I.O.U.: $10,000

The Case for Israel

by Alan Dershowitz

New York: John Wiley & Sons; 264 pp., $19.95

Alan Dershowitz’s brief on behalf of Israel has at least some truth on its side.  Had the Arabs accepted the territorial partition arranged by the United Nations in 1947, far fewer of them would today be living in exile; and certainly the Palestinians in 1948 bore a heavy blame for the war that resulted in the expulsion of over 700,000 of their countrymen.  Moreover, had the Arab commanders won their war in 1948, they would, in all probability, have been faithful to their exhortation to their troops and permitted a massacre of the defeated Jews.  Finally, Israel has indeed established a more tolerant and (in the proper sense) liberal regime than have most of her Arab neighbors, and she did work to achieve a comprehensive peace with the Palestinians in the Camp David meetings, which the PLO rejected.

That said, it might seem that I welcome Dershowitz’s brief.  That, however, is far from being the case.  This book includes such glaring factual errors and such odious charges against those who disagree with the author that Elie Wiesel, Mario Cuomo, and other dignitaries who provided blurbs for its dust jacket ought to be ashamed of themselves.  In several internet debates with Dershowitz, historian-gadfly Norman Finkelstein, whose...

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