Alan Dershowitz has seen the Trump peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and he’s a fan.
“I can’t tell you,” Dershowitz said to the audience during a talk at the Stashover-Slipia Congregation in Toronto on April 16, “but I know what it is because I worked on it in the White House, I was there for two days.… It’s a very good plan, I think. And it’s a win-win for both sides.”
Dershowitz was recently asked by the Trump administration to provide input on the plan.
According to Dershowitz – an American civil libertarian, Harvard law professor and political commentator – an important goal of Trump’s peace plan is to garner support from Sunni Arab states, which would ideally put pressure on the Palestinians to accept it.
He recounted a recent conversation he had with a Jordanian friend on the matter, who said, “A lot of us are a little bit sick and tired of Palestinians whining. They had so many opportunities to have a state – in ’48, in ’67, in ’91, in 2000, 2001, 2008 – and they’re always saying no and now they’re complaining. It’s about time they said yes.”
Dershowitz said he has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political allies to accept the plan.
“Do not say no to Donald Trump. If you think Obama was nasty to Netanyahu because of his rejection of the Iran deal, you’re going to get the same reaction from Trump. You have to say yes,” he said. “Leave it to the Palestinians to say no.”
Dershowitz also discussed the indictment charges against Netanyahu, whom Dershowitz has known since Netanyahu was 22 years old, saying they were “trumped up” and “don’t hold water legally.”
Earlier this year, Netanyahu was charged with accepting gifts from a businessman valued around US$280,000 ($374,000) in exchange for advancing a tax break that would have benefitted the businessman, for limiting circulation of a newspaper in exchange for more favourable coverage from that paper’s rival and for pushing regulatory changes in exchange for more positive media coverage.
“Can you imagine the idea of indicting a politician for trying to get good coverage from the media?” Dershowitz said of one of the charges. Of another, he said, “He shouldn’t have taken all the cigars and champagne, but I’m a criminal lawyer and for something to be criminal, you have to know exactly what it is.… To leave it up to prosecutors to say how much is too much gives far too much discretion.”
Dershowitz also addressed his own legal troubles. He was recently sued for defamation by a woman who says she was forced to have sex with him, a claim that Dershowitz has denied. Now that she has sued him for defamation, he can present his evidence against her claim in court, which he said includes emails from his accuser that exonerate him.
On the topic of American politics, Dershowitz spoke about what he calls the “extreme left” within the Democratic Party, saying their impact has been exaggerated. That being said, he is concerned by some of what he sees within the party. He said that Sen. Bernie Sanders, if not anti-Semitic, is at least self-hating for campaigning with U.K. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. Dershowitz also cut ties with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, when she refused to see Netanyahu speak.
A member of the audience asked Dershowitz if American Jews should abandon the Democratic Party, but he said he won’t for a number of reasons.
For one thing, he would lose all of his influence in the Democratic Party if he left. “Number two, I can’t vote Republican. I can’t vote against a woman’s right to choose, I can’t vote against gay marriage, I can’t vote against reasonable gun control, I can’t vote in favour of restrictive immigration policies,” he said.
Between his growing disillusionment with the political left and disagreements with the political right, Dershowitz joked that he knows the title of his next book: “Why I left the left, but can’t join the right.”