Alan Dershowitz Supporting Tyranny? – by Stephen Lendman
Perhaps so in his January 31 Huffington Post.com article titled, “The Egyptian Revolution May Produce a Lebanon-Type Islamic Regime,” saying:
“No one can confidently predict the outcome, both short and long term….” He then quoted Zhou Enlai once saying “It’s too soon to say,” when asked to assess the 1789 French Revolution.
Regime changes produce good, bad and in-between results, he said, ranging from his notion of post-Soviet societies to Hitler and other less ambitious despots. As for “liberated” Eastern European states, neoliberal tyranny proved much worse than harsh communist rule, but don’t expect Dershowitz to explain or discuss decades of Washington/Israeli state terror and lawlessness. More on his article below.
Honest critics know he’s a notorious bigot; a longstanding Islamophobe; a purveyor of myths, canards, and false logic; a misinterpreter of fundamental law standards; a believer in unique Jewish suffering, mindless of all others; an advocate for torture and targeted assassinations; and a committed Zionist and Israeli apologist who legitimizes its aggression, its worst crimes and abuses, and who believes “international law, and those who administer it, must understand that (in times of war) the old rules” don’t apply against “fanatical foes.”
Further, “the laws of war and the rules of morality must adapt to (new) realities,” – the same rationale former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales used to dismiss the Geneva Conventions, calling them “quaint and out-of-date,” not applicable to Al Qaeda or America’s imperial wars. Dershowitz, of course, agrees.
He also supports Western preventive and preemptive wars, despite nothing in international law permitting them. In fact, the UN Charter’s Article 51 is explicit, limiting attacks to self-defense until the Security Council acts. Moreover, under the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8, only Congress may declare war, not the executive.
Nonetheless, he called Article 51 “anachronistic, (a) mid-twentieth century view of international law,” irrelevant for Afghanistan, Iraq, and other imperial targets, as well as Israeli wars, its 1981 Iraq Osirak reactor attack, others against targeted foes, and longstanding illegal occupation. For Dershowitz, only Western interests matter, not truth, equity, justice, or fundamental rule of law principles.
In an August 12/13, 2006 CounterPunch article headlined, “Should Alan Dershowitz Target Himself for Assassination,” Norman Finkelstein railed against his “apologetics on behalf of his Holy State….justify(ing) each and all of Israel’s egregious violations of international law, (and using) the ‘war on terrorism’ as a springboard for a full frontal assault on this body of law.”
In other words, binding international laws apply to other nations, not America and Israel, free to reign terror against targeted foes. Representing himself “in the media as a liberal and civil libertarian, (his far right) range of historical reference is pretty much limited to the Bible and Israel, and it is plainly not the Bible that is uppermost in his mind.” Moreover, “if there’s just (a) ‘five percent likelihood’ that Israel might face a compelling threat in ‘ten years,’ it has the right to attack now,” including against allies believed potential future threats.
“After all the hard-won gains of civilization,” said Finkelstein, ” who would want to live in a world that once again legally sanctioned torture, collective punishment, assassinations and mass murder? As Dershowitz descends into barbarism, (it’s hoped) that few seem inclined to join him.”
Law Professor Francis Boyle called five Harvard law professors notorious for supporting lawlessness. Dershowitz made the list, Boyle calling him an:
“infamous self-incriminating war criminal. (He) publicly acknowledged being a member of a Mossad Committee for approving the murder and assassination of Palestinians, which violates the Geneva Conventions and is thus a grave war crime.”
Moreover, he supports Guantanamo’s “Kangaroo (Military Commission) Court System” despite all human rights organizations and legitimate figures denouncing it. Harvard’s infamous five, including Dershowitz:
“….are no longer fit to educate lawyers, Members of the Bar, and Officers of the Court. They are a sick joke and a demented fraud….Harvard is to Law School as Torture is to Law.” Its faculty and deans “torture the law. Do not send your children or students to Harvard Law School (or allow them in Dershowitz’s classes) where they will grow up to become racist war criminals. Harvard Law School is a Neo-Con cesspool….for the most part its Faculty and Deans have always been viscerally bigoted and racist against Muslims/Arabs/Asians and other People of Color since at least” 1971 when Boyle attended.
More Dershowitz-Style Truth
He said the “Mubarak administration has always conjured up the spectre of an Iranian style Khomeini result (replacing him) to” justify his regime. Now the “following scenario is possible, if not likely. (He’ll) leave. Someone like Mohamed ElBaradei (will replace him) as an interim leader.” The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) supports him, and he them, quoting comments he gave CNN saying:
“You know, the Muslim Brotherhood has nothing to do with the Iranian model, has nothing to do with extremism, as we have seen it in Afghanistan and other places. The Muslim Brotherhood is a religiously conservative group. They are a minority in Egypt. They are not a majority of the Egyptian people, but they have a lot of credibility because all the other liberal parties have been smothered for 30 years.”
They favor “a federalist state” in which all Egyptians have “the same rights, same obligations, that the state in no way will be based on religion. And I have been reaching out to them. We need to include them. They are part of the Egyptian society….I think this myth (demonizing them) has been perpetuated and sold by the regime” to solidify their own power.
Dershowitz called this “Pollyannaish” portrayal “misleading and incomplete at best and totally unrealistic at worst.” He calls the MB “violent, radical….with roots in Nazism and an uncompromising commitment to end the cold peace with Israel and replace it with a hot war of destruction. (They) don’t play by the rules of democracy, using assassination and threats of violence to coerce support. ElBaradei is their perfect stalking horse.” He’ll assemble a government with them as “kingmaker,” ending up as “king.”
