Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Dershowitz doesn't get it

From Jewish World Review, July 6, 2009 , by Melanie Phillips:

A sobering view by one of Britain's most respected columnists



















Alan Dershowitz is one of the most prolific, high-profile and indefatiguable defenders of Israel and the Jewish people against the tidal wave of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish feeling currently coursing through the west....
...But just like the majority of American Jews ...he is a Democrat supporter who is incapable of acknowledging the truth about this President. ...they simply cannot see what is staring them in the face — that this Democratic President is lethal for both Israel and the free world. ...Dershowitz shows that he too is just as blind.

Acknowledging the anxiety among some American Jews about Obama's attitude to Israel, Dershowitz concludes uneasily that there isn't really a problem here because all Obama is doing is putting pressure on Israel over the settlements, which most American Jews don't support anyway. But this is totally to miss the point. The pressure over the settlements per se is not the reason for the intense concern.

It is instead, first and foremost, the fact that Obama is treating Israel as if it is the obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Obama thus inverts aggressor and victim, denying Israel's six-decade long victimisation and airbrushing out Arab aggression.
The question remains: why has Obama chosen to pick a fight with Israel while soft-soaping Iran which is threatening it with genocide? The answer is obvious: Israel is to be used to buy off Iran just as Czechoslovakia was used at Munich. Indeed, I would say this is worse even than that, since I suspect that Obama — coming as he does from a radical leftist milieu, with vicious Israel-haters amongst his closest friends — would be doing this to Israel even if Iran was not the problem that it is.

In any event, the double standard is egregious. Obama has torn up his previous understandings with Israel over the settlements while putting no pressure at all on the Palestinians, even though since they are the regional aggressor there can be no peace unless they end their aggression and certainly not until they accept Israel as a Jewish state, which they have said explicitly they will never do.
On this, Obama is totally silent. So too is Dershowitz. That's some omission.

Next, Obama is pressuring Israel to set up a Palestine state — within two years this will exist, swaggers Rahm Emanuel. But everyone knows that as soon as Israel leaves the West Bank, Hamas — or even worse — will take over. The only reason the (also appalling) Abbas is still in Ramallah, enabling Obama to pretend there is a Palestinian interlocutor for peace, is because the Israelis are keeping Hamas at bay.
Yet Dershowitz writes: There is no evidence of any weakening of American support for Israel's right to defend its children from the kind of rocket attacks candidate Obama commented on during his visit to Sderot.

... If Obama has his way, Israel would not be able to defend its children or anyone else, because Obama would have removed its defences by putting its enemies in charge of them. It is astounding that Dershowitz can't see this.

...Dershowitz also grossly underplays the terrible harm Obama is doing to the security not just of Israel but the world through his reckless appeasement of Iran. In the last few weeks, this has actively undercut the Iranian democrats trying to oust their tyrannical regime, and has actually strengthened that regime. All the evidence suggests ever more strongly that Obama has decided America will 'live with' a nuclear Iran, whatever it does to its own people. Which leaves Israel hung out to dry.

But even here, where he is clearly most concerned, Dershowitz scuttles under his comfort blanket — Dennis Ross, who was originally supposed to have been the US special envoy to Iran but was recently announced senior director of the National Security Council and special assistant to the President for the region. It is not at all clear whether this ambiguous development represents a promotion or demotion for Ross. Either way, for Dershowitz to rest his optimism that Obama's Iran policy will be all right on the night entirely upon the figure of Dennis Ross is pathetic.
Ross, a Jew who played Mr Nice to Robert Malley's Mr Nasty towards Israel in the Camp David debacle under President Clinton, is clearly being used by Obama as a human shield behind which he can bully Israel with impunity. American Jews assume that his proximity to Obama means the President's intentions towards Israel are benign. Dazzled by this vision of Ross as the guarantor of Obama's good faith, they thus ignore altogether the terrible import of the actual words coming out of the President's mouth.

The fact is that many American Jews are so ignorant of the history of the Jewish people, the centrality of Israel in its history and the legality and justice of its position that they probably saw nothing wrong in Obama saying that the Jewish aspiration for Israel came out of the Holocaust because they think this too.
Nor do they see the appalling double standard in the bullying of Israel over the settlements and what that tells us about Obama's attitude towards Israel, because — as Dershowitz himself makes all too plain — they too think in much the same way, that the settlements are the principal obstacle to peace.

Many if not most American Jews have a highly sentimentalized view of Israel. They never go there, are deeply ignorant of its history and current realities, and are infinitely more concerned with their own view of themselves as social liberals, a view reflected back at themselves through voting for a Democrat President....
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