JTA’s Eric Fingerhut must’ve had a really slow news day because he chose to write up a previously reported interview Alan Dershowitz gave to that august forum of Jewish media excellence, Shalom TV. There Der Dersh recounted one of his Samsonian fever dreams in which he single-handedly saved the Democratic national convention from having to sit through an address from the despised anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, no goodnik former president Jimmy Carter. Yes, it was all Alan’s doing, our great Mattathias, our great Maccabee, that hammer of the Jewish people.
Alan Dershowitz revealed that he was among those who convinced Barack Obama to keep Jimmy Carter from addressing the Democratic National Convention.
“I pushed him very hard to make that decision. Barack Obama had to make a choice between his Jewish supporters and his anti-Israel supporters like Jimmy Carter, and he did not choose Jimmy Carter. And that was an embarrassment for Jimmy Carter and a show of disrespect. And I’m very glad he made that decision. It was a good decision, a wise decision, a moral decision.”
Excuse me while I barf in my air sickness bag. First, why should anyone believe this lying schemer that he had anything to do with whether or not Jimmy Carter spoke to the Convention? Second, if Obama’s people did nix Carter, then having Der Dersh call a decision based on cynical, political expedience a “wise, moral decision” is beyond despicable (as Dershowitz is).
Dersh has been reading too many of his own press releases. Instead of a law professor, he should’ve been born in the age of the traveling circuses. He would’ve made an excellent carnival barker or perhaps Borsht Belt tummeler. Unfortunately for him, many of us stopped reading his press releases decades ago. Dershowitz is a parody of himself. A buffoon. A babbling idiot. I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would bother listening to anything he says or quote him in a serious newspaper (though JTA often falls short of qualifying as serious journalism I’m afraid).
Here’s some more entertaining spew from Big Al:
[He] received thousands of emails from Jews opposing Obama during the election campaign…Dershowitz is convinced that many were from “extreme right-wing Jews” and that some were “out-and-out racist.”
Right-wing, out and out racist Jews? Dersh must’ve been writing to himself. I mean of course, his racism toward Palestinians since he seems to have curbed whatever racist inclinations he might’ve once had toward African-Americans.
Dersh for AG! And only at Shalom TV!
Could Dershowitz be part of an Obama administration, perhaps as Attorney General? Dershowitz responded with a categorical, “no.”
Thank God Obama seems inclined to pick Eric Holder for that job, someone who actually deserves consideration unlike Al.
Why in God’s name would anyone from Obama’s campaign have wanted Dersh to speak on his behalf? I guess someone there believes he retains some credibility among a few Jews (probably those over 90 sitting in West Palm retirement homes):
Dershowitz also said he declined a request to represent Obama on the campaign trail, explaining, “I said I couldn’t do that because I want to keep my own independent views independent. I don’t want to be a surrogate for anybody.”
He’s a two-faced SOB and his endorsement of Obama was about as heartfelt as a Dear John letter. Thanks to one of my readers for pointing out this story.
* Tummeler: a raucous Borsht Belt comedian; full of sound and fury signifying nothing.
John Dickerson says
FROM ABOVE: [He] received thousands of emails from Jews opposing Obama during the election campaign…Dershowitz is convinced that many were from “extreme right-wing Jews” and that some were “out-and-out racist.”
I DO GET SOME SATISFACTION OUT OF HIS HAVING RECEIVED A DOSE OF HIS OWN MEDICINE*!!!!!
*reference: Norman Finkelstein
Michael W says
When and where did Dershowitz say something racist? curious
Thanks for this, Richard.
He was asked to campaign for Obama? Guess he’s on MoveOn.org’s mail list, too.
Richard Silverstein says
@Michael W: Many comments, but one that stood out for me was when he diminished the suffering of Lebanese civilians during the last war by saying that they were collateral damage, that if they hadn’t supported Hezbollah this wouldn’t have happened to them, etc, etc. He actually claimed that it was more or less acceptable for Israel to kill Lebanese civilians since it was prosecuting a “just war.” You can be damn sure he would never say the same about Israeli civilians, whose lives are always to be supremely valued in his eyes.
Richard Silverstein says
@Margaret: You get the hat tip, Margaret, for first reporting this story to me.
Jerry Haber says
Dershowitz is that curious creature, the Zionist liberal hawk, what we call in Israel, the “Hey-I-am-also-against-the-Occupation” kinda guy. The Brits have “Engage”; the French have Finkelkraut and Henri-Levi; the Israelis have the merzaz ha-leumani (the ultra-nationalist center.) These are people who view themselves as liberal, but who are always the first to compromise their principles when dealing with their own tribe.
But — is Obama so different from Dershowitz on Afghanistan? Dershowitz and many like him, represent the ultra-nationalist center in this country. In his over-the-top criticisms of the Carter, Finkelstein, and Chomsky, he is an embarrassment, but is he so out of the mainstream. Unfortunately, not.
Progressives have a lot of work to try to convince the younger generation of Democrats, culturally more diverse than the older one, that the Carters are right and the Dershowitzes wrong. We don’t have the money, but –I believe — history will be on our side.
You always seem a little too quick to call people with whom you disagree racist. The comments you mentioned do not seem racist at all.
Like him or not, Dersh has achieved a heck of a lot more than you have. Jealousy perhaps?
Richard Silverstein says
@AD: So let me make sure I understand you. Believing it’s OK to kill Lebanese civilians as collateral damage in pursuit of a “just” war is OK; but killing Israeli civilians is not OK. That’s not racist. Not a bit. Am I right?
Der Dersh has achieved quite a bit. He saved Claus von Bulow from the electric chair; destroyed Norman Finkelstein’s career; bought some baubles at Lev Leviev’s jewelry emporium to show his support for Israeli settlements & rub Adalah NY’s nose in it. Those are achievements of which he can be proud.
Benny M says
Why cant you at least when engaging in an argument at least try and present an intelligent rational one you said I quote Dersh’s accomplishments –
You know Johnny Cochran is considered a great lawyer by many folks for getting a double murderer off… by that standard Dershowitz getting von Bulow off would be nearly as remarkable. I personally find both outcomes detestable however remarkable nonetheless.
Second, the Allies bombed Germany and America, the Army and the President accepted those bombings which killed civilians for sure as ok well then they were all racist as well you see!
I believe the intent of what Dershowitz was doing was not to justify and hope for civilian deaths but to explain that unfortunately it was going to be an outcome no matter what Israel did. And he was standing with cajones against the instantaneous mad flow of criticism Israel receieves worldwide whenever they are in any type of conflagration even when it’s brought on by Hezbollah here.
Amplified by the fact that Hezbollah which you would think wouldn’t need to? often lies and distorts in news report feeds, which they were caught doing…
And something you are guilty of is NEVER admitting that this is a fact… nor that Hezbollah will fire rockets from houses and then dissappear… thus, Israel should not be allowed to fire back since they are firing from civilian areas… Further, to round off the story a bit more, when has a country at war ever dropped leaflets for days ahead of time warning anyone not with Hezbollah to get out bcs they will be attacking? but Israel didn’t do it ahead of time enough is the problem… they should have done it weeks ahead of time…
As for Finkelstein the “brave coward he is” he went on Al Manar, (why don’t you analyze the hate on that) and basically goaded and challenged Hezbollah to fight Israel recently… and comparing everything to Nazi Germany…. the Israelis the Nazis and the Lebanese and Arabs the Jews….
It’s rather comical and pathologically sad to listen to someone who is criticizing mainstream jewry and Israel for mentioning the Holocaust and Germany too much yet every other word out of his mouth is a reference, put down, slur or allusion/comparison to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust?
No hypocrisy there.
Benny M says
and one of the best tummelers none other than Mel Brooks…
Barry Goldberg says
Please comment on
Richard Silverstein says
Indiscriminate attacks like those on Dresden which killed up to 500,000 (if memory serves) in a single night were indeed war crimes & should have been judged as such along with Nazi crimes.
Similarly, Israel’s attacks on Lebanon were often against non-military targets and were specifically designed to demoralize the civilian population & turn it against Hezbollah–a strategy which failed miserably.
You’ve accepted the rightist propaganda that Hezbollah’s firing from civilian areas justified Israel’s massive attacks on targets which had nothing to do with Hezbollah, but everything to do with Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure.
And yes, Israel dropped leaflets telling civilians to abandon their homes & then promptly attacked civilian convoys attempting to do just that. Even ones which had contacted the UN & Israelis notifying them of their non-hostile intent. If it happened once, you could argue it was a mistake. But it happened more than once. Not to mention that by the time Israel dropped those leaflets there simply was no means by which civilians could flee w/o getting caught in the crossfire, which many civilians did.
Finkelstein viewed Israel’s invasion of Lebanon as evil. In his view, that meant supporting Hezbollah’s defense of Lebanese territory. I thought Israel’s invasion was evil too, at least as it was prosecuted by the IDF. But I didn’t support Hezbollah or see them as national saviors as Finkelstein did. Regardless, none of that justified Dershowitz’s sleazy campaign to interfere in the academic process at an institution with which he had nothing to do.
Your characterization of Finkelstein’s views are so simplistic, sloppy & reductionist as not even worth refuting. Come back when you’re ready to be more serious instead of shouting slogans.
Richard Silverstein says
@Barry Goldberg: The Jewish Press? You want me to read that disgusting right wing piece of dreck???! I’ll have to take a bath before I do (and afterward).
Dave S says
Richard – Your loathing of the Dersh is well-founded, but I think you greatly underestimate him. I think he is very highly regarded in important circles and lays important intellectual groundwork for defending Israel’s worst sins and demonizing Arabs and Muslims. I find him superficially very articulate and convincing (not to me, of course). One must really analyze his work in detail to uncover the depth of his depravity and dishonesty. As you yourself acknowledge, one of his achievements was the Finkelstein tenure denial. That is quite recent and no mean feat. He is a tireless propagandist and I think he is far more influential than you make him out to be.