Point/Counterpoint: Just rude or talking truth?

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  • Hieronymus

    Truth & Rudeness will matter little if y’all don’t circle the wagons and “contain” Iran. Y’all keep squawkin’ while yer beloved “O” undermines Israel (and, hence, the Middle East) as fast as he can…

  • Shame on the YDN

    CORRECTION: This article was not simply arguing that Dershowitz was “unnecessarily rude.” The way that the YDN framed this shows an utter lack of journalistic integrity. By dismissing this article as “dismiss[ing] as merely offensive” Dershowitz’s arguments, adding a seeming pull quote that does NOT represent the article, and imposing the headers of “true” and “rude,” the reader is already locked into this inaccurate interpretation. The comments on Goldstone, film elements, relativism, and Warsaw criticize the NATURE OF HIS ARGUMENTS, not just his “rudeness.” I am shocked and appalled that the editor would use such a heavy, UNEVEN hand in conveying these articles.

  • Lydia S.

    The first article clearly understates Dershowitz’s egregious rudeness in his speech. Still, the second article falls into exactly the trap he sets for them. It comes off as overly emotional and does not grapple with what he says, instead only rejecting him for his rudeness/general attitude. I’d also like to point out the hypocrisy of blaming Dershowitz for comparing terrorism to the holocaust while comparing the plight of the Palestinians to the holocaust (per the “should Jews get over the holocaust” question). Isn’t this using the holocaust as a rhetorical tool in the same way?

  • Ali Zaghab

    Go Yasmin, Jordan, Aminah & Alexandra.
    A very well-thought out response to an incredibly rude, obnoxious, condescending ruffian with the mentality of a plebian who HAS BEEN or truly never was; a wind bag full of sound & fury & full of himself.

  • Yaniv Reich

    Dershowitz, as a tenured faculty member, should perhaps reconsider his pride in bullying and intimidating a handful of Yale undergrads, who dared raise valid concerns, while surrounded by a couple hundred Israel supporters. Dershowitz, Shai, does this make you feel tough? More to the point, does it make you feel right?

    Loudness does not win ethical debates. Indeed, I believe that Dershowitz, and Shai, and all uncritical Zionists, are losing the ethical arguments at the core of this conflict.

    And it their panic that arises from a growing recognition of their impoverished morality that causes them to cling so desperately to their fellow bullies: Israel, Israelis, Dershowitz, and the Yale Friends of Israel.

    Your ideological boat is sinking.

    We will replace it with a vision of equal civil and political rights for all humans.

  • Re: Shame on YDN

    Shame on the writers of the second piece, for using phrases like “one student left crying” and “when a Palestinian citizen of Israel…” These people were actually two of the four writers of the piece (I was there and witnessed it). It is intentionally misleading to frame it as if you are reporting on an event when you are the ones being affected by it, and is clearly an attempt to hide bias and pretend like this was the general response to Dershowitz. This actual “utter lack of journalistic integrity” (as #2 phrased it) overshadows what seems to me to be an honest mistake on the part of the YDN editorial staff.

  • jet

    Dennett, Zaghab, Cohen, and Yasmin Zaher- While you obviously were at the event, it is clear you were there with minds closed to such a degree, it makes me wonder why you even bothered to show up. I think we can be sure that you did not intend to pay attention that was said, but only to provide another outlet for you baseless hatred. Every point you make in this column is unwarranted to the point of dishonesty. Let’s step through them, one by one.
    The film has almost no content about the holocaust. The one scene in which it is mention is not juxtaposed with images of Arabs. In fact, Arabs are barely depicted in the film. That makes your question about the lack of positive depictions of Arabs particularly dishonest. You know very well that there were none for the same reason that were almost no negative ones: the film is not about Arabs. Frankly, it is absurd to expect airtime for opponent of Israel in a film called “The Case for Israel”. That is not to say that their points were not addressed, but that you should expect to see them interviewed.
    As for Dershowitz’s critique of the so-called human rights organizations, he did not condemn, but pointed out that they undermine their goals by wasting resources and losing credibility attacking Israel, when there are places in the world where human rights are actually being violated. Rather than comparing Israels actions to those these other countries as you claim, he rightly pointed out there is no comparison.
    As for his manner in dealing with questions, he showed his questioners far respect than he was given by the two you refer to.
    If you want to refute someone’s points, in the future it would be best to bring even the slightest modicum of honesty to your arguments.

