Alan M. Dershowitz: Israel, Hamas, and moral idiocy

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The attacks on Israeli citizens have little to do with what Israel does or does not do. They have everything to do with an ideology that despises – and openly seeks to destroy – the Jewish state. Consider that rocket attacks increased substantially after Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, and they accelerated further after Hamas seized control last year.

In the past months, a shaky cease-fire, organized by Egypt, was in effect. Hamas agreed to stop the rockets and Israel agreed to stop taking military action against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. The cease-fire itself was morally dubious and legally asymmetrical.

Israel, in effect, was saying to Hamas: If you stop engaging in the war crime of targeting our innocent civilians, we will stop engaging in the entirely lawful military acts of targeting your terrorists. Under the cease-fire, Israel reserved the right to engage in self-defense actions such as attacking terrorists who were in the course of firing rockets at its civilians.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsrael

Posted December 31, 2008 at 1:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. nwlayman wrote:

How lucky the world is that the Ottoman Empire went (mostly) out of business.  The last cells of the organization continue it’s policies of tolerance and peaceful coexistence.

December 31, 3:14 pm | [comment link]
2. Cennydd wrote:

In Hamas’ view, there are no “innocents” among the Israeli population, and everyone…, women, and children…...are legitimate targets.  Their stated goal has remained unchanged:  The death of every Jew and the destruction of the State of Israel… matter how long it takes, and every means is justified.  Yes, the Palestinians deserve a state of their own…..they have been stateless since 1948…..but they also need to get rid of the terrorists in their midst, or they will never have that state.

December 31, 5:10 pm | [comment link]
3. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

The Palestinians have not been “stateless” since 1948. They had a state—Jordan—and tried to overthrow it because Jordan was not aggressive enough against Israel. Little wonder the Jordanians do not now wish for the return of the West Bank as long as it includes the Palestinians.

A bit of history is in order here, as well. When the Zionist movement began in the 1880s the whole of what is now Israel was almost completely abandoned and desolate, save for a few thousand people here and there in grubby little villages, including Jerusalem.

By 1930 immigrating Jews had been so successful (and so fecund) that the population was on the order of two million, and they had turned the desert into something of a garden.

They needed workers for their flourishing farms and Palestinians began drifting in from Jordan and Egypt to get work in the Depression. Let that sink in for a minute. Essentially every Palestinian “connexion” to Israel is a result of some recent ancestor having arrived there seeking work well under a century ago.

In 1948 roughly 3/4 million Jews were driven out of Arab countries with little more that the clothes they wore. They were welcomed into Israel and eventually made lives for themselves.

An equal number of Palestinian left Israel, in an almost completely voluntary fashion. Instead of being welcomed into the Arab countries they were herded into refugee areas. As an historical note, something nearly identical happened along the Polish-German border, again under UN auspices.  Somehow the Germans, the Poles, and (farther south) the Jews managed to figure it out. The Palestinians did not.

The Palestinians currently running Gaza are Iranian pawns, and the Israelis know it. So do many of the Fatah Palestinians, who are providing detailed target intel to the IDF.  Consequently, it’s a pretty good assumption that anyone supporting the Hamas Palestinians has a fervently anti-Israel agenda.

December 31, 8:19 pm | [comment link]
4. Cousin Vinnie wrote:

I don’t always agree with Prof Dershowitz, but here he is dead balls on.

January 1, 2:20 am | [comment link]
5. Terry Tee wrote:

Oh dear.  Bart above is circulating a myth, one that has been comprehensively debunked by Israeli demographers.  It sounds to me like he has read Barbara Tuchman’s controversial book on the subject - which, if I recall correctly, has been severely questioned by the same demographers for its creative approach to the archival sources.  Seriously:  should Christians spring so quickly to conclusions that wipe a people away?  It is deeply and shamefully wrong to do that kind of thing.  The same school of historiography might want to say that, for example, those mid-Western plains and hill country, there really were hardly any Indians/native Americans there.  They were just passing through!  Nobody was deprived of their ancestral land,. why, it was empty when the settlers arrived and theirs for the taking.  But then, perhaps this subconscious memory of an injustice is exactly what drives this American-led myth about Palestine.

January 1, 12:17 pm | [comment link]
6. Terry Tee wrote:

I have already broken my new year resolution not to shoot from the hip on this site.  If I had waited until I had cooled I would have realised that Bart had been reading not Barbara Tuchman but Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial.  See, for example, the critical review of her book by Yehoshua Porath in the New York Review of Books January 16th, 1986, especially p 37 where he criticises the way that she ignores historical works that would modify or discredit Zionist sources (Zionist, by the way, is used here in a purely technical way, and by Porath himself).  Porath, a highly respected Israeli analyst concludes, “one cannot escape the conclusion that most of the growth of the Palestinian Arab community resulted from a process of natural increase”.’  See also Mark Tessler, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Indiana University Press, 1994, 210-218.

January 1, 12:36 pm | [comment link]
7. Bill Matz wrote:

Terry Tee responds to Bart Hall’s several points by claiming that Bart is circulating “a myth”. It would have been more helpful to have specified which of those several points was “a myth”.

The existence of the Palestinian state of Jordan is an historical fact, as is the 1970 rebellion led by Arafat.

The expulsion of Jews from most Arab states is an historical fact, one widely ignored now in Western media. Similarly ignored is that Israel took in most of those, while the dispossessed Palestinians were, as Bart noted, left in semi-permanent squalor of refugee camps.

The heart of TT’s disagreement appears to be with the claim that Israel/Palestine had few inhabitants prior to Zionism. There remains a lot of debate/spin about the relative populations, and TT raises an important issue about evaluating the historical claims of traditionally nomadic peoples to certain geography. However, while at least one of Bart’s points can be debated, it seems hyperbolic to label his post as “a myth” and “shameful”.

January 2, 4:37 am | [comment link]
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