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tv   Cornel West and Alan Dershowitz Mideast Debate  CSPAN  December 26, 2017 12:36am-1:52am EST

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boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement will and the conflict. the political center in dallas hosted this hour and 10 minute event. [applause] >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here. it is my privilege to moderate this evening's event. a few housekeeping notes, you saw signs on the door when you came in. we are being recorded by c-span. they will be occasionally panning the audience. if there is anybody who does not want to be seen on c-span for whatever reason please go over to the con room, you can see and hear the entire program there. our contractual agreement with our guest requires that no one record either audio or visual of these debates. please respect that.
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please make sure your cell phones are silent. the debate structure this evening will be as follows. we will have an opening from each of our individual guests. we will then have rebuttal for four minutes. each of them will then have the opportunity to engage one another in dialogue. we have cards for you in your program. you have any questions, please prepare them because we always do want the audience to have the opportunity to participate. i would like for you all to start now and tear off the top of your slip and make your determination. with regards to your position on the resolution, which is -- the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement will help bring about the resolution of the palestinian conflict.
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vote now, you'll have another opportunity to vote after you have heard our participants. the winner, obviously we are all the winners tonight being enlightened by these two intellectual giants of our time , the winner of the debate will be determined by loose ways the -- by who sways the most votes. the proponent for the proposition is dr. cornell west. he is a professor of the practice of public philosophy at harvard university. he holds the title as professor emeritus at princeton university. he has taught everywhere you would want to learn. he has taught at union theological seminary, the yale university, harvard and the university of paris.
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he received his ma and phd in philosophy from princeton. he graduated from harvard college magna cum laude in three years. he is in extensive author. his seminal book, one of the greatest books i have ever read, , and i am privileged to have a copy at home and it is "race matters." he lectures regularly and a vast variety of subjects. we are delighted to have dr. west here with us. we also have professor alan dershowitz, born in brooklyn, new york. the preeminent civil rights lawyer of our time. the felix frankfurter professor of law at harvard law school. in addition to numerous books, he has written one recently and he would like all of you to read
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and digest called "trumped up: how criminalization of political differences endangers our democracy." ladies and gentlemen, please, a warm welcome for our guests today. [applause] eric: it will be my job to keep time, i will do so carefully. when you hear the chirp, it will be time for you to finish, not your thought, but your sentence. [laughter] eric: then to yield the microphone. the topic to be discussed -- be it resolved, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement will help bring about the resolution of the israeli-palestinian conflict, the proponent for eight minutes will be dr. west.
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dr. west: i am blessed and honored to be here. i want to salute my brother holland for he has created a historically unprecedented salute to the moral dimension of the u.s. republic. why is that important? it is important precisely because the first prime minister state of israel, march 1949, top -- to june, 1963. he said the state of israel proves itself not by its material wealth, not by its military might or its technical achievement, but by its moral character and human values. one of the great contributions that we have seen when our precious jewish brothers and sisters dealing with indescribable evil generated by hitler and others jumped out of the hitler and others jumped out of the burning buildings in europe and landed in the middle
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east where there were both jews and arabs. some of those arabs later called themselves the palestinians. , when theyn would be go with einstein and others and say, let us coexist, or would they go with others saying, let us dominate? very much like the founding of the united states and canada and new zealand and australia. all of them with democratic visions, but also settler societies concerned with expanding and ending up dominating and subordinating people who were already there. so it is, with this very, very fragile and precious experiment called the state of israel. but on the one hand, how do we avoid any ugly anti-jewish
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prejudice, contempt, hatred, how -- hatred, and at the same time, how do we stay in contact with the humanity of our arab brothers and sisters? my question to you is, do we really believe that our response to the occupation and colonization, that the bds movement is concerned about, if it were a palestinian occupation of our precious jewish brothers and sisters, would we have the same response as opposed to the israeli occupation of palestinian brothers and sisters? what i love about this place is not just the words of marcus a s,ally us -- marcus aureliu and thomas jefferson, but i saw a picture of martin luther king jr. on the wall that brother harlan put there. his concern is what? that a palestinian baby has precisely the same significance and value as an israeli baby.
