The case against Alan Dershowitz

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What is galling about liberal Zionists in the US is that they insist on having it both ways; they want to support Israeli occupation, racism, and wars and yet they want to be perceived as liberals who strive for peace and equality. But Alan Dershowitz in his documentary, “The Case For Israel,” goes farther: he thinks that he has discovered a trick by which he can reconcile his support for racist and war-mongering Israel and his alleged liberalism. He calls himself nowadays “pro-Palestine,” and that verbal declaration – he thinks – can then compensate for his support for Israel’s wars and inequality.

I read Dershowitz’s propaganda book by the same title, and enjoyed the so-called documentary even less. It is clumsily made and features Dershowitz talking to various Israelis. The film has various Israelis speaking not only about Israelis but also about Arabs and how they feel. There is one lone Arab featured in the film: a Palestinian in captivity talking to the Israeli camera person probably between sessions of torture, for which the state of Israel has become notorious.

Dershowitz seems to have made the film in between his classes, as he did not seem to even bother checking his facts, although it is not as if Zionists really bother with facts when making the case for Israeli occupation and war crimes. Dershowitz lists the number of times Arabs have rejected generous offers of statehood (as if any offer that gave less than 100% of Palestine – or more – can be said to be generous). He starts with the Peel Commission in 1938 (but he does not seem to know that the Peel Commission report was in 1937). He also thinks that he stumbled on a witty critique of Palestinians (which he repeats throughout the boring film): that the Palestinians did not want to have a Jewish state more than they wanted to have their own state. Dershowitz does not realize that the Palestinians can’t have their own state with a Jewish state on top of their homeland. He thinks that the Palestinians were not wise in rejecting the 1947 UN plan when the Jewish state was bigger than the Arab one although the Jewish size of the population was merely a third of the overall population.

Dershowitz then proceeds to maintain (and why does he yell? Why does he think that by yelling he makes his case stronger?) that the Palestinians stated back in 1948 that they would be more than happy to live under Jordanian and Egyptian governmental control. But if that was the case, what are we talking about here? Why is there an Arab-Israeli conflict? Why did the Palestinians not just stick to the stance that Dershowitz falsely attributed to them? And since facts are so irrelevant to Dershowitz’s narrative, he then makes another erroneous claim; he says that the Palestinians could have had their own state back in 1967 and that UNSC 242 offered it to them (never mind that the word “Palestinian” does not appear once in that resolution and that it only vaguely spoke about a resolution to the “refugee problem”).

He then refers to the Camp David talks in the Clinton administration and said that the Palestinians received “an incredibly generous offer” from the Americans. To bolster his claim, he cited the authority of Prince Bandar (although he distorts his words from a New Yorker interview) and identified him (falsely again) as the Saudi official representative in the Camp David talks, when there was no official Saudi representative there.

But Dershowitz is obsessed with Jimmy Carter and he makes the case that there is “circumstantial evidence” that Carter “has blood on his hands.” Of course, Dershowitz is right, Carter has blood on his hands by virtue of his endorsement of horrific regimes including the Shah’s Iran, Israel, and various other tyrannical governments around the world. But he goes further and blames Carter – not Israel – for all the Palestinians killed during the Second Intifada (how difficult is it for Dershowitz to learn to pronounce this one Arabic word?).

Dershowitz pretends to be a stickler for facts and yet he takes liberty in choosing what to use and how to present it. He talks to archeologists and cites the Bible to make the case that Jews have lived in the land for centuries. But the Palestinians don’t dispute the historical Jewish narrative of their history; in fact, the Palestinians never tried to disturb the Jewish community in Palestine prior to the colonial-settler project of Zionism. But while Dershowitz bothers himself with the facts and evidence of (ancient) Jewish history in Palestine, he does not even bother to speak about the historical roots of the Palestinians in the land. But he stumbles on one expert who makes the case that the Palestinians’ relationship with the land is bogus simply because Jerusalem was mentioned many times in the Bible “while the name Jerusalem was not even mentioned once in the Qur’an.” This Israeli archeologist even refers to Muslims as “barbaric” in their own archeological work on the land.

An advisor to Netanyahu (Dore Gold) asserts that turning over the Old City of Jerusalem would be disastrous to the holy sites – and there the camera shows Taliban destruction of the Buddhist sites in Bamiyan. The messages of the movie are sometimes way too subtle. But Jewish sites were under Muslim control for centuries, and the Jewish community existed in Palestine for centuries and yet it was on the advent of Zionism that brought destruction and disturbances to the religious co-existence in Palestine.

