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The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved Hardcover – August 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0471743170 ISBN-10: 0471743178 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While holding out hope for a settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, this lively polemic carries on the fierce war of words over the conflict. Harvard Law professor Dershowitz, author of The Case For Israel, feels that, with Arafat's death and a new Palestinian leadership, prospects for peace have brightened. He endorses the "obvious" two-state solution suggested by Ehud Barak's ill-fated 2000 proposals and the recent non-governmental Geneva accords, involving Israel's withdrawal from Gaza and most of the West Bank (except for some large Jewish settlements), divided sovereignty over Jerusalem and some "recognition" of Palestinian refugees by Israel without an absolute "right of return." Dershowitz continues to back such controversial Israeli actions as the targeted assassination of suspected terrorists and the construction of the West Bank security wall, but acknowledges a common interest in peace which must be protected from extremists on both sides. He is less conciliatory toward outside supporters of the Palestinians, whom he accuses of opposing peace and seeking "the destruction of the Jewish State," citing everything from anti-Semitic ravings in the Arab press to Western academics who violate his 28-point guidelines for separating legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism. He particularly targets the "real and acknowledged" conspiracy of "anti-Israel, anti-peace, anti-truth zealots" Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn and Norman Finkelstein and offers a detailed rebuttal of Finkelstein's recent anti-Dershowitz broadside Beyond Chutzpah. In keeping with the vitriolic conventions of the debate-over-the-debate-over the Middle East, he bombards opponents with inflammatory charges based on sometimes tendentious readings of skimpily contextualized remarks; readers trying to substantiate them must often follow long trails of footnotes to other sources. Dershowitz presents his usual vigorous case, but not the judicious treatment these issues cry out for.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

* ALAN Dershowitz has a lovely vision of Middle East peace, imagining democratic Israel and a democratic Palestine prospering together.
Harvard Law's celebrity professor advocates a two-state solution, creating Palestine out of the territories Israel won in the 1967 war. Dershowitz believes two viable states with secure borders and stable political cultures can emerge from one of the world's most troubled pieces of real estate.
Invoking history, justice, reason and the rule of law, he analyzes the problems, seeking mutually agreeable solutions. Yet, sadly, rather than showing, as the hopeful subtitle suggests, ""How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can Be Resolved,"" this book makes a more convincing case that the conflict will continue.
Dershowitz once again proves in clear and readable prose that Israel is flexible, peace-seeking and ready to compromise, while offering little evidence that many Palestinian leaders are equally reasonable, courageous or committed to peace or democracy.
This short, punchy primer details just how virulent Palestinian rejectionism is--and has been for decades. Jewish and international compromises reach back to the Peel Commission in the 1930s, yet, again and again, Palestinians--and their cynical Arab allies--have preferred maximalist dreams to imperfect compromises.
Combining an appellate lawyer's precision with a courtroom showman's passion, Dershowitz examines how Yasser Arafat, among other destructive leaders, repeatedly turned Palestinians away from state-building, compromise and democracy, fostering an autocratic, demagogic, corrupt, delusional political culture addicted to terror.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously lamented that Arabs must love their own children more than they hate Israel's children for peace to flourish; now, Palestinians must become more committed to building a ""democratic Palestinian state living in peace with a democratic Israel"" than to destroying Israel.
Convinced that a pragmatic Palestinian majority can emerge, Dershowitz lambastes the academics, church leaders, diplomats, reporters and so-called ""peace activists"" who feed Palestinians' delusions and sanction violence by demonizing Israel, no matter what it does.
Dershowitz and others advocating for a rational peace should challenge the West's armchair jihadists for rationalizing Palestinian terrorism, robbing Palestinians and Jews of hope. And it is noble for intellectuals defending Israel's legitimacy to dream of a possible compromise.
Dershowitz mischievously confounds critics by insisting that, while ardently pro-Israel, he remains liberal and ""pro-Palestinian."" But while occasionally mentioning a ""peace process"" and praising the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Dershowitz fails to identify that Palestinian peace camp essential to creating a new, stable Middle East.
This book assumes that Israel disengaged from Gaza successfully. But Israel withdrew unilaterally because there was no credible negotiating partner, had to build a fence because Palestinian terrorists continue to target Israeli civilians and even uprooted Jewish gravesites because of justified fears that Hamas activists would desecrate the corpses.
Dershowitz's vision of peace will only work if Palestinians pass a simple test. Unless and until, Jews--and Jewish graves--can remain undisturbed on land ceded to the Palestinians, no peace is possible.
--Gil Troy, a professor of history at McGill University, is the author of ""Why I'm a Zionist."" (The New York Post, August 28, 2005)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471743178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471743170
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,207,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ is a Brooklyn native who has been called 'the nation's most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer' and one of its 'most distinguished defenders of individual rights,' 'the best-known criminal lawyer in the world,' 'the top lawyer of last resort,' and 'America's most public Jewish defender.' He is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Dershowitz, a graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School, joined the Harvard Law School faculty at age 25 after clerking for Judge David Bazelon and Justice Arthur Goldberg. While he is known for defending clients such as Anatoly Sharansky, Claus von B'low, O.J. Simpson, Michael Milken and Mike Tyson, he continues to represent numerous indigent defendants and takes half of his cases pro bono. Dershowitz is the author of 20 works of fiction and non-fiction, including 6 bestsellers. His writing has been praised by Truman Capote, Saul Bellow, David Mamet, William Styron, Aharon Appelfeld, A.B. Yehoshua and Elie Wiesel. More than a million of his books have been sold worldwide, in numerous languages, and more than a million people have heard him lecture around the world. His most recent nonfiction titles are The Case For Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can be Resolved (August 2005, Wiley); Rights From Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of Rights (November 2004, Basic Books), The Case for Israel (September 2003, Wiley), America Declares Independence, Why Terrorism Works, Shouting Fire, Letters to a Young Lawyer, Supreme Injustice, and The Genesis of Justice. His novels include The Advocate's Devil and Just Revenge. Dershowitz is also the author of The Vanishing American Jew, The Abuse Excuse, Reasonable Doubts, Chutzpah (a #1 bestseller), Reversal of Fortune (which was made into an Academy Award-winning film), Sexual McCarthyism and The Best Defense.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 104 people found the following review helpful By B. Beck on August 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I read The Case for Peace by Alan Dershowitz with great interest. Although I am basically an optimist, I have been lately quite pessimistic about the opportunities for peace in the Arab Israel conflict. There are so many obstacles to peace and so many players that the possibility of peace seemed to be remote, at best.

