Dershowitz Calls On Media Matters To Fire Critic Of Israel

In a controversial interview, Harvard University professor Alan Dershowitz has called not only for the White House to sever ties with Media Matters, but has called upon Media Matters to fire staff member M.J. Rosenberg for this criticism of supporters of Israel. Clearly, this is not a first amendment issue that arises when the government is asked to engage in censorship or coercion with regard to critics. However, the demand for Rosenberg’s termination does raise serious concerns over the freedom for writers to raise often controversial topics and positions. Rosenberg was voicing a common objection over Israeli policy and the demands for his termination sends a chilling message for anyone who voices such positions.

For the record, Dershowitz and I often agree, though we have diverged on subjects like torture. However, Dershowitz has previously been criticized for his comments against other academics and students for their views of Israel or the Jewish community. The issue of criticism of Israel on campus has produced a number of intense academic fights in the last couple of years, here and here and here.

Dershowitz insisted that Media Matters “crossed the line into anti-semitism” by not firing Rosenberg over his alleged “bigotry.” Rosenberg has questioned the basis for military action against Iran and used the term “Israel firster” to describe American leaders and advocate who put the interests of Israel before the United States.

However, Dershowitz insists that this term is anti-Semitic when applied to Jews. In addition to calling for him to be fired, he has campaigned to discourage donors of Media Matters over Rosenberg’s views.

Rosenberg is a critic of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, in a column last month, asserted that “Israel firster” is an “accurate” term for “those people (of whatever ethnic background) who invariably support Israel’s policies over those of the United States.”

Dershowitz insisted that “[t]he tent is not big enough to include people who have engaged in bigotry against the Jewish people.”

Rosenberg has also criticized the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as having a name “giving it credit for one more loyalty than it holds.” Notably, Rosenberg was editor of AIPACs weekly newsletter Near East Report and was, from 1998-2009, the director of policy at Israel Policy Forum.

As both an academic and columnist, I have a serious problem with this type of campaign against a writer. I believe Dershowitz and others have every right to denounce the term “Israel firster” in their own writings and to denounce Rosenberg for what they view as irresponsible rhetoric if that is what they believe. However, to campaign for his firing runs against the grain for those of us who live under the guarantees of either academic freedom or freedom of the press, or both. It is no way to win such an argument to demand the silencing of a critic. Instead, it leaves the impression of an effort to create a chilling effect for any writers who are considering voicing similar views.

I cannot claim much exposure to the writings of Rosenberg. However, these comments are not enough to make such a case for me. I do not believe that you should ascribe racist or anti-Semitic motives when there are other explanations for an argument. In this case, Rosenberg was arguing that there are some leaders who put Israel first — leaders of various backgrounds and religions. The same argument has been made against some Irish politicians over support for the IRA and other groups. The point that he is making is that the current policies vis-a-vis Israel are harmful to U.S. interests and fueling global instability. There are plenty of good points to be made on either side of that debate.

In a column, Dershowitz detailing past positions of Rosenberg. Dershowitz notably has also claimed that Obama is the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st Century — comparing him to a weak man who tried to appease Hitler because of his attempts at appeasement. Of course, that compares those on the other side as akin to Nazis.

Rosenberg is known for super-heated rhetoric — which is present by writers on both sides including (as noted above) Dershowitz. His critics (and this debate) would be better served by addressing the underlying point on why our current policies are in the best interests of the U.S. rather than attacking those expressing such views.

71 thoughts on “Dershowitz Calls On Media Matters To Fire Critic Of Israel

  1. Great article Professor. If a writer cannot make good faith arguments, we are all harmed. Harvard students would not get all of the facts on ths issue if they followed Prof. Dershowitz’s demands.

  2. If you can’t win on the merits of your argument, then intimidate your opponents into silence. A sign of a meritless argument.

  3. Didn’t hillary come out first and say if Israel acts they act alone against Iraq….. Then….. We support them….. Hmmm….maybe both have valid points….

