Sent: Friday, 30 September 2005 11:09 AM
Subject: Re: [NEO-ROUNDTABLE] Report On Alan Dershowitz's Talk In Cambridge, MA
Scathing but no untrue.......the points are strongly made, the double-standard hypocrisy revealed of supporting contradictions to what America is supposed to stand for made clear.......if you have the stomach a good read that brings up the major points without a coating of sugar.
Report On Alan
In Cambridge, MA
By Joachim Martillo
On September 18, 2005, Alan Dershowitz gave a talk on his new book, The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved at Congregation Eitz Chayim (Tree of Life) in Cambridge, MA (see below).
This reform Temple located in a charming Cambrigeport neighborhood has a heymish atmosphere more usually associated with Eastern European Orthodox synagogues. It feels a lot like the Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring in Brookline, and the two memberships probably have a lot of cultural similarity and overlap. If the audience for Dershowitz' presentation is typical, the members are becoming older and greyer, have a left-wing or radical intellectual heritage, but are moving toward the right along with the entire American Jewish community even if they want to think of themselves as progressive activists. The membership of Eitz Chayim was probably never as anti-Zionist as the Arbeter Ring, which belongs to the tradition of the Jewish Bund, but at one time there was probably a fairly strong anti-Zionist contingent. It was not in evidence at Dershowitz' lecture.
Dershowitz gave his talk in the temple auditorium in front of the Aron Hakodesh, where the Scroll of the Torah is housed. The hall was practically full (probably more than 100 people). A reporter for The Boston Globe attended, but no article has appeared in that paper as of September 27.
Dershowitz did not present much material not contained in his book, and reading the book is probably more efficient than actually making the effort to see him in person. The Boston Public Library has at least eleven copies of it (but only six copies of Finkelstein's Beyond Chutzpah, which provides careful analysis of Dershowitz' claims in The Case for Israel). Dershowitz told the audience that the profit from the sale of this new volume in Dershowitzian oeuvre will go to assist needy college students in the purchase of textbooks.
Of course, as far as can be determined, Dershowitz has never made the payment that he promised for finding factual errors in The Case for Israel.
Dershowitz did not present any new ideas in his talk. He merely made frequent assertion that the vast majority of reasonable Palestinians accept the self-evident rationality of his two-state plan. After reading the five basic elements of Dershowitz' framework for peace (p. 2, The Case for Peace), no one should be surprised that Dershowitz is unable to provide the name of any Palestinian that agrees with him.
Here are elements 2 and 5 (the quote marks belong to Dershowitz):
2. Some symbolic recognition of the rights of Palestinian "refugees," including a compensation package and some family reunification, but no absolute "right of return" to Israel of the millions of descendants of those who claim refugee status -- a questionable "right" whose exercise would produce the great wrong of returning the Jewish state into yet another Muslim Arab state. All Palestinians should have the right to "return" to what will become the Palestinian state.
5. An end to the singling out of Israel for demonization and delegitimation -- and to the hatred directed against the Jewish state and its citizens and supporters -- by international organizations, many academics, religious leaders, and media pundits; and the normalization and acceptance of Israel as a full and equal member of the international community.
Dershowitz' bigoted refusal to acknowledge that ethnic Ashkenazi Eastern Europeans uprooted the native Palestinian population when they stole the territory of pre-1967 Israel makes it impossible for him to use the term refugees without quote marks.
Dershowitz' peace proposal reduces to forcing the ethnically cleansed Palestinian population to forfeit basic human rights of property and residence and to find homes elsewhere while murderous genocidal racist thieves and interlopers go unpunished, and the rest of us are not even allowed to discuss the villainy of Dershowitz, of his fellow racist Ashkenazi Americans and of murderous militaristic Zionist colonizers, who routinely use Palestinian children for target practice (according to the casualty statistics supplied by Israeli and non-Israeli human rights organizations).
For Dershowitz "peace" means that all the stolen property should remain in the hands of robbers, that the criminals should be granted amnesty, not only for past outrages but for what they are going to do. His "peace" puts native non-Jews in open-air prisons surrounded by tanks and checkpoints. His "peace" requires that all non-Jews in the US and in Palestine should accept second-class status to Jews while racist anti-Arab anti-Muslim Neocons dictate governmental policy, which includes using American youth to commit genocide and torture throughout Arab and Islamic countries, despite the wishes of the majority of the American population.
When Dershowitz elaborates his solution, he consistently places the onus of the conflict on the native population, whose right to democratic self-determination was thwarted by the British Mandate for Palestine with the connivance of the racist Zionist leadership. He insinuates that the native Palestinian population is guilty of some sort of original sin for rebelling against Zionist colonization, for ineffectively seeking aid from the Germans during the 40s -- something the Zionists did very effectively during the 30s, for very infrequently stating the facts of Zionist ethnic cleansing/re-folking (Umvolkung) in Palestinian Authority textbooks(*), and for reacting violently to Zionist depredations during the post-1967 occupation.
Occasionally, Dershowitz admits flaws in Zionist behavior (like the "relatively minor" prejudice and bigotry found in Zionist textbooks). Yet he is certain of the moral superiority of ethnic Ashkenazim and Zionist colonizers, and Dershowitz asserts that in response to every violent act that Palestinians commit (almost invariably in reaction to some Zionist outrage) Israel has the right (or maybe even the absolute obligation) to steal even more land in addition to the territory that Zionist colonizers stole in 1947-8. The Zionist occupation forces generally do much worse than steal more land when Palestinians reply to Zionist provocation. The IDF shoots up towns, bombs residences, kills civilians, destroys farmland, and walls up towns. The situation in the Occupied Territories approximates Nazi-Occupied Poland just before the mass murders began.
