Dershowitz to discuss Israel and the Trump administration

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Newsroom

On the eve of President-elect Trump’s inauguration, who better to address the relationship between American Jews and Israel than Alan Dershowitz, the high-profile, straight-talking jurist and author of The Case for Israel?

Dershowitz will speak Thursday, Jan. 19, at Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Township. Don’t expect him to lecture, as he will sit with Beth El’s Rabbi Mark Miller to address “Looking Ahead: What Do the Next Four Years Mean for American Jews and our Relationship with Israel?”

Alan Dershowitz

Dershowitz will welcome questions during and following the free community program, co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

The Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School and a pro-Israel and civil rights activist for decades, Dershowitz has published more than 1,000 articles, and 35 fiction and nonfiction works, including the New York Times No. 1 bestseller Chutzpah and five other national bestsellers.

The JN caught up with Dershowitz between media appearances where he spoke out against the recent American abstention that allowed passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 calling Israeli settlements illegal and all disputed land beyond Israel’s pre-June 1967 borders “Palestinian territories.” He also criticized Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech expressing support for Israel while blasting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his coalition government.

Amid these weighty topics, he expressed excitement about coming to Detroit.

Common Ground

“American Jews have much more in common regarding Israel than we have differences,” Dershowitz stresses.

“The vast majority of American Jews agree Israelis should be able to defend themselves and be supported in efforts to make peace and bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table. They support Israel’s right to thrive as a Jewish and democratic state. In the next four years, it is important to remember that.”

But he also recognizes that American Jews have differences with Israeli policies, and he’s among them.

“I don’t try to defend settlement expansion, and I don’t try to defend Israeli policies toward Conservative and Reform Jews,” he says. “Israel has made a terrible mistake by giving too much influence to the rabbinate.”

Dershowitz explained how the U.S.-Israel relationship has remained strong regardless of who is president.

“The vast majority of Americans and the American Congress are supportive. It doesn’t matter who is president,” he says. “We have to have an open mind about how Trump will deal with Israel. But Trump’s support of Israel cannot change criticisms we might have of his domestic policy. ”

Rabbi Miller thinks Dershowitz is the right person to help the community grapple with their thoughts about Israel and the Trump administration.

“Dershowitz’s idea is for all of us to support Israel in a loving and positive way, even when we are critical,” Miller says. “The recent U.S. abstention at the U.N. was an incredibly difficult moment, and it made people feel like they have to choose sides.” 

DON COHEN – Contributing Writer

Pre-registration is required by Jan. 17. To register, visit www.tbeonline.org/dershowitz. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the program beginning at 7:15 p.m.  A patron pre-glow with
Prof. Dershowitz featuring wine and hors d’eoeuvres is $500 per person and must be purchased by Jan. 13. For more details, contact Temple Beth El Program Director
Danielle Gordon, (248) 851-1100 or dgordon@tbeonline.org.

 

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