  4. Alas poor Alan Dershowitz, we once knew him well. This was a man who once was among the great civil libertarian lawyers in this country. Both he and I as Jews are very attached to Israel. However, we differ greatly on AIPAC and on Bibi Netanyahu. Critique of Israel is in many cases not synonymous with being anti-Jewish, yet Mr. Dershowitz and others do their cause harm by claiming it is. There is a good case to be made for the continued existence of Israel, but one need not cast aspersions on Israeli critics to make that case.

    Part of the reason I wound up at Professor Turley’s blog was that I was “run out” of both Democracy and for my defense of Israel’s right to exist and their reaction that I was a Right-Wing nut. Those here who had read my take on Israel in the past years I think understand that I am hardly a Right wing militant, nor do I think that attacking Iran is a good idea.

    As for Mr. Dershowitz, his positions in his latter years of foreign policy and on the issue of torture have disappointed me greatly, since I once was a fervent admirer of his stands on Civil Liberties. It is a cruel truth that aging and the growth of wisdom are not corollaries.

  5. Glenn Greenwald:

    The “anti-Semitism” smear campaign against CAP and Media Matters rolls on

    They are particularly panicked by their eroding power to monopolize the discourse. When Time Magazine’s Joe Klein is warning of “Israel-Firsters” and pointing out the role they played in bringing about the Iraq War and now trying to repeat that feat with Iran, and when The New York Times‘ Tom Friedman is warning that U.S. policy is “held hostage” by the Israel Lobby and the U.S. Congress is “bought and paid for by the Israel Lobby,” it’s clear that things have changed.

  6. “His critics (and this debate) would be better served by addressing the underlying point on why our current policies are in the best interests of the U.S. rather than attacking those expressing such views.”

    Amen to that.

    I’m no expert on the subject of Israel, but I can see how the writings of M.J. Rosenberg can easily get under the skin of Alan Dershowitz. Even so, I’d expect the esteemed attorney could muster a more refined – and far more effective – criticism, than the hackneyed anti-Semitism rant. It is just such reactions, that dull the sensitivities of those who might otherwise assess his complaint with clarity.

    Professor Dershowitz’ unsophisticated response of, “let’s hang the messenger” mirrors those who yammer “racism” in any logical discussion, of the societal distortions occurring in this country, when cities try to accommodate millions of Hispanic folks in far too short a time. Valid concerns do not originate from hostility, directed toward a people for no reason other than their heritage.

    Valid concerns exist when the proof is in the pudding on your plate.

  7. Complete nonsense from Dershowitz…the term was coined by a zionist. Abram Leon Sachar who was a zionist and the founder of Brandeis University and it fits. Dershowitz is basically creating the mathamatic formula…criticize Israel, you’re an anti-Semite…and if your Jewish…as MJ Rosenberg is…you’re simply reduced to “self-hating” this means no criticism can be launched.

    “Israel Firsters” aren’t automatically Jewish either….look at the rhetoric of Michelle Bachmann, Santorum, etc. They are Israel Firsters when it comes to many policies and they aren’t jewish.

    This attack is being facilitated by FoxNews in its attempt to smear the firm that has held it to account.

    This formula of any criticism of Israeli lobbying in America as ‘anti-semitic’ only creates more anti-semitic garbage. Dershowitz can’t see his own bias but I can. I had the privilege of being there when he and Finkelstein had it out on DemocracyNow in 2003. He’s really pathetic, frankly. His views on torture and other items lead me to question where he’s a “liberal” as FoxNews appoints him.

    The attack on MJ Rosenberg is not on topic but ad hominem. They can’t respond to his points only to trying to smear him with ad hominem abusive attacks. That alone tells me they have no response.

  8. Nal,

    I thank you….. I would say wonderful news…. But this is the stuff wars are made of… Sorry…if this is not so obvious…. In reading a few international news paper…. I don’t know who hates who more….

