by Stephen Lendman
On February 2, notorious hatemonger Alan Dershowitz keynoted a Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia (JFGP)/Hillel of Greater Philadelphia "Evening of Unity & Community Solidarity" with Israel.
Inviting him was disgraceful. He's a shameless bigot, a longstanding Islamophobe, a perverter of fundamental US and international law, an advocate of war, torture targeted assassinations, and collective punishment, as well as a committed Zionist and apologist for Israel's worst crimes.
Distinguished Law Professor Francis Boyle once wrote:
He's "a self-incriminated war criminal who publicly admitted that he serves on a Mossad Committee that authorizes the murder and assassination of Palestinians."
He's "also infamous around the world for being this country's foremost advocate for torture."
Abhorring truth and rule of law standards, he's "nothing more than an Errand Boy for those in Power."
In his own words, he believes "the laws of war and the rules of morality must adapt to (new) realities." As a result, he supports preventive and preemptive aggression against nonbelligerent countries. Only Western interests matter, not truth, equity, justice, or fundamental rule of law principles.
Longstanding ones are inviolable. Dershowitz dismisses them. His Harvard Law School students learn this stuff. Boyle calls it a "school for torturers," and advises parents not to send their children there.
Along with JFGP and Hillel, event sponsors included Penn Israel Sector, Jewish Student Law Association, Penn Democrats, College Republicans, Camera (a shameless pro-Israeli media lobby), StandWithUs (another pro-Israeli front group), and the University of Pennsylvania Political Science, Philosophy, Politics and Economics departments.
Representing U of P President Amy Gutmann, Penn Board of Trustees chairman David Cohen introduced the event, saying:
"We are unwavering in our support of Israel. We do not support the message or the goals of BDS."
Sponsors billed his talk as "Why Israel Matters to You, Me, and Penn: A Conversation with Alan Dershowitz." He shamelessly calls BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) activism "immoral, illegal and despicable concepts around academia today."
He called sympathetic U of P professors "complacent with evil."
The "unity and solidarity" with Israel event preceded U of P's February 3 - 5 BDS conference. More on it below.
A Max Blumenthal February 2 Daily Pennsylvanian article headlined, "Torture, violence advocate to keynote anti-BDS event," saying:
Pro-Israeli flacks smeared BDS conference speakers "predicabl(y)." Electronic Intifada co-founder Ali Abuninamah was accused of "incit(ing) violence against Israelis."
Hillel's Wayne Firestone said the conference advocates anti-Israeli "warfare" and "hatred." The demagogic Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called invited speakers:
"longtime activists who have pursued a wide range of delegitimization efforts against Israel, including lawfare initiatives (ie battling Israeli policy in the international courts), branding Israel's (hypocritical) LGBT efforts as an attempt to 'pink-wash' its 'alleged' crimes against Palestinians, and academic anti-Israeli arguments."
Many are "Jewish anti-Zionists....with a long history of anti-Israel rhetoric, including expressions of support for (spuriously characterized) terrorist groups that violently attack Israeli citizens, comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany, and blanket statements about Israelis in general that appear to border on anti-Semitism."
Throughout its century-long history, ADL hyped unfounded anti-Semitism hysteria as cover for backing Jewish supremacy and rights of Israelis over Arabs. They include militarized occupation and belligerently enforced apartheid.
ADL deplores human rights and rule of law standards. In the 1930s and 40s, it spied illegally on lawful citizens for the House Un-American Activities (HUAC). In the 1980s, it engaged in private spying. It viciously assails anti-Israeli activists. It condemned Palestinian efforts for full de jure UN membership, calling it "an obstacle to peace."
Like Dershowitz and other pro-Israeli hatemongers, ADL espouses violence and brute force.
BDS activists endorse confronting Israel nonviolently until it complies with international law and human rights standards. Archbishop Desmond Tutu said:
"....I have seen (firsthand) how the Palestinians are oppressed, dispossessed and exiled. (BDS) is a growing worldwide movement on the part of citizens and the private sector to support by non-violent tangible acts the Palestinian struggle for justice and self-determination."
Other distinguished figures support the same views. PennBDS said conference participants included "academics, activists, students and community leaders from across the US."
Meeting on U of P's main campus, they "(p)ick(ed) up where the 2009 Hampshire conference left off." Speakers included "journalists, professors, artists, writers, lawyers, and human and civil rights activists from various ethnic, religious, cultural and social communities."
Special attention focused on uniting with other initiatives against bigotry in all forms. Other talks discussed "comparative historical, sociological and philosophical analysis of BDS, both in its Israeli-Palestinian context and as a general tactic." Movement-building was also stressed.
Conference sponsors called the event "an invaluable resource for new activists and a momentum-building opportunity for those already engaged with the fight for Palestinian freedom and equality."
Other events will follow to build global momentum for justice too strong to stop. Hatemongers like Dershowitz and ADL can't stop it.
A Final Comment
Ruben Gur is a U of P Professor of Psychiatry at its Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences. On February 1, his Daily Pennsylvanian article headlined, "BDS is 'hateful,' 'discriminatory,' " saying:
"It is bad enough that Penn has allowed itself to be associated with this hateful genocidal organization, but for (the Daily Pennsylvanian) to give" it op-ed space "and then dignify this outpouring of misinformation and anti-Semitism....without any balancing opinion (is un)balanced journalism."
His article wreaked of racist hate, misinformation, and bald-faced lies. His agenda supports wrong over right. His students likely get the same "medicine" instead of what they pay for and deserve. Choosing another teacher would help.
He blamed Arabs for Israeli crimes. He called the purpose of BDS "similar to what was apparently stated in their version of "Mein Kampf." He referred to Omar Barghouti's book titled, "Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights."
Barghouti's an independent Palestinian commentator and human rights activist. He's also a founding BDS member. This writer's a cultural member and strong supporter. Maybe Gur will notice and attack me. If so, a reasoned response will follow, focusing on truth and full disclosure too strong to dispute.
He claimed BDS rhetoric aims "to delegitimize Israel in preparation for the ultimate goal of its destruction." In fact, Israel's doing it well on its own. It makes more enemies than friends, and growing numbers of fed-up Israelis vote with their feet and leave. One day perhaps they all will except for diehard racist supporters like Gur.
He compared BDS with Nazi Germany boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Jews. He called PennBDS organizers "tarnish(ish the university) for generations to come." He condemned "Penn's moral backbone" for letting them do it "as long as it singles out Jews and Israel."
As Dershowitz is to Harvard Law, Gur is to Penn's Neurological Sciences department. Both schools give them classroom space to spew hate. In the 1950s, this writer attended both universities, unexposed to their agendas.
Today it's much different, especially on issues of war and peace and wholehearted support for Israel's worst crimes.
Thankfully, many students abhor them enough to resist. Global momentum adds greater numbers to their ranks. Perhaps one day they'll be too robust to stop. It can't happen a moment too soon.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.