The Alan Dershowitz Fairy Tale Hour

Can you teach law at Harvard and still have no idea how to make a logical, coherent argument?

Based on this op-ed by Alan Dershowitz in the Wall Street Journal, apparently so:

Israel’s actions in Gaza are justified under international law, and Israel should be commended for its self-defense against terrorism. Article 51 of the United Nations Charter reserves to every nation the right to engage in self-defense against armed attacks. The only limitation international law places on a democracy is that its actions must satisfy the principle of proportionality.

Since Israel ended its occupation of Gaza, Hamas has fired thousands of rockets designed to kill civilians into southern Israel. The residents of Sderot — which have borne the brunt of the attacks — have approximately 15 seconds from launch time to run into a shelter. Although deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime, terrorists firing at Sderot are so proud of their actions that they sign their weapons.

Okay, here is a photograph of some Israeli girls in Kiryat Shmona signing missiles that were to be used in Lebanon during the Israeli air war in that country two years ago that killed over 1,000 people, most of them civilians. The messages say, “To Nasrallah, with love.”

Just to be clear, this is not about the children who wrote these messages. They were told to write these messages, by adults who told them the missiles were being sent to Nasrallah, because he was the man who had ordered Hezbollah to attack Kiryat Shmona with rockets. Obviously, these girls, who look maybe 10 or 12 at most, had no way to know that Nasrallah would be just fine and the ones to die would be innocent women and children.

Certainly, though, the adults in their lives could be expected to know what happens when  densely populated city neighborhoods are bombarded for weeks.

I’m sure if we ask Alan Dershowitz, however, he will be able to tell us why Israeli adults urging children to sign missiles to be dropped on Lebanese civilians is not at all morally equivalent to Hamas members signing rockets to be shot at Israeli civilians.

On we go (my bolds):

In a recent incident related to me by the former head of the Israeli air force, Israeli intelligence learned that a family’s house in Gaza was being used to manufacture rockets. The Israeli military gave the residents 30 minutes to leave. Instead, the owner called Hamas, which sent mothers carrying babies to the house.

Hamas knew that Israel would never fire at a home with civilians in it. They also knew that if Israeli authorities did not learn there were civilians in the house and fired on it, Hamas would win a public relations victory by displaying the dead. Israel held its fire. The Hamas rockets that were protected by the human shields were then used against Israeli civilians.

Israel would never fire at a home with civilians in it? How about civilians sunbathing on a beach?

13 Responses to “The Alan Dershowitz Fairy Tale Hour”

  1. Dave says:

    Wow. With the outright arrogance and immaturity of the titling of the site and of the lede to this post, you’ve embarrassed yourself by attacking Dershowitz’s arguments on these grounds.

    The first point, that Dershowitz somehow drew an arbitrary distinction between the morality of Israeli and Palestinian children signing missiles is false to anyone who read the article. Dershowitz was making a clear point: Israeli Defense Forces GO OUT OF THEIR WAY to prevent munitions from hitting innocent targets, even to the danger of their troops and to the diminution of their mission. Hamas deliberately targets Israelis civilians. That, in essence, is their mission.

    The second point, that he is somehow childishly naive for saying that Israel would not fire at a home with civilians in it, is typically linked to the types of garish images that Hamas banks on and hopes for when it offers its entire civilian population for martyrdom. However, the implication that Dershowitz is naive for saying so misses the essence of the argument: Israel does not KNOWINGLY, intentionally do so, when they know conclusively that civilians are in the way. Dershowitz raises the examples of Israel notifying potential targets because it is so absurdly unprecedented, and such a clear example of the chasm between the moral imperatives of the two parties in this conflict.

    But for all your bravado and condescension, I guess the obvious point of his well-reasoned, well-argued, subtle, and powerful argument was lost on you, so you had to resort to knocking down a straw man. Next time, aim for the actual target, which for the IDF as well as polemicists and propagandists (such as yourself), is much more effective.

  2. tas says:

    Dear Dave,

    Fuck you.

