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"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

July 02, 2006

Now Presenting Alan Dershowitz, Great Defender of...Alan Dershowitz

Please give a warm welcome to my friend Rob, whom I've been trying to get to write something for this site since 1978. As with other guest posters, if we treat him well, we may be able to lure him back for future appearances.

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by Rob Weisberg

Well, many of us (c’mon, don’t be shy, it’s everybody, right?) have watched Alan Dershowitz’s transmogrification from publicity-seeking practicing lawyer to publicity-achieved celebrity legal commentator to strident tripwire of perceived anti-Semitism and offense to Israel.

Dershowitz was last seen piling on the strange Mearsheimer and Walt Israel Lobby paper (which is either tired academic research masquerading as a fourth-grade book report prepared the morning of class; or else, my opinion, a fine piece of straw-man propaganda written by the Israel Lobby). Now, Dershowitz turns his predictable attention to the case of the four Russians killed by Iraq’s Al-Qaeda franchise.

Vladimir Putin, America’s latest we-love-him-no-we-hate-him-no-we-love-him-no-we-hate-him-okay-it’s-complicated dictator, apparently told Russia’s special forces to find the perpetrators and kill them, international law and the laws of hypocrisy be damned.

Sure, Putin most likely saw Spielberg’s film Munich and missed the “blood-will-have-blood” message, and, sure, one wonders just what these Russian secret agents are going to accomplish that the U.S. military hasn’t, and, yeah, Dershowitz’s claim that Putin is a lousy hypocrite for wanting to kill the same terrorists (Iraqi Al Qaeda) he welcomed to the Kremlin (Palestinian Hamas) is the usual reductionist bullshit practiced by those who need to support the killing of someone, somewhere. (See Jon and Mike’s piece "Why the _______ Hate the _________s"; hey, Putin probably mixes up Dershowitz and Woody Allen all the time.) But the real nugget of Dershowitz’s column is this:

I know this posting will stimulate the usual anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, and anti-Dershowitz fulminations, along with some thoughtful responses. The knee-jerk reaction to anything I write about Israel simply confirms my point about the double standard.

Wow, that’s great. Apart from the self-reinforcing last sentence--anyone who disagrees me only proves my point further--you have to love his viewpoint of those naysayers. “Anti-Israel,” check. “Anti-Semitic,” check. (In the interests of full disclosure, my late grandmother once referred to me as a “self-hating Jew.” C’mon, nana, shiksa chicks are where it’s at!)

“Anti-Dershowitz?” Whoa.

So he’s claiming that anyone who disagrees with him is nothing more than...someone who disagrees with him? Or, to put it in mathematicalistics:

≠Dershowitz = ≠Dershowitz

Wow, that’s nasty stuff. Tagging your opponents with the epithet of being your opponents. How will they ever recover? I imagine Chomsky is shaking in his human-skin boots.

I should be so brilliant. No, really, I should.

Rob Weisberg majored in political science at an elite college. That makes him the most qualified commentator on current events anywhere in the world. And he still thinks that people read newspapers and magazines about current events.

Posted at July 2, 2006 09:22 PM | TrackBack

The trouble with people like Dershowitz is that they prevent any kind of intelligent debate on the reality of the war crimes Israel commits against the Palestinians.

Dershowitz likes to often point out how slow Jewish people are to accuse anyone of being anti-Semite while at the same time Dershowitz is very quick on the draw to do so himself and never seems to tire of doing it.

It is quite interesting that the Israeli echo Bush in their present endeavor to remove the Palestinian government as we have removed the Iraqi government and claim to be killing terrorists even though many appear to be only ten years old while we are killing terrorists in Iraq in a very democratic manner ignoring age, gender or what have you. The conclusion one can draw from this is that if you wish to kill someone and wish to appear as a good guy while doing so all one needs to do is invoke the terrorist word.

Unfortunately name calling never results in logical conclusions. The only logical conclusion to the American sacred cow, that being Israel, is that the Israeli are now deeply involved in genocide and enslavement of an enormously weaker nation and justifying that nation's attempts at defending itself as acts of terrorism. But how terrified are the inhabitants of Palestine as Israel continues to beat the shit out of them? How terrified are the Iraqi as we continue to murder, rape and pillage?