  9. After ten years of war, a war crime in Iraq, a strategic blunder and a humanitarian tragedy, and an appalling quagmire in Afghanistan with thousands of Americans killed and wounded, trillions of wealth expended, you would expect that Americans would be loathed to engage in another war! However, we hear again the same drumbeat for war with Iran by the neoconservative misinformation chorus that another potential “Mushroom Cloud” threatens!
    Israel holds the U.S. in disdain, for it believes it has unlimited support of the American Israeli lobby, the religious right and the neoconservative Republicans in Congress. This is evident by Israel‘s obstruction of the Palestinian peace process or to constrain Israeli settlements in contested Palestinian areas. Is the current rise in gasoline prices a contrived conspiracy by Israel? The increase cost of oil is due to speculation, not supply, results from Israel’s threaten attack on Iran and the responding threats by Iran to interrupt the world’s flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. Israel has stated they will not warn the U.S. in their forthcoming preemptive attack on Iran, which should surprise no one. Let us not forget Israel’s vicious attack on the USS Liberty (AGTR-5) on 8 June 1967 killing 34 Americans.
    President Obama is being held hostage by Israel, American Israeli lobby and the neoconservative Republicans as he approaches a final strategic decision concerning Iran. Iran is an Islamic theocratic regime supportive of terrorism and merciless oppression of its own people. However, President Obama promised to negotiate with Iran in combination with international sanctions in contrast to his Republican political opponents. It is far better to negotiate with Iran than attend the funerals of U.S. military personnel at the Arlington National Cemetery or visit the tragically wounded at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. In regard to shared national sacrifice, we continue the immoral and morally corrosive policy of asking less than 1% of our young to bear the burden of war without any sacrifice of the majority, not even taxes to pay for the wars, while another 1% realizes unprecedented wealth.
    Israel seems willing to accept diplomacy by the U.S. with Iran only as long as it fails! Israel hopes by intimation, threats, assassinations, ruin of the Iranian economy to provoke the Iranian government into an act of violence against the West, those the Iranians view are strangling its trade, undermining its industry, assassinating its citizens and imposing bellicose ultimatums seeking regime change. Obviously, it would be best for Iran and the world community if Iran did not pursue nuclear weapons, which has not been confirmed, but the same applies to Pakistan, India or North Korea! Whatever forces of moderation exist in Iran will disappear when the first cruise missile or smart bomb strikes Iran! The Iranians will prove to be a different enemy than the Iraqis with long term asymmetric warfare possible on a global basis, not restricted to the Middle East but to include Europe and North America. NO WAR WITH IRAN!

  10. And why, exactly, whould Deshowitz give a damn for the 1st Amendment except when it protects him in his crusade of war against all who would dare criticize the current hardline regime controlling Israeli politics? And the very last thing Dershowitz would want known to the US public is only Netanyahu and his coalition are rattling sabers and threatening war. The population of Israel do not support war.

  11. “And why, exactly, whould Deshowitz give a damn for the 1st Amendment except when it protects him in his crusade of war against all who would dare criticize the current hardline regime controlling Israeli politics?”

    Aside from that whole swearing an oath to uphold the Constitution and protect it from enemies both foreign and domestic and the duty that entails?

    No reason at all.

  12. I suspect Dershowitz realizes the deep sentiment in America against another war, or for the US to grant unconditional support to any nation including Israel. To counter this tide, he and his allies attack those who speak out publicly and try hard to label them as Jew hating anit-Semites. Personally, my best friends are Jews and not one would argue with my position.

  13. Mike S, you and I have disagreed about Israel on this forum before (though I think we usually disagree on matters that are not core issues), but you really are spot on here. (And sorry to hear you were run out of other places.) It pains me to remember that I first learned about Dershowitz as a champion of civil liberties.