In fact, they’re not liberal or threaten Washington, Israel or Western interests. Western intelligence agencies, including CIA, have had longstanding ties with MB, Britain since the 1940s. In his book “Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude,” former CIA case officer/Middle East specialist Robert Baer, describing Washington’s “dirty little secret,” said since the 1950s:
“The CIA funnel(led) support to the Muslim Brotherhood because of (its) commendable capacity to overthrow Nasser….The White House looked on the Brothers as a silent ally, a secret weapon against – what else? – communism. The covert action started in the 1950s with the Dulles brothers – Allen at the CIA and John Foster at the State Department. As far as Washington was concerned, Nasser was a communist.”
In fact, he combined Pan-Arabism, nationalism, anti-colonialism and anti-Zionism. In his book, “Nasser’s Egypt, Arab Nationalism, and the United Arab Republic,” James Jankowski said he promoted unity, arguing that he did so to prevent Syria from going communist.
Referring to the “logic of the Cold War,” Baer said America was willing to support radical Islamists as long as “Allah agreed to fight on our side….If Allah (wanted) political assassination(s), that was fine too, as long as no one talked about it in polite company.”
In the 1920s, Britain established the MB’s precursor, the Society of Propaganda and Guidance, backing UK colonial rule. Its journal, The Lighthouse, attacked Egyptian nationalists wanting self-determination, calling them “atheists and infidels.” Its Institute of Propaganda and Guidance taught regional Islamists political agitation methods to contest anti-colonialism back home. Hassan al-Banna was one its graduates, founding the MB in 1928.
In his book “Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam,” Robert Dreyfuss called MB an “unabashed British intelligence front,” operating in Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.
In 1952, Gamal Abdel Nasser helped overthrow the Egyptian and Sudanese monarchies. After he became president in 1956, MB was used as a weapon against him. Saudi leaders provided funding and sanctuary after his crackdown. At the same time, America offered support as a bulwark against secular nationalism and communist influence.
“In 1974, the Muslim Brotherhood formally issued a declaration commanding its members to support Sadat’s pro-IMF infitah (economic opening). Such an action was true to form for political Islam. Throughout their history, Islamists have always been militantly pro-capitalist, opposing class-struggle politics on principle. Rarely did they rally support for the poor, the disenfranchised, or the downtrodden. In Egypt, especially, the Islamists did not make common cause with aggrieved workers or farmers who failed to benefit from Sadat’s economic policies.”
Instead they opposed unions and leftists besides engaging in strikebreaking. They were supported by wealthy financial and business interests, often secretly, including the Saudis. They also created their own businesses and banks, including the Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt in 1976, a cornerstone of Islamic banks run by Saudi Prince Mohammed al-Faisal, son of King Faisal.
Moreover, Uthman Ahmed Uthman, a wealthy industrialist called “the Egyptian Rockefeller” actively bankrolled the MB in the 1970s. The “marriage between (its) ideology and the power of Islamic banking catapulted right-wing Islamism to worldwide power.”
For nearly 90 years, Washington, Britain and other Western governments supported Islamists strategically against nationalist or democratic movements. The 1920s relationship continues today.
Though Egypt’s Constitution prohibits religious political parties, MB members won small numbers of legislative seats as independents, representing the largest opposition block. On February 1, Haaretz News Agencies headlined, “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood eyes unity gov’t without Mubarak,” saying:
It’s “in talks with other anti-government figures to form a national unity party government,” including Mohammed ElBaradei. On June 4, 2009, Haaretz writers Zvi Bar’el and Avi Issaccharoff headlined, “Obama met Muslim Brotherhood members in US,” saying:
Egypt’s daily newspaper Almasry Alyoum said he met US and European-based members. “According to the report,” they requested no publicity, “express(ing) support for democracy and the war on terror.” They also backed “all agreements Egypt has signed with foreign countries.”
Referring to Obama’s upcoming Cairo speech at the time, Haaretz said “a highly unusual audience” would be present, including “Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, Shalom Cohen….seated not far from Iran’s representative and the 11 members of the Egyptian Parliament who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.” In fact, “(T)he White House constructed the guest list together with the director-general of Mubarak’s office, and (he) personally authorized the result.”
A Final Comment
On January 29, Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abunimah headlined, Egypt’s uprising and its implications for Palestine,” saying:
Though accurate predictions aren’t possible, (i)f the Mubarak regime goes, the United States will lose enormous leverage over the situation in Palestine, and Abbas’ PA will lose one of its main allies against Hamas.”
Already discredited by the leaked Palestine Papers, “the PA will be weakened even further,” compounding an internal Fatah split and future relations with Hamas, including a new Egyptian regime’s position on enforcing Gaza’s siege.
Palestinians may also feel emboldened by “(t)he relative ease with which Tunisians threw off their dictator, and the speed with which Egypt, and perhaps Yemen, seem to be going down the same road….”
For its part, Israel’s failures to defeat Hezbollah in 2006 and Hamas during Cast Lead shows it’s vulnerable to challenge like Tunisia, Egypt, and even America if enough determined people try.
The PA’s “open secret is that without (Israeli forces) occupying the West Bank and besieging Gaza (with Mubarak), Abbas and his praetorian guard would have fallen long ago….If (popular sentiment) rose up collectively (for) equal rights, what could (PA enforcers or) Israel do to stop them?”
One reality today is certain: “whatever happens in the region, the people’s voices can no longer be ignored,” provided they sustain pressure for change they demand, not what Western powers will allow.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.