Alan Dershowitz, professional Israel apologist and demonizer-of-those-who-disagree-in-the-slightest, has done it again, with a new article over at FrontPage Magazine. It’s a pretty standard condemnation of Israel Apartheid Week (that is, for all the wrong reasons). Right off the bat, it starts off with this gem:
Every year at about this time, radical Islamic students—aided by radical anti-Israel professors—hold an event they call “Israel Apartheid Week.”
Does Prof. Dershowitz seriously believe that Israel Apartheid Week is only run by “radical Islamic students”? And what does that even mean? Does he think that the people staffing the BDS tables are all Al-Qaeda members? For crying out loud, this isn’t just stupid and biased, it’s stupid, biased, and wrong.
As one who strongly opposes any censorship, my solution is to fight bad speech with good speech, lies with truth and educational malpractice with real education.
Well, you’re off to a smashing start, then. Keep up the good work.
There is complete freedom of dissent in Israel and it is practiced vigorously by Muslims, Christians and Jews alike. And Israel is a vibrant democracy.
The article does make some good points about the terrible sexism, homophobia, and religious intolerance that runs rampant through many other Middle Eastern countries. On this, my fellow Jewschooler dcc said it best with his post “But it is the only Democracy in the Middle East!”. I for one am tired of hearing a list of the wrongs (even legitimate ones) of other countries in order to make Israel seem better by comparison and, by extension, underserving of any criticism.
Israel ended its occupation of the Gaza several years ago, only to be attacked by Hamas rockets.
HUBBADABUBBADAWHAT? Controlling borders, airspace, imports and exports, water, and power isn’t an occupation anymore?
In Dershowitz’s fantasy world, Israel Apartheid Week, the BDS movement, the New Israel Fund, B’Tselem, J Street, APN and Shalom Achshav, and every other organization like them exist for one purpose only: to demonize Israel. Never mind that some of BDS’ most prominent supporters are Jewish. Never mind that the head of the New Israel Fund is a former MK. Never mind, never mind, never mind. For Dershowitz, these people are all liars who are out to get him and the other valiant Diaspora Jews who stand between Israel and (gasp!) criticism.
Frankly, a friend of mine here at Brown showed a better understanding of the situation in her opinion column in the Brown Daily Herald:
Having a huge sign on the main green that asks, “Do You Want Your School Profiting from Apartheid?” leaves no room for objection. This presentation makes opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict mutually exclusive: If you are pro-Israel, you support apartheid. If you are pro-Palestine, or perhaps anti-Israel, you support human rights and equality.
There are plenty of reasons to oppose Israel Apartheid Week and the BDS movement. I oppose them because I believe that BDS is a regressive tactic and that the language of Israel Apartheid Week is divisive and inaccurate (the same way I view the language of people like Dershowitz). I don’t oppose them because they’re founded in anti-Semitism, despite the fact that I’m repeatedly warned that that’s the case.
The real threat to Israel’s existence is people like Prof. Dershowitz, who are determined to make an enemy of every person who disagrees with them. Professor, if you want to make everyone else your enemy, you’ll succeed. But why would you want to make more enemies for Israel? If you want to support Israel, you should be making friends, not enemies. You should be talking to people, not turning them against you.
If powerful voices in the Jewish community continue to insist that the only way to define these people is as enemies, then that’s how they will come to define themselves. If people like Prof. Dershowitz give those who they disagree with only the options of agreeing with them completely, or being enemies of the State of Israel, they will choose to be enemies rather than give up their right to hold their own opinions.
How many more enemies are we going to make? How many more people will we turn against us with our violent rhetoric?
The choice is ours.