, Dershowitz should not be so hard on Tutu. While it is commendable and helpful that Tutu speaks the truth about what is happening in Palestine, one would hope he does not give the same remedy that he did in South Africa. That is, the “Reconciliation” commissions which did nothing but expose what was done, but offered no remedy except forgiveness for perennial murderers and thieves of the Apartheid government. It fit in perfectly with the collapse of Mandela’s promises of equality for the population of South Africa.

    “APARTHEID DID NOT DIE”

    So I say let us hope that Dershowitz is stupid enough not to listen to Tutu, and that Israel will not get a “Reconciliation” committee of its own. The end result would be what the majority of the South African population calls it today – “worse than Apartheid.”

    “Trends in South African Income Distribution and Poverty since the Fall of Apartheid”

    “This report presents a detailed analysis of changes in both poverty and inequality since the fall of Apartheid, and the potential drivers of such developments. Use is made of national survey data from 1993, 2000 and 2008. These data show that South Africa’s high aggregate level of income inequality increased between 1993 and 2008.”

    I will make a copy of this, just in case…

    • VR
      October 3, 2010, 12:36 pm

      Oh, and Dershowitz’s retort about criticizing everyone else first, is just an inverted “antisemitism” plea, the proverbial that “they are picking on us again because they hate us,” blah, blah, blah…

      • potsherd
        October 3, 2010, 3:21 pm

        I’d like to make a deal with Dersh – I’ll criticize the human rights record of some other country every time he criticizes Israel’s.

      • Shingo
        October 3, 2010, 4:27 pm

        I’d like to make this deal with Dersh – let’s only scrutinize Iran’s non existent nuclear weapons stockpile AFTER we’ve inspected Israel’s.

      • Shingo
        October 3, 2010, 4:21 pm

        “Oh, and Dershowitz’s retort about criticizing everyone else first, is just an inverted “antisemitism” plea, the proverbial that “they are picking on us again because they hate us,” blah, blah, blah…”

        Charles Manson should try an appeal based on the fact there are unsolved murders out there involving more victims.

    • Keith
      October 3, 2010, 8:27 pm

      VR- I’m glad you brought up the South Africa situation which contains many useful lessons for those willing to look. The most important is that simply changing the race of the administrators of a colonial regime changes nothing. Instead of whites victimizing blacks for the benefit of the local oligarchs and transnational corporations, you now have blacks victimizing blacks for the benefit of the local oligarchs and transnational corporations. Necessary far reaching fundamental change did not occur. Furthermore, in today’s integrated, globalized world of financial dependencies, frequently run by IMF technocrats, it is unclear how much leeway a Third World country has to institute fundamental change. Colonialism has been replaced by neocolonialism, with elections as symbolic ritual.

      • VR
        October 3, 2010, 9:51 pm

        Thanks Keith, I brought it up for two reasons – the frothy light throwing about of democracy which is supposed to anesthetize everyone, and the point about SA so we do not repeat he past. Everyone thinks we are going to solve all of these problems with a local strategy and short ranged tactics (both are needed, but not enough).

  6. Dan Crowther
    October 3, 2010, 12:37 pm

    It’s always a pleasure seeing Dershowitz in action; most people would be embarrassed to come off as “The Arbiter of Morality” after defending the likes of Claus Von Bulow and OJ- Dershowitz never bats an eye lash.

    I wouldn’t want a world without Dershowitz though- who else could Chomsky, Finkelstein, Walt and Mearsheimer have to slap around during debates on I/P? His 45 page “rebuttal” to the original “Israel Lobby” paper on the Kennedy School website is still one of my all-time favorite pieces of propaganda. Cheers to Dershowitz, what a clown.

    • LanceThruster
      October 4, 2010, 12:46 am

      Dershowitz tends to get “slapped around” by the general public as well as his “arguments” are shown to be largely without merit by anyone applying logic and consistency. Around the time of Dr. Finkelstein’s tenure decision by De Paul, Dershowitz authored a couple of hit pieces on Huffington Post. The reader response was around ten to one against Alan’s diatribes, and were well reasoned and not unduly caustic. The first essay had the comments shut down at 19, the second one at 23.

