76 of 104 people found the following review helpful
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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."
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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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.
Karen Hessellund Hansen
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Allan - har done it yet again - a easy to read book with lots of fact instead of emotion and propaganda...
17 of 26 people found the following review helpful
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For a previous book , "The Case for Israel" Alan Dershowitz has been attacked and libeled by the radical left, who accuse of him being a warmongering chauvinist . In this book he presents a clearly argued refutation of this personal charge against him by outlining a peace plan for the Israeli- Palestinian conflict which in his words is both pro- Israeli and pro- Palestinian.
Essentially he adopts the two- state position of what in Israel has long been called the ` peace- camp'. It is pretty much the Peres- Beilin plan in which Israel cedes most of the West Bank ( Judaea and Samaria) and Gaza, and in return receives an end to Palestinian terror and violence, and complete international recognition of its legitimacy.
In the first part of the book, ` Overcoming the Geopolitical Barriers to Peace' Dershowitz presents the heart of his plan, and answers questions as to possible difficulties with it. The final goal is two states with secure and recognized borders, an end to violence, and end to all claims each side has on the other. In the course of this he indicates that claims which have long been neglected by the world, such as that of Jews expelled from Arab lands must also be taken into account. He indicates that one of the great sticking points, the question of Palestinian Arab refugee return must be solved within the framework of the Palestinian Arab state. He also answers objections to the critics who claim such a state would not be viable. He too criticizes what he calls `extremists' of both sides who would reject all compromise. But he makes it clear that there is a great assymetry here in that the Jewish extremists are on the margin of Israeli society, while Palestinian extremism and rejectionism is the present commanding position within the society.
In this regard Dershowitz has no illusion as to what has been the major reason peace has not been made to now. Palestinianian rejectionism of the Peel Commission report in 1937 which would have given them eighty percent of the land West of the Jordan, their rejection of the UN partition plan of 1947 , their rejection of post -1967 peace plan, their rejection most recently in 2000 of the Israeli ( Barak) and US (Clinton) plan which would have given them ninety- seven percent of the West Bank, the control over the Temple Mount, and control over East Jerusalem has prevented peace from coming earlier. The basic Palestinian Arab rejection of any Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land is what has made the conflict persist.
One source of hope for Dershowitz is the belief that with Arafat's passing a new and more realistic Palestinian leadership will emerge which will opt for the realistic benefit of its people, and not a demagogic vain hope of destroying Israel. Dershowitz seems optimistic that the Palestinians can take a new tack. And while this book was published before the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza he probably believes this an encouraging sign( However one- sided) for peace.
In the second section of the book `Overcoming the Hatred Barriers to Peace' Dershowitz briefly but convincingly makes a case for the idea that outside forces which presumably aim to help the Palestinians have caused them tremendous damage. These forces whether the U.N or a certain element of the media and academic world have by demonizing Israel and justifying Palestinian violence encouraged the Palestinians to believe that they need never be responsible and compromise. Deshowitz has his own score with the Evil - Three of Hate- Israel propaganda Chomsky- Cockburn- Finklestein and makes a brief but effective skowering of their being more Palestinian than the Palestinians , in promoting hate of Israel.
In this regard one central element Dershowitz claims in any peace - agreement must be the end to the demonization of Israel. And this of course especially by the Palestinian ,Arab and Islamic media for whom it is a major source for distracting their readers from real domestic woes.
As for the nuts and bolts of Dershowitz's plan and its realistic possibilities I have my reservations. He does make a very convincing argument that a ` one- state solution' is impossible, a clear cover for the destruction of Israel by demographic means. But my sense is that he does not go fully enough into the dangers of the ` two- state solution.' And my sense is that he is very over- optimistic about a Palestinian transformation towards acceptance of Israel.
Yet on the whole I believe his effort is a truly positive and fair one, that aims at providing benefit to both peoples.
23 of 36 people found the following review helpful
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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.