Alan Dershowitz’s Vision Problem
I’ve long since thought that Alan Dershowitz doesn’t quite get it when it comes to Israel. But a piece he wrote for Gatestone Institute, A Visit to the Old and New Hells of Europe Provides a Reminder of Israel’s Importance, was for me, proof of the pudding.
Dershowitz visits Europe and finds out what the Nazis did to his relatives. It’s bad. It makes him realize that Jews need and deserve a state of their own. He writes:
“My visit to Europe made one thing unmistakably clear: if there is any group in the world that needs a safe homeland — a sanctuary from bigotry and hatred — it is the Jewish people. When Hitler was willing to expel them from Europe, before deciding to exterminate them, no country — not even the United States or Canada — would give them asylum. Britain closed the doors of what is now Israel to them. They had no place to go. So they were murdered by the Nazis and their willing executioners throughout Europe. There is no group whose history entitles it to a safe and secure homeland more than the Jewish people.”
The problem with this? We Jews don’t need or deserve a state of our own because of the Holocaust. The land in question is our indigenous territory, and according to the three major religions, it was given us by God, not 70 years ago, but thousands of years ago.
We don’t need attempted genocide as an excuse to live in our land or to build homes there for our people. Dershowitz’s stance here, that the Holocaust proves the Jews need a safe space, is like saying: “We’re sorry, Arabs, but we have to occupy your land because Europe was very, very mean to us.”
That’s a terrible premise. It’s so myopic it’s blind. And it’s damaging because by taking this position, Dershowitz validates the false Arab narrative that says, “Why should Arabs suffer because YOU had a Holocaust?”
In using the Holocaust as the premise for Jewish land rights, Dershowitz, in effect, gives a nod to the idea that Arabs are being punished because the Jews had a Holocaust. He validates the false claim that Jews are stealing Arab land.
But this is nothing new. Dershowitz has reminded us repeatedly that he is for “Israel” but against “settlements.” Take this 2011 Wall Street Journal piece, for instance, The U.N. Gangs Up on Israel—Again. Look how it begins:
“Although I have opposed Israel’s civilian settlements in the West Bank since 1973, I strongly believe that the United States should veto a resolution currently before the U.N. Security Council that would declare illegal ‘all Israeli settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.'”
He is using their words. “West Bank.” Does he know the “West Bank” is really Judea and Samaria, the heart of our Jewish indigenous territory? Does he know that even the Arabs call Jews, “Yahud,” because THEY know and acknowledge that WE come from Yehuda (Judea).
Moreover, what could possibly be wrong with Jews building homes? Does it matter where they choose to build them? Would it be wrong for a Jew to build a home in New Jersey? If not, why on earth would it be wrong for a Jew to build a home in Judea or Samaria, his native land? Why would a Jew oppose this?
Does Dershowitz really embrace the idea that this part of the world or that should be Judenrein, because Arabs say so? And is Dershowitz, indeed, that disconnected from his heritage that he opposes a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, the heart of Jewish homeland and history?
The truth is, his oft-stated opposition to “West Bank settlements” horrifies me. It shows an extreme disconnect from our history. It’s also extreme bigotry. Would he tell Jews they can’t build homes in New Jersey? What if the residents of New Jersey said it would make them very mad if they did? Would that make a difference??
I have to wonder what people learn in law school that they become blind to simple truths.
Frankly, I’m really tired of Dershowitz sitting pretty in the States in his ivory tower telling me where I should and shouldn’t live. And I don’t much respect that, either.