Monday, April 30, 2007

Alan Derschowitz Dances With The Devil

Alan Derschowitz believes that Jimmy Carter is too hard on Israel, and not critical enough of arabs. To prove this, he writes an article for FrontPage Magazine, the brainchild of lunatic David Horowitz. Horowitz, while not trying to shut down academic freedom on college campuses has become a favorite of right wing media exposing his former "comrades" on the left. Horowitz turned from radical marxism to radical right wing kookery without ever taking a reflective pause in the middle. That Dershowitz would align himself with a person who rejects academic independence, in order to criticize Jimmy Carter's lack of independence is a bit ironic. A highlight from the article.
The entire premise of his criticism of Jewish influence on American foreign policy is that money talks. It is Carter, not me, who has made the point that if politicians receive money from Jewish sources, then they are not free to decide issues regarding the Middle East for themselves. It is Carter, not me, who has argued that distinguished reporters cannot honestly report on the Middle East because they are being paid by Jewish money. So, by Carter's own standards, it would be almost economically "suicidal" for Carter "to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine."

By Carter's own standards, therefore, his views on the Middle East must be discounted. It is certainly possible that he now believes them. Money, particularly large amounts of money, has a way of persuading people to a particular position. It would not surprise me if Carter, having received so much Arab money, is now honestly committed to their cause. But his failure to disclose the extent of his financial dependence on Arab money, and the absence of any self reflection on whether the receipt of this money has unduly influenced his views, is a form of deception bordering on corruption.

I have met cigarette lobbyists, who are supported by the cigarette industry, and who have come to believe honestly that cigarettes are merely a safe form of adult recreation, that cigarettes are not addicting and that the cigarette industry is really trying to persuade children not to smoke. These people are fooling themselves (or fooling us into believing that they are fooling themselves) just as Jimmy Carter is fooling himself (or persuading us to believe that he is fooling himself).

So Carter is like a cigarette lobbyist in denial. I think Dersch is the person in denial here. Are the arab states worse than Israel. Yes. This is ALWAYS where Alan ends his analysis. If Carter is corrupted by Arab financing, how is that different than the vast amounts of pro-likkud financing in the US. I carefully distinguish between hawkish lunatics from Israel and the US on one hand, and the Israeli citizenry on the other.

The politics of Israel is a minefield waiting to explode on anybody who ventures near it, but Alan Derschowitz' arrogance and blindness on the subject compels me to respond. Israel has tortured suspects not convicted of any crime (so have we). Israel responds to attacks with force many times greater than the original provocation (so do we). Israel has gotten in bed with some very bad people, like the Apartheid regime in South Africa(so have we).

My government has also done some wonderful things. So has the government of Israel. I criticize Tony Blair often. It does not make me anti-brit. We apparently can not discuss the middle east in this country without names being thrown, tempers reaching the boiling point, and the debate eventually being stifled.

I criticize my government for the wrongs it commits out of a love for my country, and because I expect better of it. It's a mature love. Israelis commonly criticize their government for their blunders. Today's report on Olmert's "leadership" during the Lebanon crisis is a great example of that. Citizens continually complain, agitate against the policies of their leadership.

People like Alan Derschowitz help create the dishonest debate we have in this country. So, I have a proposal for him. Get in a debate with Carter but with a different set of ground rules. Be critical of your own side for a change. There are grievances by everybody. Carter must discuss the ways (which are myriad) that the arab states are doing terrible things. Derschowitz must go through a laundry list of ways in which Israel should improve.

It will never happen, but until we stop doing my side right or wrong, the middle east will continue to be the cesspool of hatred that continues to harm the poor, the powerless, and will not create a common good.

P.S. Dersch being a proponent of torture and the ticking clock scenario does not really help out his moral authority here. Just saying.