      This is the sort of filtering that the occupant of the Felix Frankfurter Chair at Harvard Law School requires to maintain the illusion of competence (that and the whitewashing of charges of plagiarism against him – see: link to normanfinkelstein.com ) .

      This is how a site that is thought of as a champion of progressive new media distorts the discussion. They are often referenced in other media as a source for their original pieces by contributors, yet are clearly guilty of not allowing their own readership to weigh in when it does not suit their agenda.

      Most of what Dershowitz writes can be deciphered by “the 180 rule.” By simply inverting his claims, one can have a far greater grasp of reality than by taking him at face value.

      Dershowitz does for Israel what he does for his guilty defendants. He plants a seed of doubt in whatever argument he is up against, however implausible his line of reasoning. People looking for something, anything, to rationalize their owns views, can look to Dershowitz, and appeal to the authority of whatever twaddle the esteemed holder of the Felix Frankfurter Chair is peddling.

      It is as simple as that. It is not whose argument is stronger, but who gets to make the ruling on which side is declared as having the “strongest argument.” That other arguments are too commonly shut out goes a long way towards perpetuating this ruse. It is not enough that some are aware that the emperor has no clothes, just as long as the majority are blissfully ignorant.

      • lysias
        October 5, 2010, 1:29 pm

        It was Elena Kagan, as Dean of Harvard Law School, who was responsible for the whitewashing of Dersh on the plagiarism charge.

  7. annie
    October 3, 2010, 12:54 pm

    philip munger linked to a post on his blog he wrote that’s got the best slap down on why we criticize israel as opposed somalia or china or every other place committing human rights violations. i wish he’d show up and link to it again so i could bookmark it.

    adam, that “special place in hell” video is priceless. dershowitz goes off the rails on politicians praising christianity and doesn’t seem to notice the dichotomy between that criticism and supporting a state whose purpose is fulfilling a biblical prophesy.

    • annie
      October 3, 2010, 12:58 pm

      antony, not adam..sorry. and thanks for the report!

    • Citizen
      October 3, 2010, 5:18 pm

      Annie, Phil Munger still has that article on his blog–I don’t think he will mind if I copy the key slap down portion of it:

      “I. A nice anonymous commenter at a recent PA post wrote:

      Phil, I don’t understand your preoccupation with Palistine. How about giving some balanced blog space and advocacy for the oppressed people of countries such as North Korea, Tibet, China, Sudan, Somalia, Myanmar, etc.?

      I’ll take them in order, using points that may apply to more than one of these countries, who, along with others, routinely violate the human rights of their own citizens:

      We don’t send hundreds of billions of American tax dollars to the North Koreans so that they can drop or shoot white phosphorus onto schools and hospitals, where kids like the one at the upper left have to end up dead or looking like him.

      We don’t write tax policies that enable the Han Chinese to invest in housing projects that eject Tibetans from their homes in Lhasa.

      We don’t have a White House with a chief of staff named after a Chinese terrorist who was killed smuggling arms to kill British Soldiers.

      We don’t cater to lobbyists from Sudan who constantly encourage us to go to all-out war against a neighboring country that hasn’t attacked one of their neighbors in generations.

      We don’t have a Pentagon whose offices are stuffed with people with dual Somali-American citizenship, who manufacture false premises to march us into a series of wars in the heart of Africa.

      We aren’t experiencing a time when a small group of ruthless Burmese generals and politicians have hijacked Buddhism, turning it into a militant version of what had once been a great religion, and branding anyone who doesn’t believe in a Myanmar expansion version of Buddhism as anti-Burmese or anti-Buddhist.

      Additionally, no North Korean, Chinese, Sudanese, Burmese or Somali general, politician, general or warlord is openly bragging that the United States is fighting two wars and threatening to start a third one, on their behalf.

      Also, and importantly, there is no large body of American people who openly believe that we need to foster violence in North Korea, Tibet, China, Somalia, Venezuela, Cuba, Sudan or Burma, so that we may enable the second coming of Jesus Christ, and implement a new age. And there is no cynical tie-in between Columbian politicians who hope to bring money to their country because of some apocolyptic religious myth, and American fundamentalist sects who total in the tens of millions of misguided believers.”

