Dershowitz and Tragedy

jpost nyc 2013 panel 1-15-thumb-470x313-3098Originally published in the Jerusalem Post. 

There are two main reasons that many leftists who are viscerally supportive of Israel have difficulty understanding and defending the Jewish state today. First, the storyline about Israel is deeply distorted.

For instance, this week, Freedom House released its annual report on press freedom around the world. Israel’s ranking was reduced from “free” to “partly free.”

Freedom House gave three reasons for downgrading Israel’s status: the prosecution of Haaretz reporter Uri Blau for holding stolen top-secret documents; Channel 10’s difficulties getting its broadcast license renewed; and the success of the Israel Hayom newspaper. As Jonathan Tobin at Commentary noted Wednesday, all of these reasons are fraudulent.

Uri Blau received thousands of top secret documents from Anat Kamm, who stole them from the office of OC Central Command at the end of her military service. The documents were not mere intelligence analyses. They were operational plans, unit information and other highly sensitive information.

Blau lied to investigators who asked him about the documents. He fled to London for months rather than speak to investigators or return the documents.

Yet because Israel prosecuted Blau for these acts – which are felonies – Freedom House decided that Israel constrains press freedom.

Then there is Channel 10. Channel 10 is a poorly managed, unsuccessful company that has gone broke. It owes NIS 110 million which it cannot pay back, including NIS 60m. to the state.

Due to its nonpayment of its debt to the state, the Knesset was set to vote down the renewal of its broadcast license – again, in accordance with the law. To protect themselves from market forces – Channel 10’s failed management and staff used their bully pulpit to deflect attention away from their failure and incompetence. They accused the Knesset of trying to silence free speech. Channel 10’s allies in the media and the political Left joined their anti-government bandwagon. The Knesset folded.

Channel 10’s license was renewed. And its debt to taxpayers remains unpaid.

As for Israel Hayom, Freedom House alleged that the free paper’s success in gaining market shares at the expense of other tabloids is part of a nefarious plot by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his friend and Israel Hayom owner Sheldon Adelson to establish a quasi-state-controlled media. Israel Hayom is the first mass circulation Israeli newspaper not aligned with the political Left.

Freedom House’s allegations against Adelson and Netanyahu and its championing of bankrupt Channel 10 are based on two guiding notions. First, non-leftist entities – the Knesset, Israel Hayom’s editorial board – are inherently opposed to press freedom while the motives of leftist institutions like Haaretz and Channel 10 are as pure as the driven snow.

Second, they imply that media in Israel can only be free if not subjected to market forces or the rule of law.

Clearly both of these underlying assumptions are absurd. Yet they form the basis of Freedom House’s damaging allegations against the government.

And that’s the thing of it.

Over the past generation, we have been inundated by disinformation from an unlimited number of seemingly credible organizations whose aim is to discredit any development related to Israel that does not advance the positions of the Left. And due to the ubiquity of this disinformation, among wider and wider circles today the belief has taken hold that there is something fundamentally illegitimate about non-leftist Israelis and non-leftist supporters of Israel.

Since most Israelis are not leftist, and since the most outspoken supporters of Israel are not leftists, there is a widening belief – particularly among liberals – that Israelis, Israeli institutions and Israel’s supporters are illegitimate.

This brings us to the second reason that it has become so difficult for Americans – and particularly liberal American Jews – who viscerally support Israel, to defend or even understand the Jewish state today.

There is a Western tendency, most pronounced on the anti-colonialist Left, to ignore the nature of the Islamic world generally and the Palestinians in particular, and concentrate their attention on Israel alone.

Case in point is Harvard Law Prof. Alan Dershowitz.

Dershowitz is rightly considered one of Israel’s most outspoken defenders in the US. But like his fellow leftist ideologues, Dershowitz apparently does not think that it is important to focus on the nature of things in the Islamic world. Rather than notice current realities, he places his faith in his power to shape the future through his intellect and his willingness to compromise.

In an interview with New York Jewish Week following his participation at Sunday’s Jerusalem Post’s conference in New York, Dershowitz said he was astonished by both my remarks on Iran and the audience’s response to my remarks.

He told the paper, “She said, ‘Bombs away,’ and they gave her a standing ovation.”

One of the things that distinguish the Post’s readers from most other news consumers is that our readers have educated themselves in the realities of Israel and the region and pay attention to those realities.

As a consequence, they are less affected by anti-Israel propaganda presented as human rights reports than the vast majority of news consumers in the US.

When I addressed the conference, I said I would limit my discussion of Iran to two words, “Bombs away.” I said that because like the Post’s readers, I base my analysis of Iran’s nuclear weapons program on the nature of the Iranian regime.

The Iranian regime is a totalitarian regime. It has an uninterrupted record of torturing and massacring its citizens. It has threatened to annihilate Israel. It is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

Economic sanctions are only viable against regimes that care about serving their citizenry. A regime that represses its citizens is not going to be moved from its strategic course by international sanctions that embitter the lives of its citizens. Since the Iranian regime does not care about its citizens, it cannot be diverted from its plans to acquire nuclear weapons through economic sanctions, no matter how harsh.

As for reaching an agreement with the Iranian regime that would induce it to end its nuclear weapons program, this aspiration is similarly based on a denial of the nature of the regime. The first act of the regime was to reject the foundations of the international system. The Iranian takeover of the US Embassy in 1979 was not merely an act of war against America. It was a declaration of war against the international legal system. Since then, nothing the Iranian regime has done, including emerging as the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, has brought it closer to accepting the norms of behavior expected from a member of the family of nations. As a consequence, the notion that this regime would honor any nuclear agreement it may sign with the US or any other international party is ridiculous.

Since traditional forms of statecraft that do not involve the use of force are not viable options for statecraft involving Iran, the only viable option for preventing Iran – particularly at this late stage – from becoming a nuclear power is force. If Israel is serious when it says that a nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat to the Jewish state then Israel must attack Iran’s nuclear installations.

Because the Post’s readers are informed about the nature of the Iranian regime, they appreciated the message I telegraphed in saying “Bombs away.”

But Dershowitz was astonished.

Jewish Week asked Dershowitz about the Jerusalem Post conference because during a panel discussion he and I participated in about the Palestinian conflict with Israel, he angrily attacked the audience for laughing at his plan for renewing negotiations between Israel and the PLO and I angrily rebuked him for doing so.

Dershowitz told the audience that he had presented a plan to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that involved Israel abrogating Jewish property rights in select areas of Judea and Samaria through a so-called settlement freeze. In exchange, the Palestinians would agree to suspend their efforts to delegitimize and criminalize Israel at the UN and the International Criminal Court.

In other words, Dershowitz put forth a plan – which he said Abbas responded positively to – that would require Israel to take a step not required by the agreements it already negotiated with the PLO. And in exchange, the Palestinians would temporarily suspend actions they are taking in material breach of the agreements they signed with Israel.

By advocating this “bargain,” Dershowitz revealed that his conception of the Palestinians is based on willful blindness to their nature that equals his apparent blindness to the nature of the Iranian regime.

Last Saturday, Abbas gave a speech in which he said that Israel’s commitment to the peace process will be measured by its willingness to release Palestinian terrorists from its jails. Last month, Abbas sent his representative to visit the families of jailed Palestinian mass murderers to express his solidarity with them and his admiration for their sons’ crimes.

As Aaron Lerner from IMRA pointed out earlier this week, by insisting that all Palestinian terrorists be freed from Israeli prisons, Abbas is saying that there is nothing criminal or wrong about murdering or attempting to murder Israelis. This position alone discredits him as a peace partner.

Abbas’s steadfast refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and his unceasing political warfare against Israel – in breach of signed agreements between Israel and the PLO – are just further proof that he is not a credible partner for peace.

Then there is the nature of the Palestinian people themselves. Unlike the Iranians, who desperately wish to overthrow their regime, according the results of a new Pew survey of the Arab world, Palestinians want more tyranny.

To the extent they oppose their regime, they do so because it is too open. Among other things, 87 percent of Palestinians say a wife must always obey her husband; 89% want to be ruled by Islamic law, and 62% support the death penalty for leaving Islam.

More Palestinians support terrorism against civilians than do citizens in any other Muslim society polled.

Post readers are apparently as familiar with the nature of Palestinians society as they are with the nature of the Iranian regime. And this is why they laughed at Dershowitz’s plan for restarting negotiations.

Angered at the audience’s response, Dershowitz lashed out against it. He said the thousand people in the hall were irrelevant, that no one listens to them, and that it is good that no one listens to them.

Dershowitz is rightly respected by Zionists across the political spectrum for his willingness to defend Israel against its detractors. And this makes his contemptuous treatment of an audience of its supporters at the conference more tragic than infuriating.

It is the tragedy of our times that basically decent liberals like Dershowitz dismiss as marginal those who base their assessments of Israel and the Middle East on reality, rather than on policy paradigms that are the stuff of negotiations textbooks at Harvard.

It is the tragedy of our times because the people he holds in greatest contempt are the people who have been right about Israel, and about Iran and the Palestinians, time after time after time.

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  • truebearing

    Highly intelligent people are especially prone to believing they are always right because they frequently are. They have difficulty separating their egos from the belief system they create. The pride and arrogance of authorship feeds denial.

    Did Daedalus blame himself for being imprisoned in a labyrinth of his own creation, or did it take the death of his son, Aeschylus, during their escape, that finally revealed to him that his cleverness was both a gift and a curse? The human intellect is a labyrinth that traps many people, especially liberal humanists.

    • Ct-Tom

      Excellent comment! It explains a great deal. Thanks.

      • AdinaK

        Not only is Caroline spot on, but knowing a thing or two about strategic policy – particularly as it applies to Israel's landscape – this much is for sure: Dershowitz's blind devotion to "conflict resolution/multi-culti constructs/moral relativism" causes irreparable harm to a nation he reputes to love.
        Of special note are the following:

        And this is what happens when "peace" obsessed folks stick to their failed ideology/prescription

        The "peace" business is DEADLY to Israel's survival!!
        Adina Kutnicki, Israel

  • Mladen Andrijasevic

    Bombs away! Caroline Glick vs. Alan Dershowitz on Iran

  • Defcon 4

    Maybe if Dershowitz were to live in Sderot he might change his opinion, or maybe the West Bank? Or Lebanon? Or Syria? Or Egypt? Or Iraq? Or Iran?

  • martienpennings

    What I like about Glick is the relentless trying to get to the bottom of things.
    To find the word, the sentence, the formula that says it.
    Glick is always right on the ball, morally and intellectually.
    We are on the same page, Caroline and me.
    That makes me feel good and sad at the same ttime.
    Because the Tree of Knowledge is not the Tree of Happiness.
    It's hard to be a realist these days.

    • beez

      Well, well said.

  • Mladen Andrijasevic

    The purpose of Newspeak: To make all other modes of thought impossible.

  • Matt

    I would prefer Israel not to do it while we had 140,000 troops bogged down in Iraq and would like to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2013. So if you asked me in 2005 when Qum was discovered would Israel bomb Iran with 140,000 US soldiers as human shields bogged down in Iraq. Yes if they do not have a valid alternative. So if you can delay the development of the bomb, meaning actually building and conduct a strategic withdrawal while achieving strategic success from Iraq and Afghanistan, there is no problem. What happens after is what happens after. If I was asked the same question as in 2005 today the answer would be the same.

  • Chezwick

    Dershowitz is an Obama supporter. That should say it all about his "vision for Israel".

  • KathleenP

    I still admire Dershowitz; his book "The Case for Israel" was a life-changing read for me. I recommend it often to leftist friends when they spout ludriucrously false propaganda about Israel. Because of his own leftist credentials I know there's at least a chance they'll read him; they won't go near any writer labeled as "conservative." Sad but true.

    • beez

      Dershowitz has disappointed me too in sticking with Obama. But on the other hand, he came through for us in the George Zimmerman case. He was dead right about that. I don't understand why AD can't connect the dots about Holder, Obama, the Zimmerman case, Israel and the leftist betrayal and a whole lot of other issues.

  • Arlie

    1 Samuel 17:37 And, Dawid said, YHVH, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He does deliver me from the hand of this Philistine" And Shau'ul said to Dawid, "Go and YHVH be with you!"

    1 Samuel 17:49 And Dawid put his hand in his bag and took out a stone, and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. 50 Thus Dawid was stronger than the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him, and there was no sword in the hand of Dawid.

    YHVH does NOT compromise with evil. The Amaleqites are pure evil.

    Caroline, may you continue to be a Dawid

  • WilliamJamesWard

    It is a Palestinian game to see just how far they can push Isreal into doing the unthinkably
    stupid thing and leftists in Isreal are world class dummies. What would Dershowitz gain
    for Israel with his bargaining with the Devil? It seems he would have Islam not cut Isreali's
    heads off on a horizontal plane but vertically the blade will surley divide the population.
    Can I politely point out that and attitude of dealing with children of trechery has no upside,
    and any deals are the sole product of frustration and wishful thinking, not to insult thinking
    as it leaves the room……………………………….William

  • Looking4Sanity

    Sorry, Caroline. I'm going to have to laugh in YOUR face.

    There is no such thing as a "basically decent liberal". The very idea is ludicrous. Now tend to that blind spot of yours.

    • 4_Constitution

      Feel good story of the day. No cemetery will bury the Boston Bomber.

      • defcon 4

        Maybe not HERE in the USA, but how about Chechnya?

        • beez

          Too much expense to the government in that, but maybe the Navy or Coast Guard could bury him at sea, a la Osama bin Laden. If you've never served in the Navy, you won't know that burial at sea is a gruesome, gruesome, means of burial. They put a hook type device down your throat and it comes out your buttcheeks somehow. Something like that. I was a soldier, but heard about it from an old Navy man.


        Why will there only be two pallbearers at the pig tsaranevs funeral?

        Because a garbage can has only two handles.

    • Cat K

      I hit the wrong indicator above – as I agree with you. But, I will not laugh at Caroline as I think she is trying to model polite behavior when she calls a leftist decent. I model polite behavior to leftists all the time. It never works. Perhaps, we all should be more confrontational and call them on their willful blindness and its consequences.
      The consequences of Dershowitz (who I have never liked nor trusted) speaking ill of a pro-Israel audience cannot be good. The consequences of his pretense at the bizarre belief that there is goodwill on the part of people who call for the death of Jews can only be……the death of Jews. And so, he cannot be considered decent.

      • Looking4Sanity

        I understand your position, and I agree that the whole situation is pretty messed up. I generally like what Caroline has to say, but I can't go along with sacrificing truth at the altar of political correctness. That's how it always starts. The truth is always the first casualty in war.Thank you for your thoughts and rest assured I won't be making a habit out of denigrating Caroline…even though my impression of her has been irrevocably changed. I'd be interested to hear David Horowitz' take on this topic, wouldn't you?

    • 4_Constitution

      Did you see this video yet of Israel bombing Syria yet?…

      Someday soon, God is going to wipe the floor with Mooslimes. We'll be there to see it.

      • Suppository

        Why don't you clowns go back to StormFront or Womkette?

        You should not left unsupervised in civil society.

        • Defcon 4

          Islamofascists and nazis are natural and historic allies.

  • Teddy Hudso

    Excellent post, but it's hard to be realistic these days.

    Nail Design Ideas

  • Rothschild

    My personal opinion is that the Jewish people in America; are generally
    liberals, and not leftists, like they (liberals?) are called in Israel.

    Why?.. perhaps… I'm only guessing…because, I am not there; but because
    Israel was founded, in part, by socialists, that then the liberal Jews got
    lumped in with leftist socialists.

    I'm planning on learning Hebrew; and going on vacation to Israel for few
    months, so I will ask a few people when I go there, their philosophies about it.

    Dershowitz, never came across to me in the United States as being a
    leftist; he in my mind is a conservative (perhaps conservative
    Democratic or Republican?)

    Perhaps, Kunstler, might be in the left (but only for tactical reasons, my guess is) but
    he was generally a liberal lawyer…as was, Einstein, whom was also great
    liberal icon…RFK and JFK were also great liberal Democratic icons…Obama…well…is
    yet another…of many… loser politicians that conned their way into power, and his
    groupies, as well; that only want power…not a democracy for all….which is a classic
    leftist tactic, in wanting power first and in their day (their 15 minutes of fame) they
    will be truly democratic…but the leftists cannot be democratic; because they are not
    liberals, or Democrats..Politicians lie so he could of said he was a
    democrat (in name only) with the primary goal of getting power; but power is
    more then being president; for example, if he's a loser, and does not know how
    to be a president… he cannot have much power, because he will not know
    how to use it etc.

  • beez

    Ms Glick is correct: Dershowitz is exactly like Obama and all leftists. They simply cannot accept the fact that their intellect can't solve every problem on earth.

  • Eduardo

    It is sad when we see democratic nations, especially the U.S., covering his ears for people like Alan Dershowitz.
    The purposely deaf ears of Democrats and liberals will only deepen the problem.
    I see that Israel only has a alidado: himself!

  • Texas Patriot

    Dear Ms. Glick,

    Hang in there. You're on the right track.

    Best regards,


  • hikerdude

    If you think the "Left" in America is insane , you have to realize the "Left" in Israel makes our "Left" appear to be "Conservative". It is directly because of this Jewish insanity that the Palestinians were incorperated
    into Israel so they could bite the hand that took them in when no Arab state was willing to give them sanctuary.
    "Israel is the canary in the mine field of Terrorism. "

  • Chaim

    The only decent Jewish lefties are the massive number of dupes, whose good nature and intentions are exploited and manipulated in the name of "love for Israel" to stand against Israel instead. Sadly, they are too stupid to realize they are being played for the fools that they are.

    Unfortunately, their sort of "decency" is deadly, as much of a danger to Jewish life and limb as the Jewish lefties who are not dupes, have no good nature and intentions, but instead hate both Israel and the United States with a vengeance, and who feel the pain and the rage of implacable Arab and Islamist genocidal maniacs over their repeated failures, in war after war and unrelenting terrorism, to destroy the Jewish state.

  • Glennd1

    Criticism of Dershowitz, here? I thought I must have been hallucinating. But it’s true – and then it becomes clear why. Dersh offered to roll back settlements – anathema to today’s aggressive Zionist. The argument amounts to “we stole it and we’ll keep it cuz we want it” – there is no moral leg stand on. I guess Dersh must have had a moment of honesty.

    Israel should do whatever it needs to defend itself. Just please don’t tel me the U.S. should guarantee any of it.

    • defcon 4

      Yeah Dershowitz doesn't mind handing territory paid for with Jewish blood — because it's not his.

  • SawItBefore

    The problem is not intellect, but rather is arrogance. People like AD are the epitome of why socialism/communism does not work. He/they believe that only they have it right.

    An entire room full of people have it wrong – they are irrelevant. Only AD has it right – only He is relevant. He is the type of Jew who after the Kristallnachte said: "… we'll clean up, how bad can it get?" And he will feel very bad, but will remain silent, when all the Jews in Israel are dead. He is willing to bet your life that only he has it right. Him, and those like him are the reason that we have a 2nd Amendment.

    After the fall of the Soviet Union Communism/socialism only existed in Cuba, Red China, and Academia. It took 30 years and a knowledgeable generation passing into oblivion before the BS of socialism found fertile ground outside of academia again – we have a very big problem as there is nothing that those like AD believe to be beyond their grasp, nothing that they do not know, nothing that they believe that they cannot force upon the unwilling.

  • Ben

    But this isn't a liberal/conservative issue. Dershowitz, myself, and others at frontpagemag support a two state solution for fundamentally conservative, and pragmatic reasons. The main reason we support a two state solution is because annexing the westbank is not in Israels long term interest. Incorporating 2+ million fundamentalist muslim's into Israel is just stupid. They would be a continual source of terrorism and trouble, even if they never gained an absolute majority.

    Israel has a choice to make: external security or internal security? Israel has demonstrated it can defend itself from Arab armies, what it can't do is deal with an extremely hostile religiously fanatical minority that will cause it no end to trouble. Israel is better off without the nuisance, and that's just the way it is.