Dear Prof. Dershowitz,
It is with great reverence and the deepest respect that I write you this letter. I have long stood in admiration of your most courageous and relentless defense of our Jewish country, Israel. For years you have spoken and written about Israel’s mortal enemies engaging them on every level, continuously dealing the hand of reason often with spectacular results.
Yet, it is precisely in the name of reason that I write you this searching letter.
I have recently read your article entitled Don’t Blame Israel published in the New York Post on May 9th.The primary gist of the article namely, that the Obama administrations “Threatening not to help Israel in relation to Iran unless it moves toward a two-state solution first is likely to backfire” is yet another stellar argument of perfect logic that I hope indeed finds it’s mark in Washington. But there are a number of points brought up in the article that I find most perplexing.
Firstly this paragraph;
Israel in 2000-2001 offered the Palestinians a state in the entire Gaza Strip and more than 95% of the West Bank, with its capital in Jerusalem and a $35 billion compensation package for the refugees. Yassir Arafat rejected the offer and instead began the second intifada in which nearly 5,000 people were killed. I hope that Israel once again offers the Palestinians a contiguous, economically-viable, politically independent state, in exchange for a real peace, with security, without terrorism and without any claim to “return” 4 million alleged refugees as a way of destroying Israel by demography rather than violence.
1. Why did Yassir Arafat reject the offer? And why was the Intifada, death and destruction the response? Why do you suggest that it is a good idea to try this again if the result of the last attempt was so catastrophic?
2. The Palestinian demand for a right of return has never been omitted from any of their formal demands, constitutions or mandates. What indication is there that this demand will ever be rescinded?
Secondly the following paragraph;
Israelis have been scarred by what happened in Gaza. Israel ended the occupation, removed all of the settlers, and left behind millions of dollars worth of agricultural and other facilities designed to make the Gaza into an economically-viable democracy. Land for peace is what they sought. Instead they got land for rocket attacks against their children, their women and their elderly. No one wants to see a repeat of this trade-off.
Following this, it is even more confusing that you would advocate a two state solution at all, what could possibly guarantee that this disaster wouldn’t repeat itself following any further territorial concessions? Would you really be prepared to play Middle Eastern roulette with the lives of millions?
Making peace with the Palestinians will be extremely complicated. It will take time. It may or may not succeed in the end, depending on whether the Palestinians will continue to want their own state less than they want to see the end of the Jewish state.
I agree wholeheartedly with this paragraph! But how can you support two states if this is indeed the case? Can you really expect that there will be a mass change of heart in the Palestinian populace, especially when Palestinian school books preach a venomous hatred of the worst kind, praising the murder of all Jews as the sons of pigs and monkeys. TV shows that portray Jews draining Palestinian children of their blood for use on Passover. We do not see the Obama administration protesting this gross travesty.
So how exactly do you expect the regional situation to progress? It just doesn’t seem logical to draw any conclusions about what is the right or wrong path towards peace without fully getting to the bottom of these questions that so many have raised either verbally or in the back of their minds. Especially when in the words of Avigdor Lieberman, the path of “the two state solution” has been pursued for years with no significant results.
There seems to be a missing link in your chain of reason, and for a young passionate Jew as myself and many others like me, tiptoeing around these issues just doesn’t fly. Flowery diplomacy and well woven words only increase the growing disillusionment with the Zionist dream amongst our nation’s youth.
Can it be that you are clinging to a hopeful idealistic dream and ignoring the trends of history? Don’t get me wrong, I believe idealism is a supreme virtue, but when the lives of many are at stake can you really take any chances?
Please be aware that it is indeed precisely because of our desire for true and lasting peace for our brothers in the holy land that we challenge the status quo.
I know it is excruciatingly hard and painful. One may sometimes feel that as a people our absolute standards of moral high ground are continuously under assault. It seems that you are caught in between on the one hand wanting to be reasonable and fair, and on the other hand knowing that a Palestinian state wouldn’t work. Some of the things you say seem to confirm this, but in other sentences you seem to be slipping back into the well-worn channel of advocating the two state solution. What we really need here is intellectual honesty in its most absolute form, because today’s youth will no longer be fooled or fool ourselves.
I respectfully and humbly anticipate your response.
Dovid Efune is the Director of the GJCF and the Algemeiner Journal.