    Of course, what Dershowitz is doing here is no different than what he did when he led the campaign to deny Norman Finkelstein tenure at DePaul, or his many other attacks on people who dare to oppose what Dershowitz believes are the only views one can have on Israel. This is the latest in a ever-lengthening history of such attacks and attempts to silence. I am surprised Dershowitz has not turned his guns on Haaretz, for the conversation on its pages is far more varied (Dershowitz would probably call it anti-Semitic) than anything in the US.

  14. My reaction to this latest is, “Who are you and what have you done with Alan Dershowitz.” Alas, he used to be such a strong proponent of civil rights and the First Amendment. Now he appears to have jumped the shark.

  15. Any one here in favor of third-world status for the U.S.? Then by all means, support a war with Iran. The last two nearly broke us — they certainly resulted in severe curtailment of civil liberties at home and diminished standing abroad. War will jack up energy costs, cripple a very shaky economy, create crippling debt, unite the entire middle east and a great portion of the world in an effort to destroy Israel and unleash a wave of state-sponsored terrorism against the United States and its interests and allies — and a lot of folks besides Iran will decide that their continued survival depends on their obtaining nuclear weapons:if Iran had only had a nuke, no one would have dared wage war against her. Hurry up before it’s too late!

  16. Mike S. is correct. Prof. Dershowitz has developed a constitutional blind spot of all matters affecting Israel. The Media Matters flap is only the latest example.

    Memo to Prof. Dershowitz: Criticism of Israel and Israeli policy is protected speech, regardless of the motivations of the speaker or the vehemence with which he speaks. That is so basic that it ought not be necessary to remind you. But it apparently is, so consider yourself reminded.

  17. How dare anyone in the US have an opinion that does not conform to the Likud line! They should be driven out of this country & forced to live in some hellhole that tolerates such apostasy. I’d suggest Israel where this sort of thing is part of the daily discourse & differences of opinion are permitted. Certainly we cannot afford such a luxury here in the US!

  18. I saw a lawyer (a naturalized citizen) argue before the court: “Judge, opposing counsel has done his best to impugn my character and ability not only as a lawyer but also as a decent member of this community and as citizen of this great state. Assuming all that is true, what does it have to do with whether his response was timely filed?”

    Even a blind hog sometimes finds an acorn now and then, and even bigots tell the truth when it matches their bias.

    Even if “Israel-first” is anti-semitic as opposed to a short hand reference for some other concept, it doesn’t take anything away from (1) comparing the run up to war with Iran to the run up to war with Iraq, and (2) noting that a majority of Israeli citizens do not support the government’s position.

  19. On Iran Strike, Israelis Trust Obama Over Bibi

    Friday 2 March 2012
    by: Robert Naiman, Truthout

    “AIPAC is expected to push Congress for legislation next week that would facilitate an Israeli military strike on Iran. If you think sending Israelis to bomb shelters against their will isn’t necessarily “pro-Israel,” why not tell your representatives in Congress? The Friends Committee on National Legislation has established a toll-free number for you to use: 1-855-686-6927.”

    Robert Naiman is policy director at Just Foreign Policy and president of Truthout’s board of directors.

  20. I’ll use the term “Israel Firster”, and I’ll use it without fear of the anti-Semitc label that has in the past and, apparently, is still attached to critics of right wing Israeli/AIPAC-stoked fearmongering and policies that give knee jerk support to Israel over American interests in the region. Not to mention corrosive effects on the function of Congress, though it’s hard to imagine that body being more dysfuctional regardless.

    Dershowitz must be becoming more desperate that the fearmongering tactics are losing their dog whistle effect. Dershowitz needs to get a good dose of his own arrogant medicine, though I think that day is far off. Sorry to disagree with the professor, but Dershowitz’ stand on this issue taints everything he does and says. He can’t be trusted, except to be and AIPAC shill, and deserves no respect IMO.