  • RE: Re: shame on YDN

    No body ever claimed to be reporting this event objectively, it is an opinion piece, an op-ed. People’s names were not mentioned because of sensitivity and privacy, and yes, the writers may have a bias but so does the vice-president of media contacts bla bla of Yale Friends of Israel (what kind of title is that?). And on a separate note, three of the writers are American, and one is Jewish, so where are you heading?
    Clearly the writers were digusted by Dershowitz, any sane being would have, that doesn’t make their argument any less right on.
    You got this one wrong hon

  • Clearly you weren’t listening

    The writers of the second piece made a few egregious misrepresentations of Dershowitz’s claims (many of which were enumerated by jet above) which for me made it impossible to read their arguments without a grain, or maybe a mound, of salt. First of all, Dershowitz claimed that Goldstone’s appointment by the UN human rights committee (not Harvard) was based on the fact that he was Jewish. Also, Dershowitz ABSOLUTELY claimed that there is a humanitarian situation occurring in Gaza, he just made the distinction between a situation and a crisis. When you go to an event and do not listen to what someone is actually saying, how can you expect that we heed your analysis of that event?

  • At #5

    Yaniv did you even read the article? “Uncritical Zionist” is the most blatantly groundless critique you could possibly have of Dershowitz and it seems like of Mr. Kamin as well. Your absolutism is appalling and your lack of nuance is precisely the mindless robotic attitude the author argues against.

  • Y ’12

    Its sad to see how people are picking on the writers here instead of engaging the article itself. And while it is true that the writers do not engage the “Case for Israel”, I think that was not the point of the article. The writers did not want to bias the readers through their opinions of the conflict. I think the point, as made clear by the title, was to point out Dershowitz’s inappropriate conduct and seeming hypocrisy. While his claims are fairly moderate and even to some degree acceptable, his approach to working towards those claims is at the least reproachable. If you portray the party on the other side of the conflict with Nazis, ridicule people who ask questions hinting of opinions contrary to yours and dismiss academic arguments by simply saying that they are “a pack of lies” you are in all fairness not opening yourself to a real dialogue. Its like me slapping someone, I disagree with on an issue, quite a few times and then telling him that him and I need to sit down and talk about it peacefully. That is condemnable, that is hypocrisy.

  • ’12

    oh yes that is a critical distinction, and I’m grateful to Dershowitz for pointing out the nuance: creating a humanitarian crisis is unethical, but creating a mere humanitarian SITUATION is hunky dory

  • Re: Re: Re: Shame on YDN

    The difference, hun, is that the writer of the first piece was open about his potential bias by writing that he is media whatever of Yale Israel. The writers of the second piece attempt to hide their bias behind what they claim is an ~objective~ understanding of the event, when really they were the ones most emotionally involved (except for the Jewish writer of the second piece; from what I hear he did not even attend).

  • Jordan LC

    I did, in fact, attend; this can be corroborated. Where is there a claim to objectivity? There was not additional biographical information (what you call being “open about his potential bias by writing that he is media whatever of Yale Israel”) because we were not asked to give any. Further, what would this information be? I have no such title in an organization relevant to this issue.

  • Pernicious Double Standard

    Why has everyone in these comments missed the point? Shai Kamin mentions it briefly in the column but even he misses the main point. Dershowitz and other pro-Israel people don’t use human rights abuses by other countries to justify Israel’s actions. They use it to show that human rights groups, the U.N., and many other international organizations respond to Israel’s action in a way that is disproportionate to their response to any other country. Israel is treated unfairly on the world stage. In harping on Israel and ignoring other international human rights crises these groups make it seem as if they only care about the Palestinians’ problems and cannot contextualize their problems amidst many problems in the world. This ultimately hurts the Palestinian’s cause because it severely exaggerates, their suffering thereby delegitimizing their supporters.