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just like a white baby, brown baby, yellow baby, whatever. no matter what national identity, no matter what sexual orientation, no matter what skin pigmentation, the moral and the spiritual challenge. my argument is bds is in no way perfect, having its own internal tensions, variety of different voices, the reason why i joined that movement is not because i don't have criticisms of the movement, of course i do, my brother omar knows that, he is the founder of the movement, he lives in ramallah. it is the last nonviolent effort to try to ensure that the moral character and the human values of a settler colonial enterprise that has involved itself in
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expansion, annexation, and leading towards a full-fledged apartheid. not because israel is in any way to be compared with the south african apartheid regime in all of its forms. those palestinians inside of israel, much less apartheid. those precious brothers and sisters in the west bank, in gaza, bishop tutu says it is worse than apartheid. that is a moral issue. brother alan and i, who go back many years is kind enough to let me lecturing his class on the scriptural origins of law, we had good times together at harvard law. we shall continue to have good times even though we have deep disagreements on this issue. that is precisely what this temple of learning is all about. most importantly, it has to do
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with the future of not just the middle east, but also the future of the united states, given our intimate relations with the state of israel. what kind of moral character, what kind of human values are we willing to promote, are we going to forget the very ugly realities in gaza and west bank? are we to forget the second-class citizenship of palestinians inside the state of israel, and are we to forget refugeeslf a million who still labor outside of israel, and outside of those occupied territories. it is very difficult in the united states to have a candid, robust, honest conversation about our relation to israel, and about the complexity of our precious jewish brothers and
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sisters in israel and our precious palestinian brothers and sisters under those occupied territories. but, it is a new day. one of the great developments taking place is especially among the young jewish brothers and sisters in the united states who have been critical of their elders, saying, you have not told us the truth about 1948. you did not tell us about the 750,000 who were pushed out. you did not tell us about the killing of the villages. you did not tell us about rabbi abraham who shed tears at the jewish theological cemetery in april of when he heard about the 1948 attack on innocent arab peoples and women and children. we come from a people, we jewish people of amos and isaiah. i speak as a christian. i have been in love with a palestinian jew named jesus for 54 years and intend to be
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faithful unto death. the claim was what? are you willing to treat the orphan, the widow, the fatherless, the motherless, the poor, the black, the white, the red, the jews in the soviet union, the jews in many arab countries, and the palestinians under israeli occupation in the same way? do we have moral caliber, do we have, as the symbol acknowledges, fortitude? what is fortitude in the classical decision? it is a fusion of courage and magnanimity. courage is not enough. gangsters can be courageous, they still have gangster causes. some of those nazi soldiers were courageous but they were still thugs and gangsters. when you fuse courage with magnanimity, greatness of character, that is what we are talking about, that is what this debate is about. one minute, appreciate that. it will be a long minute. just kidding.
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[laughter] dr. west: i simply ask you to a knowledge that we are approaching a new day, a new framework and a new paradigm in understanding the israeli-palestinian challenge. for me, the most important issue will be, do we have the socratic fortitude? the courage to question andelves, our assumptions presuppositions, to call into question some of the mendacious interpretations? israel, village in the jungle. no, no not at all. in the jungle where human beings had their own rich civilizations, just like when we arrived in the states and acted as if there were just buffaloes and indians, but no people. a lie. where is our commitment to the truth, and the condition of truth is always, as brother martin luther king jr. reminded
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us, the condition of truth is always to allow suffering to speak across race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. again, i want to think my dear brother harlan for bringing me back. i want to thank brother alan for allowing us to take off and engage in this intellectual struggle together as we smile but also shed tears. we both are concerned about the suffering on both sides of this very, very delicate and ugly divide. [applause] mr. dershowitz: that was a very stirring and effective presentation. i am so glad to be heard today. it is very hard to have a israel-palestine conflict. -- it is very hard to have a serious conversation about the israel-palestine conflict. i have been prevented from doing so at several universities by