Dershowitz then justifies the Balfour Declaration by maintaining that the Jews, by virtue of being on the “right side” in WWI, were simply rewarded by Western powers. But he conveniently forgets to mention that the Arabs were also, as it were, on the “right side” of history, or that they received assurances of independence for their stance and that they were deceived by Western powers.

The story in the documentary, of course, could not go without a section devoted to – you guessed it – Hajj Amin Husseini. He is referred to by Michael Oren (the former “objective” Middle East expert for CNN) as a Nazi enthusiast and he is basically made to be one of Hitler’s henchmen (in the Zionist propaganda tale, the status of Hajj Amin in the Nazi hierarchy only rises with the passage of time. You will soon hear that he was one of the founders of the Nazi ideology).

Several times in the documentary we are told about the horrible Arab armies “invasion” of Palestine in 1948, and the maps with various arrows are displayed on camera. What always amuses me about those maps – as a sign of their lack of credibility – is that the Lebanese Army is shown as one of the invading armies, when the facts are rather quite different.

Surprisingly, Dershowitz admits that “some” Palestinians were expelled but then quickly tells his audience that it was no big deal because the “Arabs” and Israel basically engaged in exchanges of population. All was fair. See “Lebanon's Armed Forces and the Arab-Israeli War, 1948–49”, by Mathew Hughes in the Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Winter 2005), pp. 24-41.

Dershowitz then convinces his audience that Israel being a Jewish state is not in any way contradictory with democracy and equality. He basically says that a Jewish state is praiseworthy, while a Muslim state is an abomination (of course, both should be seen an abomination). But to make the case for Israel, the documentary then proceeds to elaborate on how wonderful the Israeli Supreme Court is, and how Arabs have been served so well by the state. Talking about Arabs in the documentary is not different from the token Arab character in Theodore Herzl’s Altneuland. But if Arabs in Israel are so happy and pleased with their status – as the various Israeli speakers in the movie claim – why not put an Arab on camera to speak for herself/himself? (In my experience, there are no Arabs more opposed to the very existence of the state of Israel than the Arabs in 1948 Palestine).

Dershowitz then attacks the hypocrisy of those supporters of the Palestinians who don’t attack repressive Arab regimes, never mind that most supporters of the Palestinians do in fact attack the violations of human rights by Arab regimes. If anything, it is the Zionists and not the anti-Zionists who are in deadly alliance with the worst dictators of the world in Saudi Arabia and Egypt and the various Arab repressive orders.

Dershowitz then tells the audience about the “security fence” or barrier. The way he spoke about it and the images displayed show basically what looks like a backyard fence in the US. He then asks the objective authority of a former Supreme Court justice in Israel to make the case for the racist separation barrier.

The choice of speakers in the film is quite funny: there is an Israeli propagandist who argues that the starvation of the people in Gaza is quite legitimate but he is identified as “a human rights activist.” The human rights activist who argues for the starvation and hurting of children is supported by an image of a Palestinian child standing next to a masked Palestinian gunman, thus proving the culpability of all Palestinian children. In the section on Gaza, the camera zooms on a black Israeli face in the audience, perhaps to prove Dershowitz case that Israel provides equality for Arabs and blacks. The section on Gaza seems ironic if you watch it in the wake of the Israeli savage assault on Gaza, especially as Israeli military propagandists make claims that Israeli soldiers avoid hurting children even if it means they have to cancel operations.

The movie is quite racist in its discussion of the UN; an Israeli diplomat basically laments how the UN became a club for backward countries while it used to be a club for Western governments protecting Israel. And the documentary then discusses the American scene with special emphasis on the book on the Israeli lobby by John Mearshheimer and Stephen Walt. The film basically brands them as rabid anti-Semites and they are discussed after a section on the notorious anti-Semitic Henry Ford, and just before a section about David Duke. Dershowitz argues that there is indeed an all too powerful lobby in the US, and that it is the Saudi lobby. He does not realize that the Saudi and Israeli lobby now work hand-in-hand.

Dennis Ross has a starring role in the film and one is amazed that this man ever worked as an honest broker between the various states in the region, or that he was the point man on Arab-Israeli peace, according to the definition of Meir Kahane and the like – not that the successors to Ross in the State Department have been any better.