  • Shai Kamin Distorts Truth

    In his response, Shai Kamin makes a statement that is demonstrably false. He says that Israel “allows all forms on nonviolent dissent.”

    This is actually an utter falsehood and reflects how uninformed Mr Kamin is.

    Israel represses its own citizens. The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, an Israeli legal aid organization, recently put together a comprehensive report detailing the ways in which the government and other state institutions have collaborated to crush anti-war protests within the country. See Press Release about Report here.

    The Israeli military also responds to non-violent protests in the West Bank with violence. Earlier this year on March 13 2009 the Israeli military SHOT AT a NON VIOLENT PROTESTOR who is also an AMERICAN CITIZEN. See information here. In June 2009 the Israeli military SHOT AND KILLED a non-violent protestor in the West Bank. See information here.

    These incidents, which are only a handful in the history of Israel, show how Israel does NOT allow any real civil and political dissent, either within Israel or in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. On the contrary, it is a government policy to crush any organized non-violent resistance by using violence against its leaders. Mr Kamin is either uninformed or is lying through his teeth.

  • See___here

    Huh? Where are your sources for the claims? Also, have you ever even seen an Israeli newspaper or heard of the Israeli supreme court? The court sees Palestinian cases every day and even ruled to move the wall in places where it caused inordinate harm to Palestinian civilians. To argue that there is no freedom of speech in Israel is preposterous. Your post looks like one of those chain messages by crazy people under popular youtube videos.

  • Shai Kamin Distorts Truth

    My links did not work in the original comment.

    Adalah’s Report on Government Suppression of Anti-War Protests: http://www.adalah.org/eng/pressreleases/pr.php?file=09_09_22

    March 13, 2009, Israel Injures American Citizen: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5324

    June 2009 Israel Shoots and Kills Non-Violent Protestor: http://www.tabletmag.com/news-and-politics/1306/pure-and-simple/

    I did not claim “there is no freedom of speech.” You allude to an Israeli High Court finding that the wall was illegal, but you neglect to mention that the Israeli army never complied with the order to change the route. Nor did you mention that the International Court of Justice found the entirety of the wall to be a violation of international law. See ICJ news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3879057.stm See also: http://stopthewall.org/latestnews/615.shtml

    Since Israel is such a haven of free speech, maybe we should ask why Israel has censored Arab children’s schoolbooks so that they do not contain a reference to the Nakba, or the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes when Israel was founded. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/22/israel-remove-nakba-from-textbooks

    Brother/Sister, the facts are not on your side. Where is the support for YOUR claims?

  • GRD 83

    Look “Shai Kamin Distorts Truth.” No one is arguing that Israel is a perfect nation. Dershowitz would see the articles you posted and agree with you 100%. Israel has many problems. However, those problems are grossly exaggerated by the ICJ and others and used as a political tool, when the problems of other countries, especially America, dwarf those of Israel. Just look at Iranbodycount.org for evidence of this. This doesn’t justify Israel’s actions at all by the way. But your rejectionist attitude towards Israel is suspect.

  • Shai Kamin Distorts Truth

    GRD 83 your objections are completely disingenuous. If you recognize these problems you have the moral responsibility of correcting them, not of attacking every person who mentions them as a rejectionist. Dershowitz’ argument is itself suspect because he never questions the merits of what Israel’s critics say. Instead he questions their motivations, which is a classic move by apologists for oppressive regimes every where. If we applied his logic to every human rights crisis in the world, no activist anywhere would be allowed to work on anything. Dershowitz is a myopic and pessimistic person who offers no constructive vision for the world whatsoever — he just wants you to sit back, relax, and let the authorities take care of everything.

