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

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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.

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