Thank you Alan Dershowitz

August 17th, 2012

By J Street Director of Government Affairs Dylan J. Williams

I probably wasn’t the only scrawny Jewish kid of my generation to daydream that, one day, I'd be a sharp lawyer like Alan Dershowitz.

No one would push me around, and I wouldn't let anyone bully the other pipsqueaks.

A genuinely passionate defender of Zionism, Dershowitz also personified the arc of the Jewish people and Israel itself: the excluded and maligned weakling transformed into a strong and moral beacon.

Twenty years later, I still have profound admiration and much hope for Israel. But Alan Dershowitz has let the scrawny Jewish kid in me down.

Instead of seeking the truth, Dershowitz seems increasingly inclined to distort it in order to bully those with whom he disagrees. Lately, his target has been J Street.

Anointing himself our "worst nightmare," Dershowitz has peddled outright falsehoods about J Street’s views on preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Contrary to his assertions, J Street has never advocated taking the "military option off the table," has not demanded that President Obama "stop threatening military action against Iran," and has not misquoted or mischaracterized the words or opinions of any American or Israeli officials or experts concerning Iran.

These are the facts. Anybody can verify them by reading Jeremy Ben-Ami's exposition of our position on Iran's nuclear program1, or our webpage2 listing recent quotes with citations by the numerous security experts we reference in our advocacy.

Reasonable people can disagree. But injecting falsehoods into the discussion does nothing to inform or encourage much-needed robust debate.

J Street believes that Iran obtaining nuclear weapons would pose a very serious threat to American and Israeli interests and to peace and stability in the Middle East and around the world. We therefore lobby for a combination of tough, targeted sanctions and diplomacy to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

We have also set forth the case3 that it is those like Dershowitz encouraging the U.S. government to - in his words - rattle sabers and beat the war drums who are undermining President Obama's diplomacy.

It is those irresponsibly ratcheting up the war-talk who strengthen the Mullahs and hasten the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran. Despite Dershowitz’s claim that he is defending the President’s position, it was the President who rightly and most forcefully warned against precisely such “loose talk of war.”

We owe a thank you to Alan Dershowitz for placing the challenge front and center before the public: Do you stand with President Obama in pressing forward with sanctions and diplomacy while rejecting “loose talk” of an ill-advised rush to war?

We do – and we hope you’ll click here to join us in signing a strong statement of support to the President for his approach.


[1] - The Right Question - Jeremy Ben-Ami, Huffington Post, June 28, 2012
[2] - What The Experts Are Saying
[3] - Playing Into the Mullahs' Hands - Dylan Williams, Foreign Policy, July 16, 2012