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I thought I knew this subject well, but I learned a great deal from Professor Dershowitz's book. Ten years after its publication, it is still important and useful to understanding the world we live in. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone.
Listeners should know Dershowitz is controversial. He is a prominent lawyer, engaged in a vicious debate with critics of Israel, like Noam Chomsky. According to his account, each side accuses the other of sloppy citations, lies, and hate. And he does not spare the reader this muck in the second half of the book.
This book is divided in two. The first is a rational and detailed argument for why a two state solution is possible. His arguments are strong. He presents the stumbling blocks to peace in detail and offers solutions.
The only problem is he denies what so many critics of Israel claim: the peace proposals that Palestinians keep turning down involve breaking up the West Bank into numerous mutually inaccessible peaces of land. Further, while he constantly emphasizes how the opponents of Israel are dangerous and irresponsible, he spends proportionately little time criticizing Israel. This in spite of the fact the fact that Israel occupies Palestinian and Syrian territory, is colonizing it, and kills numerous Palestinians for every Israeli killed.
Nevertheless, Dershowitz is serious about a two-state solution and his point of view deserves to be heard, particularly by those already exposed to Palestinian suffering. I give the first half four stars.
The second half is a bit more trashy. It is highly a detailed attack on leftist academics who challenge Israeli injustices. The argument and tone appear petty and childish, And he presents an unrecognizable picture of the only one I have read: Chomsky. Still, he has a point. Most leftist critics of Israel lack vision and are too focused on injustices to get down to making peace.
Dershowitz argues that the works of leftist Israel critics are used by Palestinian extremists to justify their violence. I have always wondered what they think of folks like Chomsky. But Dershowitz cites nothing but an argument here. Better to listen to Jimmy Carter's "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid."
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