      • Citizen
        October 3, 2010, 5:19 pm

        The whole article is here:
        link to progressivealaska.blogspot.com

      • Philip Munger
        October 3, 2010, 9:37 pm

        annie & Citizen,

        Thanks.

        With Rahm leaving, my post may now need revision, but with the Palin-connected movement gaining momentum, parts of it resonate more now than when I wrote it.

        Busy trying to stop her minion Joe Miller, so not checking Mondoweiss as often as I’d like. However, I hope to be covering the October conclusion of the Rachel Corrie civil suit at firedoglake’s The Seminal, when it resumes this week.

      • Shmuel
        October 3, 2010, 11:58 pm

        Thanks, Philip. I would add – as Dershowitz himself helpfully reminds us – that none of those countries claims special privilege (whether aid, defence, sympathy or immunity) as “democracies”.

      • annie
        October 4, 2010, 10:52 am

        thank you citizen and philip. i’ll bookmark it this time.

  8. yourstruly
    October 3, 2010, 1:45 pm

    BDS never works? That’s certainly not the South African experience.

  9. David Samel
    October 3, 2010, 1:49 pm

    Dershowitz is surely one of the most dishonest commentators on I/P. To my knowledge, his only competition is Israeli prof Steven Plaut. And I’m talking only about rank dishonesty, not even considering the substance of Dershowitz’s odious opinions. But he should not be “misunderestimated.” He does have the gift of gab, and the ability to project earnest passion, especially when he’s lying. Among the faithful, he is undeniably a rock star.

    • Sumud
      October 3, 2010, 9:00 pm

      Dershowitz is surely one of the most dishonest commentators on I/P. To my knowledge, his only competition is Israeli prof Steven Plaut.

      David ~ I’ve been listening to the entire series of Doha Debates via podcast. Early in 2007 Shimon Peres was a guest during one of their special events. Peres isn’t as creative as Dershowitz but he certainly is as dishonest, and this is especially obvious with just a few years hindsight.

      Watch (or d/l the audio mp3s):
      link to dohadebates.com

      Or if you use itunes subscribe to the (audio) podcasts:
      link to itunes.apple.com

  10. Polly
    October 3, 2010, 1:52 pm

    Dershowitz is, to those who believe Israel must exist right or wrong just another soldier and he will bleat on and twist facts and obfuscate till long after anyone on this board can be bothered documenting it.
    He asks himself “what works?” way before he worries about “am I right?”.
    So in a sense criticizing him is pointless.
    It’s what dictates his behavior that should be recognized. However many eggs have to be cracked to make that omelette will be duly cracked.
    A bloody omelette!
    Maybe that could be Mondoweiss new logo?

  11. talknic
    October 3, 2010, 2:08 pm

    The best reply to the Dershowitz’s of the world is: Israel is acting outside of it’s acknowledged sovereign boundaries. The Arab States et al, no matter whether we agree with their internal policies or not, are acting within their sovereignty. He should read the UN Charter.

    China? China has a UNSC veto vote, it protects itself exactly the same way the US has protected Israel from action being taken under Chapter Seven resolutions. His argument is invalid.

    Also under the UN Charter, the wider International Community of Nations and Regional Powers especially, have the right to call Israel to order when it acts outside it’s Sovereignty in the region. In 1950 for example, the Arab League forced Jordan to annex what became the West Bank as a trustee only (Session: 12-I
    Date: May 1950)
    , so that it would comply with International Law and the UN Charter. Unlike Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem, there is no UNSC resolution against Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank. The Arab states have been sticklers for the law and as such the law comes down on their side A good example is UNSC Res 1701.

    On UN bias against Israel. When Dershowitz doesn’t pay his electricity bill, he will get a reminder. The majority of the UN and UNSC resolutions against Israel are reminders of previous unheeded resolutions.

    Snr Dershowitz would likely then move to an argument such as UNGA resolutions are non-binding. Quite true, however, UNGA resolutions often contain references to the International Laws and Conventions and prior UNSC resolutions which ARE binding.