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students who have tried to stop any kind of pro-israel speakers. i myself have long favored a two state solution, the end of the occupation. i'm not a particular fan of israel's settlements and policies, but the debate today is about whether bds, singling out israel among all the countries in the world will help ring about peace and my position is that it will hurt the peace process. first, i have to correct a few facts that my friend laid out. he called israel a colonial settler state. well, to be a colonial country, you have to be working on someone's behalf. the jews who came to palestine to join their brothers and sisters who had been there for 3000 years, came from russia. were they there on behalf of russia? russia was engaged in pogroms,
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that's why they left. were they there on behalf of great britain? they were fighting against great britain and great british colonialism? were they there on behalf of poland? of course not. the word colonial does not fit an indigenous movement that started with people who lived in countries around the world, but who had relatives and coreligionists living in spot. when they did a population survey of jerusalem in 1840, they found a majority of residents of jerusalem were jewish residents who had lived .here for centuries then came the holocaust. jerusalem were jewish residents who live there for centuries and centuries. he was trying to prevent jews
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from escaping the ovens and coming to what was then palestine. he was named as a war criminal. after the war, he went to egypt where he and other former nazis helped to create the moment to try to destroy israel. this has a history. i think many people around the world thought that the best resolution would to be two states for two people. a jewish state, a nationstate for jewish people, and a nationstate for arab residents of palestine. in 1937, the commission proposed that and the jewish people in palestine agreed and accepted it. the palestinians rejected it. the head of the palestinian said, there is no such thing as a palestinian people, we are just part of the greater arab nation. we do not want a state, we just want their not to be a jewish state. that happened in 1937. in 1948, when the united nations
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divided the mandate of palestine into two areas. it wasn't a colonial or settler regime, the majority of the people were jews and the majority of the people on the land allocated to the arab states were arabs. joined toinians engage in a genocidal war. there were refugees on both sides. approximately 750,000 jews were forced out of countries they lived in for 3000 years. in babylon, called iraq, in persia, called iran, in aleppo where jews have lived for thousands of years. there was an exchange of population. 750,000 jews left and a move to israel where they were immediately accepted and became part of the population. approximately the same number of palestinians left where they were not.
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there were put in refugee camps and made to have festering hatred. then the israelis, once again, offered a two state solution. they offered it in 1967 after they won a defensive war. they said, land for peace, and the palestinian and arab countries issued the three famous no's. no negotiation, no peace, no recognition. in 2000 and 2001, president barak, aand ehud liberal, offered the palestinians 100% of the gaza, capital in jerusalem, and palestine responded with an intifada where 4000 people were killed. in 2005, the prime minister of israel abandon the entire gaza and took out all the settlers and took out all the occupation. -- a single israel he israeli is left. offered the president
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and even better deal but they did not accept that deal either. it really does incentivizes the palestinians from making the kind of negotiated compromises that both israel and the palestinians would have to make. why should the palestinians give up their right of return, or their claim to all of israel if they are going to win it by the bds movement? the leader of the bds movement does not want a two state solution. he wants there to be only an arab muslim state. he wants one state. he said there is no room for a nationstate for the jewish people. bds is not directed at the occupation alone, except if you define the occupation to include tel aviv, and all the cities in israel.
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i think the bds movement makes it much, much harder to make peace. by the way, it is not really a moment. when you think of a moment, it is something that is universal. the feminist movement, the gay rights movement, the civil rights movement. bds is a tactic. it is designed only against israel. it does not apply to all the other countries in the world which have horrible human rights movements and histories. in fact, it finds its origin in the nazi boycott of jewish in -- of jewish goods in the 1930's and the arab boycott that started in 1948, which applied to all jews, then it started -- interestingly enough, the current bds movement started just as israel was offering the palestinians a state. it has nothing to do with occupation. it really took full force as israel was abandoning gaza.
