This book is well written, honest and sincere. I liked it, even though I often disagreed with it. It argues for a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. But this book makes a better case against the enemies of peace than it does in favor of any specific solution. And indeed, if the people in the region want peace, they'll achieve it and it will benefit them. But that will entail, in my opinion, a big change in Arab attitudes.
Late in the book, Dershowitz makes an excellent point. Namely, that, perhaps in response to his own book called "The Case for Israel," Michael Neumann has written a book called "The Case Against Israel." Um, why not "The Case for the Arabs?" I think this shows part of the problem: many of those who are against Israel are not really for anyone.
Dershowitz realizes that many Arabs want to be rewarded, not punished, for their campaign of terrorism. And he knows that some actions he recommends may be seen as impractical appeasement of terrorism. He's willing to state some of the objections to what he says. And he then makes his points clearly and fairly.
The author notes that some people, including some Jews, say that the existence of Israel is bad for the Jews. Well, they might want to ask some of the Jews from Russia, Ethiopia, Argentina, and elsewhere who have found Israel to be a very useful haven!
There is a discussion of the failure of the Camp David talks. Dershowitz explains that although some people claim that the Arabs were offered only a disjointed and non-contiguous area in the West Bank, the truth is that they were offered a completely contiguous region there, and he shows maps to illustrate this. And he disposes of claims that peace would somehow infringe upon the rights of individuals or groups in the region.
The author says that Jerusalem can be shared in order to achieve peace. I disagree. It may indeed be shared, but I think this idea is too clever by half. I suspect it is likely to be a waste of time to spend so much effort to split up Jerusalem, inch by inch, when such agreements may last only hours before being replaced by something which changes the border by miles. If the people on both sides really want to split Jerusalem in this weird and awkward manner, they'll choose it. If not, I think it may be a bad idea anyway.
Dershowitz notes that suicide bombers, along with the hate speech and other incitement that helps produce them, are serious threats to peace. And that a new Levantine Arab state that launched terrorist attacks on Israel would also threaten peace. He also explains why the touted "Geneva Accords" won't work.
Well, what about having an international court help out? Dershowitz replies that the International Court of Justice is much like Mississippi courts in the 1930s. Just as these Mississippi courts, which excluded Blacks, could not judge fairly when issues involved disputes between Blacks and Whites, the International Court of Justice can't judge fairly when issues involve Israel. Nor can the United Nations.
The author argues in favor of having a demilitarized Levantine Arab state. I think this is a bad idea, and that the entire purpose of such a state would be to militarize and attack Israel.
Now, what about those who are on the sidelines, off in America or Europe? And not in the Middle East at all? Dershowitz shows us that many professors are so extreme in their demands for war that even if Israel could make peace with the Arabs, it would have no chance of making peace with these academics (especially with some of the professors at Columbia University, in New York City). Some of these scholars compare Israel with Germany of the 1930s and 1940s. Or with South African apartheid. But the author shows that such comparisons are not mere opinions, but wild falsehoods. And he also shows that there are some media folks with similar problems.
One frequent charge made by anti-Zionists is that any criticism of Israel is called anti-Semitic. Dershowitz carefully explains that this charge is false, and includes nice checklists that show the differences between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism.
But what about supporters of Israel who make stronger demands than Israel does itself? Dershowitz implies that this is going too far. But I disagree. I think a stand has to be judged on its merits, not on how unusual it is. Israeli Jews may be pressured into violating the rights of Arabs. They may be pressured into violating their own rights. I see absolutely no reason why I and others shouldn't criticize them, or simply disagree with them, if they do so.
Near the end of the book, Dershowitz takes on a trio of anti-Israeli writers: Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, and Alexander Cockburn. Chomsky is a very bright individual who has made many scholarly contributions to society, but as Dershowitz shows, Chomsky is also a very strong opponent of Jewish rights in the Levant. Finkelstein is a little different. He's not much of a scholar, and is a terrific example of one who has substituted political propaganda for scholarly work. As the author tells us, Finkelstein has criticized Joan Peters' book, "From Time Immemorial." And that some of Peters' data about Arab immigration and in-migration may be a little off, and some of her interpretations of these data may be inaccurate. Still, most of her book has nothing to do with any of this. And even in the part that is affected, others have shown that her most basic conclusions are valid. But Finkelstein has gone overboard, and called her whole work a "hoax" based on such minor points!
This is a fine book, and I recommend it to everyone.