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Dershowitz: Arabs’ ‘Dead Baby Strategy’

Shorter Dershowitz: the Arabs make us kill their babies and then use them as propaganda against us.

A remarkable video offered by settler affiliated Arutz Sheva provides a peek into the jumbled mind of Israel’s foremost hasbarist fantasist.  Dersh was speaking at a conference organized by Tel Aviv University the same weekend that he received an honorary degree for his valiant defense of Israel against the noxious anti-Israel hordes.  Note the ironies and outright lies screaming out from the page.  Here are some salient quotes:

…The world should be praising Israel.  Has any country in history ever contributed as much to the world as Israel in 62 years?…In 62 years, the number of lives it has saved…The world should be coming to Israel and saying: Thank you, thank you, thank you instead of trying to delegitimate [sic].

…A variation on Holocaust denial is central to the anti-Israel critique.

…There is a direct connection between [World War II-era Palestinian Nazi supporter] Haj al Husseini and some of the organizations today which seek Israel’s delegitimation. [sic]  People [on college campuses] just close their ears [when they hear this argument].  It’s as if they’re on Planet Chomsky.

Then there is military delegitimation. [sic]  It is such a clever–if it weren’t such a horrible technique.  Again, I have a name for it.  I call it Hamas and Hezbollah’s “dead baby strategy.”  It sounds cruel.  But it’s very, very simple.  The most powerful image in the media is a mother holding a dead baby.

What Hamas and Hezbollah know is that if they fire enough rockets at Israeli children…they know eventually any democracy will have to respond.  How do you respond?  You try to get the rocket firings. [sic]  And where do they put the rockets?  You wouldn’t know it if you read the Goldstone Report…but right in the middle of civilian populations.  The goal is to induce Israel to kill as many babies as possible.  The object is to have Al Jazeera there to photograph the dead baby.  You can’t hear what I’m saying when you have those powerful visual images.

As to which country [Israel] has the best record of protecting civilians–not the second or third or fourth–but the best record…And when the worst is called the best and the best is called the worst nothing can be a greater defeat for human rights.

Our greatest enemies are not the Islamist extremists.  They help our case.  The problem is Jews.  Jews and Israelis. [applause]  It’s this argument by  ethnic identification.  You get a man like Norman Finkelstein who has never identified as a Jew.  A fervent anti-Jew in addition to being anti-Israel.  Never identified as a Jew.  But for purposes of attacking Israel he says, “I’m Jewish and therefore you have to give me more credibility.”

Among other ludicrous statements he made, he called Tel Aviv University Prof. Rachel Giora, a “censorial Stalinist” because he alleges that in supporting BDS she supports the stifling of free speech.

Mitchell Plitnick perhaps said it best:

Never think for a second that Alan Dershowitz has sunk as low as he can go. He’ll always surprise you.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • uncle joe mccarthy May 17, 2010, 11:56 PM

    wont comment on the speech (as you most likely wont allow my comments to be seen) but the use of the word delegitimate is correct…no need to add (sic)

    for example, (taken from ann althouse’s blog)” I guess the liberals’ strategy of trying to delegitimate the movement as extreme and violent and racist hasn’t worked out too well”

    • Richard Silverstein May 18, 2010, 12:40 AM

      Why in heaven’s name is Ann Althouse the arbiter of English usage? The word is “delegitimize.”

    • or bareket May 18, 2010, 10:32 AM

      and may I add, “joe”, your retorical trick here is despicable. “I won’t say anything cause you’ll censor me”. give me a break.

      • uncle joe mccarthy May 18, 2010, 3:52 PM

        not a rhetorical trick, a statement of fact

        richard demands free speech everywhere but on his own blog

        if i give my opinion on what i think about the speech, it would either be edited, or (as he has already moderated my comments by ip) would just never show up…like this one wont

        and delegitimate is proper term to use


        • Richard Silverstein May 19, 2010, 12:37 PM

          if i give my opinion on what i think about the speech, it would either be edited, or (as he has already moderated my comments by ip) would just never show up…like this one wont

          Stop whining about free speech. It’s such a stupid, useless argument. Editors, whether in a blog or newspaper, moderate comment threads all the time. You know why you’re being moderated. And if you wouldn’t make stupid statements like this one I might stop moderating yr comments.

          I guess I proved you wrong about publishing your comment…You might concede you were wrong w/o adding any snark.

  • Andrea May 18, 2010, 2:01 AM

    Mitchell Plitnick perhaps said it best:
    “Never think for a second that Alan Dershowitz has sunk as low as he can go. He’ll always surprise you.”

    Nothing to add.

  • Bessan May 18, 2010, 5:44 AM

    no words.

    about 10 days ago somebody posted a video on mondo that showed Prof. Qumsiyeh, http://mondoweiss.net/2010/05/yale-geneticist-is-arrested-as-israel-steal-more-palestinian-land-to-build-greater-jerusalem.html#comment-182827 , a valiant Palestinian Christian who was attempting to persuade IDF troops that they had the ability and, indeed, the obligation to make a moral choice whether to enforce unjust actions.
    What impressed me about Qumsiyeh was his calm demeanor.