  21. Why Occupy AIPAC?
    Roane Carey on March 1, 2012

    Every year, in an impressive display of raw lobby power, the AIPAC Policy Conference descends on Washington. And every year, a huge number of senators and congressmen from both parties, as well as the American president, compete to see who can be the most obsequious toward what AIPAC falsely calls “the pro-Israel movement.”

    Never have the stakes been higher. It’s well known that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to go to war with Iran. He would like the United States to do the job or join Israel in an attack, or, at the very least, not stand in Israel’s way. On the eve of this year’s conference, Netanyahu gave new meaning to the word chutzpah by letting it be known he’ll demand Obama’s guarantee that Washington will go to war if Iran’s nuclear program advances beyond specific “red lines”; see these reports by Haaretz’s Barak Ravid and the Guardian’s Chris McGreal.

    Bibi is playing a high-stakes intimidation game: he knows he can count on Congress to follow the AIPAC line, as it has for many years. Legislators from both parties are already demanding White House cooperation with Israeli war aims. And he may be betting that he can make Obama pay a price this November if the president doesn’t cooperate. The fact that former Mossad director Meir Dagan and other Israeli security experts, as well as US military officials like Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Martin Dempsey, are worried about the catastrophic consequences of such a war seems not to have swayed Bibi in the least.

    Why is Netanyahu so certain he can sway an American president? Partly because of the power of AIPAC (in league with a broad circle of AIPAC affiliates, including the Christian Zionist lobby), which has for decades worked assiduously to keep Congress closely aligned with the most belligerent Israeli policies, chief among them the illegal colonization of the occupied Palestinian territories, now in its forty-fifth year. Legislators who get out of line are targeted in their re-election campaigns, and the lobby and its close allies use McCarthyite tactics to intimidate the press and policy circles. Infamous recent examples include smears against the Center for American Progress and Media Matters by former AIPAC-er Josh Block, which was amplified in the broader media, and by an outfit called the Emergency Committee for Israel, which ran a grotesque full-page ad attacking CAP and Media Matters in today’s New York Times.

    It’s time for this to stop. In fact, it’s time to Occupy AIPAC. This weekend, CODEPINK Women for Peace, along with the Institute for Policy Studies, Just Foreign Policy, the US Palestinian Community Network, Interfaith Peace-Builders and Jewish Voice for Peace, is organizing a summit in Washington at the same time as the AIPAC Policy Conference. Endorsed by more than 100 organizations around the country, the summit is going to shine a spotlight on AIPAC’s abusive practices and discuss a more rational Middle East policy, for both Israel and the United States.

  22. “it leaves the impression of an effort to create a chilling effect for any writers who are considering voicing similar views.”

    Mr. Turley, you give the Israel Firsters too much credit when you assume that this “chilling effect” is unintentional. I would propose that silencing all but the unquestioning Israel cheerleaders is the primary intention of this course of action. It’s the new way international political decisions are made: Rational discourse is out, mudslinging and ad hominem is in.

  23. I think lrobby99 wins the kewpie doll for the day. It’s all assuring there is only one message in the US

  24. Oro Lee 1, March 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Any one here in favor of third-world status for the U.S.? Then by all means, support a war with Iran. The last two nearly broke us — they certainly resulted in severe curtailment of civil liberties at home and diminished standing abroad. War will jack up energy costs, cripple a very shaky economy, create crippling debt, unite the entire middle east and a great portion of the world in an effort to destroy Israel and unleash a wave of state-sponsored terrorism against the United States and its interests and allies — and a lot of folks besides Iran will decide that their continued survival depends on their obtaining nuclear weapons:if Iran had only had a nuke, no one would have dared wage war against her. Hurry up before it’s too late!
    Well said.

  25. Raff,

    My pleasure…. My new playtoy has me on my toes as well….It auto corrects…things I did not know….. But, I can get access to more that 350 international newspapers…. Apparently there is something going on all over the world…. Not sure what…but I like the read….

