Dershowitz Doth Protest Too Much, And He’s At It Again – OpEd
By Paul Woodward - War in Context
Cases of spontaneous human combustion, though rare, have been documented. At this point no one seems to think rage could be the cause of ignition, but to hear him rant, Alan Dershowitz sounds like he might be at risk of setting himself on fire.
He’s certainly mad as hell — or at least that’s how he’s acting. But for a trial lawyer who so often craves media attention, it’s never really clear whether he’s as hot on the inside as he is on the outside.
Dershowitz doth protest too much, and he’s at it again. The object of his rage this time is the avuncular M.J. Rosenberg.
Rosenberg’s “sin” is that he has used — and despite severe admonishment persists in using — the unconscionable phrase Israel Firster — at least it’s a phrase that’s unconscionable in the eyes of Israel Firsters like Dershowitz.
For years I have been waiting for Alan Dershowitz to meet his Edward R. Murrow, and I believe that he has met him in M.J. Let me tell you something about M.J. Rosenberg – to call him “anti-Israel” is as absurd as calling the New Israel Fund, J Street, the Meretz party, B’Tselem, anti-Israel – which, of course, is done everyday by the New Zealots, those self-appointed guardians of the Jewish state. M.J. has is a life-long liberal Zionist and supporter of the State of Israel, even when – especially when — he has criticized its government.
M.J. accused AIPAC of being an Israel-firster organization, and that aroused the ire of Dershowitz? M.J. worked for AIPAC for years, and he knows whereof he speaks. I can tell you that many AIPAC people I know, including relatives and friends, not only place Israel’s interests above American’s interest, they delude themselves into thinking that Israel’s interests are by definition identical with America’s interests.
M.J. allegedly tweeted in response to Dershowitz’s threats that he can go to hell. Dershowitz has responded by going nuclear. Because of his fury at Rosenberg, he is willing to attempt to cost Obama the election if the White House doesn’t publicly distance itself from Media Matters, or if Media Matters doesn’t fire Rosenberg, such is his fervor of the heresy hunter scorned. This time he has set the bar high, and, optimist that I am, I trust that he will fail.
Liberal Zionists, I am talking to you! Stand up for M.J. and you are standing up for your own against the like of those who delude themselves into thinking they are liberal Zionists. Otherwise you will end up by saying:
I was silent when Dershowitz went after Norman Finkelstein because I am not Norman Finkelstein. I was silent when he came for Matar, Giora, and Sand because, well, I had never heard of them. I was silent when he came for a liberal Zionist like M.J. Rosenberg because I don’t tweet. Then when he went after me, nobody was there to help me….
Perhaps there is a ray of light in all this. The Israeli Reut Institute last year outlined an Israel advocacy strategy of driving a wedge between the liberal Zionist and the extreme left in Israel and abroad. For the most part, it hasn’t worked. There is indeed a gap, but it is between the real liberal Zionists like M.J., Peter Beinart, Naomi Hazan, Larry Derfner, Michael Lerner, Leibel Fein, David Grossman, Amos Oz, as well as the activist groups in Israel like B’Tselem, Rabbis for Human Rights, Breaking the Silence, on the one hand, and the faux liberal Zionists like Dershowitz, Abe Foxman, Benny Morris, Ari Shavit, and all those members of the so-called “disappointed left” in Israel, on the other.
How do you distinguish between the genuine and the fake liberal Zionist? After all, both kinds say that they are for two states, oppose settlements and settlers, support territorial compromise, etc. It’s very simple: if they publicly criticize Israel’s human rights violations; if they support groups that expose such violations; if they call out Israel’s elected leaders on matters of policy and morality — in short, if they adopt the stance of moral critic because that is deep in their Jewish and mentshlich soul – then they are true liberal Zionists. All the others are deluded into thinking they are.
And no one is more deluded into thinking he is a liberal Zionist than Alan Dershowitz, who never ceases to remind his readers that he opposes the settlements and supports the two-state solution. Sorry, Professor, that is not enough to qualify. You also have to support harsh measures against the state if the settlements continue. You can’t be a liberal Zionist and support Binyamin Netanyahu, the arch-enemy of liberal Zionists. If you care about Israel as Jewish and democratic, to borrow the language of the liberal Zionists, you will – like M.J. and the others – have to fight against those Israeli government policies that are destroying the democratic nature of the state. You will join hands with human right activists, Jewish and Palestinian, who are fighting for justice. You will support, like M.J., Peter Beinart, David Grossman, and Amos Oz, boycotts against the settlers and the settlements. You will support pressure from the Americans and the European states to stop Israel’s slide into a Putin-style democracy.