  • GRD 83

    But by your token the United States didn’t allow all nonviolent dissent in the sixties because of the Kent State massacre or the 68 democratic national convention. Single events (especially when illegal) do not determine the laws of a state. Just because Israel’s soldiers or cops have attacked civillians engaging in nonviolent protest does not mean Israel is an “oppressive regime,” unless you would like to label every country in the same way. In terms of your disingenuous argument, it is absolutely ridiculous, because critical supporters of Israel do not ignore Israel’s critics, they just have a hard time believing the impartiality of those critics when they refuse to see any context for their claims and ignore the terrorism/extremism of hamas. Honest critics of Israel do accept criticism of the state, but by people who actually treat it fairly compared to their criticisms of other nations.

  • Shai Kamin Distorts Truth

    GRD 83 what are you smoking. It’s a total lie to say that the US allowed nonviolent dissent in the 60s and early 70s. The history of state violence repressing black and white revolutionaries and protestors even of the non violent variety does not represent historical flukes, or exceptions– they were very much the rule. Similarly these incidents in Israel are not exceptional, they reflect a general state policy of repressing any democratic grassroots movements that either (a) form jointly between Jews and Arabs and thus undermine the divisions that the Israeli regime wishes to impose and perpetuate or (b)call for Israel to become a state for its citizens, like modern states, rather than a state for the Jewish people, even those who are not citizens, and ignoring those non-Jewish citizens who comprise over 20% of the Israeli citizenry. You do not gain any cover by comparing Israel to the United States because critical and informed minds here are very much aware of the dirty history of US police suppression of protests, and we condemn it around the board. It is unclear on what rational basis we should make an exception for Israel.

    As for the unsupported claims you make about Israel’s critics, on “fairness” or “context” — what does this mean? Please elaborate. I can say Hamas has engaged in terrorist acts but that does not change the veracity of what I said in my first comment, that Israel is an anti-democratic and racist state.

  • GRD 83

    Are you an anarchist? No government on Earth or in history holds by the standards you claim to support. Israel’s exists to protect Jews from another Holocaust. That is a much better raison d’etre than nearly every other state in existence. Does that make the state racist? Not when non-Jews are allowed to vote/have representation in government/ come before the supreme court with grievences. There are plenty of grassroots organizations that have support from both sides like One Voice for example.

    Read the last line in your last comment. Does it seem fair or just to be harsher on Israel than you are on Hamas? “Hamas has engaged”??? Hamas is a terrorist organization that has in its charter has quotes like “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it” and “After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.” They also quote the Hadith “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. ”

    How can this even be compared to Israel? How can a people who overwhelmingly voted for this be seen as innocent? STILL, Israel strives to prevent them from harm to the best of its ability while still trying to defend itself from abominable groups.

    I’m done perusing this column and I’m tired of responding to you when we clearly fundamentally disagree. I will give you the last word.

  • Shai Kamin Distorts Truth

    When people vote Republican, do you believe they are voting for every single word of the Republican platform?

    Your methodology in establishing what the Palestinians supposedly voted for would or should get you kicked out of any legitimate social science circles. You do not judge elections by party charters. You judge them by campaign platforms. Guess what–”Destroying Israel” and “Killing Jews” was not Hamas’ platform. You know what was? Fighting government corruption and providing social services.

    I find it kind of problematic, not to mention extraordinarily racist, that you ask a question “How can a people who voted for this be innocent.” Since when is voting a crime? Do you even know the vote numbers? Suddenly because Hamas won a PLURALITY–not even a majority–of votes, the entire Palestinian people is “guilty” of something?

    Like it or not, Palestinians are not Israelis. We can judge the Israeli people for voting for the racist Netanyahu and the fascist Avigdor Lieberman, but that is crazy. These people, as racist and fascist as we must deem them as objective observers, are not too out of the mainstream in Israel any more. Hamas is similar. As despicable as many of its tactics have been, and as objectionable as its rhetoric or its non-operative founding document are, they are also a legitimate political party with significant support from the Palestinian people. Palestinians believe they are legitimate, and they are a Palestinian political party. What right do you have, GRD 83, to decide who Palestinian political leaders should be?