  26. Friday, Mar 2, 2012 8:38 AM Eastern Standard Time

    The incomplete media debate on Iran

    By Glenn Greenwald


    “For months, Americans have been subjected to this continuous, coordinated, repetitive messaging from Israeli officials, amplified through the U.S. media. This is generally how the establishment American media conducts the debate over whether to attack Iran: here are Israeli officials explaining why an attack is urgent and why the U.S. must conduct it. Now here are American officials explaining why an attack can wait a little while longer but that it will happen if necessary to stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon. Occasionally, here are American foreign policy experts arguing why an attack would be too difficult and costly. What is missing from the debate are the views held not only by Iranian leaders but also large populations in numerous capitals and nations around the world: that Iran has the right to pursue its nuclear program; that it is Israel and the U.S. — not Iran — that poses the greatest threat to world peace; that American and Israeli aggression against non-nuclear states (along with their massive stockpile of nuclear weapons) is what makes it rational for a nation to want to proliferate, etc. One does not have to agree with any of those views to recognize how widely they are held in the world and how much of a place they (therefore) merit in the discussion.

    If one searches hard enough, one can likely find American media accounts attempting to describe or present the views of Iran on this conflict or other nations which support it — just like NBC News can point to a single Iranian source among the tidal wave of American and Israeli government and military officials who brief its top executives and shape their understanding of the issue. But overwhelmingly, the American media continuously amplifies the views of American and Israeli officials while all but suppressing the views of those on the other side. For every one Iranian official Americans are permitted to hear from (and they are treated with extreme skepticism by American journalists), they hear from countless Israelis (who are treated with the utmost deference). The same thing happens on an even more extreme scale with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (one almost never hears from Palestinians in our media debates), and more extremely still when it comes to demonizing America’s designated enemies (who are virtually never heard from, and are sometimes even officially excluded from media reports). This is the dynamic by which the American establishment media, often without even consciously realizing they’re doing it, severely narrows and distorts our national political debates while pretending to host free-ranging and vibrant discussions.” (and the article continues)

  27. Mike Spindell 1, March 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Alas poor Alan Dershowitz, we once knew him well. This was a man who once was among the great civil libertarian lawyers in this country. Both he and I as Jews are very attached to Israel.
    Me too, even though I am not Jewish. Long live Israel. Long live Iran. Long live America.

  28. Can’t wait to read it all. You post too fast for me to read.

    Look, am full of Robert Baer’s book The Devil We Know from 2008.
    In it he points out that the only wars Israel has lost was in 2000 and 2006 (if memory serves). The opponents, shia islamist in Lebanon supported by Iran troops (500). He also points out that removing Saddam AND his army took away the only hinder to Iran subverting Iraq through proxies since the first iraqi government. Iraq is 60 percent Shia, 15 percent Sunni and then the Kurds am not sure about. He means that Iran, in 2008, had already won 60 per cent of the war, coldly calculating that America would not stay the course there but was content to see them bled and the american public to tire.
    They also count on the American staying power in the Persian Gulf not to last, and the control of Gulf oil falling to them. And they picture themselves taking over the Gulf States and answering for Holy Mecca.

    I think the folks in Washington are aware of this, and knows that their only chance is a pre-emptive knockout. What holds them back?: China and Russia. Who’s pressuring them: Israel and its lobby. Also holding them back is money. But Bush did it without money, so…….this last paragraph is my assumptions. haven’t gotten so far in the book to today, so to speak.
    I also feel that Big oil would like to get their hands on Irani oil again.

  29. Reading the Nation excerpt ——–thanks Elaine M.
    Here’s my revised take.
    Bibi is pushing for a war as part of a two step strategy.
    ONE he attacks Iran nuclear facilities conventionally. They can’t win a conventional war, and they can’t subdue Iran as a country with nukes.
    TWO, he forces the USA to hop in to stop Iran from gripping its own nuke alternative as a way of answering Israel.
    PAYOFF, we get in. Big oil get theirs. We get the bill. And WS starts the next war drumup, and Israel starts having barbecue parties serving roasted Palestinians.
    Hope you know the last was a joke. And the views were purely OPINIONS.

