Dershowitz’s back pages: Smearing Abourezk, justifying ‘intelligently employed’ Jewish political violence

I’m catching up on my Alan Dershowitz reading today. First an email from former Senator James Abourezk:

In reference to your blog  [on the casual slander of Israel critics as anti-Semitic], Alan Dershowitz was one who freely threw out the “anti-semite” term, finding that especially American liberals were sensitive to being called “Jew haters.”  Dershowitz wrote a column in the Jerusalem Post calling me an anti-semite.  During the dinner honoring Helen Thomas in Washington, I told the audience the the term, “Anti-semite” meant someone who hates Jews just because they are Jews.  My response, during my speech was that I did not hate Jews, but I did hate Alan Dershowitz. 

My speech was reprinted in Alex Cockburn’s Counterpunch, and Dershowitz wrote to Cockburn, disputing the charge.  Alex dug out the old Jerusalem column and reprinted the accusatory section, calling Dershowitz a liar.  We haven’t heard from Dershowitz since. 

[From Cockburn's column, which unearthed the Jerusalem Post piece:

[Dershowitz wrote "Well maybe former Senator Abourezk isn’t so different from the late Senator Bilbo after all. He uses the word ‘Zionist’ in precisely the same bigoted way Bilbo used ‘kike.’ It is true that not all anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic, but just because it is anti-Zionist does not mean it is not also anti-Semitic. If the shoe fits…"]

It’s possible that those who object to Israel being called the “Jewish State,” or calling AIPAC the “Jewish Lobby” are linguistically correct, as there are a great many Jews who disagree with Israel’s colonialism.  To make it easier to defend against the term, “Jewish Lobby,” Israel would do world Jewry a service by no longer insisting that Israel be converted to a Jewish state, as the lobby has been trying to do for years.

And by Dershowitz himself, in his book The Best Defense [1983] (Thanks to Council on Foreign Relations fellow Stuart Levey for uncovering this in his senior thesis):

The single most important factor in hastening the demise of the JDL [Jewish Defense League] was the death of Iris Kones [killed in 1972, in the JDL bombing of impresario Sol Hurok's office in New York because Hurok brought in Russian acts]. That senseless tragedy weakened to the breaking point whatever remaining pillars of support the league enjoyed within the Jewish community. It demonstrated that the JDL had so cheapened the currency of civil disobedience and violence that it had lost whatever meaning and purpose it might have had if selectively and intelligently employed. Even those militants who could justify the use of violence against Soviet or PLO officials were appalled by the bombings directed against Hurok and Columbia, and especially by the death–even accidental–of a young Jewish woman.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 19 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. seanmcbride says:

    It’s possible that those who object to Israel being called the “Jewish State,” or calling AIPAC the “Jewish Lobby” are linguistically correct, as there are a great many Jews who disagree with Israel’s colonialism.

    Actually, they are linguistically, conceptually and factually *incorrect* with regard to AIPAC.

    AIPAC is a formal organizational member of the organized Jewish establishment — the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Denying that the Conference of Presidents is a leader (probably the most important leader) of the Jewish lobby would reduce one to absurdity.

    How many non-Jews have served as heads of AIPAC? AIPAC’s main mission is to promote Jewish nationalism and the interests of the Israeli government. It is a key component of the Jewish lobby.

    Pro-Israel activists do no favors for themselves or their credibility when they insult one’s intelligence.

  2. piotr says:

    While the hydra of anti-Semitism in USA raises its ugly heads while their are being chopped off by the indefatigable forces of light, Europe is deep in the anti-Semitic mire.

    Boys and girls, today in ynetnews.com I read a blood-curdling commentary (somehow news in Ynetnews seem to be from a different planet than comments, more research is required to figure out which one is ours). Tada:

    “Op-ed: European governments funding Palestinian annihilation campaign against State of Israel

    Eldad Beck, Published: 01.11.13, 00:34 / Israel Opinion”

    The horrifying story starts in The Netherlands where “The Foreign Ministry heads managed to dodge the questions about the continued funneling of funds collected from the tax payers to the Palestinians, through various channels, despite the continued terror activity and anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement. They also avoided answering questions regarding the perpetuation of the refugee problem by assisting UNRWA.”

    And why is the demonic activity possible? Because traitors in the Israeli government allow it to happen. Now wonder that Jews with some modicum of survival instinct are abandoning Likud-Beytenu for Jewish Home.

