by Alan M. Dershowitz
The National Lawyers Guild—a hard left assortment of radical lawyers and "legal workers"—is seeking to have President Obama, Secretary of Defense Hagel and members of Congress indicted by the International Criminal Court for "aiding and abetting" genocide, crimes against humanity and other war crimes. Among the bases for these extraordinarily serious accusations, is that "the United States Congress overwhelmingly passed, and President Obama signed, an appropriation of $225 million for Israel's Iron Dome missile system"—a purely defensive shield that destroys missiles heading for Israeli population centers.
Yes, you read that correctly. According to these irresponsible bigots, it is genocide to help the nation-state of the Jewish people protect its Jewish and Arab citizens against thousands of rockets being fired at its cities, towns and airport. Imagine the implication for the rule of law if defending one's citizens becomes a war crime. But don't worry. These professional Israel-bashers won't try to apply this Orwellian theory to any countries other than Israel and its supporters.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro tours a battery of the Iron Dome missile defense system in southern Israel, August 9, 2011. (Image source: U.S. Embassy in Israel)
The entire letter brief submitted by the National Lawyers Guild and several other radical organizations is premised on the fact that there is one law for Israel and a different law for the rest of the world. For example, it quotes statements—out of context—made by fringe Israeli politicians, none of whom are in the government, which it says constitute incitement against Palestinians. It never mentions that these fringe politicians have been rebuked by the Israeli mainstream media and politicians. It also quotes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as reading a poem, following the murder of the three abducted Israeli teenagers, which calls for "vengeance for the blood of a small child," but never mentions the Hamas murder of these and other children, or that the vengeance Netanyahu was referring to was against the specific perpetrators of these murders. It never quotes the Hamas Charter which demands the murder of every single Jew hiding behind rocks and trees. Nor does it quote Hamas leaders and leading Imams who regularly call for genocide against the Jewish people and its nation-state.
Nor does the letter brief ever mention the word "tunnel," despite the reality that the only reason Israel sent troops into Gaza was to destroy the 40 or so terror tunnels designed to send death squads into Israel's towns and kibbutzim. I was in one of those tunnels located close to a kindergarten with more than 50 Israeli children. The letter condemns Israel for sending the troops, but it doesn't mention the reason Israel had to go into Gaza. That would be as if an indictment charging somebody with first degree murder, only stated that the defendant shot at the victim, without mentioning that the victim shot first at the defendant and his family. If a prosecutor ever were to file such an indictment, he or she would be disciplined or disbarred since it would be failing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, as lawyers are obliged to do.
Neither does the indictment ever mention the fact that Hamas deliberately employs human shields in order to maximize civilian casualties among its own people. Hamas leaders acknowledge this, as Fathi Hammad did when he said:
"For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death like you desire life."Again, this would be as if an indictment charged a police officer with murdering a child, without mentioning that the child had been taken hostage and was being held as a shield to protect the gunman who was shooting at civilians, and the policeman, in an effort to stop the gunman, accidentally shot the child.
Finally, the brief fails to mention that Hamas turned down several offers of a ceasefire that Israel had accepted, and that when Hamas finally accepted a ceasefire, it immediately violated it, killing three Israeli soldiers. Had Hamas accepted Israel's initial offer of a ceasefire, far fewer Palestinians and Israelis would have been killed.
But none of this matters to the National Lawyers Guild, which has been the sworn enemy of Israel and the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the early 1970s, following the Soviet Union's switch from supporting Israel to opposing it. The National Lawyers Guild has lost most of its lawyers since that time and has instead filled its membership roles with paralegals, amateur investigators and other assorted "legal workers." It has no credibility in the legal profession and even some of its anti-Zionist members have recently quit, calling its policies regarding Israel "crazy," "irresponsible," and "bigoted."
No responsible lawyer should want to be associated with an unprofessional and unethical brief such as the one filed by the National Lawyers Guild and its co-conspirators: The Center For Constitutional Rights, The International Association of Democratic Lawyers, The American Association of Jurists and The Arab Lawyers Union. No responsible client should ever hire a lawyer who had anything to do with this bigoted and mendacious brief.
Although the National Lawyers Guild itself and the other organizations that signed this brief have no credibility, the primary signatory of the brief, Azadeh Shahshahani, is also a high official of the American Civil Liberties Union. She was a paid executive director of the Georgia ACLU and now serves as the National Security/Immigrant Rights' Project Director. Nor is she the only ACLU official who has gone over the edge when it comes to applying a double standard to Israel. Chuck Anderson and Hector Villagro, the President and Director of ACLU, Orange County, signed a brief in support of anti-Israel students who tried to shout down and censor a pro-Israel speaker at the University of California, all in violation of ACLU policy regarding freedom of speech. There is grave danger therefore that the bigotry of the National Lawyers Guild is creeping into leadership positions at the American Civil Liberties Union. That would be a great tragedy, because the ACLU—unlike the National Lawyers Guild—is an important organization with well-deserved credibility. It risks losing this credibility if its leaders join with the National Lawyers Guild and other irresponsible organizations in promoting bigotry against the nation-state of the Jewish people.
Alan M. Dershowitz
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