Disputing Dershowitz


    Support for a two-state solution has sown the seeds for the international delegitimization of Israel. It would be obnoxious for there to be a conference here [Harvard] on the subject of whether the Palestinians are a real people. They are, and so are the Israelis. The quest for a Palestinian state is a legitimate one, as is the need to preserve Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. –
    Alan Dershowitz, “Should Harvard Sponsor a One- Sided Conference Seeking the End of Israel?” (February 28)

Prof. Alan Dershowitz is a committed, articulate supporter of Israel. He has defended the Jewish state with eloquence and passion on numerous occasions, displaying commendable resolve and poise despite torrents of hostile reaction. The courageous, principled stance he has taken – regrettably rare among academics of his standing – should be greatly appreciated by Israelis across the political spectrum.

Ensnared by political correctness
However, in embracing several central precepts of politically correct but factually impaired conventional wisdom, Dershowitz has, along with many other well-meaning pro-Israeli figures, severely undermined the efficacy of his “Case for Israel.”

This is particularly true regarding his unquestioning endorsement of Palestinian claims for statehood within the two-state paradigm, which for Dershowitz has seemingly become the litmus test for admission to civilized debate.

Thus in February 2010, when Palestinian hecklers prevented Ambassador Michael Oren from addressing students at the University of California, Irvine, Dershowitz rightly denounced this as anti- Israel censorship. However, what appeared to make this action particularly egregious in Dershowitz’s eyes was the fact that Oren was “a moderate supporter of the two-state solution,” thus hinting – perhaps without meaning to – that had Oren opposed this policy, silencing him might have been more understandable.

Indeed, as the citation above demonstrates, Dershowitz would consider any challenge to the authenticity of Palestinian national claims “obnoxious.”

Conundrum for the future
Future historians will be baffled as to why such a manifestly disastrous, unworkable concept came to be embraced by so many prominent, allegedly well-informed pundits, politicians, and policy-makers. They will be particularly perplexed why the two-state solution was so enthusiastically endorsed not only by those who had a vested interest in feigning support for it, but by those who had a vested interest in exposing it as the duplicitous subterfuge it is. They will be mystified why – despite the fact that it proved devastating for both Arabs and Jews – it became the hallmark of enlightenment.

Recent events have brought home dramatically not only how futile it is for Israel and Israel-supporters to adhere to the two-state paradigm, but also how counterproductive it is.

For by pursuing the “vision” (read “fantasy”) of two states, they will not only fail to reap the intended benefits this policy is purported to yield, but will precipitate outcomes highly deleterious to Israel – indeed the very outcomes the two-state policy was supposed to prevent.

The latest round of rocket fire from Gaza underscored just how ill-considered it would be to relinquish more land to the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. The recent Harvard one-state conference demonstrated how clinging to an unfeasible formula has merely generated the opportunity to promote even more menacing alternatives.

Demonstrating the obvious
The 300 rockets that rained down on southern Israel since last Friday, forcing a million civilians to huddle in shelters, proved for the umpteenth time what by now should be seared into the cognizance of all Israelis and all Israel supporters abroad: Ceding territory – any territory – to the Palestinians – any Palestinians – is unacceptably risky. For while one might fervently hope that events in the “West Bank” would turn out significantly better than in Gaza, there is little basis for such optimism. Hoping – however fervently – that tangible dangers will fail to materialize is hardly a formula for responsible risk management.

The consensus among security experts – strongly corroborated by the precedent in Gaza – is that without the presence of the IDF, the Abbas administration would be swiftly dispatched and replaced by an Islamist successor.

What is the significance of such a prospect? Clearly, the repercussions would be far more severe than in the case of Gaza.

For whatever the final contours of a putative Palestinian state, it would entail a frontier of at least 300 kilometers – approximately six times longer than the Gaza front – much of which would be adjacent to Israel’s most populous urban centers, from the environs of Haifa in the north to Beersheba and beyond in the south. (Significantly, Beersheba is much closer to the pre-1967 border of the “West Bank” than it is to the Gaza Strip).

Moreover, unlike in Gaza, a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would reduce Israel’s width in its most populous areas to a minuscule 11-25 km. – roughly the distance from Beverly Hills to Malibu along Sunset Boulevard.

Even more important than geographic expanse – or the lack thereof – is topographical structure. Unlike the flat Gaza Strip, the limestone hills that comprise the “West Bank” dominate the urbanized Coastal Plain, together with much of Israel’s vital infrastructure, its only international airport, vital centers of civilian government and military command – and 80 percent of its population and commercial activity.

All of this would be in range of the weapons that forced a million Israelis into bomb shelters last weekend, now deployed along a much longer front and in far superior topographical positions.

