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Alan Dershowitz: US Needs Israel to Defeat ISIS

By    |   Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 04:56 PM

The only true ally the United States has in the Middle East is Israel, whose experience fighting the terrorists of Hamas offers a blueprint for America's battle with the Islamic State (ISIS), Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Thursday.

Dershowitz, author of the new book, "Terror Tunnels: The Case for Israel's Just War Against Hamas," said that "Hamas is to Israel as ISIS is to the United States," and went on to describe parallels between the two conflicts — and between the two longstanding allies in their campaigns against terrorist enemies.

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"ISIS is … copying Hamas’s tactics: They are hiding their soldiers among civilians," he said. "The United States is also using Israel’s tactics: targeted killings saying to [ISIS] leaders you can’t escape anywhere in the world."

Dershowitz — who argues that the U.S.-ISIS conflict should strengthen America's sometimes strained friendship with Israel — said that the United States must also recognize that, like Israel against Hamas, it is fighting media war with ISIS.

And the U.S. has a chance to learn from Israel's difficulties in the battle for global public opinion, since, as he put it, "many in the world who support what the United States is doing condemn what Israel has been doing, even though Hamas is much closer to Israel than ISIS is to the United States."

"Hamas has developed what I call the 'dead baby strategy,' " said Dershowitz."They purposely put children in harm’s way — their leaders brag about this — in order to induce Israel to fire back and kill as many children and women [as possible], so that they can show them on television and turn the world against Israel."

He described ISIS's systematic brutality and targeting of innocents as the inverse of the Hamas strategy: Where Hamas wants its own citizens to become made-for-television cannon fodder in order to peel away support from Israel, ISIS very publicly and barbarically kills non-combatants to rally newcomers to its cause.

Either way, ISIS and Hamas "both pose grave threats to civilians," he added.

Dershowitz, who was in New York City on Thursday, said that ISIS's online call for "lone-wolf" bombings of U.S. population centers including Manhattan's Times Square is especially alarming.

"I'm just blocks away from Times Square and obviously the ISIS threats are being taken seriously because using the media to try to create lone wolves is the nightmare of every law enforcement authority," he said.

Whereas group conspiracies can be infiltrated, he said, "it’s impossible to infiltrate the mind of a lone wolf, which is why ISIS is such a formidable threat."

Thwarting ISIS attacks in a free and open democratic society will not be easy, said Dershowitz.

"It's very hard to strike to the appropriate balance between the most fundamental right of all, the right of life … and the right of liberty," he said.

"This is a work in progress," said Dershowitz. "Israel has been doing it for 50 years. The United States have been doing it, full-fledged, since 9/11. It’s not going to be easy to do.

There may have to be some compromises."

Dershowitz named his new book for the elaborate, fortified underground passages that Hamas operatives dug across the Gaza-Israel border to enable ground attacks on Israelis.

"The goal of the Hamas tunnel builders was to send death squads to kill as many Israeli children and kidnap as many as possible," he said.

On a recent visit to Israel he was able to walk through one of the tunnels uncovered by Israeli defense forces.

"This one was right near a kindergarten with 57 children," said Dershowitz.
Likewise, the targeting of civilians by ISIS should be a lesson to the United States, said

Dershowitz, as it tries to fight a limited war in Syria and Iraq — without sending American troops into combat.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "did not want to put troops on the ground. He didn’t want to lose 60 some-odd Israeli soldiers," Dershowitz said of the most recent warfare between Israel and Hamas. "He didn’t want to have to kill Palestinians who were near the tunnels," he said.

"But once the terrorists came out from under the tunnels he had no choice," said Dershowitz. "And in the end the United States will have little choice."

He said he wishes America could rely on local forces for ground fighting, but he added, "Saudi Arabia and Jordan and all the Arab countries that are supposed to be helping us fight ISIS are doing very little but lending us their name.

"Actually, the country in the Middle East that’s doing the most to help the United States fight ISIS is Israel," he said. "It’s supplying them real-time intelligence on ISIS, on its access to hiding places, on its financial supply route, and on a range of other subjects.

"So, quietly, behind the scenes, Israel is supplying this very important help which again, underlines the point: The United States has only one reliable ally in the Middle East— Israel."

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The only true ally the United States has in the Middle East is Israel, whose experience fighting the terrorists of Hamas offers a blueprint for America's battle with the Islamic State (ISIS), Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Thursday.
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