But Dershowitz, in a methodical analytic way approaches each of the pitfalls that I had considered and presents the consistent message that peace is possible.

This is not a pie in the sky book of dreams. It is rather a hard hitting, at times argumentative, but always convincing case for peace. The aspect of the book that I found most convincing was its avoidance of calling on the various parties to exercise "good will". The time for good will has long passed and now is the time when only hard nosed negotiation can bring about lasting peace.

Dershowitz rightfully points out that this final war for peace will be slow and painful for both sides. He predicts that terrorist attacks will continue after the peace is declared and that the parties must avoid, at all costs, the resumption of the "cycle of violence" that has been the hallmark of the intifada.

The second part of the book, entitled "Overcoming the Hatred Barriers to Peace" makes this book necessary reading for the opponents of peace throughout the world on both sides of the issue. Sadly, because Dershowitz has been such a vocal advocate for Israel and for a lasting and just peace between Israel and its neighbors, he has become the target of too many personal attacks. These attacks and his necessary defense reach a climax in his passionate call to the reader to "Marginalize and confront those who persist in their hate speech even while Israel and the Palestinians move toward peace."
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Alan Dershowitz's Case for Peace is best when in keeping with its subtitle: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can Be Resolved. The optimal solution the book proposes is that Israelis and Palestinians agree to a two-state solution where most or all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are declared Palestine, and this land is made contiguous by some sort of railway/subway line that connects the two territories, part of which would run through Israel. On this plan, Jerusalem would be a shared city. Although I think the plan is novel, I don't imagine everyone will ultimately accept this or any two-state solution in fact, but I hope that is just my lack of imagination.

What I did not like about the book is that a large proportion of it is devoted to a rebuttal to critics of his previous book, The Case for Israel, in which Dershowitz defends himself from accusations of plagiarism, poorly-cited material, and other textual matters. I understand his desire to defend himself, but I don't think this was the book for it. Also, since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is such a charged issue, these sections of the book actually made me more suspect that Dershowitz is in fact more partisan and less transparent than he presents himself, which is probably the exact opposite consequence he would want from people reading his book.
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17 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
For a previous book , "The Case for Israel" Alan Dershowitz has been attacked and libeled by the radical left, who accuse of him being a warmongering chauvinist . In this book he presents a clearly argued refutation of this personal charge against him by outlining a peace plan for the Israeli- Palestinian conflict which in his words is both pro- Israeli and pro- Palestinian.

Essentially he adopts the two- state position of what in Israel has long been called the ` peace- camp'. It is pretty much the Peres- Beilin plan in which Israel cedes most of the West Bank ( Judaea and Samaria) and Gaza, and in return receives an end to Palestinian terror and violence, and complete international recognition of its legitimacy.

In the first part of the book, ` Overcoming the Geopolitical Barriers to Peace' Dershowitz presents the heart of his plan, and answers questions as to possible difficulties with it. The final goal is two states with secure and recognized borders, an end to violence, and end to all claims each side has on the other. In the course of this he indicates that claims which have long been neglected by the world, such as that of Jews expelled from Arab lands must also be taken into account. He indicates that one of the great sticking points, the question of Palestinian Arab refugee return must be solved within the framework of the Palestinian Arab state. He also answers objections to the critics who claim such a state would not be viable. He too criticizes what he calls `extremists' of both sides who would reject all compromise. But he makes it clear that there is a great assymetry here in that the Jewish extremists are on the margin of Israeli society, while Palestinian extremism and rejectionism is the present commanding position within the society.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Aron Mueller on December 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The ideas put forward in this book are a great contribution to thinking in the direction of peace. However, the practical is too dominant over the ideological so that even someone from either side who is interested in peace could fell wronged by the fact that his ideological basis has not been legitimized enough. Also the length of the book impedes a better integration of its theme.
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