The headline looks like parody, or at least gross exaggeration, but it is actually true. In a column published on the Newsmax website in March, Alan Dershowitz argued that modern-day Europeans who support BDS do so out of the same anti-Semitic fervor that their grandparents avidly displayed during the Nazi genocide of European Jewry. Dershowitz’s absurd smear is directed at the entire continent, including “the French, the Dutch, the Norwegians, the Swiss, the Belgians, the Austrians, and many other western Europeans,” as well as the Germans, “Polish, Ukrainian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Estonian.” No one is immune, not even the English, who concededly were “on the right side of the war against Nazism” but who have their own “long history of anti-Semitism, beginning with the expulsion of the Jews in 1290.” (After all,, today’s English are all great-great-great (repeat 28 times) grand-children of those late 13th century anti-Semites.)
Dershowitz begins his column by asking:
“Why are so many of the grandchildren of Nazis and Nazi collaborators who brought us the Holocaust once again declaring war on the Jews?”
This question assumes that 1) today’s European proponents of BDS are indeed grandchildren of Nazis or collaborators, rather than grandchildren of the vast majority of Europeans who were victims of Nazism; 2) present-day Europeans should be blamed for the sins of their supposed ancestors; and 3) BDS proponents are “declaring war on the Jews”. It may seem difficult for someone to cram so much dishonesty and hypocrisy into a single sentence, but Dersh is up to the task. He insists that those who today advocate for (1) an end to military occupation and control over a foreign civilian population, (2) equality for all without regard to ancestry, and (3) compliance with international law, are just carrying on the Nazis’ work. After all, didn’t the Nazis themselves stand for those same ideals?
Of course, Dershowitz’s factual premises are absurd. How does he know that today’s BDS proponents are descendants of Nazi sympathizers rather than heroic resistance fighters? And his favorite line of attack is front and center as well.
Where are your demonstrations on behalf of the oppressed Tibetans, Georgians, Syrians, Armenians, Kurds, or even Ukrainians? Where are your BDS movements against the Chinese, the Russians, the Cubans, the Turks, or the Assad regime?
Only the Palestinians, only Israel? Why? Not because the Palestinians are more oppressed than these and other groups.
Only because their alleged oppressors are Jews and the nation-state of the Jews.
Is Dershowitz really unaware that Europe has imposed far greater sanctions on quite a number of countries, including Iran (his personal favorite arch-fiend country), and that the EU has labeled Hamas and Hezbollah’s military wing terrorist organizations? Of course, the IDF, with its enormously greater civilian death count, would never be considered for such a list. What about the Europeans who made these decisions: are they also grandchildren of Nazi persecutors?
But Dershowitz’s reasoning is even worse than his facts. If present day Europeans can be collectively blamed for the sins of some Europeans 70 to 80 years ago, what about the Japanese, whose military acted with extraordinary cruelty in China, Korea, the Philippines, etc during the same time period? If Japan has a dispute with China over islands in the South China Sea, should we presume that the Japanese are motivated solely by their savage, mass-murdering “grandfathers”? For that matter, should all present-day Jews be denied the right to criticize Palestinians because they are collectively guilty of their “grandparents’” crimes at Deir Yassin and dozens of other late 1940’s massacres?
As usual, Dershowitz peppers his argument with straw men.
“Oh no,” we hear from European apologists. “This is different. We don’t hate the Jews. We only hate their nation-state. Moreover, the Nazis were right-wing. We’re left-wing, so we can’t be anti-Semites.”
Nonsense indeed. Can Dershowitz actually quote a single “European apologist” who said anything like this?
And no Dershowitz column would be complete without outright fabrications, such as this whopper: Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas collaborated with the Gestapo. Many have questioned how Stein and Toklas survived the war living openly in France, and Stein’s obviously sarcastic suggestion that Hitler be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and her early support of Petain (a French national hero before his collaboration became a national disgrace), which she later reversed, have been much discussed. For example, see here. There are many similar controversies about the WW2 activities of cultural figures, including Maurice Chevalier and Wilhelm Furtwangler. But Stein/Toklas’s actual collaboration with the Gestapo? Only from the dim recesses of the Dersh imagination. As usual, he just made it up.
Dershowitz closes with a vitriolic attack on the entire Jew-hating continent:
The simple reality is that one cannot understand the current western European left-wing war against the nation-state of the Jewish people without first acknowledging the long-term European war against the Jewish people themselves.
Theodore Herzl understood the pervasiveness and irrationality of European anti-Semitism, which led him to the conclusion that the only solution to Europe’s Jewish problem was for European Jews to leave that bastion of Jew hatred and return to their original homeland, which is now the state of Israel.
Maybe he should let his friends in Israel in on his analysis. After all, they seem to crave European association, even fancying themselves part of Europe rather than the Middle East or Asia in sports leagues. Could such association be a manifestation of the phenomenon of Jewish “self-hatred”? Maybe Dershowitz could enlighten us.