Book Review: Alan Dershowitz - "The Case Against Israel's Enemies"
Several months ago, the publisher of Alan Dershowitz’s new book, “The Case Against Israel’s Enemies” sent me a copy of the book to review. Although it’s taken me far too long to get to it, I have finally read the book…and I encourage you to read it as well. It took some courage to ask me to review Dershowitz, a guy who other than on this issue I generally disagree with. But on the issue of Israel’s enemies, not least its enemies within America, Dershowitz is right on target. In a continuation of their ongoing battle, Professor Dershowitz levels some of his fiercest criticism at former president Jimmy Carter, who is at best a naïve dupe and at worst a sell-out to Middle Eastern tyrants. Dershowitz shows Carter not simply to be philosophically in error, but also to be a bald-faced liar regarding his “facts” about the Israel-Palestinian issue. Carter wrote a book comparing the situation in Gaza and the West Bank to apartheid. Dershowitz explains not only how that highly inflammatory term is absolutely inapplicable, but how Carter (1) does not even define the term, (2) only uses the word three times in the text, so clearly chose it just to have a catchy title, and (3) only applies the term to Israel despite other situations around the world where it might be much more applicable, such as in Darfur. Basically, Dershowitz makes Carter look like a liar and an idiot, with Carter’s substantial assistance by his refusal to debate Dershowitz to support his own book’s outrageous claims. Carter has accepted money from Arab sheiks and Holocaust-denying “think tanks”. He goes out of his way to say that Palestinian missiles fired at random civilian targets in Israel do not qualify as terrorism. And Dershowitz makes an argument that Carter may have encouraged Yasser Arafat (whom Carter wrote about in pleasant, almost glowing terms) to torpedo the Camp David peace talks. At the end of the book, Dershowitz has an additional 20-page appendix (in small print) of errors in Jimmy Carter’s book. Another major target of Professor Dershowitz is the anti-semitic duo of Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer who made a name for themselves saying that the “Israel Lobby” controls American government and media. Dershowitz takes them apart and leave them a bloody mess…but of course people who believe things such as what Walt and Mearsheimer write aren’t susceptible to logic and facts. Later chapters in Dershowitz’s book explain the danger posed by Israel’s local and distant enemies, from far-left and far-right academics and media personalities, terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and the Islamic Republic of Iran and their seemingly insane president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. While many of the arguments that Dershowitz makes have been seen elsewhere, they have rarely been seen so cogently and in one volume. One area of explanation which I found particularly useful and interest was his description of the involvement of the man who was essentially the founder of Palestinian Islamic extremism, Haj Amin al-Husseini, with Adolf Hitler. It’s a devastating response to the criticism that the Jews should be given land in Europe instead of in the Middle East because the Palestinians had nothing to do with the Holocaust. As Dershowitz puts it, “It is fair to conclude that the official leader of the Muslims in Palestine…was a full-fledged Nazi war criminal, and he was so declared and sought by Yugoslavia as a war criminal after the war.” Some of Dershowitz’s evidence: “Husseini’s significant contributions to the Holocaust were multifold: first, he pleaded with Hitler to exterminate European Jewry and advised the Nazis on how to do so; second, he visited Auschwitz with Eichmann and urged Eichmann and Himmler to accelerate the pace of the mass murder; third, he personally stopped 4,000 children, accompanied by 500 adults, from leaving Europe and had them sent to Auschwitz and gassed; fourth, he prevented another two thousand Jews from leaving Romania for Palestine and one thousand from leaving Hungary for Palestine who were subsequently sent to death camps; fifth, he organized the killing of Bosnian Jews by Muslims, who he recruited to the Waffen-SS Nazi-Bosnian division. He was also one of the few non-Germans who was made privy to the Nazi extermination while it was taking place… Husseini personally has the blood of more than twenty thousand Jewish children and adults on his hands.” I haven’t included a lot of quotes from the book in this brief review because the book is relatively short and I encourage you to read it yourselves. It is excellent intellectual ammunition against the liars and haters who oppose the very existence of Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy and one of America’s closest allies. Allow me to conclude with some of Alan Dershowitz’s conclusion: “Israel is the only country in the world that is accused by its enemies of practicing apartheid without racism; of perpetrating a Holocaust without gas chambers; of engaging in genocide without mass murder; of committing war crimes without targeting civilians; and of being the worst human rights violator in the world, while having one of the most responsive legal systems in the world. This is accusation by metaphor, prosecution by propaganda, trial by bigotry, guilt by hyperbole, and sentence by sloganeering.” Dershowitz has done us a great service by writing this book, and despite all the other areas in which one might disagree with a Harvard liberal, this book should be required reading for anyone reading, writing, or thinking about the past and the future of the Middle East.
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