The Case against Alan Dershowitz
By Salomon Benzimra
There is little doubt that Prof. Dershowitz’s latest peace proposal of July 5, 2012, is in reaction to former Israel Justice Edmond Levy’s “Outposts Committee Report” released on July 4. Whereas the latter finally restored the truth on the legality of the “settlements”; rejected the “belligerent occupation” approach to Judea and Samaria; and stressed the internationally recognized Israel’s legal rights to these territories, Prof. Dershowitz shows once more his obsessive insistence on inflicting death by a thousand cuts.
Hopelessly mired in the “two-state solution,” Prof. Dershowitz recommends that Israel should make “painful compromises in the interests of peace” by adopting an absolute building freeze, even for natural growth. More painful than these compromises is the absurd rationale he lays out to ensure the bona fides of the Palestinian side.
1. Israel should give up its legitimate claims to Judea and Samaria if the Palestinians give up their “right of return.” Here we have a phony “right of return”, concocted by the Palestinians for the sole objective of destroying Israel and with no basis in either law or custom, presented as a valid counterpart to the unassailable legal rights of Israel as they were recognized in international law in San Remo over ninety years ago.
This is sadly reminiscent of what Prof. Dershowitz advocated in his book, The Case for Israel, in connection to the bloody terrorist attacks initiated by the Palestinians. He wrote: “Israel …stands ready today to offer the Palestinians statehood, in exchange for the Palestinian Authority’s making genuine best efforts to stop terrorism by those Palestinian groups committed to continuing their crimes against humanity until Israel is destroyed” (Page 165). In other words, Palestinian terrorism should not be rewarded but once it starts, any vague proposal by a Palestinian leader to exercise “his best efforts” to put an end to it should be warmly welcome by Israel. In the same vein, the so-called “right of return” is a pure fabrication but if the Palestinians agree to withdraw their “right”, they would have proved their bona fides in the negotiations while the “settlements” will remain frozen, as a reward for their magnanimous decision. Where is the logic?
2. Following his reckless pursuit of peace at any cost, Prof. Dershowitz brings again the “consensus” mantra by saying that “’everyone’ knows what a pragmatic, compromise resolution will look like.” Why should consensus trump historical truth and justice? At the core of this consensus fallacy is, I believe, the pernicious idea that joining the mainstream is a pre-requisite for progress and righteousness. Yet, this same “consensus” idea was promoted in The Case for Israel where Prof. Dershowitz dismissively rejected any alternative to his cherished “two-state solution” (page 65). He recently reiterated his opposition to anyone who clearly sees the “two-state solution” as the sham it is.
3. Finally, Prof. Dershowitz argues that Israel should abandon its claims to areas that were part of Biblical Israel because they are now “heavily populated by Palestinians.” A hundred years ago, Baghdad’s population was one third Jewish and in some neighbourhoods of the city the Jews constituted a strong majority. The origin of this Jewish population goes back 2,500 years. But no sane Jew ever claimed national, collective rights to any part of Mesopotamia. Why, then, should a “heavily populated” Palestinian area validate their claims for statehood?
Prof. Dershowitz is doing a great disservice to Israel and its future and, dare I say, to international law. It is worth warning that once Israel is deprived of its sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, the Jewish People’s Rights to the Land of Israel will be seriously endangered.