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January 24, 2007

Alan Derschowitz' Response To Carter At Brandeis: "I am Pro-Palestinian"

Also pro-Israel. And also quite definitely anti-terror, and anti-Jimmy Carter. (NPR audio link; long hour-plus running time.

Who would have guessed that I would have ended up being a fan of this guy?

There's a funny story about Derschowitz, recounted in some screenwriting book by the scripter of Reversal of Fortune. Basically, the original script attempted to convey Alan Derschowitz's actual flaws. Vanity, self-righteousness, smugness.

Oh, he was obviously still the good and righteous hero, but heroes have flaws, and the script included somewhat-softened versions of Derschowitz's.

Derschowitz was very displeased about these flaws being attributed to him. That's not me at all!, he objected.

So the screenwriter thought, "Oh, okay, I can understand why the guy is defensive. After all, this is a movie about him. This is how the world, pretty much, will know him." So he made up flaws that Derschowitz did not have.

And now Derschowitz was greatly exercised. Why now you're just flat-out making stuff up about me! What is your problem?!

So the screenwriter had a problem: He couldn't give Derschowitz the flaws he had, he couldn't give him flaws he didn't have. So, Derschowitz's "flaws" in the movie are, basically, caring too much about a couple of black criminals he was defending in high profile case.

I think Ron Silver, who played him, "got it," though, and conveyed Derschowitz' s vanity and self-righteousness even if it wasn't actually on the pages of the script.

And who would have thought I would have ended up liking Ron Silver, too?

Anyway, worth listening to. Blasts Carter for basically congratulating Palestinians on their rejectivist, no-compromises, terrorism-engendering stance.

Out and Proud Bush-Hater Johnathan Chait Calls Wesley Clark An Anti-Semite: Well, close enough. Democratic loyalties trump all others, of course. So it's a softened charge. But still there:

When we asked him what made him so sure the Bush administration was headed in this direction, he replied: "You just have to read what's in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers."

Again, the context here may be muddled, but it seems that Clark is saying he's sure the United States is going to bomb Iran because rich Jews are pushing for it. I don't think it's anti-Semitic to say that the pro-Israel lobby has considerable influence in American politics, and could flex its muscle on issues like foreign aid to Israel, just as the pharmaceutical lobby can heavily influence health care legislation or the gun lobby can squelch gun control. But to suggest that a tiny clique of Jewish financiers can by themselves force the American government to go to war goes well beyond any hard-headed analysis of Jewish political power. It assumes that small numbers of wealthy Jews essentially control the government.

....Arguing that you can be sure the administration is going to start a war solely because rich Jews are pushing for it strays well beyond recognizing the influence of the pro-Israel lobby and into the realm of conspiratorial anti-Semitism.

Look, the Democratic Party is, like certain political movements before it, simultaneously elitist, populist, and demagogic. And blaming the Jews has always been a hearty seasoning in that stew of disagreeing ingredients; it makes the whole meal come together.

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posted by Ace at 04:07 PM

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