This is one in a contuining series which I call Dersh Watch. To wit, a chronicle of the brazen, lying effrontery of one of Israel’s most disgusting boosters. The latest is a review he wrote for the N.Y. Times of a new biography of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.
Here’s the whopper of a passage:
Brandeis was convinced that Zionism was an outgrowth of his progressive values. The idea of Jews’ having a homeland, based on social justice and Jewish prophetic principles, seemed entirely natural to him. He poured his heart, soul, fortune and considerable energies into persuading American Jews, who were generally unsympathetic to European Zionism, that one could be a patriotic American while at the same time advocating a Jewish homeland for the oppressed Jews of Europe. His most important contribution to Israel’s establishment was in turning Zionism from a theory alien to many American Jews into a pragmatic program to rid the Holy Land of disease, to increase its agricultural production and to make it feasible for European Jews to live in peace with their Arab neighbors.
Now, it is possible that Brandeis himself believed that Zionism was a pragmatic program to rid the Holy Land of disease though Dershowitz doesn’t make clear from where this sentiment derived. But even if we avert our eyes from the obvious inference that the Arab inhabitants of the Holy Land might be the “disease” which Zionists wished to remove from the Holy Land, the notion that Israel before the arrival of Zionists was a cesspool of vice and disease reeks of colonial noblesse oblige. While I agree with Dershowitz that Brandeis in much of his jurisprudence and political activism was a consummate progressive, if Brandeis actually espoused the views the reviewer claims for him, then in this he was little more than a typical western colonialist (of whom there were undoubtedly many in America at the time including perhaps chief among them, Teddy Roosevelt).
Another recently published passage from Dershowitz in the Jerusalem Post is a superb specimen of the Dersh Big Lie. In a painfully bloated assault on Neve Gordon for his recently ground-breaking L.A. Times op ed supporting the BDS movement, (likely settler Rebbetzin) Yocheved Miriam Russo*:
“It is my opinion that Neve Gordon has gotten into bed with neo-Nazis, Holocaust justice deniers, and anti-Semites…. he is a despicable example of a self-hating Jew and a self-hating Israeli, whose writing consists of anti-Israeli propaganda designed to ‘prove’ that the Jewish State is fascist.”
Neve Gordon actually supports a two state solution and has never had any direct involvement or contact with any of the groups Dersh mentions above. You’ll note that the Harvard professor never even deigns to prove his charge and there’s one reason for that, he can’t. I also find it laughable that an Jewish Ivy League lawyer, who never put on a uniform to defend Israel is calling a decorated IDF officer, who fought in a major battle of the 1982 Lebanon war, suffering there a wound causing a 40% disability, a “self-hating Jew and self-hating Israeli.” This is height of antic chutzpah.
Though I’m not an expert on Neve Gordon’s writing, the idea that he’s called Israel “fascist” seems far-fetched in the extreme. Of course, he’s called Israel’s Occupation apartheid. But only a flaming demagogue with lazy rhetorical habits could believe that the two terms are synonymous. Neve Gordon actually believes in Israeli democracy (real democracy, not ethnocracy) far more than Alan Dershowitz and that’s what burns rightist rhetorical thugs like him up.
Just by the way, this interview with Der Dersh is instructive in that we freely admits he “doesn’t have a particularly good brain” but does have an overactive mouth:
When I was young everybody told me I had a good mouth, but I didn’t have a particularly good brain. And so my principal called me in one day and said: “Find a profession that you use your mouth but not your head. You could either be,” he said, “a lawyer or a Conservative rabbi.” I wasn’t smart enough to be a rabbi so I had to become a lawyer.
* Among Russo’s publishing outlets are the Kahanist N.Y. Jewish Press and Chabad.org.