While discussing Finkelstein, Dershowitz made a very obscure claim that he really did not justify collective punishment against Palestinians of the sort that German Nazis applied to the Czech village of Lidice, and he also tried to prove that he really was not anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian because he intervened with the Harvard administration so that a student organization would be able to fly a Palestinian flag on Harvard campus last winter. Dershowitz expects his readership to overlook the vicious murderous Eastern European volkisch racism that underlies the Dershowitzian ideas, argument and proposal.
While American Poles, American Italians and Americans of other ethnic groups generally do not manipulate or exploit America for the sake of their racist tribalism, racist ethnic Ashkenazim like Dershowitz and his Harvard colleages, President Lawrence Summers and Professor Ruth Wisse, have no problem with the sacrifice of American values and principles for the sake of militant Jewish exceptionalism and aggression.
Rarely does Dershowitz allude to the bigger picture like the anger of the whole world against the US for pandering racist ethnic Ashkenazi Americans in supporting Israel. Can anyone take the US government seriously when the US proclaims support for democracy, anti-racism, and human rights but supports a perverted criminal ideology like Zionism, which is inherently antidemocratic, racist and opposed to the very concept of human rights?
Dershowitz made a point of condemning the Somerville Divestment Project (SDP) for singling out Israel, and he parroted the ridiculous and vacuous logic of the subversive and racist Boston Israel Action Committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC). Dershowitz is apparently unaware of the traditional activism and history of Somerville, which lead in the anti-slavery movement and which has divested from other human rights abusers in the past. Dershowitz never explained how his support for undermining American democracy would lead to "peace" in the Middle East, nor did he explain why he thought that Americans should be forced against their will to pay the tab for Israel's existence.
Dershowitz' reply to a questioner during the discussion period betrays the true nature of Dershowitz' "solution" to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The attendee, who claimed to have worked in Israel for the last decade and to have witnessed many human rights violations, pointed out that the organized Jewish community and many individual American Jewish scholars have condemned American individuals and corporations for being invested in 1930s Germany, which was a human rights violator not much different from Israel today. He concluded by asking Dershowitz whether it was wrong to reject a standard for Israel that Jews want to apply to non-Jews. Dershowitz rather lamely replied that Israel was not like Nazi Germany and therefore should be exempted from the human rights yardstick. Dershowitz accords to Israel a privileged status that excludes it from the scrutiny of non-Jews. Dershowitz's answer is a good summary of the book, whose whole purpose is a justification for preserving the privileges of Jews shamelessly living on stolen Palestinian property.
Are the only parties to the conflict the native Palestinian population and the criminal Zionist colonizers or should we perhaps be asking whether an ethnic fundamentalist state whose ideology differs little from that of 1930s Germany (except for the obvious ethnic substitutions) should be permitted to exist in the twenty-first century? The US destroyed Baathist Iraq in a matter of weeks. The US could probably abolish the Zionist state of Israel in a similar timeframe with no comparable negative consequences and at much lower cost.
Dershowitz made it clear several times during his talk that he reserves special enmity for intellectuals like Tony Judt, Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky and Susan Blackwell who work to undermine the legitimacy of the racist ethnic Ashkenazi exceptionalist mindset. There is probably an element of self-preservation in Dershowitz' hatred of these people. If the anti-exceptionalist point of view becomes dominant in the USA, Dershowitz, Summers, Wisse and their intellectual bedfellows could find themselves the next generation of denizens of Guantanamo and similar concentration camps, where they could be interrogated or tortured according to Dershowitzian principles to determine the extent of their anti-American conspiracy to support Zionist terrorism.
(*) PA textbooks rarely deal with the issue at all. Dershowitz does not read Arabic and is simply repeating the standard Zionist disinformation and demonization that racist ethnic Ashkenazim disseminate in the USA. See ifamericansknew.org for a study of Palestinian textbooks.
Congregation Eitz Chayim's Adult Education series continues Sunday, September 18, from 10:30-12 noon (come early for bagels and coffee) with Alan Dershowitz speaking on his latest book, The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved. President Bill Clinton has this to say about Prof. Dershowitz's new book: "The simple chord that resonates through the complex scenarios described in The Case for Peace is one of decency and respect -- for Palestinians, for Israelis, and, ultimately, for humanity itself. . . Hopeful and wise, the blueprint for stability presented in this book is among the best in recent years." Alan Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a leading appellate lawyer in the defense of individual liberties. His many books include The Case for Israel (2003), the #1 New York Times bestseller Chutzpah, and The Vanishing American Jew. His talk is cosponsored by Porter Square Books as part of the new Cambridge Jewish Community Authors Series. After Prof. Dershowitz's presentation, all are invited to stay for coffee and good conversation with Eitz Chayim leaders and members, to learn about our long-time Cambridge non-denominational, egalitarian community, children's school, celebrations, membership, and more! Eitz Chayim is located at 136 Magazine Street, Cambridge (in Cambridgeport). For more information, call, email us, or visit our website. All are welcome!
136 Magazine Street Cambridge MA 617-497-7626 info @ eitz.org http://www.eitz.org/
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