Friday, February 13, 2009

Alan Dershowitz Writes A Letter - And I Answer Another

In the New York Times, along with others:

Re “Why the Muslim World Can’t Hear Obama” (Op-Ed, Feb. 8):

Alaa Al Aswany says that the only way the Arab street, particularly in Cairo, will hear Barack Obama is if our new president recognizes “the right of people in an occupied territory to resist military occupation.”

But it was precisely when Israel ended its occupation of Gaza that Hamas increased its rocket attacks against Israeli civilians.

Did Dr. Al Aswany forget that Egypt occupied Gaza between 1949 and 1967? I doubt that the Cairo street would have tolerated rocket attacks from occupied Gaza against Egyptian civilian targets.

If the price of the Arab street hearing President Obama is to accept terrorism against civilians as a “right” of formerly occupied people, then it is too high a price to pay.

In America, we have a word for what Israel did to prevent Hamas from playing Russian roulette with the lives of its children. We call it self-defense, as Mr. Obama recognized when he, then a presidential candidate, stood in front of Hamas rockets in Sderot and said: “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”

Alan Dershowitz
Cambridge, Mass., Feb. 8, 2009

The writer is a professor of law at Harvard University.

Here are a few more:

To the Editor:

Alaa Al Aswany seems to assume that because President Obama said that he would listen to the Muslim world, he would make a public statement condemning Israel’s actions and acknowledging Hamas’s actions as appropriate. This assumption was wrong.

Egypt’s frustration with Mr. Obama’s decision not to stop the “massacre” in Gaza is unwarranted. Israel, along with every other country, has the obligation to protect its citizens. Israel’s actions were completely justified, and America appropriately supported Israel.

In saying, “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers,” Mr. Obama meant that we are a nation that respects the “other.” When Hamas is prepared to talk instead of fire rockets, then Mr. Obama’s words will have equal meaning in Gaza.

Jacquie Zaluda
Highland Park, Ill.,

To the Editor:

In his article about the latest war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Alaa Al Aswany asserts, “I don’t know what you call it in other languages, but in Egypt we call this a massacre.” He then urges President Obama to condemn Israel “if only with simple words.”

I can well understand Dr. Al Aswany’s frustration. But what would Egypt then call the unprovoked action of Hamas, which sent thousands of rockets into sovereign Israeli civilian territory? To me, that sounds a lot like terrorism.

If the so-called moderate Muslim world would like to hear condemnation from our new president, then perhaps the blame should go both ways!

(Rabbi) Michael Stanger
Old Westbury, N.Y.

And then we have this fellow:

To the Editor:

If President Obama wants to be heard by Muslims, he must strip away the politics and honestly answer the question: “What’s the moral justification for the dispossession of the Palestinians from Palestine by the Israelis that has gone on systematically since 1948?” And then he must act on it.

Lowell Johnston
New York

Let me try to answer his question.

In principle, there is no moral right to dispossess any population. That being so, though, America has a problem with its Native Indian population but, for argument's sake, let's not go there, as yet.

There is also the Gaza disengagement but I would presume that Arabs applauded that dispossession for their own reasons. Which allows us to presume that if there are good enough reason, well, anyone could be dispossessed, like when a country uses the right of eminent domain.

So, returning to the history of the Palestine Mandate, since the local Arab population disagreed with the rest of the world when it granted Jews the right to reconstitute their national home, and then started demonstrating and killing Jews and later, British (with the help of other Arabs from Syria, Jordan and Lebanon) and then refused every political compromise, including the UN's partition decision, and launched a war against the new state of Israel (with the help of other Arabs from Syria, Jordan,Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon), well, when you intended to dispossess the Jews and end up living outside your own home, do you blame the guy you tried to kill and dispossess or do you look introspectively at your own actions and ask "where did I go wrong?" - or, do you write a letter to the New York Times trying to befuddle the issue?

Is that moral?


Ayelet Survivor said...

Very well put.

g said...

Dershawitz is a fraud. Why would you care what he thinks