Posted by: rob payne at July 3, 2006 02:24 AM

Jonathan S:

I would've gladly written something for you in 1978, except:

1. I didn't know how to use computers, and

2. Maybe my mom wouldn't have let me.

Rob W.:

You make many impressive points, but you are not a teevee lawyer. How can you argue with a teevee lawyer?

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at July 3, 2006 03:50 AM

I happen to know for a fact that David Duke is anti-Dershowitzist. And Osama bin Laden too, no doubt. 'nuff said!

Posted by: abb1 at July 3, 2006 04:27 AM

Rob Weisberg:

You mention an equation with which I am not familiar because my major was liberal arts and I slept through mathematicalistics class. Does this mean that because I disagree with Dershowitz it's due to the fact I have enough common sense not to listen to an alleged 'legal' and 'Middle East' expert on TV? It's worrisome when any attempt at legitimate discussion nowadays is relagated to the 'yer either with us or agin' us mentality.

Posted by: americanintifada at July 3, 2006 02:29 PM

He sucked as a lawyer on OJ's defense team, too. He and Cochran should have retired to a bar with Flea Bailey and left it all to Scheck.

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at July 3, 2006 04:09 PM

You got off to an awkward start with the step to the side to slam Mearsheimer and Walt, but you redeemed yourself. I watched 'Reversal of Fortune' for the first time recently. It's humorous how Dershowitz has mutated from crappy court room drama super hero to cable news screamer.

Posted by: Lloyd at July 3, 2006 07:08 PM

The sorry sight of a clown like Dershowitz riding the greasy pole all the way to the seniormost faculty position at Harvard Law School (ahead of a scholar like Morton Horwitz) should give pause to those bowled over by Ivy League credentials...

Posted by: sk at July 3, 2006 09:36 PM

Thanks, everyone, for your comments on my guest appearance, but, damn, I was hoping someone would clearly be Dersowitz, Esq., posting under a thinly-veiled pseudonym. Jon promised me I could smoke out the powerful. Lloyd, your opening gave me hope. (And, Lloyd, I wanted to AGREE with the Mearsheimer/Walt paper, but it was so tailor-made for the ensuing controversy that one really has to wonder . . . I mean, what did they freakin' expect? Or are they sitting around, bemoaning the tentacled power of the Israel Lobby?) Well, we can dream.

True, americanintifada, there were other, more "legitimate" equations which I could have used, but they were all invented by Greeks, Indians, Arabs, or Mayans, and they're even more on my list than Dershowitz . . .

Finally, rob payne, you make good points with passion and heart. You must have gone insane years ago. My condolences.

--Rob Weisberg

Posted by: Rob Weisberg at July 3, 2006 09:55 PM

Hey, Rob W.:

Who are you calling a geek? I represent that remark immensely! You're on MY list now, pal!

Posted by: americanintifada at July 4, 2006 12:47 AM

Rob Weisberg,

Yes I am insane but fortunately I have five other distinct personalities to draw from Captain Ahab, Lawrence of Arabia, Captain Kangaroo, Teddy Roosevelt and Barney the big purple dinosaur.

Thanks for your post I enjoyed your humor and though I no longer watch television I don't listen to the radio either.

Seriously I did enjoy your post and I hope Jonathan can get you to do more in the future.

The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
-Oscar Wilde

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
-Oscar Wilde

Well, Art is Art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And East is East and West is West and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh... Now you tell me what you know.
-Groucho Marx

Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others.
-Groucho Marx

I must say that I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book.
-Groucho Marx

Posted by: rob payne at July 4, 2006 02:24 AM

Rob Payne,

Somehow I knew you were a Marxist. In the words of that Fellow Traveler "I've got a good mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it!"

Posted by: americanintifada at July 4, 2006 03:05 AM


Our fellow traveler also said:


Posted by: rob payne at July 4, 2006 04:58 AM

I often sit around, bemoaning the tentacles of power. Come to think of it, I really should go to bed.

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at July 4, 2006 05:21 AM

...and don't forget my personal favorite nugget of wisdom:

"Say! You're pretty shy for a lawyer! That must be why they call you shyster lawyer!"

Posted by: americanintifada at July 4, 2006 05:24 AM