  3. David Samel says:

    Exposing Dershowitz as a liar is a full-time occupation. Even Abourezk and Cockburn, who obviously spent some time on this and were accurate, didn’t catch the full measure of Dersh’s dishonesty. Some things to add:

    1) Cockburn did not need to find the complete version of the Dersh article to prove that he did accuse Abourezk of being anti-semitic, though the last paragraph certainly sealed the deal. Even in the Huffpo version, Dersh said: Senator Abourezk then went on to blame what he calls this “immense wave of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim sentiment” on the Jews. . . Get it? The Jews always need a “boogeyman.” They picked on the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union didn’t pick on the Jews who they were discriminating against and preventing from emigrating. I guess the Jews picked on the Nazis before that. To be sure, he doesn’t exactly use the word “Jews.” Instead he uses the politically correct euphemism “Zionists.” But in the context in which Abourezk uses it — soviet jewery — he plainly means Jews. An accusation that Abourezk unfairly blames things on “the Jews” is equivalent to an accusation of anti-Semitism. Is there really any doubt about that? At the end of the Huffpo article, Dersh includes the comparison of Abourezk with Bilbo: Well maybe former Senator Abourezk isn’t so different from the late Senator Bilbo after all. He uses the word “Zionist” in precisely the same bigoted way Bilbo used “kike.” Wasn’t Bilbo anti-Semitic for using the word “kike” and wouldn’t that meant Abourezk was anti-Semitic for using “Zionist” in “precisely the same bigoted way”?

    Dershowitz’s defense – that he did not use the word “anti-Semite” – is laughable. Hypothetically, imagine that I accused Dersh of forcibly having sex with female interns against their will. When he protests that I accused him of being a rapist, could I then say “I challenge you to find the word “rapist” in my accusation”? Dersh’s whole article reeks of an accusation of anti-Semitism, and his claim that he did not use the word is less than lame. Cockburn need not have found the word “anti-Semitic” to prove Dersh was a liar.

    2) Dersh also claims that when he added at the end of another version of his article: “It is true that not all anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic, but just because it is anti-Zionist does not mean it is not also anti-Semitic. If the shoe fits…” , he was only making a “general point about the relationship between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.” No, Alan, since that statement was made in an article accusing Abourezk of using “Zionists” when he meant to blame the “Jews,” you were not making a “general point,” but a specific one aimed at Abourezk. You were accusing him of being anti-Semitic in his condemnation of “Zionists.” There simply is no question about it.

    The real question is why Dershowitz bothered to deny his accusation that Abourezk is an anti-Semite. After all, he has leveled the same charge, often without using the word, against Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Mearsheimer and Walt, Cockburn, Finkelstein, Goldstone, Desmond Travers, Abulhawa, to name just a few off the top of my head. Often he uses the word “bigot” but isn’t bigotry against Jews “anti-Semitism”? Why did Dersh get cold feet about Abourezk?

    I wish somebody would pay me to write a full-length book about Dersh’s dishonesty. Never mind the odious nature of his opinions, his sheer dishonesty is truly breathtaking.

    • eGuard says:

      I remember: Norman Finkelstein checked him on his opinion on torture in Israel (guess what he found). It went like this: Dershowitz defended by quoting himself from the English language Jerusalem Post. Finkelstein found the Hebrew print of that article, which was essentially different.

      • David Samel says:

        I have a slightly different recollection, though it may be about something else. Finkelstein accused Dersh of advocating a Lidice-style massacre of Palestinian villages from where rockets are fired, and Dersh defended himself by linking a different version of the article where he included measures to protect the population.

  4. irmep says:

    “…He [Abourezk] uses the word ‘Zionist’ in precisely the same bigoted way Bilbo…”

    Dershowitz is such a vandal of the English language through conflation. Perhaps it is a habit picked up from running with real vandals destroying Arab property in New York back in his younger years…

    link to irmep.org

    Released from the National Archives fall, 2012

    • eGuard says:

      Fine catch.

      I note that the link is about destroying Arab property in Washington D.C. All the way from Brooklyn. Note that they invited NAACP to join the anti-Arab “demonstration”.

  5. sardelapasti says:

    “Even those militants who could justify the use of violence against Soviet or PLO officials were appalled by the bombings directed against Hurok and Columbia, and especially by the death–even accidental–of a young Jewish woman.”

    Especially Jewish, eh? Don’t we just love that crawling beastie of a Dershowitz? Had she been your common-or-garden Orthodox-Russian or godless Russian, the kind that the Zionists invite with cannon fodder status because Jews are too smart to come anymore, there wouldn’t be anything to be appalled by; just unjewish road kill. No matter what our learned friends here say, he is an accessory to torture and murder.

    • RoHa says:

      “just unjewish road kill”

      I already know that I am a sub-human, fit only to be a servant, and suffering from a genetic mental disease, so being disregarded as potential “unjewish road kill” seems appropriate to my status.

  6. Mooser says:

    “Pro-Israel activists do no favors for themselves or their credibility when they insult one’s intelligence.”

    And I doubt any “Pro-Israel activist” would ever deny “that the Conference of Presidents is a leader (probably the most important leader) of the Jewish lobby” or contest the idea that “AIPAC’s main mission is to promote Jewish nationalism and the interests of the Israeli government. It is a key component of the Jewish lobby.”
    So don’t worry, your intelligence won’t be insulted by “pro-Israel activists” and their credibility with you, which seems to be enormous, will remain intact.

    But anyway, you’re a listy kind of guy. Do you think a list of the membership of all those organisations in the Jewish lobby is essential? So we can figure out who is doing what, in support of the project?

