Monday, May 23rd | 22 Iyyar 5782

April 17, 2019 5:12 pm

Alan Dershowitz Responds to Shmuley Boteach: You Won’t Silence Me

avatar by Alan Dershowitz


Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Photo: Reuters / Mike Segar.

Shmuley Boteach is at it again. Now he is telling me what I can and can’t say to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu —  a friend of nearly half a century who values my advice. When Bibi won the election last week, I tweeted the following:

Mazal tov to @IsraeliPM @netanyahu, who I’ve known since he was a student at MIT. Waiting for the new peace plan to be implemented. Time for a fair two-state solution that assures Israel’s security.

That was too much for Boteach. How dare I express my views to my friend. I should be expressing Boteach’s views. After all, he is a know-it-all when it comes to Israel’s security. Here is what Boteach wrote:

[S]omeone ought to notify Dershowitz that Netanyahu is no longer a student at MIT. He is a public servant and takes his assignments from the people he represents and not academics.

But the chutzpah (the word Dershowitz famously popularized) of this tweet feels especially pronounced when you consider that when the terror-funding emirate of Qatar faced friction with the United States for their terror-funding ways, Dershowitz never lectured them about changing their policies.

Of course I lectured the Qataris on Hamas, Al Jazeera, the return of Israelis and other issues of importance to Israel. Boteach simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

I have advised numerous prime ministers and presidents and written several books and hundreds of articles on the subject of the two-state solution and Israel’s security. I have always expressed my views honestly and candidly. That’s what these leaders expect from people whose views they solicit. They don’t ask me for Boteach’s views. They ask me for mine. I have supported a two-state solution that assures Israel’s security since my 1970 debate with Noam Chomsky — who, like Boteach, supports a one-state solution. I will continue to do so. The concept of two states for two peoples was the essence of the partition plan voted by the United Nations in 1947 which Ben-Gurion accepted and the Arabs rejected. As soon as Britain ended its mandate, Israel declared independence based on the partition plan.

Two states for two peoples with Israel’s security assured is current United States policy. It has also been supported by Netanyahu at his famous Bar-Ilan speech. Unfortunately, the Palestinian leadership, which never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity, refuses to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. I know because I put that question directly to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. It won’t be easy to implement a workable two-state solution, but it is important to try, in order to maintain Israel’s commitment to remaining the democratic nation state of the Jewish people with equal rights for all its inhabitants, as set out in its Declaration of Independence.

I am confident that the Trump peace plan, about which I have consulted, will also deal with this issue in a constructive way that promotes Israel’s security.

Boteach has the right to express his extremist views, but he no right to try to stop me from expressing my centrist views. I’m happy to debate any reasonable opponent of a two-state solution — both from the extreme left and right — as I have on many occasions. This includes Morton Klein, Caroline Glick and others. It does not include Boteach, who doesn’t debate — he screams as he did when I regrettably agreed to be on the same side in a debate at the Harvard Business School. His screaming hurt the cause of Israel.

I will continue to ignore Boteach’s hectoring lectures about what I can and can’t say, who I can and can’t meet with, and what advice I can and can’t give to those who seek it. I suggest that others to do the same.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of ‘The Case Against the Democrats Impeaching Trump,’ Skyhorse Publishing, 2019.

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