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when israel does good things and offers the palestinians a state, when it leaves the gaza, the response is to up the ante and have even more boycotts and demonstrations against israel. i don't for a moment doubt my brother cornel's good faith. i think he really thinks that the bds movement is about the occupation. it isn't. it is about the right of israel to exist as a nation state for the jewish people. zionism is a national liberation movement of the jewish people. there are 40-something muslim states. the palestinian state, which i hope gets established, would be a muslim state under sharia law. israel does not have an official state religion. the jewish nature of the state is nationalistic. christianity, islam are completely equal under israeli
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law. i would like to see the occupation end. i am hoping there will be some movement towards the ending. you need to sides to negotiate -- you need two sides to negotiate. i believe very strongly that the bds movement is a strong barrier to peace, a strong barrier to palestinian negotiation. i hope you will vote to reject the bds movement and accept the resolution that will bring about a negotiated two state solution with an end to the occupation and an and to the settlements, two states for two people. thank you. [applause] eric: dr. west, you have four minutes to rebuttal. dr. west: i want to respond to my dear brother first on an analytical level. liberia with a settler colonial
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him state created by black him him him people who look like me, went there and subordinated indigenous people and name the capital after james monroe. they did not do that on behalf of anybody. they did that on behalf of themselves because they, like jews in europe, were being trashed, demeaned and devalued. they exited and tried to find a place. the land that they landed on had some other people there. i would reject my dear brothers claim that every settler / colonial enterprise is something on the half of another empire. it is true and our beloved puritans arrived. they were persecuted, but it is also true that there were extensors of the british empire and we needed thomas jefferson and others to engage in revolutionary resistance against that kind of imperial domination. in terms of the claim that the targeting of israel, there is no doubt that there are at least
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160 countries that are more vicious than the state of israel. there is no doubt about that. when we engaged in a boycott of south africa, and i was proud to be a part of that, to stand with brother nelson mandela, to stand him -- with other revolutionaries, we did not need to target every other repressive regime. we targeted south africa because it was wrong. we understood. of course they have democratic practices in south africa, it was for vanilla brothers and sisters only. this notion that somehow those in the bds movement ought to be concerned about the vicious treatment of kurds and turkey, that is wrong. concerned about kashmir under indian occupation, concerned
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about tibet under chinese occupation, we need to take stances on each and every one of those, no doubt. i actually support boycotts in those places as well. just recently we had boycotts and sanctions against states that were mistreating our gays, lesbians and trans fellow citizens. we do not need to target every state. when particular states are doing such actions. one, settler colonial enterprises aren't always on the half of somebody else. two, it is quite possible to maintain our moral and spiritual integrity as still tied to a particular state. i think for the united states, it and this is a point that brother noam chomsky makes with quite power, that there is the
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moral character of the state of israel can be affected by courageous and loving american citizens. not just our precious jewish citizens in america, all american citizens, given the $3 billion or more that go directly and to aid for israel. him we do have something at stake, morally, spiritually, as well as financially. that is not the case. 30 seconds. that is not the case for other states at all. i would want you to think very seriously about the words of my dear brother alan dershowitz. that i could feel the moral passion that he has for the plight of the jewish people that were there for 2000 years under levels of programs and tax and persecution. there are many ways unprecedented and it is real. it is possible to stay in contact with those realities and still support the last nonviolent attempt to ensure
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that palestinians, that arabs are treated with tremendous dignity. eric: thank you, that is your time. [applause] dr. dershowitz: so we have a major point of agreement, that there are least 160 countries in the world with human right records far more worse than israel. the question arises, why would you support a moment, or a tactic that singles out only a nationstate of the jewish people? a nationstate of people who have always been singled out to special persecution and special -- out for special persecution and special attacks. what message does it send when you acknowledge that there are 160 violators of human rights and you are going after only one country, and that country happened to be the nationstate
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of the jewish people, which is often the palestinian state on five different stages. let me tell you a story. a story that i think cornell and i will agree with. harvard had a president named lowell was a big. he did not like blacks, jews, gays, catholics. one day he issued a proclamation saying we have to cut down the number of jews because jews cheat. the great judge wrote him a letter and said non-jews cheat too. he said you are changing the subject now, we are talking only about jews. you can't talk only about jews when you are dealing with human rights violations, and you cannot talk only about the nationstate of the jewish people. if we were debating a different subject, a real bds movement, which is listed every country in the world, worst human rights record and least ability of victims to seek address in the courts or in the media, israel would be about 198 on a list of
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212 countries. israel has a far better human rights record than any country in the middle east, any country in asia and almost in any country in the world. in fact, i challenge -- i want give him time to think about it -- i challenge him to name any country in the world in history faced with threats similar to those faced by israel, external and internal that has had a better record of human rights, a higher compliance with the rule of law and more concern with the rights of civilians who are being used as human shields by people on the other side. colonel richard is the head of nato forces. he said no country in the world takes more concerned to protect civilian enemies, and has fewer civilian casualties in proportion to the number of terrorists. when you target one of the best countries in the world for the worst of sanctions, what you are
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doing is not only applying a double standard, but you are saying to be other countries in the world, we do not care about you. we will focus on israel so that you can have the genocide in rwanda, cambodia because the world is not focused on those countries. you cannot get today a demonstration on a campus against syria. you cannot get a demonstration against the use of poison gas because every demonstration is against the nationstate of the jewish people. there is a word for that. when you single out only the nationstate of the jewish people for a sanction, there is a word for that and is called anti-semitism. [applause] eric: we will now have an opportunity for each of you to cross examine the other.
