Melanie Phillips highlights troubling contradictions contained within Alan Dershowitz's Wall Street Journal editorial. To use the proverbial "canary in the mine shaft" description of Dershowitz would be generous. Coming from a professor of law (wasn't Obama supposedly a professor too or so he told us?) of his stature one would hope for more than a wishful thinking op/ed on his part.
Dershowitz has for the record though, pinned himself into red-lines which he says should be watched for intrusion by Obama. Should one of those red-lines be breached however, we can be certain that Dershowitz will explain in the most elegant terms why what we see isn't really what we see. Ah, the benefits of a good legal education.
Melanie Phillips below explains the contradictory nature of Dershowitz's positions although she seems uncertain whether wishful thinking on his part or a pre-meditated attempt to create history the way he thinks it should be written is his goal.
Briefly, one of her points is that Dershowitz sails into the waters of moral equivalency (between Israel and the arabians), something that lefties cannot avoid without betraying their most core belief. Another point is how Dershowitz explains away the evidence of Obama's dislike of Israel by setting up the above mentioned red-lines as distant excuses permitting observers to ignore the strain in the relations between the US administration and Israel.
The honest approach here (based on Dersh logic) followed to its logical conclusion is "wait until things really get bad". Dersh starts with how some Jews saw clearly (those who could see beyond the DNC's talking points) that Obama during his life has run with the anti-Jew crowd - but still dismisses those observations as less relevant than campaign rhetoric - (rhetoric for which he should claim conflict of interest). Like a trial attorney is apt to do, Dersh brushes these justified fears under the carpet. History shall play no part in his equation of Obama and his Israel policy, only the future. We could have avoided this problem of course if Jews like Dersh would have used their superior intellects to make reasoned analyses of why NOT to vote for Obama - (my attempt - APRPEH: Barack Obama - Myths, Facts, and Obfuscating (Bloggers Beware)) but that is after all water under the bridge. Dershowitz is the friend who supports you provided you agree to his terms. And those terms are written by the White House.
July 6, 2009 / 14 Tamuz 5769
Dershowitz doesn't get it/By Melanie Phillips
A sobering view by one of Britain's most respected columnists
Jewish World Review | Alan Dershowitz is one of the most prolific, high-profile and indefatiguable defenders of Israel and the Jewish people against the tidal wave of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish feeling currently coursing through the west. So a piece by him in the Wall Street Journal giving expression to the rising anxiety being felt about Obama by American Jews naturally arouses great interest.
But just like the majority of American Jews, getting on for 80 per cent of whom voted for Obama, he is a Democrat supporter who is incapable of acknowledging the truth about this President. For most American Jews, the horror of even entertaining the hypothetical possibility that they might ever in a million years have to vote for a Republican is so great they simply cannot see what is staring them in the face — that this Democratic President is lethal for both Israel and the free world. And in this article Dershowitz shows that he too is just as blind.
Acknowledging the anxiety among some American Jews about Obama's attitude to Israel, Dershowitz concludes uneasily that there isn't really a problem here because all Obama is doing is putting pressure on Israel over the settlements, which most American Jews don't support anyway. But this is totally to miss the point. The pressure over the settlements per se is not the reason for the intense concern.
It is instead, first and foremost, the fact that Obama is treating Israel as if it is the obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Obama thus inverts aggressor and victim, denying Israel's six-decade long victimisation and airbrushing out Arab aggression. The question remains: why has Obama chosen to pick a fight with Israel while soft-soaping Iran which is threatening it with genocide? The answer is obvious: Israel is to be used to buy off Iran just as Czechoslovakia was used at Munich. Indeed, I would say this is worse even than that, since I suspect that Obama — coming as he does from a radical leftist milieu, with vicious Israel-haters amongst his closest friends — would be doing this to Israel even if Iran was not the problem that it is.
In any event, the double standard is egregious. Obama has torn up his previous understandings with Israel over the settlements while putting no pressure at all on the Palestinians, even though since they are the regional aggressor there can be no peace unless they end their aggression and certainly not until they accept Israel as a Jewish state, which they have said explicitly they will never do. On this, Obama is totally silent. So too is Dershowitz. That's some omission.