    Dershowitz and his kind will go around the full circle until all they have left is the twaddle about some G-d who was goofing off during the Holocaust.

    • Shingo
      October 3, 2010, 4:25 pm

      “China? China has a UNSC veto vote, it protects itself exactly the same way the US has protected Israel from action being taken under Chapter Seven resolutions. His argument is invalid.”

      No problem. Dersh would then argue that we should look at the US and China before criticising Israel. And the fact they have a veto, not Israel, proves that the UN is biased

      • lysias
        October 5, 2010, 1:34 pm

        Israel does have a veto. It is cast by the United States.

    • VR
      October 3, 2010, 5:08 pm

      “Dershowitz and his kind will go around the full circle until all they have left is the twaddle about some G-d who was goofing off during the Holocaust.”

      I thought most people knew where the absent deity was during this time, and when every other planetary atrocity and disaster was taking place –

      BUSINESS

  12. Oscar
    October 3, 2010, 3:06 pm

    Richard Goldstone, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Norm Finkelstein — all are “evil, evil men” by The Dersh’s reckoning. That’s a major reason why he’s marginalizing himself, and by extention, the credibility of his cause. He’s a firebreather, a smashmouth hater of anyone who has an intellectually honest criticism about Israel’s behavior. Like Manic Marty Peretz, he’s dragging down the Harvard brand with his antics.

    Interesting that Netanyahu offered him the gig of Envoy to the U.N. While The Dersh politely turned him down, how is it an American citizen can get that opportunity? Is Dersh a dual-citizen? In any event, why would he want to leave his cushy bully pulpit in Hah-vahd Yahd?

  13. Shingo
    October 3, 2010, 4:40 pm

    ” He said he would only do so after every other human rights abuse was condemned around the world “and Israel is the 177th on the list.” ”

    Are those 176 before it democracies Dershowitz?

    Funny how being a democracy us only used when convenient, but ignored when it isn’t.

    • sherbrsi
      October 3, 2010, 10:32 pm

      Ironically enough, in this statement Dershowitz adopts the very same stance of rejecting the others and focusing on the other that he criticizes Israel’s dissenters of, only in the reverse.

      Then again, the Zionists were never known for any sort of moral consistency.

  14. Shingo
    October 3, 2010, 5:23 pm

    “He acknowledged that the Netanyahu government, with a far-right coalition, wasn’t the best placed to convince the world of the Jewish state’s seriousness towards peace “but I’ve known Netanyahu for many years and he recently asked me to be Israeli ambassador to the UN but I refused.”

    What’d Dersh’s point here? That being asked by Bibbi to be an Israeli envoy proves that he is serious about peace, or that Bibbi was looking for a supreme liar and propagandist to stonewall it?

    “He seemed to believe that peace was possible if she entered the coalition with Netanyahu.”

    If that were true, then we would have had piece when Olmert was in power.

    “Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of the most evil men in the world. He never condemns China, rarely Zimbabwe or any other county”

    Truly bizarre, given that Tutu has called for intervention in Zimbabwe and called for the boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

    How would Dershowitz  respond to either measure being applied to Israel?

  15. stevelaudig
    October 3, 2010, 6:13 pm

    “And, in 2010, the groups in the world most in love with Israel are Christian fundamentalists, far-right politicians in Europe and Orthodox Jews. That’s quite a motley collection of friends.” And supporters of the “soft on Hitler”; “soft on child molesters” “hard on women’s rights” “money laundering” Vatican.

  16. Antidote
    October 3, 2010, 6:41 pm

    “We don’t have a White House with a chief of staff named after a Chinese terrorist who was killed smuggling arms to kill British Soldiers.”

    WTF? Is there a terrorist gene? Is Zionism a hereditary trait like blue eyes? Nomen est omen? Emanuel is reviled as a self-hating Jew and ‘capo’ among ultra-nationalists and religious Zionists in Israel, and as s Zionist traitor among the US left. Go figure.

    • VR
      October 3, 2010, 7:54 pm

      “Emanuel is reviled as a self-hating Jew and ‘capo’ among ultra-nationalists and religious Zionists in Israel, and as s Zionist traitor among the US left. Go figure.”