Even given the impressive performance of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system, this would make any semblance of economic or social routine untenable.

‘One does not have to a military expert’
Ever since Abba Eban characterized the pre-1967 Green Line as the “Auschwitz Borders,” it has been widely accepted that such frontiers cannot, except under wildly optimistic and unrealistic assumptions, afford Israel acceptable levels of security.

Even iconic Labor Party moderate Yigal Allon declared: “One does not have to be a military expert to easily identify the critical defects of the armistice lines that existed until June 4, 1967,” warning that they risk “the physical extinction of a large part of [Israel’s] population and the political elimination of the Jewish state.”

Numerous military experts have endorsed this position. In one recent study, a host of senior military and diplomatic figures, including a former IDF chief of staff, a former head of Military Intelligence and the National Security Council, and ambassadors to the UN, US and France, concluded that to meet minimum security requirements, Israel must retain control of the high ground in Judea and Samaria, as well as the Jordan Valley and the air space up to the Jordan River.

What do these minimum requirements, necessitating Israeli control of wide swathes of territory in the “West Bank,” entail for the viability of Palestinian statehood?

The myth of defensible borders
The answer is provided by an article, “The Myth of Defensible Borders” by Omar Dajani and Ezzedine Fishere in the January 2011 edition of Foreign Affairs.

The authors – an adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team and an adviser to the Egyptian foreign minister, respectively – point out: “A policy of defensible borders would… perpetuate the current sources of Palestinian insecurity, further delegitimizing an agreement in the public’s eyes. Israel would retain the discretion to impose arbitrary and crippling constraints on the movement of people and goods…. For these reasons, Palestinians are likely to regard defensible borders as little more than occupation by another name.”

Recent events in the Mideast – a triumphant Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the ever-ascendant Islamist influence in Jordan – are hardly likely to reduce Israeli threat perception, thus only increasing the incompatibility between a viable Palestinian state and minimal requirements for a secure Israel.

Dershowitz’s call that “Israel should recognize the right of Palestinians to establish an independent, democratic Palestinian state with politically and economically viable boundaries” appears increasing like a hapless attempt to “square the circle.”

‘Moderation’ begets delegitimization
The point many well-intentioned friends of Israel seem be to missing is that it is precisely “moderate supporters of the two-state solution” who have, in large measure, sown the seeds for the delegitimization of Israel.

While this contention may appear counterintuitive, the logic behind it is unassailable. Once the legitimacy of a Palestinian state is conceded, the delegitimization of Israel is inevitable.

The chain of reasoning is clear: If the legitimacy of a Palestinian state is accepted, then any measures incompatible with its viability are illegitimate. But, Israel’s minimum security requirements necessarily obviate the viability of Palestinian state. Thus, by accepting the admissibility of a Palestinian state, one necessarily admits the inadmissibility of measures required to ensure Israeli security.

Conversely, measures required to ensure Israeli security necessarily negate the viability of a Palestinian state.

For the notion of a secure Israel to regain legitimacy, the notion of a Palestinian state must be discredited and removed from the discourse as a possible means of resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Indeed an invented people
This, of course, is easier said than done.

Rolling back the decades of distortion, deception and delusion that have become entrenched in the collective international consciousness will be a Herculean task.

But the immense scale of the task cannot diminish the imperative of its implementation.

The first – and most crucial – step along this arduous road is to expose the Palestinian claim to nationhood for the hoax it is.

For the Palestinians are indeed an “invented people.” Not because Newt Gingrich deems them to be, but because they themselves declare this to be so.

The historical record is replete with proclamations from Arab and Palestinian leaders, echoing the frank admission by the late Zuheir Mohsen, former PLO Executive Council member, that a “separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons,” and that the “the establishment of a Palestinian state is a new tool to continue the fight against Israel.”

Indeed, the Palestinian National Charter (Article 12) concedes that the endeavor to “safeguard… Palestinian identity” in merely a temporary ruse.

Moreover, not only was the territory, now claimed as the age-old Palestinian homeland, under Jordanian rule for two decades prior to 1967, without even a feeble effort to establish a Palestinian state in it being made; but the Palestinians eschewed any sovereign claim to it, explicitly conceding (Article 24 of the 1964 National Charter) that it belonged to another sovereign entity – Jordan – which only in 1988 relinquished its claim to it.

It was only after these territories came under Jewish control that Palestinians began to see them as a location for their state.

A spiteful echo
Nothing could underscore more dramatically the fundamental truth about the Palestinian claim to nationhood.

It is a claim devoid of any substantive positive content. It is no more than the negation of Jewish claims to nationhood, merely a contrary – and spiteful – echo of Zionist achievement, without which it would have neither the conceptual rationale nor the practical capacity to exist.

