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The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved [Paperback]

Alan Dershowitz

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Book Description

Aug. 1 2006
In The Case for Peace, Dershowitz identifies twelve geopolitical barriers to peace between Israel and Palestine–and explains how to move around them and push the process forward. From the division of Jerusalem and Israeli counterterrorism measures to the security fence and the Iranian nuclear threat, his analyses are clear-headed, well-argued, and sure to be controversial. According to Dershowitz, achieving a lasting peace will require more than tough-minded negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. In academia, Europe, the UN, and the Arab world, Israel-bashing and anti-Semitism have reached new heights, despite the recent Israeli-Palestinian movement toward peace. Surveying this outpouring of vilification, Dershowitz deconstructs the smear tactics used by Israel-haters and shows how this kind of anti-Israel McCarthyism is aimed at scuttling any real chance of peace.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (Aug. 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047004585X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470045855
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 14.9 x 1.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #652,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

While holding out hope for a settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, this lively polemic carries on the fierce war of words over the conflict. Harvard Law professor Dershowitz, author of The Case For Israel, feels that, with Arafat's death and a new Palestinian leadership, prospects for peace have brightened. He endorses the "obvious" two-state solution suggested by Ehud Barak's ill-fated 2000 proposals and the recent non-governmental Geneva accords, involving Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and most of the West Bank (except for some large Jewish settlements), divided sovereignty over Jerusalem and some "recognition" of Palestinian refugees by Israel without an absolute "right of return." Dershowitz continues to back such controversial Israeli actions as the targeted assassination of suspected terrorists and the construction of the West Bank security wall, but acknowledges a common interest in peace which must be protected from extremists on both sides. He is less conciliatory toward outside supporters of the Palestinians, whom he accuses of opposing peace and seeking "the destruction of the Jewish State," citing everything from anti-Semitic ravings in the Arab press to Western academics who violate his 28-point guidelines for separating legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism. He particularly targets the "real and acknowledged" conspiracy of "anti-Israel, anti-peace, anti-truth zealots" Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn and Norman Finkelstein and offers a detailed rebuttal of Finkelstein's recent anti-Dershowitz broadside Beyond Chutzpah. In keeping with the vitriolic conventions of the debate-over-the-debate-over the Middle East, he bombards opponents with inflammatory charges based on sometimes tendentious readings of skimpily contextualized remarks; readers trying to substantiate them must often follow long trails of footnotes to other sources. Dershowitz presents his usual vigorous case, but not the judicious treatment these issues cry out for.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


* ALAN Dershowitz has a lovely vision of Middle East peace, imagining democratic Israel and a democratic Palestine prospering together.
Harvard Law's celebrity professor advocates a two-state solution, creating Palestine out of the territories Israel won in the 1967 war. Dershowitz believes two viable states with secure borders and stable political cultures can emerge from one of the world's most troubled pieces of real estate.
Invoking history, justice, reason and the rule of law, he analyzes the problems, seeking mutually agreeable solutions. Yet, sadly, rather than showing, as the hopeful subtitle suggests, ""How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can Be Resolved,"" this book makes a more convincing case that the conflict will continue.
Dershowitz once again proves in clear and readable prose that Israel is flexible, peace-seeking and ready to compromise, while offering little evidence that many Palestinian leaders are equally reasonable, courageous or committed to peace or democracy.
This short, punchy primer details just how virulent Palestinian rejectionism is--and has been for decades. Jewish and international compromises reach back to the Peel Commission in the 1930s, yet, again and again, Palestinians--and their cynical Arab allies--have preferred maximalist dreams to imperfect compromises.
Combining an appellate lawyer's precision with a courtroom showman's passion, Dershowitz examines how Yasser Arafat, among other destructive leaders, repeatedly turned Palestinians away from state-building, compromise and democracy, fostering an autocratic, demagogic, corrupt, delusional political culture addicted to terror.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously lamented that Arabs must love their own children more than they hate Israel's children for peace to flourish; now, Palestinians must become more committed to building a ""democratic Palestinian state living in peace with a democratic Israel"" than to destroying Israel.
Convinced that a pragmatic Palestinian majority can emerge, Dershowitz lambastes the academics, church leaders, diplomats, reporters and so-called ""peace activists"" who feed Palestinians' delusions and sanction violence by demonizing Israel, no matter what it does.
Dershowitz and others advocating for a rational peace should challenge the West's armchair jihadists for rationalizing Palestinian terrorism, robbing Palestinians and Jews of hope. And it is noble for intellectuals defending Israel's legitimacy to dream of a possible compromise.
Dershowitz mischievously confounds critics by insisting that, while ardently pro-Israel, he remains liberal and ""pro-Palestinian."" But while occasionally mentioning a ""peace process"" and praising the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Dershowitz fails to identify that Palestinian peace camp essential to creating a new, stable Middle East.
This book assumes that Israel disengaged from Gaza successfully. But Israel withdrew unilaterally because there was no credible negotiating partner, had to build a fence because Palestinian terrorists continue to target Israeli civilians and even uprooted Jewish gravesites because of justified fears that Hamas activists would desecrate the corpses.
Dershowitz's vision of peace will only work if Palestinians pass a simple test. Unless and until, Jews--and Jewish graves--can remain undisturbed on land ceded to the Palestinians, no peace is possible.
--Gil Troy, a professor of history at McGill University, is the author of ""Why I'm a Zionist."" (The New York Post, August 28, 2005)
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.4 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
74 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong and Persuasive Aug. 29 2005
By B. Beck - Published on
I read The Case for Peace by Alan Dershowitz with great interest. Although I am basically an optimist, I have been lately quite pessimistic about the opportunities for peace in the Arab Israel conflict. There are so many obstacles to peace and so many players that the possibility of peace seemed to be remote, at best.