    Stuff like Dersh’s spoutings makes my head explode. I can hardly contain my rage. I can’t live my life because I need to commit so much energy to calming myself; to forcing myself to view the whole situation, not just the flaming, emotion-laden example that Dersh confronts me with (it is precisely the goal of hasbara to incite an emotional reaction, to deligitimate [sic] critical thinking). To my mind, turning away, ignoring the situation, stuffing my ears and saying la la la la la is not an option: ignorance is no excuse.
    But I’m exhausted, and on top of resenting people like Dersh, I resent the whole situation for stealing from me my ability and energy to live the life I planned to live, rather than the life of combat that I must engage.
    And then there are the real victims of the Dershes — the Palestinians, the Iranian people who live their lives under threat of a psychotic Dershowitzed Israel.
    Damn you Dersh.

  • Elisabeth May 18, 2010, 9:27 AM

    Mazin Qumsiyeh has a newsletter that you can subscribe to when you ask him (mazin@qumsiyeh.org). He often signs with “a Bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home”. I love that.

  • fiddler May 18, 2010, 10:01 AM

    That “dead babies” comment just channels Golda Meir’s infamous line about being able to forgive what they do to our children, but not what they make us do to theirs.

    I guess in order to keep one’s sanity intact the trick is to be jaded enough that nothing some people say will surprise you anymore.

    • Elisabeth May 18, 2010, 11:21 AM

      I had the exact same association with Golda Meir. And it gets even worse because she continues to say that “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” Yuck!

  • andrew r May 18, 2010, 11:15 AM

    He’s said it all before though it’s really turgid here. It makes me reflect on how Israel’s apologists are so intellectually inbred. Is he going to win any new converts? Will someone join the cause because of anything this guy says? I’d like to think he’s doing good anti-occupation work in his own way.

  • alon May 18, 2010, 11:27 AM

    By far the most fascinating bit has to be the explicit anti-semitism in Dersh’s comments. Zizek addressed this is a very illuminating set of remarks at the EGS, but suffice to say the zionist anti-semitism shares a great deal with european semitism in its texture.

    Disgusting man.

  • hophmi May 19, 2010, 9:30 PM

    Is this really so surprising? Guerrilla groups operate by goading the power they’re fighting against into taking them on, and then play up the inevitable casualties that result to gain international legitimacy. Dead children make good press because they garner sympathy. What other explanation is there for a policy like firing rockets into Israeli towns, which, as so many of you love to point out, kills few? The whole idea is to draw Israel into a fight. It was the same thing with the KLA and Yugoslavia; guerrilla attacks will lead to Yugoslav reprisals will lead to lots of Albanian refugees will lead to Western intervention will lead to the nation of Kosovo.

    Here, guerrilla attacks will lead to Israeli reprisals in urban areas will lead to lots of dead people will lead to media coverage will lead to increased criticism of Israel will lead to a Palestinian state. Give Hamas credit; they do have a plan, whether you want to call it the dead baby strategy or not. Babies are, very unfortunately, sacrifices for political causes all over the world.

    I mean, are you all going to deny that this happens?

    By the way, I mentioned in another thread that Dershowitz has in the past been constructive though he can be a big jerk. That was true last week, as he met with Salam Fayyad and called him a partner for peace and reiterated his support for the two-state solution. Most right-wingers I know of would not meet with the sitting Palestinian Prime Minister and say something positive about him.

    You can criticize Dershowitz’s tone as I do, but he is without question a consistent supporter of the two-state solution and has been, at least in the past, a fairly outspoken critic of the settlements.


    • Richard Silverstein May 19, 2010, 11:16 PM

      Babies are, very unfortunately, sacrifices for political causes all over the world.

      I mean, are you all going to deny that this happens?

      If Israel had not killed 300 children during the Gaza massacre there would be no photos of dead babies for anyone to exploit. You’re missing the pt. The dead babies are real. They weren’t invented by Hamas or an Arab PR genius. Israel could easily kill far less children if it would change its tactics. But it won’t & that’s the reason why the world detests the Occupation & what the IDF does to Palestinians, babies & otherwise.

      he met with Salam Fayyad and called him a partner for peace

      Salam Fayyad is a figment of Alan Dershowitz’s, Ethan Bronner’s & Tom Friedman’s imagination. In a political context, Salam Fayyad doesn’t exist. He was brought to power by a coup, never elected by anyone and runs an enclave by virtue of the fact that Fatah put him there. Anything he’s accomplished economically is totally artificial & exists in a fishbowl. Not to mention that any achievements he’s made are due to Israel allowing them to happen. If Israel allowed the same conditions in Gaza I have little doubt there would be economic progress there as well. Fayyad is the great white hope of the western powers & liberals like the ones I mentioned (though Dersh doesn’t deserve that term).

      About Dersh’s alleged support of a 2 state solution: it’s meaningless. Here’s my test for whether someone really supports a 2 state solution. Are you in favor of Israeli withdrawal to 67 borders, sharing Jerusalem, acknowledging (even in a monetary resolution) the Right of Return, & the immediate end of Occupation. If the answer is no, you don’t support a 2 state solution. For Dersh, the answer is no.

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