Dershowitz:  'Rule of Law Must Adapt to Terrorism'
by Hillel Fendel - Arutz Sheva
March 17, 2008
Professor Alan Dershowitz, visiting in Israel, says 'rule of law must adapt itself to fight the terror threat.  He bemoans American Jewry's lack of connection with Israel, and calls for U.S. Jews to visit Israel.  Dershowitz, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law
at Harvard University and an outspoken advocate for Israel in books, articles, lectures and debates, has set two goals for his current visit to Israel:  He's here to show support for the residence of Sderot and Ashkelon, and to teach classes and give lectures on how to fight the war against terrorism within a revamped rule of law.  The rules currently favor the terrorists over the democracies, and the rules have to change.

[audio:  123148] 
Speaking with Israel National Radio's Yishai Fleisher, Dershowitz said, "I will be teaching how the rule of law has to change, to
adapt to the new realities of sucide terrorists who use human shields and thus place democracies in a difficult situation.  They take advantage of our higher morality, forcing democracies to choose between doing nothing or inevitably killing civilians.  The rules currently favor the terrorists over democracies, and the rules have to change."

On-line Rally for Sderot

Dershowitz said he would be participating in a large American Jewish Congress conference this week at which these issues will be discussed.  "Some of the world's most important and influential jurists will be there, such as Irwin Kotler, who was Attorney General and Minister of Justice in Canada, former Israeli Superior Court Justices, and Americans as well.  It will be an interesting attempt to redefine jurisprudence."

Prof. Dershowitz will also be visiting Sderot later this week, taking part in what organizers expect will be the largest-ever on-line rally.  The rally will begin at 5pm New York time (11pm in Israel) this Thursday night, at, and will switch back and forth between Israel, New York, Los Angeles and other sites around the world.  Those involved, including Dershowitz, are hoping to have a million click and sign on during the rally.

A Target on His Back
"I'll be under the rockets in Sderot myself, with a big target on my back," Dershowitz said, "just like all the other citizens of Sderot.
I want to feel what it's like to be in Sderot and Ashkelon at these times, with the terrorists playing Russian rocket roulette with the lives of Israeli citizens.  Israel should adopt a zero tolerance policy for rockets.
I have written that every rocket that flies from
Gaza into Israel is a violation of UN Charter Article 51
- an armed attack giving Israel the full and complete right to proportional self-defense.

"Why must it be proportional?"  Fleisher interjected, to which Dershowitz responded, "Proportional doesn't mean equating lives; it
just means that if they fire a rifle at you, you can't nuke them.  It also doesn't mean that for every life taken, you can take one life,
as the international community absurdely believes.  It simply means that you don't react totally out of proportion, and neither do you look at the actual damage caused, but rather, you look at the risk of an attack.  If each rocket can potentially kill 100 people, then just because they missed, it doesn't remove the risk that had been there.  Israel doesn't have to wait until inevitably a rocket hits a school bus or a kindergarten or an ambulance; it can look at the risks, not just the consequences."

Though he supports a strong Israeli response against terrorism, he is not politically right-wing.  Dershowitz has stated that his book The Case for Israel "is a pro-Palestinian as well as a pro-Israel book, because it favors an economically veribal Palestinian democratic state, with good health care, education, opportunity, and freedom for the Palestinian people.?

Hizbullah Wants More Civilian Deaths
Dershowitz noted that while Israel has built a shelter system in Sderot in order to protect lives, "Hizbullah did exactly the opposite in Lebanon in 2006 - because Hizbullah wanted to increase the amount of civilian deaths.  That's because our culture is one of ubacharta bachaim (the Biblical prescription to 'choose life'), while the Imams encourage them to look at their children as martyrs.  This is what makes it so difficult for the democracies, because the terrorists are trying to get us to kill their children."

US Jewry Growing More Disconnected with Israel
Fleisher asked Prof. Dershowitz about the lack of connection of American Jews with Israel, noting that 70% of them have never been to Israel.  "It's getting much worse,"  Dershowitz agreed.  "My generation had a high level of connection to Israel, but my children and grandchildren's generations are much less so.  Jews in their 20's are sometimes embarrassed by Israel; they're fair-weather friends.  They're happy when Israel succeeds, but they ignore Israel when international support goes down.  But core support for Israel is still pretty strong." 

"I think we have to increase the case for Israel, that's why I write so much - I've written The Case for Israel, and now I'm writing The Case Against Israel's Enemies, where I take on people like Jimmy Carter, and Ahmedinajad, and Mearsheimer and Walt and other professors who devote their lives to their hatred of Israel.  They have to know that they will be answered...."

"And in order to increase a sense of passion for Israel," Dershowitz concluded "we have to bring more Jews to Israel; there's no better way to get a passion for Israel than to be here."
Return to Archives Page
Freeman Center for Strategic Studies
P.O. Box 35661- Houston, Texas 77235-5661
Phone or Fax:  713-723-6016 - E-mail: