Op-Ed: Professor Alan Dershowitz has a Blind Spot
Stefan KirschnerThe writer is an International Relations graduate from NYU and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is with profound trepidation that I begin this article. Professor Allen Dershowitz is an extraordinary man. He is extremely intelligent and balanced. He became, at age 27, the youngest professor in the history of Harvard University. He consistently takes the moral high ground and is a constant defender of Israel, having written several books on the subject.
I especially like his explanation of when anti-Zionism crosses over into anti-Semitism. He says it is perfectly legitimate to criticize the policies of the Israeli government. But that this criticism must be proportionate.
For example, when a Danish anti-Zionist anarchist receives a cut on his lip or when a few houses are built for Jews in Hebron, the condemnations are equal to or more numerous and vociferous than when another country massacres thousands of its own people. Therefore, when Israel becomes singled out from all the nations and the worst human rights violators are given free passes we have before us a double standard and a red flag must be raised.
Why then should another person who also supports Israel criticize a fellow supporter of Israel, especially when supporters of Israel are such a rare breed? Having thought long and hard about this I came to the conclusion that it must be done, albeit in a very caring and sensitive way, because the issue is so important.
Having thought long and hard about this I came to the conclusion that it must be done, albeit in a very caring and sensitive way, because the issue is so important.
I am referring to the issue of the two state solution. Professor Dershowitz wrote an article called “The Case Against the Left and Right One-State Solution” and the problem with his views on this subject became apparent. This issue is of utmost importance today and therefore must be dealt with in order to prevent anguish and save lives on both sides.
Dershowitz lucidly analyzes the situation and takes into consideration the security problems that will arise from a Palestinian state on Israel’s neck,” but then in an extraordinarily counter intuitive twist, his astonishing conclusion is that Israel must embrace the two state solution nevertheless.
He uses the term “the vast majority” no less than three times in his article in regard to people supporting a two state solution. This is meant to marginalize people who think otherwise and to make them feel uncomfortable. It is meant to put pressure on them to “go along” with the “vast majority”. He brings no numbers or statistics for this and I find it highly improbable.
It is also irrelevant to the issue at hand. Numbers do not dictate truth. The two state solution is no more viable because people do or do not support it.
Dershowitz then makes the absurd comment that “The Palestinians are a people because they regard themselves as such and seek to govern themselves.” If this is his definition of what a people (nation) is, we are all in for trouble because he is opening a can of worms by letting almost any tiny group in the world declare themselves a “people” and then obtain the right to self-determination as written in Article 1:2 of the Charter of the United Nations.
He then compares the Palestinians to the original American colonists! This comparison is flawed as well. To compare people who only invented the term “Palestinians” as way to oppose Israel to the original American colonists who overthrew the British is spurious. The Americans were a colony on another continent who wanted liberty and freedom. The so called “Palestinians” only want the destruction of the Jewish state.
Dershowitz states that “Both one state solutions would end in Israel's delegitimation as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people. “ One need merely to take a look at the comments section after any type of article is written that does not bash Israel vociferously to see the delegitimation that is occurring regardless if one advocates a two state solution or a one state solution.
In the comments section under Dershowitz’s above referenced article one can see a post by one Ibn Rushd that states:
“Professor Dershowitz advising the indigenous Palestinians to stop promoting their narrative's right of return (i.e. the reality of their forcible displacement) but in the very same breath demanding that they adopt and publicly declare the Zionist narrative (i.e. the imagined reality of a historic Jewish state in Palestine after a nearly 2000 year absence), is hypocricy (sic).”
This is a typical response to any article that states that Israel has a right to exist in any form. And this is one of the more moderate responses.
Therefore one does not need to - or rather one must dare not - take the “risks associated with the two-state solution “ in order to try to please people like Ibn Rushd and “assure a democratic Israel which will remain the legitimate nation-state of the Jewish people”, because decent people will understand and support Israel when it refuses to cede its ancestral homeland. There is no point in trying to please or convince people like Ibn Rushd and their ilk because nothing will ever please them short of Israel’s disappearance.
It would seem that Dershowitz has some sort of block, something that is restraining him and setting up a hurdle that he cannot jump. He is in effect chained down to his liberalism by trying the same approach when it has shown to be a failure numerous times. Trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is a dangerous thing to do.
One would have thought that his opinion must have changed since the 1970’s when he began promoting the two state solution, considering everything that has occurred since then.
From the pogrom in Hevron in 1929 to the War of Independence in 1948 to the Six Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur war in 1973; from the intifada in 1987 to Oslo in 1993 and from the retreat in Lebanon in 2000 to the retreat in Gaza in 2005 - Israel has consistently been met with a wall of hatred.
The failed Oslo talks, the Al Aqsa Intifada, the rise of Hamas, the Second Lebanon War; when will we finally realize that they do not want peace? That the missiles flying from Gaza, the jihad education that the Palestinian children are receiving and the proclamations that the Palestinians are saying themselves mean they do not want us in this region. When will we learn that any land given to them will only be a launching pad for future attacks against us?
What will it take for us to understand this? How many will have to die? And still Dershowitz refuses to budge from his two state model.
Professor Dershowitz, please reconsider.