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Alan Dershowitz: Why I Support Israel and Obama

 
 
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 10:03 am
Alan Dershowitz: Why I Support Israel and Obama
Huffington Post
10/18/08

I am a strong supporter of Israel (though sometimes critical of specific policies). I am also a strong supporter of Barack Obama (though I favored Hillary Clinton during the primaries). I am now getting dozens of emails asking me how as a supporter of Israel I can vote for Barack Obama. Let me explain.

I think that on the important issues relating to Israel, both Senator McCain and Senator Obama score very high. During the debates each candidate has gone out of his and her way to emphasize strong support for Israel as an American ally and a bastion of democracy in a dangerous neighborhood. They have also expressed support for Israel's right to defend itself against the nuclear threat posed by Iran which has sworn to wipe Israel off the map and the need to prevent another Holocaust.

There may be some difference in nuance among the candidates, especially with regard to negotiations with Iran, but supporters of Israel should not base their voting decision on which party or which candidates support Israel more enthusiastically. In the United States, Israel is not a divisive issue, and voting for President is not a referendum on support for Israel, at least among the major parties.

I want to keep it that way. I want to make sure that support for Israel remains strong both among liberals and conservatives. It is clear that extremists on both sides of the political spectrum hate Israel, because they hate liberal democracies, because they tend to have a special place in their heart for tyrannical regimes, and because they often have strange views with regard to anything Jewish. The extreme left, as represented by Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Norman Finkelstein and, most recently, Jimmy Carter has little good to say about the Jewish state. But nor does the extreme right, as represented by Pat Buchanan, Robert Novak, Joseph Sobran and David Duke. When it comes to Israel there is little difference between the extreme right and the extreme left. Nor is there much of a difference between the centrist political left and the centrist political right: both generally support Israel. Among Israel's strongest supporters have always been Ted Kennedy, Harry Reed, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The same is true of the centrist political right, as represented by Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, Oren Hatch and John McCain.

Why then do I favor Obama over McCain? First, because I support him on policies unrelated to Israel, such as the Supreme Court, women's rights, separation of church and state and the economy. But I also prefer Obama to McCain on the issue of Israel. How can I say that if I have just acknowledged that on the issues they both seem to support Israel to an equal degree? The reason is because I think it is better for Israel to have a liberal supporter in the White House than to have a conservative supporter in the oval office. Obama's views on Israel will have greater impact on young people, on Europe, on the media and on others who tend to identify with the liberal perspective. Although I believe that centrists liberals in general tend to support Israel, I acknowledge that support from the left seems to be weakening as support from the right strengthens. The election of Barack Obama -- a liberal supporter of Israel -- will enhance Israel's position among wavering liberals.

As I travel around university campuses both in the United States and abroad, I see radical academics trying to present Israel as the darling of the right and anathema to the left. As a liberal supporter of Israel, I try to combat that false image. Nothing could help more in this important effort to shore up liberal support for Israel than the election of a liberal president who strongly supports Israel and who is admired by liberals throughout the world. That is among the important reasons why I support Barack Obama for president.
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Alan M. Dershowitz is a Professor of Law at Harvard. His most recent book The Case Against Israel's Enemies: Exposing Jimmy Carter and Others Who Stand In The Way of Peace which has recently been published by Wiley.
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cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Sat 18 Oct, 2008 12:22 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Dershowitz has never been a trusted critic of anything - IMHO.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Oct, 2008 11:10 pm
Israel a bastion of democracy? Israel is the end result of the ideological relic of late 19th and early 20th century European ethnocentric nationalism called Zionism which is centered around the idea that "Jews" have exclusive rights to Palestine, the idea of which itself is base on the religious mythologies found within the Tanakh and the Talmud. This ideology necessitates the permanent discrimination and oppression of the non-Jewish population in Palestine--the Palestinians--through such measures as strict population control of non-Jewish peoples within Israel, and the herding of non-Jewish peoples into two major concentration camps, the Gaza Strip, and the increasingly circumscribed concentration camp called the West Bank.
It's a stretch, to say the very least, to call Israel a "bastion of democracy."

It's ironic that Dershowitz points the finger at "extremists on both sides of the political spectrum" hating Israel, because he's completely oblivious to the fact that Israel itself is an entity born of extremist ideology. The idea that one ethnic group has exclusive rights to a piece of land over that land's aboriginal inhabitants and their descendants, and that this ethnic group has the right to discriminate and oppress that aboriginal population in the endeavor to perpetuate a high level of ethnic purity in its population is itself a radically extremist ideology. Dershowitz needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

Likewise, Dershowitz talks out of his nether region when he asserts that some of the people he smears as "extremists" are so because "they hate liberal democracies," and then goes on to list examples of these "haters of liberal democracies": Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Norman Finkelstein and, most recently, Jimmy Carter. Does he know what he's saying? If these people "hate" Israel, it is precisely because Israel isn't a liberal democracy, it is a discriminatory and oppressive ethnocentric state. Dershowitz clearly is suffering from severe psychosis induced by his conviction of the extremist, illiberal and inhumane ideology he expounds.

Obama, if he is elected, looks to continue the support of the status quo in Israel that favors the Zionist enterprise to the continued detriment of the Palestinian people simply because his constituency is largely made up of Zionists and Zionist supporters. To go against this constituency would be political suicide, whether he himself is an adherent of Zionist ideology or not. He after all, is merely another politician.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Oct, 2008 11:13 pm
@InfraBlue,
Yet another reason why I wished the democrats had another candidate running for president.
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Oct, 2008 11:16 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Like all the others, that candidate would merely pursue the expedient political track and toe the line in support of the status quo in Israel/Palestine.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2008 10:26 am
@InfraBlue,
Yea, I see that in Obama, and that's one of many reasons I don't care for his candidacy.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2008 10:30 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Well that is a bit of a shock.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2008 11:00 am
@FreeDuck,
FreeDuck, In what ways?
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2008 11:29 am
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:

Yet another reason why I wished the democrats had another candidate running for president.


Little late for that, don't you think?
Miller
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2008 11:30 am
@FreeDuck,
FreeDuck wrote:

Well that is a bit of a shock.


He's an old man, trying to look saintly.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2008 11:31 am
@Miller,
Who doesn't know that; I can still wish we had other candidates running in this election.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Oct, 2008 12:42 pm
@cicerone imposter,
I had Dershowitz figured for a neocon is all.
0 Replies
 
 

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