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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Should Israel Welcome Glenn Beck's Support?

Alan Dershowitz
by Alan M. Dershowitz
August 22, 2011 at 4:30 pm

All decent people, whether on the left or the right, should support Israel's right to exist as the democratic nation state of the Jewish people. All decent people should support Israel's right to defend its civilians from terrorist attacks. All reasonable people should favor a just peace that assures Israel's ability to thrive in a dangerous neighborhood and to defend its borders.

These issues should not divide decent people along ideological or political lines. Israel's existence and right to defend itself should be bipartisan issues, not only in the United States, but in all democratic countries of the world.

The reality, however, is very different. The Jewish state is demonized by the hard left in America, by virtually the entire left in much of Europe, and by most of the left and right in Ireland, Norway and Sweden. Its right to exist is denied by a high proportion of Arabs and Muslims, and most of the Arab and Muslim nations do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

In many circles, anti-Zionism easily morphs into anti-Semitism, and in some countries Jews are afraid to walk the streets wearing any clothing or symbols that identify them as Jewish.

The general assembly of the United Nations has become the world's new Der Sturmer, whose podium hosts, and many of whose audience members cheer, virulent anti-Semites such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Defenders of Israel, even those critical of some of Israel's policies, are banned from speaking at universities, are attacked personally by the hard left media and are treated as pariahs by their academic colleagues.

It is against this sad and increasingly dangerous background that one must evaluate Glenn Beck's visit to Israel. I disagree with much of Beck's politics and with virtually all of his conspiracy theorizing. Yet I admire his courage in putting his body in the line of fire. I believe him when he says:

If the world goes down the road of dehumanizing Jews again, "then count me a Jew and come for me first."

At a time when old friends and allies who should be supporting the Jewish state are abandoning it in droves, Beck's willingness to stand up for Israel must be accepted with gratitude. I, for one, do not question his motives. I believe they are genuine. One need not accept all of Beck's positions on Israel—and I certainly do not—in order to agree with him that support of Israel is one of the great moral issues of the 21st Century.

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