Zionists are in trouble; the world’s public opinion is turning increasingly against the state of Israel. More and more is being invested in the US to maintain American governmental, media, and public support for Israel. They should, however, know that when the day comes – i.e. when Israel the apartheid state goes down as an anomaly of place and time – not even the US can save this settler colonial project in a rejection that rejects it.

Dr. As’ad AbuKhalil is a Professor of Political Science at California State University, Stanislaus, a lecturer and the author of The Angry Arab News Service. He tweets @asadabukhalil.

Comments

Strongly recommend readers watch Alan Dershowitz v Norman Finkelstein on Youtube. They are discussing AD's book 'The Case for Israel'. Norman Finkelstein trashes the book, picking out pages of plagiarism & fat lies, embarrassing & humiliating the squirming, Dershowitz.

Did you get the bit about him being the cleaner in the scheme of things ?
On youtube he keeps saying
"The United States Will Not Permit "- Iran to develop nuclear weapons....
It is a big ask to rely on "the United States" one body for your existence - ever - a big mistake I think.
This guy has eked out a life as an " i'll do anything to be somebody in the scheme of things & the lifestyle that goes with it - player" - who can blame him - why be a nobody.
But the system also relies on people like him for it's own existence.
Alan Dershowitz is just one more card, of the wall, of the house of cards. He is easily blown away & replaced.
The U.S. has a civil war at home - one of their own doing - any minute now it will be a raging bush fire & out of control - they got jealous of you & yearned for the terrain.

Israel has an arms manufacturing industry
Why then are they buying arms from Britain
Is Israel being used as an avenue to deliver illegal arms to terrorists.
Britain is already in trouble for selling to Israel to use against Gaza
Someone need to look
There must be an oversupply / a glut of arms with no where to go that will find their was back to Britain & Europe.
The EU wants to open borders even further...is this wise with the warring raging in the Middle east & now Russia & the Ukraine & the arms so easily available.
Lots of potential for the ambitious & the disillusioned.

Interesting, by reading your article, I feel, you are just as guilty as Mr. Dershovitz.
So here are a couple of facts for you
In apartheid South Africa, the blacks did not vote, were not represented in the government, let alone in the supreme court, were segregated from everything, etc....a far cry from what Arabs in Israel experience, they can vote they can even head the government if they could muster a majority of Mks.
Nobody will argue with you that there is discrimination, however that is a long way from Apartheid.
The West Bank is occupied, the same way part of Germany and Japan got occupied after WW2.
You would not dare to say that the allied forces were apartheid states after WW2 since they did not give the right to vote to these people.
I am sure that once Palestinians in the West bank and Gaza are willing to live peacefully with Israeli, there will be a Palestinian state.
Another point, there could have been a Palestinian state between 1949 and 1967 in the Wb and Gaza, for some reasons the people living there did not bother, why is that?

Anonymous

Fed up of listening to the greatest Zionist lie peddled for years about how, if the Palestinians were peaceful they could have had a state in 1949 or at any other time. The point is, if the Zionists weren't racist, they could just give everyone the vote, whether in Jaffa, Nazareth, Gaza, all over historic Palestine. And the reason they won't ? Because the Zionist state (imposed upon the indigenous population by imperialist powers) wants a Jewish state only. That is racism. That is discrimination.

You equate the occupation of Germany & Japan with the occupation of Palestine. The allies didn't physically remove the natives ( through terrorism and massacres) and replace them with Americans or British.

You have settlements and roads for Jews only in the West Bank. You have housing discrimination and deliberately underfunded Palestinian areas. You have killed so many Palestinian civilians for objecting to occupation and land theft...which human on earth can tolerate your deplorable behaviour?

Where is this Palestinian state going to be if the brutal settlers are all over the West bank? Just another, great, big, fat Zionist lie.

A Zionist i.e.colonizer of Palestine with a stale hasbara LOL
I am not going to waste my time on Zionist, but I strongly rec to anyone interested book "Escape from Pretoria". From the beginning I was astonished by almost 100% likeness of SA aparteid and Zionist regime in Palestine.

Among other blood on Carter's hands there is blood of Afghanistan people (where he started proto-ISIS in the beginning of 1979).

And regarding liberal Zionists (i.e. liberal colonizers) - nothing new here. Western Liberals historically had no qualms about non-whites' plight - for ex, in USA. Liberals were colonizers of Africa and Asia and so on.

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