Dershowitz, For the Defense
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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.
Illustration by Curtis Parker
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.
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).
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
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.
Why did you write the book?
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.