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dr. west, i will invite you to start with a distinct question that will be followed by the commence early sustained -- ccinct answer.u you may follow up with questions through your four minutes. would you take the microphone, please? dr. west: absolutely. my dear brother alan you agree that anytime we see crime in any country about a be resisted, is that right? dr. dershowitz: yes. dr. west: so when united states was founded it had a magnificent record on human rights except when it came to black people. dr. dershowitz: and indians. dr. west: those were crimes against humanity. i consider israeli occupation a crime against humanity. >> you think it's comparable? comparison.ter of my question is this. do you think that you somehow are providing a rationalization for a crime against humanity by accenting other crimes in other places and other countries in the same way the abolitionists
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were told, how come you are targeting the united states, it is a great beacon of liberty, it is the great city on the hill. you treat black people like they got roaches. -- like they are cockroaches. you treat indigenous people like they do not exist. why not talk about other nations? dr. dershowitz: there is one of enormous dispositive difference. israel offered to an occupation of four separate occasions. the palestinian leadership has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. they have had so many opportunities. i represented nelson mandela. was nelson mandela ever offered an opportunity to end apartheid? no not until he obviously got , out of prison. the palestinians over and over again have been offered to states for two people.
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and of the occupation, and of the settlement, that is not a crime against humanity when there is an opportunity to end it. the reason israel has a military operation is because it saw what happened in gaza. when it ended the military operation in gaza, and the response was the children are stay wrote. where president obama went and said, if my children were exposed to rockets, i would hope that i could do everything in my power to stop that and i hope and expect israel will do everything to stop that. no, i think that israel is not committing crimes against humanity, it is defending itself and protecting itself. and, by focusing only on israel, and giving a pass to all of the crimes that are committed against humanity essentially we are facilitating those crimes. [applause] eric: follow-up question.
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dr. west: i think you would acknowledge that the particular plans that were rejected by palestinian leadership had little to do with the full scale ending of occupational colonization. why, because the settlements continued anyway. if you go back to the 1980's, how many now, a half-million fellow precious israel is engaged in settlements on the land of somebody else. a lot of that has to do with because the united states turned its back. had a lot to do with aipac. it had a lot to do with organized conservative jewish brothers and sisters bringing tremendous pressure to bear on the u.s. government. the settlement did not stop, even given the offer. we talk about the rejectionism of the palestinian leadership -- you know i am a radical democrat deep. i will not offer authoritarian leadership. i don't care what color they are. but when it comes to acknowledging the facts you cannot say that israel has ever offered palestinians full scale ending of occupation without
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military control of the air, without control of what goes in and out of those borders. you do not have a state or a palestinian state if you have no control over your air and over what comes in and out of your borders. nelson mandela rejected that option of the apartheid deletes. -- apartheid elites. in that sense, we have deep factual disagreements. eric: post a question. dr. west: what do you think about that? [laughter] dr. dershowitz: let me tell you what i think about it. so, um, i will do name dropping. i was at a dinner recently with president abbas, who i am a friend of and he liked me and i like him. we have a very good relationship. obviously the discussion was how to come up with a compromise resolution. he acknowledged, in front of me and other people and said it
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publicly that of course for the first few years, a palestinian state pass -- has to be a demilitarized state because right now there are so many terrorist groups. you cannot immediately give a palestinian state an air force, a navy, total control overtakes time. when the united states defeated the germans on the japanese at the end of world war ii, the germans and japanese were not allowed to have an army. there were allowed at the end of first world war, that was a great lesson after the versailles treaty. france and england allowed germany to rearm. by 1935, germany was the most powerful nation in the history of the world up to that point. we saw what they did with that power. so, compromises are necessary. if there were to be a peaceful resolution, and i work hard with a boss to try to bring about that peaceful resolution, if there were to be a peaceful resolution there would be agreements. there would be land swaps so
