If I were Jimmy Carter, I wouldn’t debate Alan Dershowitz either. I would wrestle him to the ground and kick him repeatedly in the groin. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but the sentiment sure isn’t. Alan Dershowitz is a bombastic, reflexively pro-Israel cheerleader who uses the bully pulpit to give verbal beat-downs to anyone who dares cast the slightest aspersion on Israel, no matter how warranted such criticism may be. In my view, Carter made a mistake by creating a climate of open discussion and then backpedaling at the prospect of an undesirable sparring partner. But I understand his decision. A “debate” with Alan Dershowitz on Israel would be like debating Bill O’Reilly on the merits of abolishing Christmas. You might as well bring a hammer and bludgeon your own head to a bloody pulp before he does it for you.
What I can’t understand is why the Phoenix continually embraces the Dershowitz school of pro-Israeli demagoguery. Once again, you place the blame for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict square on the shoulders of the Palestinians, without even a passing mention of how Israeli behavior might contribute to the ongoing conflict.
In this view, the brutal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the illegal Israeli settlements of Palestinian lands, the continual Israeli defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, and the virtual prison lock-down that Israel has imposed at a catastrophic humanitarian cost are mere trifles — justified, at any rate, by a Palestinian hatred that has materialized out of thin air.
Do some Palestinians want to destroy Israel? Sure. Do some commit terrible acts of violence against Israel? Of course. But that shouldn’t be a green light to adopt a reductive justification for immoral and illegal Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories.
If you want to fault Carter for his seeming avoidance of open debate, fine. Just don’t help contribute to the brain-dead political climate that made Carter refuse the debate in the first place.
Get over it
In his 2007 film preview (“Fractured Fairy Tales,”), Peter Keough repeats the tired trope that Ralph Nader is responsible for the Bush papacy.
There is ample evidence to contradict this falsehood. For example, CNN conducted a Florida exit poll showing Gore losing by two percentage points had Nader not run a greater margin of victory for the Chimp-in-Chief than occurred in the actual election.
Instead of drawing the obvious conclusions that the Democrats alienated their natural constituencies, that Clinton’s personal failings put off many who might have otherwise chosen Gore, and that Gore was a lackluster and vapid candidate, folks like Keough perpetuate the comforting illusion that, but for the petulant Nader, Gore would have pranced easily to victory.
Grow up, take responsibility for your guy’s shortcomings and your party’s self-imposed irrelevancy, and move on. Stop picking on a guy who’s done more for the American people than Al Gore ever will.
Richard M. Nasser
I hold the Phoenix, my all-time favorite newspaper, to high standards, so naturally I get exasperated when it lets me down. As an example, this past summer, likely with tongue in cheek, the paper put Paris Hilton on the cover, declaring her “America’s Next Musical Genius.” I applauded the paper for going against the grain of grinding her under the carpet. Her debut album is the most fun pop album of the year.