As the late King Hussein – not Newt Gingrich – stated: “The appearance of the Palestinian national personality comes as an answer to Israel’s claim that Palestine is Jewish.”

What could be clearer? No claim that Israel is not Jewish, no Palestinian national personality.

It thus astounding that Dershowitz would suggest there is any semblance of equivalency between Jewish and Palestinians claims to nationhood. Indeed, by any accepted criteria for political self-determination, the two are antipodal opposites. The Jews have a unique language – the Palestinians do not; the Jews have unique script – the Palestinians do not; the Jews have a unique religion – the Palestinians do not. The Jews have a unique heritage and documented history dating back thousands of years; the Palestinians – at best – have a contrived history dating back a few decades and supported largely by archeological vandalism and “creative” chronicling of the past.

Imperative not ‘obnoxious’
Dershowitz is gravely mistaken in dismissing debate on the authenticity of Palestinian claims to statehood as “obnoxious.” It is difficult to conceive of any more proper and pressing imperative.

Refraining from such discussion has inflicted devastating damage on Israel and its international legitimacy.

By desperately adhering to a paradigm that is unworkable – because it would make Israel untenable geographically – the two-state advocates have not only made Israel appear insincere and conniving.

By shunning discussion on other Zionist-compliant alternatives, they have – unintentionally – catalyzed debate on far more ominous proposals that threaten to make Israel untenable demographically.

The recent Harvard conference is the harbinger of things to come.


March 16, 2012 | 11 Comments »

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11 Comments / 11 Comments

  1. Let’s get it clear: All the talk about security is secondary. We are talking about our RIGHTS. We are talking about land we RE_OCCUOPIED, and not occupied.
    That is the crux of the matter. Security will follow once we stand up for our RIGTHS. Period!

  2. At least Dershowitz is mostly on the side of Israel, he is just misinformed, like most American Jews, and doesn’t really understand the real dangers to Israel of a Palestinian state.
    Dershowitz is not acting or speaking out of malice, he is rather speaking out of ignorance.
    There is a huge difference there.

  3. As long as the mendacious Obama remains president it may be prudent for Bibi to pay lip service to a Palestinian state, west of the Jordan River, given the necessary pre-conditions, whilst never actually acceding to it. He is still trying to reverse the momentum of the disasterous Oslo “peace process”, initiated by Peres and Rabin.
    Nevertheless, should a Republican president(or a benign Democrat)be elected, it is imperative that the incumbent Israeli prime minister state Israel’s true position, that it is inconceivable that Israel could countenance an Arab state, west of the river.
    The reason that the well-meaning Dershowitz parrots the same insane rhetoric of a 2 state solution is that most of the world has been mentally kidnapped, hypnotised by the psychological ju-jitzu of Israel’s enemies.
    In the words of Deprogramprogram’s Shai Ben Tekoa -“The Arab-Israeli conflict is about the Arab drive to deny statehood to the Jews, and what the Arabs came up with as a formidable weapon in psychological warfare is the antisemitic myth that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about the Jewish drive to deny statehood to the phantom state of Palestine.”

  4. I also fault Sherman for the same reasons he faults Dershowitz. There is a de facto “2 state solution” existing since the illegal, immoral creation of the JEW FREE Jordan. It demonstrates the myth of the Palestinian people because it was created before the myth evolved. As it is created on 77% of the former Palestine mandate territory and is JEW FREE it has obviously been created for the sole benefit of the former arab/muslim residents of the former mandate territory. The only thing that has not occurred is the completion of an exchange of populations which was executed in part by the ethnic cleansing of jews from arab nations and areas under their control which occupy forme mandate territory. Surely a world, who after creating the geneva conventions and repeatedly waving it in Israels face, who accepted the ethnic cleansing of jews from arab lands; a world who accepts that every arab /muslim area which occupies the former palestine mandate territory is JEW FREE; Surely that world must now accept the transfer of those arab/muslims from within the 23% left to the Jews to the JEW FREE side of the former “Palestine”. And why dont they? Because fool Jews are never discussing or demanding resolution of that second travesty immediately after the holocaust. Jews have time for discussion of arab/muslim issues and complaints but turn a blind eye to their own. Real leaders will state that there must be a quid pro quo for Jew cleansing from muslim areas. What the hell is wrong with Jews???? The world will give crumbs to those satisfied with crumbs. Aworld satisfied with jew cleansing must be satisfied with muslim cleansing, test them and see.

