Dershowitz to the Rescue?

Armed Israeli commandos, the elite of the elites, rappelled to the deck of a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian relief supplies to the 1.5 million prisoners in the Gaza concentration camp.

Although the Israelis did not see the attack as an attack, but an action only to defend themselves, as only Israelis have a right to do. It is a right that Palestinians do not have, nor do the other activists who were attempting to deliver the supplies to the Gazans It appears, from the scanty non-Israeli news available, that the Turkish ship was some 40 miles or more off the coast of Gaza, and that the activists aboard were not armed, except with kitchen knives and some clubs lying around the ship that they could round up when they were surprised by the Israeli commandos.

In the melee that followed, nine activists were dead — mostly Turkish — and several were wounded. Reports tell us that several of the brave elite commandos were also injured, one of them with gunfire from a gun an activist took away from one of the commandos. The Israeli propaganda spin machine was ready in an instant to spin the news their way about the incident. They were said to be, of course, entitled to defend themselves, a mantra chanted over and over again by the Israeli talking heads we’ve seen on American television. Listening to these commentators’ paeans to Israel’s conduct, It’s very much like listening to a bully who, after punching someone smaller in the jaw, requires the victim to apologize for getting his face in the way of the bully’s fist.

Even more thrilling were the American television commentators becoming instant pro- Israeli dittoheads, the very same characters they laughingly bring up when discussing Rush Limbaugh. One of the first stories attributed to the Israeli propaganda machine was that the commandos were armed only with paint guns–you know, the kind of weapons red-blooded American middle-aged men use to shoot at each other on weekends here in America. We all know how harmless they are. Somehow the Israeli government was unable to stop a couple of reports which told of the commandos whining that they were set upon by these radical terrorists with metal clubs and knives.

President Obama took a strong stand against violence. He did not actually say, “why can’t we all just get along?” But when he expressed his regrets over the loss of life, a whiff of Rodney King’s famous words blew over the airwaves.

What is desperately needed now is legal advice from Alan Dershowitz , perhaps America’s top Israel apologist. If you remember, Dershowit was the legal expert who once wrote in the New York Times that, not to worry, the Israeli Supreme Court was always there to protect the rights of the Palestinians living under occupation. We are certain that the Israeli Supreme Court is sincere in its efforts to protect the rights of the Palestinians living under the illegal occupation, but it’s obvious that no one has told the Court about the Palestinian home demolitions, the Palestinian olive trees uprooted by Israeli settlers, and the multiple beatings visited on Palestinians who tend to object to being treated like subhumans.

We are waiting for Professor Dershowitz to inform us that, because Israel is at war, it is perfectly legal to fly 40 miles out to open sea and drop armed pirates on the deck of vessels carrying humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza. He will also be able to explain that the ongoing occupation of Gaza by Israel is legal, on grounds that Hamas took over Gaza by force. He will, no doubt, be able to explain that the supervised democratic election during which Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian governing body somehow doesn’t count. He will, by deft semantic footwork, be able to make us forget about how the Zionists first created Israel by the Zionists’ ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

In fact, many of those who were driven out of their homeland by the violent Zionist assault in the 1940s, today are living in the cramped and poverty stricken Gaza strip, along with their children and grandchildren. Professor Dershowitz will surely be able to tell us that most Gazans, who are forced, by virtue of Israel’s occupation, to live on about a dollar a day, will be extremely happy to get rid of Hamas. Perhaps he will also be able to explain why Hamas, which has never strayed out of their own homeland of Palestine to fight their occupiers , is branded as a terrorist entity by the United States at the behest of Israel. Or he will surely explain why Egypt has cooperated with Israel on the illegal blockade of Gaza. The reason of course, could not possibly be the billions of dollars in foreign aid paid by the U.S. taxpayer to Egypt to keep that government in line so Israel can continue to brutalize the Gazans

The Gazans have absolutely no sense of humor about the situation, but that lack surely can’t be because they are constantly short of food, medicines, fuel, and other necessities of life. They did, as we have noticed, turn more sour-faced after the Israeli military used the entrapped Gazans as shooting gallery targets in 2008, where more than 1,200 civilians were killed by the Israeli military’s tanks, jets, and howitzers.

Dershowitz may be able to tell us of the lesson we’ve all learned in the past few years that Israel’s vaunted military is all powerful, unless, that is, if their intended victims decide to fight back, as Hezbollah did when Israel invaded Lebanon four years ago. We can count as well the unarmed peaceniks in the number of those who fought back, and who seem to have won a battle against the elite commando unit which invaded the Turkish humanitarian supply ship.

At least, the peaceniks did not whine, as the Elite Israeli Commandos did, when they were wounded defending themselves.

One more event we can now expect is a letter, to be circulated for signature to members of Congress by AIPAC, denouncing the humanitarian activists for forcing the Israelis to attack and to kill many of their group. I remember when Golda Meir, when she was Prime Minister of Israel, stating in public that she could forgive the Palestinians for shooting at the Israelis, but she could never forgive them for forcing the Israelis to kill Palestinians. After all, it’s all in the spirit of self defense. If it works for the Israeli propaganda machine, it should work for the Palestinians as well.

JAMES ABOUREZK is a former U.S. Senator, who practices law in Sioux Falls. He can be reached at






James Abourezk is a former US senator from South Dakota. He is the author of: Advise and Dissent: Memoirs of an ex-Senator.