    It is only a sign of strength and promise for the Palestinian people that rational advocacy on their behalf can only get a half-baked and illogical collection of innuendo from their detractors. You simply put words in my mouth and constructed straw men to tear down. You did not respond to my claims that: any critical minded person must identify the terrible structural wrongs of the Israeli state; and that calling Israel a racist state–which by any means is a very polite way to put it–is an objective response based on a rational analysis. We can say the same thing about the United States less than 50 years ago. So what? That doesn’t make it okay. It means Israel will have to undergo a revolutionary process the same way the United States did. And it won’t always be pretty.

  • The arrogance of opining Shai Kamin distorts Truth

    So you, Mr./Ms. Shai Kamin distorts Truth, are the arbiter of what is truth, huh? Your demonization of the Israeli “other” follows in a long line of tradition of scapegoating Jews. Is there an Arab or Muslim country on the planet that you would hold up as more democratic and less racist in Israel in 2009? You are clearly not a member of a real minority…any racial, ethnic, or religious group with which you identify probably has many, many millions (if not a billion) adherents. That is why you write of a state with true equality for all…it’s like claiming America represents all equally, with our National Christmas Tree, National Cathedral, and public holidays on only Christian religious days. Yeh, Yeh, Jewish Nationalism–and only Jewish Nationalism, not Palestinian or any other Nationalism in 2009–is racist. You should look up Martin Luther King Jr.’s comments on anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism. You do not appear to be merely against this or that Israeli policy…you have a singular problem with the audacity of a small people endeavoring to practice self-determination in the predominantly Arab Muslim Middle East, something that has proved difficult if not impossible for Kurds, Maronite Christians, Assyrians, and Armenians in the same region. Left-wing totalitarians such as yourself will always reject a fair compromise of a two state solution in favor of one state, which, if “democratic,” will effect self-determination for only one of the two peoples involved in this conflict. But I’m sure you are confident that the rights of Jews in such a state will be fully protected and fully equal…just like the Dhimmi, the officially sanctioned traditional second-class status of Jews in the Muslim world.

  • Alan Dershowitz

    In commenting on the question and answer period following the showing of the Case For Israel at Yale on Wednesday night, both writers failed to describe the unusual format. Those who were at the event can attest to the fact that because of the controversial and emotional nature of the Israel Palestine conflict, I requested that critical and hostile questioners be given the first opportunity to speak, that they need not ask a question but could make a comment, and that they would be given an opportunity for a follow up comment as well. It was a format designed for active dialogue and controversy. Moreover, it was I who insisted on calling on the hostile questioners who then complained to the Yale Daily. Yes, I interjected my views into some of their lengthy comments, but I gave them the last word. I always do that. It is my Socratic style of teaching and conversation. Some may consider that rude. I consider it respectful. I take students seriously. I treat them as adults. I refuse to pander. The end result is that all views are fully aired, as they were on Wednesday.

    Other speakers simply allow the questioners to go on and on, then they praise them in a pandering manner and avoid answering directly. This may seem respectful but it is the ultimate put down. ‘

    I will continue to conduct my discussions in a Socratic manner. Those who disapprove need not participate. But don’t expect to make hostile comments and get a free pass if you can’t persuasively respond to contrary assertions.

  • Andrew

    Dershowitz and his supporters are Judeo Nazis.

  • Ethan

    I can’t see how Shai Kamin’s comments, or Dershkowitz’s opinions for that matter, reflect anything but a “black and white” picture of the Middle East. In these people’s construction, Israelis are tragic heroes trying their best to stay humane against all assaults, and Palestinians are at best misled sheep with only silly and superfluous grievances. Israel is ready for peace; it’s all up to the Palestinians to make it happen. This sort of “it’s all on you guys” argument strikes me as remarkable illiberal, as it amounts to blaming the weakest participants of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for all the problems. This is the kind of thing Republicans do when they talk about poverty.