  5. “In order to preserve ourselves we must totally destroy any who threaten us by preempting them first and wiping them out with whatever it takes.” — Yamit is right and these things must be brought up among the Jewish people. Security will be borne of fear. When they quake out of fear of awakening the mad dog then true security will be achieved. They have no respect because they have no fear. To them Barak and Bibi are reliable buffoons who can be depended upon for restraint and proportion. Israel needs a vengeful leader who will seize their oil and destroy them on the slightest provocation. The jews began to get respect, not pity or empathy, after 1967 war. Not only the direct enemy should be under attack but politicians,terror financiers and supporters must regularly meet upon “accidents” so it becomes too frightening to support terror against the jews. A young HItler, speaking at a university, covertly seeking dead jews, must be liquidated. This is the ONLY meaning of NEVER AGAIN not the sniveling, begging and groveling before the 2000 year jew killers and swindlers. At this moment there are “respectable” members of European and American society whose words, if successful, will result in dead jews. There should be counter-terror groups to eliminate these threats. Obama treads lightly around north korea but not Israel, whom he insults. Perhaps it is better to be a threat to the world than to be “loved” and “respected”. A massive and merciless onslaught, using nuclear weapons, must be employed against those contemplating dead jews. The nations of those shouting “kill the Jews” should be destroyed.

  6. There is a website with a very slick looking printed and PDF magazine called Israel Defense. It is a scam and I would advise everyone not to subscribe to it.

  7. A Palestinian Arab State is absolutely incompatible with Israel’s minimal security needs. The most that Israel could concede is far less than what an Arab leader could accept and still remain politically viable.

    Israel will never be secure in a sea of over 300 million Arabs. We keep them at bey through strength but that can change in a “twinkling of an eye” and then they will attack us in-order to destroy us every one of us.

    In order to preserve ourselves we must totally destroy any who threaten us by preempting them first and wiping them out with whatever it takes.

    “So Samuel returned after Saul, and Saul prostrated himself before HaShem. Samuel then said, ‘Bring me Agag, king of Amalek.’ And Agag went to him submissively. And Agag said, ‘Surely, the bitterness of death has passed.’ And Samuel said, ‘As your sword made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.’ And Samuel cut Agag into pieces before HaShem in Gilgal.” (I Samuel 15:31-33)

    Rav Soloveitchik said ” Anyone who raises the flag against Israel and the G-d of Israel is Amalek”, so the Nazi were Amalek and the Arabs and Muslims are Amalek. Forget politics, I don’t give a damn about POLITICS, when a nation or people threaten the annihilation of Israel; Israel must take them at their word and destroy them before they can destroy us, even if it means incinerating the whole country of Iran. Annihilate them and destroy them just as we were commanded to do to Amalek. Forget about the Nuke sites destroy and burn their oil fields and refineries, Burn them all to hell…Roast them all. That is the message we are commanded re: Alalek then, now and in every generation.

    The so called Palis are Classical reincarnation of Amalek and must be destroyed as well.

    Amalek is the nation that attacked the weakest among the Israelites as they fled from Egypt. This transgression was not to go unpunished. The Torah has a harsh prescription for Amalek: annihilation.

    “It shall be that when Hashem, your God, gives you rest from all your enemies all around, in the Land that Hashem, your God, gives you as an inheritance to possess it, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under the heaven. Do not forget it!” (Deuteronomy 25: 19; also see Exodus 17:14 and Numbers 24:20)

    Blotting out the memory of Amalek was no mere psychological activity. The Israelites were expected to kill every Amalekite–man, woman, and child. But was this just a theoretical imperative or was it meant to be carried out?

    The book of Samuel implies that it required actual fulfillment: “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox, and sheep, camel and ass,”(Samuel I, 15:3). King Saul struck down Amalek as he was commanded but he then took mercy upon King Agag and upon some of the Amalekite animals. God and the prophet Samuel harshly criticized Saul for not fulfilling God’s word. They fired him as King!!!

    Dershowitz may in his own way be pro Israel but his views are not Jewish views. He has always placed qualifications in his support.

  8. It would be obnoxious for there to be a conference here [Harvard] on the subject of whether the Palestinians are a real people.

    It would take a considerable display of evidence, considering their behavior for the past century, to convince me that the “Palestinians” are even human beings. As it stands, giving them nation status would be like admitting the dogs of Australia to a separate seat at the UN, along with its current human seat and, of course, one each for its considerable nations of sheep and rabbits.

    (The sheep should be permanent, veto-weilding members of the Security Council).

  9. A Palestinian Arab State is absolutely incompatible with Israel’s minimal security needs. The most that Israel could concede is far less than what an Arab leader could accept and still remain politically viable.

    Its time to go beyond the defunct so-called two state solution and look at new paradigms for the problem.