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The Dersh on Goldstone

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To the editor:

Richard Goldstone has repeatedly declined to debate me on the merits of the report. Nor has he responded to my 49 page substantive critique, which is available online at www.alandershowitz.com/goldstone.pdf.  Instead, Richard Goldstone has generally responded to critics of his report by pointing to his Jewishness, his Zionism, and his connections to Hebrew University.  That is an argument by ethnic identity, namely that an anti-Israel argument is made stronger if offered by a Jew.  It is a variation on the classic argument ad hominem.  See my article, "Ad Hominem Attack on Israel," at the Huffington Post.

It is precisely because Goldstone has so frequently invoked his Jewishness to attack the Jewish state that I stand by what I said to the IDF radio, namely that he is “someone who betrays his own people.”  I did not repeat, nor did I understand, the Hebrew word used by the man who interviewed me in English over the telephone.  I thought he used the English word “monster,” rather than the Hebrew word “moser.”  I certainly did not mean to imply that any physical harm should come to Goldstone.  That is why I retracted the term “traitor,” which carries a somewhat different connotation in Israel than in the United States, even though I think its meaning suits him perfectly.

Goldstone’s report should be rejected on its numerous demerits.  The added fact that it was authored by a Jew, who was selected precisely because he is a Jew, should not increase its credibility.  I promise not to make any ad hominem arguments against the report if he stops making ad hominem arguments in its favor.  Or as Adlai Stevenson once promised a political opponent:  “If you stop lying about me, I will stop telling the truth about you.”

Alan Dershowitz

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