But Dershowitz, in a methodical analytic way approaches each of the pitfalls that I had considered and presents the consistent message that peace is possible.

This is not a pie in the sky book of dreams. It is rather a hard hitting, at times argumentative, but always convincing case for peace. The aspect of the book that I found most convincing was its avoidance of calling on the various parties to exercise "good will". The time for good will has long passed and now is the time when only hard nosed negotiation can bring about lasting peace.

Dershowitz rightfully points out that this final war for peace will be slow and painful for both sides. He predicts that terrorist attacks will continue after the peace is declared and that the parties must avoid, at all costs, the resumption of the "cycle of violence" that has been the hallmark of the intifada.

The second part of the book, entitled "Overcoming the Hatred Barriers to Peace" makes this book necessary reading for the opponents of peace throughout the world on both sides of the issue. Sadly, because Dershowitz has been such a vocal advocate for Israel and for a lasting and just peace between Israel and its neighbors, he has become the target of too many personal attacks. These attacks and his necessary defense reach a climax in his passionate call to the reader to "Marginalize and confront those who persist in their hate speech even while Israel and the Palestinians move toward peace."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good ideas Dec 15 2012
By Aron Mueller - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The ideas put forward in this book are a great contribution to thinking in the direction of peace. However, the practical is too dominant over the ideological so that even someone from either side who is interested in peace could fell wronged by the fact that his ideological basis has not been legitimized enough. Also the length of the book impedes a better integration of its theme.
22 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dershowitz loses his case Aug. 1 2007
By Edmund Mortimer - Published on
Although Dershowitz's 2003 polemic The Case for Israel was widely praised (and purchased), it was also found to be seriously flawed. Dr. Norman Finkelstein of Depaul University revealed that a section about pre-1948 Palestine mirrored the sloppy scholarship of Joan Peters's From Time Immemorial. Peters's book cherry-picked, distorted, and in some cases even fabricated evidence to argue that the lion's share of Palestinians living in the Holy Land in 1948 were recent immigrants. Not only did Dershowitz rely on dozens of the same sources as Peters, but he also quoted nearly identical portions of those sources, and in one instance even reproduced one of Peters's citation errors. Following Finkelstein's disclosures, Dershowitz was subject to critical press coverage in addition to an embarrassing probe by his employer, Harvard University, to determine whether he had committed plagiarism. The Case for Peace represents Dershowitz's lawyerly effort at damage control in the wake of these events.

Dershowitz's "case" consists of two arguments. The first is for a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict along the lines discussed at Camp David in 2000, with Israel permanently annexing many of its illegally constructed West Bank settlements (p. 20). Despite the occasional overstatement, Dershowitz's advocacy on the first issue is coherent and more moderate than expected.