Next, Obama is pressuring Israel to set up a Palestine state — within two years this will exist, swaggers Rahm Emanuel. But everyone knows that as soon as Israel leaves the West Bank, Hamas — or even worse — will take over. The only reason the (also appalling) Abbas is still in Ramallah, enabling Obama to pretend there is a Palestinian interlocutor for peace, is because the Israelis are keeping Hamas at bay. Yet Dershowitz writes:
There is no evidence of any weakening of American support for Israel's right to defend its children from the kind of rocket attacks candidate Obama commented on during his visit to Sderot.
So what exactly does he think would happen if Israel came out of the West Bank and the Hamas rockets were down the road from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv (literally: many in the west have absolutely no idea how tiny Israel is). It's not a question of Israel's 'right to defend its children'. If Obama has his way, Israel would not be able to defend its children or anyone else, because Obama would have removed its defences by putting its enemies in charge of them. It is astounding that Dershowitz can't see this.
Then there was Obama's appalling Cairo speech in which he conspicuously refrained from committing himself to defending Zionism and the Jewish people from the attacks and incitement to genocide against them, but committed himself instead to defending their attackers against 'negative stereotyping'. On this, Dershowitz has nothing to say.
Worse still, by falsely asserting that the Jewish aspiration for Israel derived from the Holocaust, Obama effectively denied that the Jewish people were in Israel as of right and thus endorsed the core element of the Arab and Muslim propaganda of war and extermination. On this, Dershowitz has nothing to say.
Obama drew a vile — and telling — equivalence between the Nazi extermination camps and the Palestinian 'refugee' camps. On this, Dershowitz has nothing to say. Obama's statement that the Palestinians 'have suffered in pursuit of a homeland' was grossly and historically untrue, and again denied Arab aggression. On this, Dershowitz has nothing to say. Equally vilely, Obama equated genocidal terrorism by the Palestinians with the civil rights movement in America and the resistance against apartheid in South Africa. On all of this, Dershowitz has nothing to say.
Dershowitz also grossly underplays the terrible harm Obama is doing to the security not just of Israel but the world through his reckless appeasement of Iran. In the last few weeks, this has actively undercut the Iranian democrats trying to oust their tyrannical regime, and has actually strengthened that regime. All the evidence suggests ever more strongly that Obama has decided America will 'live with' a nuclear Iran, whatever it does to its own people. Which leaves Israel hung out to dry.
But even here, where he is clearly most concerned, Dershowitz scuttles under his comfort blanket — Dennis Ross, who was originally supposed to have been the US special envoy to Iran but was recently announced senior director of the National Security Council and special assistant to the President for the region. It is not at all clear whether this ambiguous development represents a promotion or demotion for Ross. Either way, for Dershowitz to rest his optimism that Obama's Iran policy will be all right on the night entirely upon the figure of Dennis Ross is pathetic. Ross, a Jew who played Mr Nice to Robert Malley's Mr Nasty towards Israel in the Camp David debacle under President Clinton, is clearly being used by Obama as a human shield behind which he can bully Israel with impunity. American Jews assume that his proximity to Obama means the President's intentions towards Israel are benign. Dazzled by this vision of Ross as the guarantor of Obama's good faith, they thus ignore altogether the terrible import of the actual words coming out of the President's mouth.
The fact is that many American Jews are so ignorant of the history of the Jewish people, the centrality of Israel in its history and the legality and justice of its position that they probably saw nothing wrong in Obama saying that the Jewish aspiration for Israel came out of the Holocaust because they think this too. Nor do they see the appalling double standard in the bullying of Israel over the settlements and what that tells us about Obama's attitude towards Israel, because — as Dershowitz himself makes all too plain — they too think in much the same way, that the settlements are the principal obstacle to peace.
Many if not most American Jews have a highly sentimentalized view of Israel. They never go there, are deeply ignorant of its history and current realities, and are infinitely more concerned with their own view of themselves as social liberals, a view reflected back at themselves through voting for a Democrat President.
Whatever else he is, however, Dershowitz is certainly not ignorant. Which makes this lamentable article all the more revealing, and depressing.
another related commentary at American Thinker