Making His Case
Attorney Alan Dershowitz says worldwide attention encourages terrorism.
HARRY KIRS BAUM
art lecture, part book report, part summa-
tion — the Dec. 12 presentation by Alan
Dershowitz brought the noted Harvard
law professor far from the American
courtrooms' and classrooms where he forged his
career and into the arena of international politics.
Using insights gained while researching his most
recent book, Why Terrorism Works: Understanding the
Threat, Responding to the Challenge (Yale University
Press; $24.95), Dershowitz condemned terrorism
and defended Israel to a crowd of about 800 at
Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield.
The event, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit, was open to all individual
contributors to Federation's 2003 Annual
As Dershowitz discussed the nature of terrorism,
he dispelled some myths about why people become
terrorists — and what to do to stop them.
Palestinians took the road of the terrorist, he said,
and the rest of the world took notice.
"The Palestinian cause has leapfrogged over an
independent state for the Kurds, Armenians and
independence for Tibet, because there's no terror-
ism," he said. "The international community forgets
about people who try to achieve statehood and inde-
pendence by peaceful and legitimate means. Instead
they reward terrorists."
If the world would have "dis-incentivized" the ter-
rorists by turning their own cause against them and
putting the Palestinian cause on the back burner,
terrorism in the region would have ended, he added.
In the case of Israel, Dershowitz said, if the
Palestinians had used the civil disobedience tactics of
Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
instead of terrorism and appealed to the conscience
of the highly moral Jewish community, they would
have had a state by now.
Dershowitz dismissed other myths about terrorism
in his usual intense, rapid-fire way.
The root cause of terrorism is not disenfranchise-
ment, frustration or revenge, he said. "The vast
number of people who are disenfranchised and frus-
trated do not become terrorists. Some suicide
bombers are more easily recruited because of frustra-
tion and oppression, but the root cause of terrorism
is its success. It works."
The phrase, "One man's terrorist is another man's
freedom fighter" is another myth, he said.
"If you ever accept that notion that there is a dif-
ference between terrorists who murder children,
women and elderly people and freedom fighters who
murder the same people, you're giving in, because
every terrorist says he's a freedom fighter,"
Dershowitz said. "Have you ever met or heard some-
body who admitted he's a terrorist?"
Dershowitz also spoke about
the importance of preparing
young Jewish students to resist
anti-Israel propaganda on cam-
puses across the United States
(see Editor's Notebook, page 5).
Dershowitz said he isn't sure if
the threat of terrorism from
apocalyptic, otherworldly, reli-
giously based groups who won't
stop their terrorist activity, like
Al Qaida, is rising or falling.
Dershowitz, proud to wear his
Judaism openly, compared his
feelings to those of Jewish leaders
in 1935. "If you didn't know
what was coming, it would be
very hard to evaluate the actions
of 1935. Well, we're in 1935. We
don't know what's coming."
"We have to anticipate the worst, prepare for the
worst, try to take preventive action for the worst and
hope and do everything in our power to make sure
that the worst doesn't happen."
After the speech, Leonard Baruch of Southfield,
called Dershowitz "very dynamic."
"Generally speaking, I always agree with what he
says. And I know he is a very great
1 spokesman for Israel and that's our
major concern," he said. "He can speak
4 forward and think forward."
Marlene Glazer of Farmington Hills
came to hear Dershowitz's "take on the
situation in the world," but echoed
what was on most people's minds.
"I was very mad at him for defend-
ing O.J. [Simpson]," she said,
"although I understand that he will say
that everybody is entitled to a defense,
even the guilty ones."
Rabbi Ernst Conrad, rabbi emeritus
of Temple Kol Ami in West
Bloomfield, called Dershowitz "one of
the leading personalities among
"I find him not only highly intelligent
but clear in his exposition, even on difficult legal
issues," said Rabbi Conrad, noting he also disagreed
with Dershowitz joining the "dream team" defense
in Simpson's murder trial, which ended with a jury
verdict of "not guility."
"In general," the rabbi said, "I agree on those posi-
tions on Israel and its adversaries, and maybe I'll
learn a few arguments from him."
Detroit Native On Israeli Ballot
12. Married with 14-month-old
twins, Bank was elected chair of
Moledet's executive council in
native Detroiter who
In an interview with the
immigrated to Israel
Jerusalem Post, Bank said
22 years ago is
that, as an American
running for a
immigrant, he under-
seat in the Knesset,
Israel's 120-member par-
stands "what it means to
forsake a more comfort-
Uri Bank, 34, was
able way of life for the
sake of one's ideals.
chosen by the Moledet
"When I was 17, my
(Homeland) party, one of
parents went back to the
three factions that make
States, but I chose to stay,
up the National Union
because this is my home.
bloc. The right-wing bloc Uri Bank
We came here for a pur-
has a joint list of Knesset
pose: to change the country and
candidates from all three parties
make it better. And that is what I
for the Jan. 28 elections.
plan to do."
Bank is a resident of Gilo, a
In next month's elections, the
Jerusalem neighborhood that has
leader of the party that wins the
come under repeated sniper
most Knesset seats will become
attacks during the current
prime minister = most likely
Palestinian intif:ada (uprising).
from one of the two major par-
His family left Detroit for
ties, Likud or Labor. The
Chicago when he was 2 years old
National Union, a right-wing
and moved to Israel when he was
Copy Editor/Education Writer
bloc formed Feb. 1, 2000, is led
by Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael
Beiteinu, Benny Elon of Moledet
and Tzvi Hendel of Tekumah.
Bank, who began his political
career as founder of the Residents
Committee for a Safe Gilo, has
served as an aide to Elon. Israel's
former Tourism Minister
Rechavam Ze'evi, assassinated by
Palestinian terrorists on Oct. 17,
2001, was a founder of the party.
Moledet's stated goals are:
"To work for the realization of
Zionism in the spirit of the
founding fathers, who saw our
exclusive right to the land of
"To act to keep the land of
Israel in the hands of the Jewish
people and the State of Israel,
including the areas of Judea,
Samaria, the Gaza Strip and the
"To act on behalf of the unity
of the Torah of Israel, the people
of Israel and the land of Israel." ❑