This May 1 is the 10th anniversary of my blog post
Dershowitz’s Despicable Smear of Jimmy Carter
I cannot even begin to figure out how best to express my outrage as I read the article below, “Jimmy Carter for Sale” by Alan Dershowitz.
Alan Dershowitz is, by all accounts, a brilliant lawyer and an extraordinarily effective advocate for many individuals, organizations and causes – one of them being the Government of Israel.
Here is his conclusion about Jimmy Carter, “He is no better than so many former American politicians who, after leaving public life, sell themselves to the highest bidder and become lobbyists for despicable causes.”
“Anti-semite”, “dirty money”, “honor Nazi academics”, “complicit in evil”, “anti-Israel”, “evil influence of Zionism”, “Holocaust was a fable”, “deception bordering on corruption”, “integrity … extraordinarily low.” Has Alan Dershowitz missed smearing Jimmy Carter with any of the words and phrases traditionally applied to someone who is a critic of the Government of Israel?
What has Jimmy Carter done to merit the venom, hate and vilification contained in this detailed “swiftboating”?
What would justify Alan Dershowitz devoting such time and effort to personally attaching Jimmy Carter?
What “despicable cause” has Jimmy Carter been lobbying for?
Not his work in “Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to negotiate with the Communist dictator Mengistou Haile Mariam, to Liberia to induce warlord Charles Taylor to let democratic elections be held, and to Pyongyang, North Korea, to convince Kim Il Sung to give up his nuclear program” … to Haiti to induce General Raoul Cedras to leave the country and permit the elected president to return … to Havana so that I could speak directly to the Cuban people about democracy and human rights. The Center has monitored almost seventy elections, often at the invitation of such people as Manuel Noriega, the Sandinistas, and Hugo Chavez.” Page 250, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”
I cannot imagine Alan Dershowitz unleashing this nuclear attack on Jimmy Carter for his speaking to the Cuban people about human rights.
Here’s a clue “Three of the most honest, fair and peaceful of our elections have been in Palestine.” Page 250
Here is what he has done to incur the wrath of Alan Dershowitz:
Jimmy Carter has become the most respected prominent individual openly critical of the policies of the Government of Israel vis-à-vis the Palestinians;
He has put in decades working for a “just” peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians;
He has even been talking to everyone about “the terrible plight of the Palestinians” Page 251;
He talks about three options available to the Government of Israel – one of them being “A system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights. This is the policy now being followed.” Page 215; and
Recently, he has been talking to representatives of Hamas, the group that was elected by the Palestinians in one of those honest, fair and peaceful elections – the results of which were immediately effectively nullified by the Governments of Israel and the United States – Hamas, the organization which a few days ago proposed a six-month truce which was immediately rejected by the Government of Israel.
Alan Dershowitz is a symbol of those who support peace, justice, love, fairness, human rights, and dignity and equality for all unless they are Palestinians. Here’s a few values of Judaism embodied by the work of Jimmy Carter and opposed by Alan Dershowitz when the subject is the Palestinians:
Exodus 22:20-21 – You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Rabbi Akiva – “‘Love your neighbor as yourself’(Leviticus 19:18) – this is the major principle of the Torah.”
Deuteronomy XVI, 18:20 – “Justice, Justice shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” And the footnote in the Hertz edition “(T)here is international justice, which demands respect for the personality of every national group, and proclaims that no people can of right be robbed of its national life or territory, its language or spiritual heritage.”
Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do well – seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” and 1:27 “Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and they that return of her with righteousness.”
HILLEL “If I am not for myself, who will be for me, and if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” and his definition of Judaism “What is hateful unto you, do not do unto your neighbor”
Someone just sent me an “Eyewitness Letter from the Gaza Strip” by Kashi Halford in Occupation Magazine http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=26557. In it Halford notes:
1.5 million people live in the Gaza strip, over a million of these are refugees. Over 80% live below the poverty line, with 1.2 million people in Gaza are dependent on food handouts. Only 41% of Gaza’s food import needs are currently being met. The Palestinian Health Ministry says there are no stocks left of 85 essential medicines, including chemotherapy drugs, strong antibiotics and several psychiatric drugs. For a further 138 drugs there are only stocks for three months at most. Supplies of nitrous oxide for surgical anaesthesia will run out in two weeks. 17.5% of patients who have requested access to East Jerusalem, Israel or abroad for emergency or chronic medical treatment have been denied permits since June 2007. In October 2007, the public provider of water and sanitation services received 50% of the amount of fuel it need to operate its wells, pumping stations and treatment plants. As a result 210,000 people are able to access drinking water supplies for only 1-2 hours a day.
Do I know if all of this is accurate? No
Then again, do I know if all that Alan Dershowitz has written is correct? No
But I do think that his article is symbolic of what is happening in what is fortunately an increasing smaller segment of the Jewish community – those who agree with any action taken by the Government of Israel. As more and more people in this country and around the world become aware of the injustices and human rights violations being carried out by that government, these tribal nationalistic oriented individuals and their organizations are likely to ramp up the volume and intensity of their personal attacks on, and verbal persecution of, those who criticize the Government of Israel.
Alan Dershowitz hopes that we will read what he says and not read about what is happening to the Palestinians in the occupied territories. He also hopes to divert our attention from any recommendations Jimmy Carter proposes that might bring appropriate pressure on the Government of Israel to negotiate in good faith for a “just” peace.
Here are my two conclusions:
First, this article by Alan Dershowitz is a gross misrepresentation and an incredibly biased attempt to discredit a good person, Jimmy Carter, and the good works that he has done since leaving the White House and establishing the Carter Center.
Second, while Alan Dershowitz is not a public official who, after leaving public life, sold himself to the highest bidder, he is, in my opinion, actually the one who is a “lobbyist for a despicable cause” – support for the Government of Israel as it continues the occupation and deprives millions of Palestinians of their basic rights and freedoms.