Alan Dershowitz is a distinguished law professor emeritus at Harvard University and a passionate defender of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Almost five years ago he published an article in the Jerusalem Post which the Gatestone Institute has just reprinted under the title, “It is not surprising to see an increase in Jew-hatred in Western Europe.”
Dershowitz’s contention is that the current European attacks against Israel are a continuation of past European attacks against the Jewish people. He writes: “Theodor Herzl understood the pervasiveness and irrationality of European anti-Semitism, which led him to the conclusion that the only solution to Europe’s Jewish problem was for European Jews to leave that bastion of Jew-hatred and return to their original homeland, which is now the state of Israel.”
Whereas Israelis cite Herzl when arguing why all Jews should come on aliyah as soon as possible, Dershowitz is too American to suggest that this should also apply to American Jewry. Instead, he reflects the anti-Europeanism of American Jews and seems to ignore the hatred of Jews in his own backyard.
That’s why he doesn’t mention contemporary anti-Semitism in the United States. For him, it seems, like for most American Jews, America is still the goldene medine (the golden land), not a country that Jews should ever need to leave. American-Jewish Zionism has often been “Yenemite” – far yenem, for someone else.
Dershowitz quotes approvingly the late Amos Oz, the distinguished Israeli writer, that “the walls of his grandparents’ Europe were covered with graffiti saying, ‘Jews, go to Palestine.’ Now they say, ‘Jews, get out of Palestine’ – by which is meant Israel.” Are anti-Jewish graffiti in America different?
Dershowitz rejects what he terms the myth that only German Nazis are responsible for the Holocaust, perhaps aided by some collaborators in the countries they had occupied. In his understanding “the Holocaust was perpetrated by Europeans: by Nazi sympathizers and collaborators among the French, Dutch, Norwegians, Swiss, Belgians, Austrians and other Europeans, both Western and Eastern.”
Though he doesn’t mention Poles, others often do – to the consternation and despair of Polish leaders, who see their people no less victims of the Nazis than were the Jews. Current tensions between Israel and Poland should be viewed in this context.
Dershowitz doesn’t deny – though his wording is cautious (perhaps too cautious) – “Israel’s imperfections” that warrant criticism. But he deems them mild when compared to what others are doing and yet are not subjects to strictures let alone punitive actions the way Israel has been. He sees this lack of proportion as yet another manifestation of anti-Judaism.
And he doesn’t fail to remind readers what Arabs had done to the hapless Palestinians: “The Palestinians were oppressed by Egypt and Jordan. Gaza was an open-air prison between 1948 and 1967, when Egypt was the occupying power. And remember Black September when Jordan killed more Palestinians than Israel did in a century?” Dershowitz concludes: “I don’t remember any demonstration or BDS campaigns – because there weren’t any.”
Republished from San Diego Jewish World