    • seanmcbride says:

      Mooser,

      But anyway, you’re a listy kind of guy. Do you think a list of the membership of all those organisations in the Jewish lobby is essential? So we can figure out who is doing what, in support of the project?

      As I mentioned before, I am somewhat enamored of the Semantic Web grand vision — representing all the knowledge in the world, down to the most minute details, as a single richly interconnected, machine-manipulable and machine-inferenceable list. Call it a global superintelligence, if you’d like — I do.

      So, yes, membership lists of all the political organizations in the world all across the political spectrum can be quite interesting and a valuable aid to understanding what is really going on in the world. That there are enormous dangers in building these lists goes without saying — you did well to mention those dangers the other day.

      What I mainly like about lists: they let you see what is going on in a compact way and to make mental and conceptual connections among people, organizations, policies, events, beliefs. etc. I like to see how things fit together, cluster and form patterns. Once you master the art and science of doing this, you can make fairly accurate predictions about the world. Well-organized lists comprise a powerful crystal ball.

    • tree says:

      Sorry Mooser,

      And I doubt any “Pro-Israel activist” would ever deny “that the Conference of Presidents is a leader (probably the most important leader) of the Jewish lobby” or contest the idea that “AIPAC’s main mission is to promote Jewish nationalism and the interests of the Israeli government. It is a key component of the Jewish lobby.”

      Its just been contested by Daniel Halper over at the Weekly Standard. You see, according to Halper, there is no Jewish Lobby, and the Israel Lobby only consists of the Israeli government and Israelis. Never underestimate the chutzpah of “pro-Israel activists.”

      Americans who are supportive of Israel do not constitute an “Israeli lobby.” And while Colin Powell may find the term “Israeli lobby” slipping out from time to time, he really should restrict it to Israelis or those working for the government of Israel. The rest of us–a majority of Americans–are just pro-Israel.

      link to weeklystandard.com

      Hat tip to annie on another thread.

      <

  7. Les says:

    December 23, 2012
    Dov Hikind Trying To Block Israel’s Extradition Of Yitzchak Shuchat To Brooklyn

    New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind Says he has been in contact with Israel’s “Attorney General” in an attempt to block the High Court of Justice ordered extradition of Yitzchak Shuchat, who is wanted for allegedly beating a Black honors student in Crown Heights three years ago, and who is charged with a hate crime. Shuchat fled to Israel and was indicted in absentia.

    But Hikind, whose district is heavily haredi and who is himself Orthodox, says more than just that.

    On his radio show last night he said that he met week with defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, who Hikind says is working on blocking Shuchat’s extradition, and with Chabad’s offical prison missionary arm, the Florida-based Alef Institute, which is trying to do the same thing.

    That means a sitting New York State Assemblyman who has sworn to uphold the laws of the State of New York, an officer of the court who has similarly sworn, and a Chabad organization given special entree to prisons in part on the condition of upholding US laws, are all involved in trying to get a foreign country to not extradite a wanted man to the US to stand trial.

    Here’s the audio clip from last night’s Dov Hikind show where Hikind makes these shocking statements. It runs for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Please left click the gray bar to listen or right click to download (or open in a new tab or window):

    Hikind Shuchat

    link to failedmessiah.typepad.com

  8. eGuard says:

    We can point out that the JDL was a terrorist organisation in the US. This is what Stuart Levey wrote (p. 83), introducing the second Dershowitz quote:

    [After the bombing] three JDL members were subsequently indicted for murder. As Alan Dershowitz, the attorney who secured the defendants’ acquittal on a technicality, writes: …

  9. Blank State says:

    Is there a human being on Earth that is slimier than Dershowitz????? I can think of no one, except maybe that Limbaugh POS.

  10. talknic says:

    Dersh’s brain has been fried in ziocaine, removing all traces of a conscience when it comes to the I/P issue.

    A propagandists job is done once the lie or smear is out there, even if they do retract, it can never be 100% obliterated. Especially on the internet. If the search engine shows hundreds of thousands of hits for a lie and only 1 or 2 for the retraction, the odds are overwhelmingly in favour of the lie.

    E.g., link to wp.me

  11. irmep says:

    Former Treasury official Levey’s thesis is well worth reading over several times. Had not seen the gem highlighted by Phil.

    “It demonstrated that the JDL had so cheapened the currency of civil disobedience and violence that it had lost whatever meaning and purpose it might have had if selectively and intelligently employed.”

    In other words, the guy the lobby appointed to wage economic warfare on Iran, apparently believed that if JDL had been a bit more purposeful and judicious in its killing in the United States, it might have preserved the community’s support. Spoken like a mafia don. In the movie “Goodfellas” Tommy (Joe Pesce) had to be whacked because his killing spree got out of hand and brought too much attention onto the mob.

    No wonder the DOJ is fighting tooth and nail not to release another prominent Treasury official’s FBI file… The inner thoughts and true actions speak louder than the press releases and briefings at WINEP.