  30. I find this position odd, and I have friends that hold it, too (that people should be fired over statements like his). Neo-fascists/nazis would have you believe that the Jews are some crazy conspiracy-laden people that run all of the media in America. If this guy gets his way, is that not just making them believe that they are right? And how many other people could it convince? It seems counter-intuitive to being accepted and standing against anti-Semitism to demand someone be fired for their opinion… It simply makes the crazy people look more realistic.

  31. Ekeyra.

    Drip drip drip indeed.

    Totalitarianism deters in advance exercise of democracy. Enforcement of anti-democratic laws and rules just drives the message home. I think everyone reading this blog knows that, maybe.

    Shame on our Congress. Wearying the number of times that needs to be said these days.

  32. Dr. D,
    The race-baiting, Zionist forever trotting out the shopworn anti-Semitic pablum. The dude needs new material, big time.

    It’s a meaningless epithet anyway. Overused, in the same grating manner as most self-proclaimed “morally superior” nationalists who sees abuses and wrongs behind every tree while turning a blind eye to the genocidal activities within their own tribe.

    I, for one, cannot be anti-Semitic as I fully support the Palestinian people. [You know, the “true” Semites.]

  33. “President Obama is being held hostage by Israel, American Israeli lobby and the neoconservative Republicans as he approaches a final strategic decision concerning Iran.”


    Your heading in the right direction but you have one misapprehension. The American-Israeli lobby AIPAC is held hostage by rich, Jewish, Republican Neocons. AIPAC has been controlled by people who are really Neocons first and Israeli supporters second. Netanyahu got elected by the dollars and support of Neocons and is for all intents and purposes a Neocon stooge. Driving all of this is the Military/Industrial Complex, which includes the Oil Barons. They in turn are in partnership with Saudi Arabia, truly America’s closest ally in the Mid East. The War with Iraq and the drive towards war with Iran help take out the Saudi’s closest Mid East competitors. All we see is sham and stagecraft. The sad thing is that many supporters of Israel in Neocon thrall, are too blinded by their own pre-judgments to understand the harm they do Israel. Think about the fact that the original Neocon manifesto was signed by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush and others all with ties to the MI Complex, with Saudi Arabia and with big oil. Follow the money not the stooges.

  34. Alan Dershowitz. Isn’t he one of the guys who got OJ off? And before that, Von Bulow? (OK, maybe VB was innocent.)

  35. OK. Off topic but a much needed piece of good news… a court in IL found it unconstitutional to bar recording of civilian encounters with cops. Said something like it “criminalized innocent behavior”. Sorry I don’t have better details…too busy reading all this crud about Dershowitz.

  36. Dershowitz has always given the appearance of a smug know it all. Perhaps the epitomy. It does not bode well for him when he comes on as attack dog on this other guy. So the debate over whether to stop the Iranian nuclear program gets sidetracked by him rather than rationally debated. Iran is laughing at him and at the U.S. We do not need Harvard Law types intruding into the great foreign policy issues of the decade and perhaps century. If Alan wishes to pontificate then lets hear about the Confrontation Clause instead of his Confrontation attitudes.

  37. Although I was harsh on Alan Dershowitz in my comment above, I must state that he is a fine writer on animal rights. As a dog I must recommend his book to you all: Rights from Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of Rights (2004), You must know that a secular theory is a step removed from the notion of Natural Law or similar concepts of American and British jurisprudence beginning with the British Bill of Rights circa 1688. So ;those of us democrats who scoff at the divine right of kings may likewise promote the rights of animals as well as the rights of individual humanoids.