It is in his second argument, an explication of the political obstacles to his preferred two-state settlement, where he goes off the deep end. Dershowitz asserts that Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, and Norman Finkelstein constitute a small but powerful troika of "anti-Israel, antipeace, and antitruth zealots" (p. 167-168). Dershowitz profiles all three men, relying heavily on innuendo and cheap guilt-by-association tricks to cast his aspersions. Chomsky's support for the free-speech rights of a notorious Holocaust-denier in Europe, Cockburn's acceptance of money from a group Dershowitz deems "anti-Israel" (a term Dershowitz doesn't define), and Finkelstein's popularity amongst some neo-Nazis are all adduced as reasons to treat the trio harbor a hatred for the state of Israel and the prospect for a two-state solution.

Nowhere in his dossier does he mention that both Chomsky and Finkelstein support a two-state solution, one that is presumably "anti-Israel" because it calls for Israel to dismantle its illegal settlements inside the Palestinian territories. In an interview he gave to ZNet in 2004, Chomsky reiterated his position: "[T]he only feasible and minimally decent solution to the conflict is along the lines of the long-standing international consensus: a two-state settlement on the border (Green Line), with minor and mutual adjustments." Shannon McCord of the Santa Cruz Sentinel writes: "Finkelstein supports a two-state solution to the ongoing Middle East conflict that would include 'full Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories' and Palestinians recognizing the right of Israelis to live in security and peace with their neighbors." A simple web search will confirm the authenticity of both these quotes.

Yet according to Dershowitz, not only is the Chomsky-Finkelstein-Cockburn troika "anti-peace", they also coordinate to intimidate their political detractors: Chomsky selects the targets and then contacts Finkelstein; Finkelstein does the opposition research and then sends it to Cockburn; Cockburn then publishes it online, usually under the guise of exposing plagiarism or fraudulence. While Dershowitz provides zero substantiating evidence of such a tightly orchestrated intimidation campaign, he does correctly point out that Chomsky was the person who first notified Finkelstein about potential problems in Peters' book. Interestingly, though, Dershowitz's source for this claim is one of Finkelstein's own books. Why would Finkelstein be so candid if he were a member of a vast left-wing, Israel-hating conspiracy?

As Dershowitz lodges his accusations, he engages in some of the very same tactics he accuses the troika of using. Five pages before accusing Chomsky of "mis-citing authorities" (p. 172), he quotes Chomsky as saying: "[T]he Jews do not merit a 'second homeland' because they already have New York, with a huge Jewish population, Jewish-run media, a Jewish mayor, and domination of cultural and economic life" (p. 167). The brackets around the "t" in the first word of the quote indicate the omission of text earlier in the sentence. The full quote, as recorded in Dershowitz's source (The Anti-Chomsky Reader) is: "We might ask how the Times would react to an Arab claim that the Jews do not merit a 'second homeland' because they already have New York, with a huge Jewish population, Jewish-run media, a Jewish mayor, and domination of cultural and economic life." Chomsky authored this quote in response to an editorial by A.M. Rosenthal which questioned the need for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Citing the large Palestinian presence in Jordan, Rosenthal suggested that the Palestinians already had a state of their own. Chomsky's rejoinder demonstrates that such horrendous logic, when applied consistently, might be used to call Israel's legitimacy into question. In other words, Chomsky is denouncing a rationale that would undermine Israel's right to exist. This is not exactly the kind of argument one would expect from an "anti-Israel zealot."

Dershowitz also misleads his readers about how Chomsky has characterized Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson's writings. Once again citing the Anti-Chomsky Reader, Dershowitz claims that Chomsky described Faurisson's writings as "findings" produced by "extensive historical research" (p.171). This is untrue, however, as is clear from looking to the source Dershowitz cites. Chomsky merely signed a petition which included the language Dershowitz mentions. And the purpose of the petition was not to advocate or in any way support Faurisson's conclusions about the Holocaust. It called for the protection of Faurisson's "just right of academic freedom ... and the free exercise of his legal rights" (Anti-Chomsky Reader, p. 124).

In short, The Case for Peace raises serious questions not just about the overall quailty of Dershowitz's work, but also about Dershowitz's ethics.
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for everyone who want a balanced view... Dec 25 2013
By Karen Hessellund Hansen - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Allan - har done it yet again - a easy to read book with lots of fact instead of emotion and propaganda...
5.0 out of 5 stars case for peace March 27 2013
By adebayo - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thinking about the way out for peace in Israel is a path to World. This book provides a panoramic view for most people that could not see both sides of the events.Very informative and well written.

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