    Your Mom

  3. Steve says:


    Why do you come here and spread your lies. In fact we all know that: Israel does KNOWINGLY, intentionally do so(target civilians), when they know conclusively that civilians are in the way. Most of us have seen it with our own eyes such as when reporters are targeted and killed by tanks, people are killed at the beach or civilian airliners are shot down. If you respond to the taking of two soldiers taken prisoner or killed, with a wholesale attack not only on your enemy, but embedded civilians. Killing thousands of civilians, making others homeless and destroying civilian infrastructure is a crime. We have seen the intentional attacks. We have heard the lies. The world will judge this Israeli regime criminal just as the Nazi’s were judged as soon as the US is no longer able to provide the support needed to commit these crimes.

  4. Dave says:

    Ah, I was wondering how long it would take before Godwin’s Law was invoked. Look, you still haven’t actually responded to the argument, and before you do, you won’t be able to win the argument. Sorry, but we don’t all KNOW what you presume Israel to do; obviously, that’s why we disagree–and that’s why we have arguments with things like reasoning and evidence. Shouting profanities won’t cut it–that only works in mob scenes. Fortunately for you and the Islamist political party you support, a mob scene is where it all begins. The legitimate actions of the Israeli military continually ensure that this that’s not where it all ends.

  5. tas says:

    Dear Dave,

    No really. Seriously. Fuck you.

    Still Your Mom

  6. Kathy says:


    Here is a reason-based argument.

    Given the fact that the IDF is bombing a densely populated urban civilian area where it’s impossible NOT to kill civilians with the warfare method the IDF is using (air strikes with 2,000-pound bombs), coming here and telling us that the IDF does not target civilians is disingenuous at best and depraved at worst.

  7. Dustin says:

    So just curious, but what would your position be on targeted ground offensives then?

  8. Alex says:

    It’s interesting how these unenlightened, simplistic viewed, liberals said not one word of protest against Hamas after it broke it’s ceasefire and was lobbing missiles daily into Israel. But they all start crying the moment Israel retaliates against an internationally recognized act of war. And the fact that Gaza is a densely populated area shouldn’t stop anybody from retaliating. By your reasoning, Israel should just allow Gaza to continue firing rockets and killing and wounding it’s civilians. Hamas was elected by the Gazans. The Gazans protect Hamas. They all made their bed. And now the IDF will blow it up.

  9. Kathy says:

    So just curious, but what would your position be on targeted ground offensives then?

    Ground troops would be better than bombing — obviously, ground troops have more targeting control, although they can also act like Huns if they want to.

    However, coming now, after more than 400 Palestinians have been killed by air strikes, a ground offensive is just going to add to the misery. Plus, the larger point, in my view, is that any military solution is doomed to failure. I don’t believe there is any military solution to this conflict. The only hope for a solution is political.

    Just Added:

    Also, given that Gaza is sealed shut, a ground offensive would have disastrous consequences, even if in other circumstances it might be justified. Remember, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip cannot flee from a ground offensive, or from any type of military action. They’ve got nowhere to go. They’re trapped in what is essentially one large prison.

  10. Kathy says:

    But they all start crying the moment Israel retaliates against an internationally recognized act of war.

    Alex, a blockade is an internationally recognized act of war, too. And the Israeli blockade of Gaza has been in place for *over two years.*

  11. Alex says:

    The blockade was only put up in response to Hamas’ firing of rockets into Israel. If you’re going to peel off the layers, don’t stop halfway.

  12. Kathy says:

    The blockade was put up in response to the election results. But either way, it’s unjustified and illegal. Starving 1.5 million Palestinians because Hamas militants are shooting rockets into Israel is collective punishment, and that is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Besides, it doesn’t even make sense. How does the blockade stop Hamas from firing rockets? Obviously, it doesn’t, or we would not be having this discussion right now.

  13. Douglas Maxwell says:

    Dershowitz is a lying pig. I wonder if he is aware that Harvard Law School is funded by a huge foundation grant from the fascist Jewish, ex-Cuban mafia in Miami? Ah, no he is probably unaware of that.

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