    Now getting back to Israel. As one who travelled across the Sinai and through the checkpoint in the Gaza into Israel when they first opened the border, I must say that I was aghast at the challenges facing the Israelis. This trip across the Sinai was a brand new thing. We did it in a speeding cab. As we went through the first xray checkpoint I had yet seen there was an Arab lady trying to get through who had a bomb under her dress. She was next in line behind me. Within Jerusalem I was struck by how well Arabs and Jews got along. In Egypt we had met members of the Muslim Brotherhood who ranted about Zionists. I count myself as a friend of Israel and I count the Israelis as our good allies. America cannot afford to let Iran get an atomic bomb. This is the real deal and we cannot let our faux scares in Iraq make us dumb now in this crisis. The W. Bush guy had the wrong I (eye) country when they went into Iraq. .

  38. Mike Spindell
    1, March 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm
    Alas poor Alan Dershowitz, we once knew him well. This was a man who once was among the great civil libertarian lawyers in this country.

    True. I remember his early career with fondness as working to overturn obscenity laws. I don’t recall many of his later cases being that impressive in breaking new ground though the Von Bulow trial was fascinating. I’m really surprised at this position of his though, in fact I’m shocked, shocked. And I’m not using that line as sarcasm this time, I’m really shocked.

  39. Curious,
    It was a Cook County Circuit court judge. I found an article about it. I will be curious (no pun intended!) to see if it gets appealed.

  40. The first amendment restrains the feds, and lately the states as well. Everybody else can go at it. Dershowitz has thrown elbows before, at Finkelstein, as others have noted. That’s the American way.

    More troubling to me is the notion that the state, as employer, owns the mind and heart of the employee. The employee can be fired for publicly agreeing with a criticism of a policy (P J. Crowley) and if he leaks privately, a charge of treason can be manufactured (Thomas Drake).

    The knife in the back in the alley is a more serious problem than the elbow in the jaw on the court.

  41. On recording cops: above was posted a quote from the judge “Said something like it “criminalized innocent behavior””

    Of course I agree, but I would have liked some deeper legal analysis. Saying that the behavior is innocent seems like begging the question to me.

  42. Mike S.
    I’ve twiced peddled Robert Baer’s 2008 book “The Devil We Know” re Iran as our main ME threat. He says Israel retired from a 13 year war with Hezbollah backed by Iran Rev Guards in 2000; and another retreat in 2006.
    All this you know or can refute, am citing only.
    What’s your take on his seeing Iran with empire building ambitions, content to expand using local shias to do their fighting, with all the Gulf states as targets, and accdg to Khamenei “taking over all of Dar-al-Islam”???

  43. ID707,
    Iran is certainly not a Nation I have warm feelings for. Like may nations around the world no doubt they have aspirations of empire. However, most independent sources say their nuclear threat is negligible and compared to Israel’s for instance pitiable. The escalation of threats toward Iran is merely a plot uniting the worldwide MI Complex, their partners in crime Big Oil and Saudi Arabia. It has long been a part of the Neocon agenda and AIPAC and Netanyahu but dupes in the process.

  44. Raff & Curious,

    I know this judge well. He’s a wee bit crazy (If you google Old Stan you’ll find articles about the chief judge ordering him to attend anger managment classes (after yelling at a cop he percieved as being full of b.s.)), but usually does the right thing. It’s definately going to be appealed, but with any luck the legislature will have amended the law by then.

  45. Seamus

    So where does that leave us with G8? Does this mean G8 protesters will be ok to record confrontations with cops?

  46. Bomb, bomb, bomb,,,, bomb bomb Iran.
    You are right Don. I was being too easy on Iran in my prior rant.

  47. T.Dog. Whatever.

    I don’t count the Israelis as good allies, though obviously mileage differs.

    Iran’s not the problem. Just another damn excuse to let the neocon dogs of war act out and the AIPAC clones to jerk our chain.

    Nothing personal.

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