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UCLA Magazine Winter 2003
The Rising
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Dershowitz, For the Defense
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Winter 2003
Dershowitz, For the Defense
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In a spirited Burkle Forum discussion, the noted legal scholar and writer takes on the "unnuanced" critics of Israel and urges supporters within the nation's universities to be more vocal in their defense of the country.

Alan M. Dershowitz illustration

Illustration by Curtis Parker

On October 21, more than 1,000 people heard Harvard Law Professor Alan M. Dershowitz speak at Royce Hall, issuing a call for supporters of Israel to speak up on behalf of the Jewish state.

In a far-ranging discussion with Geoffrey Garrett, vice provost and dean of the UCLA International Institute and director of the Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations, Dershowitz touched on many of the themes he wrote about in his most recent book, The Case for Israel (John Wiley & Sons, 2003).

Never shy about controversy ("As you know, I love controversy," he told the audience. "And I knew that writing The Case for Israel would engender a tremendous amount of controversy"), Dershowitz's writings often draw fire from both the left and the right. He is known as "the nation's most peripatetic civil-liberties lawyer" and is among the best-known criminal lawyers in the world. The 20 books he has authored range from nonfiction — Chutzpah, Why Terrorism Works and Reversal of Fortune — to novels like The Advocate's Devil and Just Revenge.

The following is adapted from Dershowitz's Royce Hall discussion, presented as a Burkle Forum to provide a wide range of views on key international issues for the campus community and beyond. For the full transcript, go to www.international.ucla.edu/dershowitz.

Garrett: Why did you write the book?
Dershowitz: The Case for Israel is the book I didn't want to write. Who would have to write the case for Canada or the case for Australia or even the case for France? But I had to write The Case for Israel because if you look at college campuses around the United States and, even worse, in many parts of Europe — if you look at what's going on in the United Nations and in so many European capitals — there are so many false accusations being made against Israel, and so many people believe them because they are not being given appropriate factual responses. I wish I could write the case for peace; I'd much prefer to write that book, calling on people to come together and proposing various solutions. But my own view is that before you can make peace, and before you can have reconciliation, you have to clear the air of these kinds of false accusations — that Israel is the worst human-rights offender in the world, that Israel is a colonialist regime, that it engages in genocide, that it commits crimes against humanity.

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