comments_image Comments

Dershowitz and Yeshiva University Diss President Carter & the USA

Crossposted on Tikkun Daily

By MJ Rosenberg

Maybe I’m old school. But I was brought up to be grateful to the United States for being the best and safest home Jews have ever had.

My grandparents were immigrants who knew how lucky they were that they escaped Europe back at the beginning of the 20th century especially after their siblings, and their siblings’ families who stayed behind, died in the Nazi death camps (one survived and made it to Israel after the war).

My parents were typical Americans of the World War II era. They loved this country, they loved Roosevelt and although Israel played a big part in their lives, this was their country just like English was their language and Judaism was their faith.

How patriotic were they? My dad taught me the presidents in order when I was 9. I did the same with my kids and now with my grand kids.

In fact, during the 2012 election, my then four year old grandson asked what we would do if Mitt Romney won “because we aren’t for him.” I told him that he’d be our president just like President Obama.” He was reassured. He wants to like the president.

In our family, we respect the institutions of our country, including the presidency, even if we didn’t vote for the particular holder of the office. My wife’s family was even more patriotic. Her parents survived the Holocaust and she was born in a Jewish refugee camp in Germany. Criticize America and my father-in-law would say, “go to Stalin then.” No matter Stalin was long dead!

In other words, we are nothing like Alan Dershowitz.

I just read that the Harvard law professor is having an hysterical fit because Yeshiva University’s Cardozo Law school is presenting an award to former president, Jimmy Carter. Yeshiva is a Jewish university, as is Brandeis, about which Dershowitz also wept and gnashed molars when it invited Carter to speak.

Dershowitz told Ha’aretz why the former president should not speak at Jewish schools:

He cited a long list of Carter’s offenses, saying that the former U.S. President “stood idly by” during the Pol Pot massacre in Cambodia, “never met a terrorist he didn’t like”, was beholden to Saudi Arabia and bore “partial responsibility” for the carnage of the second intifada because he “encouraged” Yasser Arafat at Camp David not to reach a peace deal.

And then, in the egomaniacal style that has made him the The Donald of lawyers, he demanded that “someone like myself” speak along side the former president. He said that Carter “should be made to regret that he ever agreed to accept the award.”

Forget the part about Pol Pot. Dershowitz, as everyone knows, is only concerned about Carter’s criticism of Israel and, in particular, about Carter’s accurate description of conditions on the West Bank (not in Israel itself) as like “apartheid.” Criticizing Israel is verboten in Dersh’s world. And that is why he hates Carter. Israel is Dershowitz’s City On The Hill, shining perfection.

That is why Dershowitz supports all prime ministers of Israel. He may like some more than others but he believes that Israel and its leaders, unlike the United States and its leaders, must be respected. You know, he feels about Israel the way we feel about the United States. (Imagine. This guy teaches about the United States Constitution at Harvard whose students apparently are more tolerant of bigoted fools than they were in the 1960′s).

The president of Yeshiva University, a guy named Richard Joel, is almost as bad. He defends the invitation to Carter but then falls all over himself apologizing.

At the core of Yeshiva University¹s expressed mission and sacred mandate stands an unwavering and unapologetic commitment to the legitimacy, safety, and security of the State of Israel,” Joel wrote. “President Carter’s presence at Cardozo in no way represents a university position on his views, nor does it indicate the slightest change in our steadfastly pro-Israel stance.

Joel is not appreciative that a former president is honoring Yeshiva with his presence because the primary mission of his university is “unapologetic commitment” to Israel. Really. I’m sure the students who attend Yeshiva to become respected doctors, lawyers, teachers and rabbis in America might not see it that way. But Joel is a Jewish organizational professional not any kind of educator; defending Israeli policies is his mission along with raising big bucks from lobby-affiliated donors.

The good news is that Dershowitz and Joel represent a tiny fraction of Jewish Americans. To say that Jews are loyal Americans is almost embarrassing. Of course, we are. But we are also a tiny minority and, historically, a vulnerable one. Dershowitz and Joel increase our vulnerability by sending out the message that we aren’t Americans at all, that our loyalty is not to this country but to Israel. That may be true about them, just not the rest of us. (Note: Dershowitz hates me for calling people like him and Joel Israel Firsters.Uh, ok.)

It is also worth noting that no president has done as much for Israel as Carter who saved countless Israeli lives by personally negotiating the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. How many Israeli parents have their son, how many kids their fathers, how many wives their husbands thanks to Carter?

After all, just five years before Carter produced Israeli-Egyptian peace, 2800 Israeli boys were killed in the Yom Kippur War. But, thanks to Carter, not a single Israeli has died fighting Egypt since.

Is that what really offends Dershowitz? Could it be that the great professor wants to see Israel embattled forever? Is that why he hates Carter? Does he prefer his Israelis as martyrs, to be used as fodder in his never ending war against Muslims and Arabs.

Alan Dershowitz is appalling.

NOTE TO THE SECRET SERVICE: Some alumni of Yeshiva University have issued physical threats against the former President.

Enraged alumni have threatened to physically block Jimmy Carter from entering Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law, where he is due to receive a peace award on April 10.

Daniel Rubin, 62, said about a dozen former alumni are planning an act of civil disobedience to prevent Carter, a harsh critic of Israeli policies on the occupied West Bank, from picking up the International Advocate for Peace Award, given annually by Cardozo’s Journal of Conflict Resolution.

Rubin said former alumni would use their knowledge of the building layout to outmaneuver any attempts to stop them.

“Mr. Carter ain’t going to get anywhere,” Rubin said.

To read more pieces like this, sign up for Tikkun Daily’s free newsletter, sign up for Tikkun Magazine emails or visit us online. You can also like Tikkun on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.