Dershowitz: Israel Has to Respond to Rocket Attacks

Friday, 14 Mar 2014 06:32 PM

By Lisa Barron

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is part of the problem rather than part of the solution in the Middle East, says prominent attorney Alan Dershowitz.

"When he says he urges restraint on both parts, he imposes a kind of moral equivalence on both sides, and of course the last thing Israel wants to have is rocket attacks. Either way, they want peace whereas Islamic jihad violates these treaties and just sends rockets. One of them landed near a library, another one landed in a populated area. You can't call that moral equivalence," he told Newsmax TV's John Bachman and J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" Friday.

"Any democracy, of course, would have to respond to those rocket attacks. The condemnation should be solely directed against those who send the rockets, not those who defend themselves. As President Obama said when he visited the area which was attacked before he became president, if rockets were hitting my children's home, I would do everything in my power to stop it and I expect Israel to do everything in its power to stop those rocket attacks."

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Dershowitz said the attacks are happening now because there are groups that do not want to see peace in the region. "Usually, when you see negotiations ongoing and moving in any way toward the possibility of a resolution, that's when two things happen. One, you get more attacks from Gaza and second, you get more attacks from academics around the world calling for BDS -- boycotts, divestment and sanctions -- against Israel because the Islamic jihad in Gaza and the academics in London and Paris have the same goal.

"They're both opposed to a two-state solution. They both want to see the destruction of Israel and they'll both do anything in their power to prevent the peace process from going forward. So this is directed as much against the Palestinian authority in many ways as it is against Israel."

Dershowitz spent most of his career at Harvard Law School, where he held the Felix Frankfurter professorship from 1993 until his retirement in December.

He is the author of several books about politics and law, including "The Case for Peace: How The Arab–Israeli Conflict Can Be Resolved."

Dershowitz had praise for Secretary of State John Kerry for keeping the peace process going. "In the end, though, the Palestinians are going to have to bite the bullet and recognize that Israel is in fact a nation state for the Jewish people historically, and that it is a legitimate state for the Jewish people, just like there are 25 or 30 Muslim states and dozens of Arab states, There should be one state which is historically recognized as the nation state of the Jewish people," he said.

"I spoke to [Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization Mahmoud] Abbas about that myself, and in the end there's going to have to be some compromised way of stating it in a way that satisfies both Israel and the Palestinians. I hope that doesn't become a major barrier to peace. What we need is a two-state solution with land swaps, which allow the Palestinians to have a viable state, but protect Israel's security."

As for what the Israeli government is likely to do now, Dershowitz said, "Well, every time the Israelis see rockets being fired, they're going to try to preemptively stop those rockets by sending their own artillery and drones and that's what they should do, that's what America would do. If we had the rockets from Cuba or from any other place, we would do the same thing. We wouldn't wait until the rockets hit a school bus full of kids or a library full of people. We would take whatever preemptive action is necessary to stop the rockets from being fired. And then there'll be retaliation."

He continued, "The interesting thing is Hamas is not behind this. They would like to have a cease fire, but Hamas doesn't go far enough in trying to control other groups within its territory and so Islamic jihad and other radical groups are defying the orders of Hamas, and that could happen on the West Bank as well. That's why Israel needs some territorial width to protect itself against these kinds of attacks.

"And, of course, we saw the other day that the Iranians are sending long-range rockets into Gaza. Israel, fortunately, with the help of the United States, intercepted that shipload of deadly weapons, but if those deadly weapons had reached Gaza, then we would see rockets that could hit the center of Tel Aviv and the center of Jerusalem."

Dershowitz maintained that while many European governments, especially conservative ones such as Germany and Britain, support Israel's security, other players want to isolate it.

"It's academics from the hard left and it's some individual political figures and radicals who are trying isolate Israel through the BDS movement. And Stephen Hawking may be very intelligent when it comes to physics but he's a moron when it comes to politics, and he decided to forego a trip to Israel and participate in the boycotting of Israel.

"That is a moronic and immoral stance for Hawking to take, and I would publicly challenge Hawking to debate me on the politics of the DBS campaign because it's making it much harder to make peace," he argued.

Asked if he really wants to debate Stephen Hawking, Dershowitz replied, "Absolutely, I would fly to England at my own expense to debate him on the immorality of participating in a boycotting of Israel, isolating Israel. Not boycotting Cuba, not boycotting China, not boycotting Russia, not boycotting any of the countries that are repressed and oppress others, but boycotting the only democracy in the Middle East, the democracy with the greatest amount of academic freedom, to pick out that one democracy for a boycott is bigotry and reminiscent of the bigotry of the 1930s when the German government called for a boycott on all academics who were Jewish and all artists who were Jewish.

"And, of course, the idea of boycotting Israel technology, we couldn't be having this conversation if we boycotted Israel technology because Israel is largely responsible for the development of the cellphone, the development of much agricultural lifesaving, medical lifesaving technology. The absurdity of trying to boycott the products of a country that has contributed more lifesaving technology per capita of the world than any other country, that has saved more Muslim and Arab lives than any other country in the world through its medical technology, the hypocrisy of Stephen Hawking calling for a boycott of that country."

Dershowitz also called out Oxfam, saying, "The hypocrisy of Oxfam, which actually supports terrorist organizations, organizations that are on the list of terrorist groups, for Oxfam, disassociating itself with Scarlett Johansson because she is the spokesperson for an Israeli company . . . that employees hundreds of Palestinian workers. It's unbelievable the hypocrisy we're hearing from Europe."

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