      There are several uses of “denial,” one is to specifically defame a party and the other is to protect a party. Some who are vehemently denied are actually strong adherents to the goals of those who deny them, it is supposed to protect them and shield them so that one is not supposed to suspect the real sentiments and activity of the party maligned. Think of it as an act in a play, or as the good-cop / bad-cop scenario – if you are not aware of this you come up with a sort of damned if you do and damned if you don’t view. Believe me when I tell you that Emanuel is the apple of Israel’s eye (see his last vacation to occupied territory and the special meeting with nutty-yahoo). In fact he has done so well he can now go into semi-retirement and reek havoc in Chicago, the old stomping ground.

      • Antidote
        October 3, 2010, 11:36 pm

        “Believe me when I tell you that Emanuel is the apple of Israel’s eye (see his last vacation to occupied territory and the special meeting with nutty-yahoo). ”

        I can believe that, but it doesn’t prove anything. If only Nixon could go to China, only Emanuel can go to Israel. He had to be protected from ultra-nationalist terrorists during that visit. Those guys can smell a traitor across the ocean, regardless of his impeccable Zionist pedigree. Rumor has it that Rahm referred to Netanyahu as a ‘bullshitter’, and he may well have underestimated the strength of Ns right-wing coalition and its wide popular support. Hence the ongoing settlement fiasco and Obama caving in. My impression is that Israel is holding the US hostage with threats to strike Iran unilaterally unless they get their territorial security belt.

      • Citizen
        October 4, 2010, 1:18 am

        Isn’t Chicago lucky! Who has ever worked the system better than affirmative action baby Obama and Rahm, both liberals free with the tax-paying public’s money to redistribute it to maintain and build their dependent political base–I’m sure Rahn’s opponents will bring out how he avoids paying property taxes on his Chicago home: link to zimbio.com

        Geithner would nod approvingly.

      • Citizen
        October 4, 2010, 1:33 am

        In his speech upon Rahm’s resignation, Obama said Rahm was the first person he consulted with in the morning and the last one at night. Rahm Emanuel is Benyamin Auerbach’s son. On September 17, 1948, Mr. Auerbach took part, under Yitzhak Shamir’s authority, in the attack that caused the death of both the Swedish count Folke Bernadotte (UNO mediator in Palestine) and the French colonel André Sérot (a United Nations military observer).
        It is this double assassination which put an end to the binational State project in Palestine and which transformed the Israel State nature itself in comparison with what had been decided by the UN Organisation. Rahm has been worth his weight in gold as the go-to guy to round up political campaign donations from America’s wealthy Jews. That’s how he earned his spurs with Clinton and Obama. During the Gulf War he served as a volunteer–in Israel, cleaning rust off of Merkahva tank treads.

  17. The Hasbara Buster
    October 4, 2010, 1:37 pm

    Good article, Mr. Loewenstein — but why did you let Dershowitz off the hook so easily?

    People deploying his line of defense of Israel should be cornered. Whenever they claim that BDS singles out Israel, they should be asked whether BDS played a significant role in the fall of Apartheid. Next, they should be asked if they opposed BDS against the Afrikaner regime in spite of the fact that South Africa had a much better human rights record than Mozambique or Congo, which were not targetted by sanctions.

    That’s the way to confront their linguistic contortionism. Their arguments by analogy should be turned against them.

    • andrew r
      October 5, 2010, 1:04 pm

      I’ve seen a handful of Zios take the logical route of downplaying apartheid. Your buddy Yaacov once said the regime was perverse but it didn’t kill as much as other conflicts in Africa (Of course Yaacov is an idiot who ignores the warfare the National Party waged outside South Africa).

  18. lysias
    October 5, 2010, 1:17 pm

    “Archbishop Desmond Tutu is one of the most evil men in the world.”

    Look who’s talking.

  19. lysias
    October 5, 2010, 1:19 pm

    BDS would never be the solution, Dershowitz argued, because Israel “is a democracy”.

    South Africa was a democracy — for the whites.

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