Thursday, September 1, 2011

Alan Dershowitz (September 1, 1938)

For around 50 years, Alan Dershowitz has been reminding Jews in America not to be too confident, too trusting, or too optimistic. I used to feel that he was pushing for a view that was too paranoid about antisemitism in our society. I think he's right way too often these days.

I agree with Dershowitz about a number of very important issues such as the ACLU defense of Muslim students at UC Irvine who tried to shut down a speech by the Israeli ambassador, the way Yale discontinued Holocaust studies, and the growth of antisemitic rhetoric on campuses. For example, he points out why the ACLU leaders are defending individuals who openly said they opposed free speech for supporters of Israel: "These leaders don't like Israel and they support the censorship of pro-Israel views. They would never take the same position if the shoe had been on the other foot: If the speaker were from Hamas and the students trying to shut him down were pro-Israel."

He recently discussed Glen Beck's visit to Israel; he says:
"At a time when old friends and allies who should be supporting the Jewish state are abandoning it in droves, Beck's willingness to stand up for Israel must be accepted with gratitude. I, for one, do not question his motives. I believe they are genuine. One need not accept all of Beck's positions on Israel -- and I certainly do not -- in order to agree with him that support of Israel is one of the great moral issues of the 21st Century.

"Those who thoughtlessly attack Israel no matter what it does and thoughtlessly defend Israel's enemies regardless of what they do, are making peace far more difficult. They incentivize terrorism by Israel's enemies and disincentivize compromise on all sides."

Dershowitz has led an interesting life, beginning as an orthodox Jew whose choice of covering his head and refusing non-kosher food were shocking when he first became a law professor at Harvard. More recently he's transitioned to being closer to a secular Jew, though I don't know his exact religious practices now. As I say, he used to seem paranoid but now I think he's right.

No comments:

Post a Comment