Israel Gets the Dershowitz Defense

REVIEW: 'War Against the Jews: How to End Hamas Barbarism' by Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
February 11, 2024

In his latest work, War Against the Jews: How to End Hamas Barbarism, Alan Dershowitz, a distinguished legal scholar and New York Times bestselling author, delves into the profound impact of the deadly October 7 attack by Hamas, Israel's consequential battle for its own survival, the "victory of humanity over barbarity," and what we can learn from the wider response of politicians, academics, and private citizens alike.

Published just two months after the largest pogrom against Jews since the Holocaust, the book explores how so much changed in so little time at the hands of a "ragtag band of murderous terrorists" and asks why so much of the world has "been so morally bankrupt" in the face of the bloodthirsty slaughter of Jews.

In a similar manner to his previous works, such as The Case for Israel, Dershowitz repeatedly debunks the anti-Semitic double standards and outright propaganda that form the foundation for much of the anti-Israel platform, such as the unapologetic statement of fact that "Israel takes greater precautions than any country in the history of the world in trying to minimize civilian deaths among Palestinians."

But what sets this particular book apart is that, in response to October 7, the gloves are off, and no one escapes Dershowitz's trademark controlled contempt for those who despise Jews. Dershowitz speaks both pragmatically and passionately, with a relentless dedication to defending not only Israel and Jews, but the truth. No culpable figure or organization escapes his thoughtful and targeted scorn.

Norman Finkelstein is condemned as a "despicable bigot and Holocaust minimizer," whose soul was apparently warmed by the murder and rape of Jews at the hands of "Hamas butchers." The National Lawyers Guild is obliterated following their statement "in support of the mass murderers" almost immediately after October 7. Meanwhile, an entire chapter is dedicated to an open letter to any law firms considering hiring Hamas supporters.

Given the explosion of anti-Semitism on college campuses, Dershowitz declares that "the time has come for a new reckoning" by American academic institutions regarding "their own tolerance and even encouragement of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism." Even Harvard's now-former president Claudine Gay fails to escape, with Dershowitz boldly asking whether her infamous response to rampant anti-Semitism on Harvard's campus would be the same if other minority groups were targeted.

The United Nations is slammed as "feckless," oxymoronic progressive groups such as "Gays for Gaza" are exposed, and organizations such as Voice for Peace, Human Rights Watch, and the American Civil Liberties Union are held to account for their obsessive anti-Israel stance.

And then there's Barack Obama, who earns specific scorn for his "obscene" and "false" moral equivalency between Hamas and Israel, which Dershowitz states is proof of the former president's "long-term bias against the nation state of the Jewish people."

Noting that October 7 and the days that followed have "forever fractured any alliance between centrist liberal Jews and woke progressives," Dershowitz also spends time addressing American Jews.

Not only does he debunk the notion that criticism of George Soros is unquestionably anti-Semitic—noting that Soros is "no model for Jewish giving"—he speaks directly to private citizens, arguing that "the time has come for Jewish donors to rethink and perhaps reprioritize their charitable giving."

If that wasn't subtle enough, Dershowitz adds that "no self-respecting Jew should give a penny to any organization that has turned against Israel and supported Hamas."

And on the subject of Hamas, Dershowitz's raw characterization of the terrorist group addresses the evil of its underlying philosophy. "The last thing Hamas wants is a two-state solution," the author explains, before eviscerating the international system of lies and propaganda that runs cover for the "Hamas playbook," which involves the deliberate use of human shields to trigger outrage and calls for a ceasefire.

Dershowitz also refuses to ignore those truly responsible for October 7, noting that "it is obvious that only Iran can permanently put an end to the recurring violence."

Throughout War Against the Jews, Dershowitz also sheds light on the intricate details of this conflict, such as the need for specific language to reflect the realities of modern warfare, the implications for Israel's relationship with the United States, and the impact of widespread media bias.

And while October 7 may have irrevocably altered the landscape while clouding the prospects for lasting peace in the region, Dershowitz argues that we may now be witnessing a new united front among Israelis and Jews worldwide despite their political, religious, and ideological divisions.

Unfortunately, the latter half of War Against the Jews contains a somewhat disjointed collection of essays regarding the domestic upheaval of Israel's judicial system. While interesting, if not slightly repetitive, these essays feel out of place in a book focused on Israel's war with Hamas and the broader issue of anti-Semitism and double standards. These chapters may have been included to add bulk to the hastily published book but only serve to dilute what is an otherwise concise assessment of the war and the transformative events of October 7.

War Against the Jews serves as a compelling examination of what could be seen as a pivotal moment in not only Israeli but Jewish history.

"I now believe there are many educated Americans and others who would tolerate and even encourage the mass murder of Jewish Israelis in the way that educated German readers of Goethe, listeners of Bach, and students of Heidegger accepted and facilitated the mass murder of European Jews," Dershowitz writes.

One must hope that the brave truths expressed in this book can serve as a weapon against such a terrifying future.

War Against the Jews: How to End Hamas Barbarism
by Alan Dershowitz
Hot Books, 224 pp., $29.99

Ian Haworth is a writer, speaker, and former Big Tech insider. He also hosts "Off Limits with Ian Haworth."