Tags: Al-Qaida | Barack Obama | MidPoint | Alan Dershowitz | Kosher Deli | Benjamin Netanyahu | Muslims

Dershowitz: Obama Made 'Mistake' With Kosher Deli Remarks

By    |   Wednesday, 11 February 2015 02:02 PM

President Barack Obama "did a terrible disservice" to European Jews by calling the January murders at a kosher deli in Paris a random offshoot of the al-Qaida-inspired Charlie Hebdo massacre, and his spokesman compounded the error by insisting the president was right, says noted lawyer and author Alan Dershowitz.

"The big mistake was doubling down," Dershowitz told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Wednesday, as he joined other prominent public figures, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, in urging the president to apologize for diminishing the threat to Jews at a time of Islamist terror and rising global anti-Semitism.

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"I just got back from Paris," said Dershowitz, reporting that there is "real fear among Parisian Jews, and the president did a terrible disservice when he made it sound like they were just random shootings. He was wrong and he should apologize."

Obama said in an interview with Vox published on Monday: "It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you've got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris."

Pressed later about the phrasing — "randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris" — in a sharp exchange with ABC's Jonathan Karl, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said: "These individuals were not targeted by name. This is the point. … There were people other than Jews who were in that deli."

Dershowitz called the uproar that followed  "part and parcel of the president's unwillingness to talk about Islamic extremism."

"You always have to say that the vast majority of Muslims are good, decent people and they don't believe in terrorism," said Dershowitz. "But the terrorism that we're experiencing now comes from a variant on Islam. Maybe a terrible variant, but we can't just deny that reality."

If the president is trying to tamp down sectarian tensions and anti-Muslim hostility by not tying terrorism too closely to Islam, the effort is misguided, said Dershowitz.

"I can introduce him to a guy named Chamberlain," he said, alluding to the British prime minister who signed a peace accord with Nazi Germany in 1938.

"That's not called peacekeeping," said Dershowitz. "That's called accommodation and conciliation. You cannot be conciliatory to terrorists. You have to say what terrorism is and you have to call it by its name. Any terrorism has to be condemned."

Dershowitz also discussed the controversy still ranging over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress, which is still scheduled despite mounting criticism of Netanyahu even from his political allies and threats of a boycott by congressional Democrats.

Dershowitz said there's a solution to the standoff between Netanyahu and the White House, which is fuming at what it regards as a slight and a breach of international protocol.

Netanyahu should bring along Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, his political opponent in the upcoming Israeli elections, to speak alongside him about the perils of the U.S. attempting to negotiate an end to Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program, said Dershowitz.

If the two men were to give "a unified view of the danger Israel faces from a bad deal, it would take politics out of it," said Dershowitz. "It would turn it back into an issue of separation of powers, with Congress having the power to disapprove of any deal the president makes.

"And that's clear in the Constitution that Congress has that power," he said. "The president would rather [Congress] not have it; he likes to pick and choose. Today he sent a bill to Congress with authorization to fight ISIS. But he doesn't want to send the bill to Congress with authorization to make a deal with Iran."

Turning to domestic issues, Dershowitz said that Alabama's Chief Judge, Roy Moore,  is "basically George Wallace" in his resistance to a federal court ruling this week against the state's ban on gay marriage.

"He doesn't care about the law … He gets his instructions from God," Dershowitz said of the state's elected Supreme Court chief judge.

"This is the underside of Alabama that we remember for standing up against desegregation," he said, adding that Moore "will be relegated to the trash bin of history but he will be very popular with his constituents."

Dershowitz called elected judges "a very bad system," and said the advance of same-sex marriage rights is "inevitable" and "the quickest change in any important social policy in history."

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President Barack Obama "did a terrible disservice" to European Jews by calling the January murders at a kosher deli in Paris a random offshoot of the al-Qaida-inspired Charlie Hebdo massacre, says noted lawyer and author Alan Dershowitz.
Alan Dershowitz, Kosher Deli, Benjamin Netanyahu, Muslims
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2015-02-11
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 02:02 PM
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