In his new book The Case for Israel, Harvard Professor of Law and distinguished appellate lawyer Alan Dershowitz takes on the case of a new client. This client has already been judged in the international arena, which has proclaimed her guilty of every charge. Even OJ Simpson has enjoyed a much weaker presumption of guilt than this client.
This client is, of course, the State of Israel.
Like the excellent advocate that he is, Dershowitz approaches this case in a very logical, structured manner. Each chapter begins with an accusation against Israel, such as:
- European Jews displaced PLO Arabs
- The UN Partition Plan was unfair to PLO Arabs
- Israel created the Arab refugee problem
- The Israeli occupation is the cause of all the problems
- Israel has not made serious efforts at peace<
- Israel is a racist state
- Targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders are unlawful
Dershowitz then provides examples of these accusations by way of quotes from various accusers. Needless to say, the names Edward Said and Noam Chomsky appear on numerous occasions.
Dershowitz follows each accusation and example with a short summary of the reality, followed by a comprehensive proof. By the end of each proof, you cannot help but feel that each accusation has been shot to pieces.
While the book essentially comprises of many different accusations leveled against Israel, each dealt with on its own merits, one can detect common themes which run throughout the pages of this book; that since the inception of the modern State of Israel, the Arab states have constantly attempted to eliminate it; many Arab states, and indeed PLO Arabs, have yet to renounce this goal; Israel has constantly shown its desire to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict; Israel has been singled out for criticism by the world community, despite its relatively good human rights record; and that the claims of the PLO Arabs have been singled out for special treatment, despite the more compelling claims for self-determination by such groups as the Tibetans and Kurds.
While Dershowitz’s arguments are consistently strong, it are the chapters on Israel’s relatively good human rights records that perhaps resonate the loudest, due in no small part to Dershowitz’s reputation as a leading civil rights advocate.
My only criticism of of the book is that Dershowitz is prone to advocating his own views regarding a solution to the Middle East conflict, as well as domestic Israeli issues. While it is interesting to hear what a great mind like Dershowitz has to say about these matters, I believe that it is beyond the scope of a book designed to comprehensively rebut specific accusations against Israel. Many of these insights do nothing to enhance the rebuttals, and distract from the issues at hand.
Nevertheless, The Case for Israel is an excellent defence of the State of Israel against its many accusers, and is mandatory reading for all who are genuinely interested in knowing the facts behind the Middle East conflict.