Prof. Alan Dershowitz
Prof. Alan DershowitzIsrael News Photo: (file)

Prominent Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz - who endorsed Barack Obama for U.S. President last year, partially because of his support for Israel - now says Obama’s policies are dangerous for Israel. His opinions appear in a recent Jerusalem Post blog as well as in an article for the New York Post.

In his blog published last week, Dershowitz wrote that while Obama feels a "two-state solution" paves the way towards dealing with Iran, the opposite is actually true, and that strong American action towards Iran is a prerequisite for Israel to make major concessions to the Palestinian Authority.

There are other ways of encouraging Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. Nuclear blackmail is not one of them.

 “President Obama sees ‘a linkage’ between Israel ending the settlements and the United States trying to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” Dershowitz wrote. “Following the Oval Office meeting [with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ed.], he insisted that peace between Israel and the Palestinians ‘strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with a potential Iranian threat.’ With due respect to the man who I supported for President, he has it exactly backwards. If there is to be any linkage - and I do not believe there should be - it goes the other way: it will be much easier for Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank if Iran does not have a nuclear umbrella under which it can continue to encourage Hamas and Hizbullah to fire rockets at Israeli civilians.”

Shortly before last year’s U.S. presidential election, Dershowitz expressed his support for Obama, writing, “I think that on the important issues relating to Israel, both Senator McCain and Senator Obama score very high. During the debates each candidate has gone out of his and her way to emphasize strong support for Israel as an American ally and a bastion of democracy in a dangerous neighborhood.”

Far Easier to Make Peace Without Nuclear Threat

Earlier this month, Dershowitz wrote an article in the New York Post entitled, “Why the Obama Administration Has the Iran Problem Backwards.”  Dershowitz wrote, “It will be far easier for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians if it did not have to worry about the threat of a nuclear attack or a dirty bomb. It will also be easier for Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank if Iran were not arming and inciting Hamas, Hizbullah and other enemies of Israel to terrorize Israel with rockets and suicide bombers.”

Dershowitz concluded that article, “Making peace with the Palestinians will be extremely complicated… It may or may not succeed in the end, depending on whether the Palestinians will continue to want their own state less than they want to see the end of the Jewish State. Israel should not be held hostage to the Iranian nuclear threat by the difficulty of making peace with the Palestinians… There are other ways of encouraging Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. Nuclear blackmail is not one of them.”

'Iran Must be Defanged' 

“In order for Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank, Iran must be defanged. No Israeli prime minister can repeat the mistake that Ariel Sharon made when - in good faith - he unilaterally evacuated the Gaza Strip. Instead of land for peace, what the Israelis got was land for rocket launchings, which continue to this day... The difference is that an unoccupied West Bank would put Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ben Gurion Airport well within range of rockets supplied by Iran to Hamas and other terrorist groups.

"That is why the Middle East peace process has become so intractable. President Obama seems unwilling to guarantee Israel that Iran will not be permitted to develop nuclear weapons…

"So the ball is very much in Barack Obama's court; unless he can provide Israel a guarantee that they will never face a nuclear Iran, all that Israel will be able to do is end some illegal settlements, avoid any expansion of existing settlements and generally take some cosmetic steps…”

Dershowitz’s criticism of Obama came just two days before the president announced that he had chosen someone other than Dershowitz to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.