When I read Alan Dershowitz, I sometimes feel like printing his face on the side of a milk carton and hoping someone will recognize him. Maybe that way he might be found and restored to his proper home. As I’ve written before, in such books as The Case for Israel, The Case for Peace and The Case Against Israel’s Enemies, Dershowitz does yeoman service on behalf of the beleaguered and universally misprised Jewish state, establishing the country’s historical and juridical rights to existence. And yet, when it comes to the international figure who may well be the most serious threat to Israel’s well-being and perhaps even to its survival—by whom I mean not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but Barack Obama—Dershowitz’s pen tilts to the “sinister” side of the page as he no doubt meditates his still unwritten The Case for Obama.
For example, in a recent essay exposing the lies and bigotry—indeed, the not-so-latent anti-Semitism of the Reverend Desmond Tutu—Dershowitz concludes by scrubbing clean the image of the American president. “I am confident,” he writes, “that President Obama was not aware of Tutu’s sordid history of anti-Jewish rhetoric and actions when he awarded him the Medal of Freedom.” This is pure nonsense. Obama surely has a team of researchers, advisers and vetters, trained to implement careful procedures of assessment, who would have made him intimately aware of Tutu’s unforgiveable ignominy and malevolence. After all, it’s not as if Tutu’s “anti-Jewish rhetoric and actions” are a closely guarded secret. A Google half-minute would have sufficed to reveal Tutu for who he is.
Further, Dershowitz must know that Obama also awarded the now much-tarnished Medal to Mary Robinson at the same time as Tutu. Robinson, of course, was one of the chief instigators of the Durban I conference on racism which quickly descended into a torrent of anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist hatred, in which Israel was accused of being a practicing apartheid state and anyone visibly Jewish on the conference premises had to worry about personal safety. She also used her tenure as president of Ireland and as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to denigrate the West and cashier Israeli rights. Robinson’s deep prejudice is perhaps even better known than Tutu’s, but the two of them make a heraldic couple, a marriage consummated in anti-Semitic heaven. By affecting to ignore so stark a violation of common decency as awarding high honors to the patently undeserving, Dershowitz once again slides behind the wheel of the president’s getaway car.
Obama has much to answer for but Dershowitz isn’t asking any probing questions. Obama’s duplicitous and historically inaccurate Cairo Address, in which among its many blunders and falsifications, we learn that Israel owes its inception primarily to the Holocaust, went right by him. “I think the Cairo speech could have been better,” was Dershowitz’s lame reaction. Obama’s reneging on the settlement consensus worked out between Israel and the former American administration does not seem to trouble the learned scholar. Obama’s appointment of anti-Zionist figures, such as Susan Rice and Samantha Power, to positions of importance seems a matter of no interest. Obama’s friendships with clearly anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli agitators, like pastor Jeremiah Wright, former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi and unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers has not the slightest effect on Dershowitz’s loyalty to a president who espouses precisely what Dershowitz clearly deplores. As far as I know, Obama’s churlish and unprecedented treatment of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew not a disapproving peep from this great advocate of the Jewish state. Dershowitz does not so much as notice what National Post columnist George Jonas called “the malodorous miasma of gall, social engineering zeal, anti-Semitism and Arabist agenda that emanates from the Obama administration.”
True, in recent articles for the Jerusalem Post and the New York Post, Dershowitz has criticized the president for getting the ‘linkage” between Israeli settlements and Iran’s nuclear ambitions backwards. This moment of lèse majesté was softened by a concessive “With due respect to the man I supported for president” and has not resulted in an overt act of repudiation of the president’s muddled policies and painfully evident inclinations.
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