Monday, November 24, 2014
Dershowitz rips Obama on synagogue slaughter 'Imagine if an Israeli soldier walked into a mosque and murdered 4 imams at prayer' “It was moral equivalence. It was the wrong statement. It had all the wrong tone. It had all the wrong content..."
Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz is unloading on President Obama’s “moral equivalence” in the wake ofshocking terrorist attacks at a Jerusalem synagogue that left five people dead, three of whom were Americans.
The acclaimed defense attorney also accuses Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of inciting the bloodshed.
In his statement, President Obama condemned the attacks and said the deaths of three Americans meant shared grief between the U.S. and Israel. However, he was quick to urge all sides to renounce violence.
“Tragically, this is not the first loss of life that we have seen in recent months. Too many Israelis have died. Too many Palestinians have died,” said Obama, who urged both sides to work together to “lower tensions.”
Dershowitz said that was exactly the wrong thing to say.
“It was moral equivalence. It was the wrong statement. It had all the wrong tone. It had all the wrong content. At this point in time, you unilaterally condemn only the Palestinian Authority and Hamas for incentivizing and inciting this kind of thing. You don’t bring it together with how many Palestinians may have died because they were being used as human shields,” he said, noting that the terrorist groups are fine with the U.S. and others in the world equating their actions with those of Israel.
“Hamas is happy with moral equivalence,” Dershowitz said. “It gives them a kind of legitimacy that they don’t deserve, the kind of legitimacy that Bishop (Desmond) Tutu and Jimmy Carter had given them, but I would expect more of our president.”
President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were quick to point to point out that Abbas condemned the attack. Dershowitz said that condemnation came after great pressure from the U.S. and that Abbas deserves the lion’s share of the blame for the attacks themselves.
“Abbas is largely responsible for this,” he said. “He talked about Jews ‘infecting’ the Temple Mount. He called for Muslims to protect the Temple Mount. He basically incited this. Did he intend it? Probably not, but his words carry very great power.”
While the denunciation of the attacks by Abbas may have been grudging, Dershowitz pointed out that Hamas and Palestinians in the street made it clear they enthusiastically support such barbarism.
“After this horrible, horrible massacre, immediately there was dancing in the streets in Gaza, in Ramallah, in Bethlehem and Nablus and celebration of these murders,” he said.
“Although the great tragedy occurred in the synagogue, the most important events occurred before – the incitement – and after – the glee. How did the world respond? Spain unilaterally voted in parliament to recognize the Palestinian State without asking them even to stop terrorism,” Dershowitz said.
However, he said the most common reaction worldwide was indifference.
“United Nations? Silence. Most of the Arab states? Silence,” he said. “We’re not seeing condemnation. We’re not seeing outrage from many of the European leaders.”
Dershowitz praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for forcefully denouncing the attacks but also for imploring Israeli citizens not to seek vengeance on their own. The international response to the murders was so tepid that Netanyahu implored world leaders to speak out. Dershowitz said if the roles were reversed, it would be a much different story.
“Can you imagine if an Israeli soldier had walked into a mosque and had murdered four imams at prayer? The entire world would be aflame about this,” he said. “We see very little condemnation (aboutterrorist attacks). You see the usual ritual, formalistic condemnation, but you don’t see the kind of outrage that one would expect. And you don’t see the kind of outrage that one gets when Israel builds an extra bathroom or living room somewhere on the West Bank.”
The Middle East has long been viewed in the West as a problem that cannot be solved. Dershowitz said the Palestinians are undertaking a strategy to make sure it never does.
“The Palestinians are trying to turn this into a religious dispute, not a political dispute,” he said. “Political disputes can be resolved by compromise, but if you think your god has told you not to allow Jews to have a nation-state of their own … it’s very hard to compromise with that situation.”
Dershowitz said what’s worse than grisly acts of terrorism is the fact that it’s working to turn world opinion to the side of the Palestinians and others.
“Why are the Palestinians so popular today on academic campuses, at the U.N. and in European capitals?” he asked. “Because they have used terrorism over and over and over again. Nobody’s heard of the Kurds because they haven’t used terrorism to a great extent. The Kurds, there are much more of them and they are much more worthy of a state than the Palestinians and the Tibetans. But they’re getting nowhere because terrorism works, and it brings groups to the attention of the world. If we don’t stop terrorism in the Middle East, it’s coming to a theater near you because it’s an effective tactic today, unfortunately.”
World opinion has long tilted heavily against Israel, even when American presidents have vigorously defended it. Dershowitz admitted the U.S. can only do so much to reverse that, but he said there’s one thing the Obama administration can do in the coming days to prevent terrorists from scoring a major victory.
“They have to make a good deal with Iran or no deal,” he said. “You can’t make a bad deal with Iran. Iran is the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world. They’re dancing in the streets, too. If you think it’s bad to have a few terrorists with axes and guns and knives walk into a synagogue, just wait until terrorists begin to have nuclear weapons. That will happen if Iran has a decent deal that will allow it to become a threshold nuclear state.”