Alan Dershowitz Talks about BDS
Boycott, divestment, and sanctions sounds like a really good idea against countries like Iran. But in actuality, it is a delegitimize movement against Israel. One of those on the forefront fighting against it is the renowned lawyer Alan Dershowitz. American Thinker had the privilege of meeting up with him and interviewing him at this years’ Stand With Us Conference.
Since the establishment of the Jewish Nation, Israel’s enemies have attempted to destroy her. First, the surrounding Arab nations went to war. Today, there was terrorism and Intifada, and now the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. Roz Rothstein, the Co-Founder and CEO of Stand With Us, told American Thinker, “The boycott movement has a one-two punch that is very black and white. Their goal is to destroy Israel’s image and then call for punishment. It is critical that people don’t apply a different standard towards Israel.”
Dershowitz agrees with Rothstein and emphasizes that Israel is always singled out. “The very people that want to have sanctions against Israel are the very same people who want to remove them against Cuba, China, Russia, and Iran; the countries that engage in genocide and the systematic oppression of minorities, women, and gays. Leftists don’t want sanctions against their favorite tyrannies and favorite countries; they only want to single out Israel. There cannot be a systematic generalization against one country.”
He points out that all the presidential candidates have come out against BDS; yet chastises Senator Bernie Sanders for his mistruths in his recent CNN interview. “I grew up with Bernie Sanders types who were a dime a dozen with their long hair, wanting to live in Vermont, and wanting to change the world. Now he makes false statements that can influence people, saying ‘10,000 innocent civilians were killed by the Jewish disproportional response in Gaza.’ 10,000 -- where did he get that? Because the number is much closer to 600. No country has done more to warn civilians. Sanders totally made up a fiction when he talks about Israel’s indiscriminate response. Talking about 'indiscriminate', that is the Hamas rockets and terror tunnels. We need to challenge these falsehoods. No democracy would not fight back and the lesson we learned from Jewish history is that Israel must be strong.”
For those who have not followed this issue, Alan Dershowitz compares what is going on today to the Nazi boycott of Jewish goods in the 1930s and the Arab boycott in the 1950s/1960s. “Now it takes on a new name and a new phrase, but it is the same old poison. It is anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, anti-human rights, anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-negotiation, anti-peace, anti-compromise, and anti-Palestinian workers when they are denied opportunities to work.”
What is needed is for college students to be educated on the true goals of the BDS movement. According to Dershowitz, “They see it as a benign alternative to terrorism and war. I was asked to debate this issue at Oxford University and at the same time was told I could not win a pro-Israel debate on this campus, the home of the BDS movement. I decided to accept the challenge of changing the minds of some open-minded students. First, they tried to get the founder of the BDS movement to debate me, but he refused because I am subject to the BDS boycott. Even though I am not an Israeli I support Israel. Thus the boycott aspect extends to me. I am very proud of that. I ended up debating Peter Tatchell, a human rights advocate. I made the argument that BDS makes it less likely for peace and a two-state solution, that the only way there will be a Palestinian state is when the Palestinian leadership wants their own state more than they want not to be a Jewish state. They have to understand they cannot have a state that occupies all of Israel, from the river to the sea. In the end the students voted overwhelmingly against the BDS movement.”
The BDS movement has extended its evil antennas to the academic world, attempting to bring an academic boycott against Israelis. Dershowitz responded by writing a letter with Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg. He explained, “We wrote to about fifty of our colleagues. Since we both hold honorary degrees from Israeli universities we emphasized if you boycott Israeli academics you must boycott us. We got 11,000 signatures of scholars from around the world declaring themselves Israeli academics.”
Unfortunately, one such academic, Stephen Hawking, supports the BDS movement. Dershowitz called him out, “I realized people can be really smart in physics and really dumb in politics. I challenged him to debate and promised him I would not use as part of my argument the fact that the machine he uses to advocate BDS is made and manufactured in Israel. There are products made in Israel that simply cannot be boycotted.”
He went on to say, “We cannot count on the support of many professors. Even those supporting Israel will not speak out or stand up. There are actually more pro-Israel professors than anti-Israel, but the antis speak out while the pros do not. These professors should not get a pass. They have tenure so they should have no excuse not to speak out.”
One tactic used is to attempt to silence freedom of speech. He has faced it three times on college campuses and is calling for “equality. Whatever rights are given to others must be given to Jews and Zionists. We cannot have a double standard. There is no affirmative action when it comes to free speech. Right now anti-Israel groups have safe spaces and pro-Israel groups do not. Supporters of BDS are repressives, regressives, and deniers of free speech for anyone that disagrees with them. They are close-minded. What they stand for is the oldest notion, ‘free speech for me, but not for thee.’ Certain groups do not deserve more free speech than others.”
He wants Americans to understand, “What is at stake here is nothing less than the future of our country, Israel, and the world. The goal of the BDS movement is to influence the thinking of those 18, 25, or 27 who will be our leaders in twenty years. We have to make it clear that BDS stands for demonization, double standard, disruption, deception, and defeat of Israel. We need to secure the victory of truths over lies, equality over bigotry, and to have a single standard over the singling out of Israel.”
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.