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that israel would maintain control over cities like -- which are right on the outskirts of jerusalem. in exchange for that, they would give acre for acre land in what is called the afula triangle, which is predominately arab in population. that would be a win-win for everybody. you need negotiations. you need compromise. you need to sit down and not for -- not threaten and extort, which is what the bds tactic does. you certainly do not need having a system that simply singles out one country of the universal -- country for universal condemnation. if you look at the you and today, there is one country in the world that is the focus of you in resolutions. that is israel. most recently the u.n. voted that the western wall was illegally occupied territory. at the hebrew university, the
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jewish quarter, were jews have lived continuously since 3000 years ago are illegally occupied territory. we simply have to have a single standard of human rights, a single standard of morality. you cannot have a double standard, particularly against a nation state of the jewish people. you mention the united states does help israel and israel helps the united states. they make exchanges. that would never justify why somebody from great britain would support the bds movement, why somebody from france would. those countries do not support israel. the bds movement transcends america and applies all through europe and applies the application of a double standard to israel. that is very wrong and will never be the basis for a peaceful resolution. eric: i am going to invite you now to make a couple of inquire ies to dr. west. i will yield my time to you gentlemen.
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[laughter] dr. dershowitz: no, i want to hear your question i love answering questions by judges. [audience ahhh] dr. dershowitz: can you face the country thatme a faces the threats comparable to israel. rockets from gaza, terror tunnels, the use of human shields, 100,000 rockets aimed at israel, a nuclear power in iran. the president of iran said if we develop a nuclear bomb and bomb tel aviv, that is the end of the jewish state. because israel is a one bomb nation. even if they bomb tehran and killed 20 million muslims that will have impact on iran. it will be a trade-off. when you are facing those threats comment name a country in the world that has had a better commitment to the rule of
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the, higher concern for enemy, civilians, and a better record of human rights. i do not defend israel on everything it does. israel gets a b- on human rights. nearly every other country get to see plus with grade inflation. name a country faced with threats to have a better record. dr. west: i think one of the lowest moments in the history of this country was when over 500 palestinian babies were killed and not one major voice of elected officials spoke on the -- behalf of the suffering of those families. dr. dershowitz: i did. dr. west: i did not hear it, brother. i was thinking elected officials. i don't know what you have been elected to lately, but that is good. i wish you were stronger. my voice was strong too, i am not elected in that sense. dr. dershowitz: i complain not only about the is really complaints, but the use of the
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palestinians of children as human shields. dr. west: but the thing is, israel has the sixth biggest military, it is a major military power with nuclear arms. dr. dershowitz: because it needs it. dr. west: we can argue if it needs it or not, the question is, it has that kind of status and power. to bring it to bear on those babies and we cannot muster a major wave of righteous indignation. dr. dershowitz: do you think they killed babies deliberately? dr. west: they knew babies were being killed in a continued doing it. the last 14 years, two palestinian children have been killed every week. dr. dershowitz: what would you do if you are the head of the israeli government and rockets
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were being aimed at your schools? there are three options. one, you let the rockets continue. two, you try to destroy the rockets from the air. 3, you have an invasion. what would you do if you were the head of the government and the rockets were being sent in killing your children and aimed at your schools and terrorist attacks were being directed at cafeterias in schools, pizza parlors and other places? you don't talk about the israeli children. they are targeted as civilians, which israel never targeted civilian. dr. west: they may not target, but they sure end up killing a lot of them. dr. dershowitz: fewer than the united states, fewer than great britain. dr. west: we can have a debate on that. barack obama would be my major object of criticism. barak had over 500 drone strikes. they called george bush a war criminal, they never called obama did. i did, but nobody else did. i try to be morally consistent. we were killing innocent people to. i'm concerned about people in
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tel aviv, jewish people in tel aviv. if i was netanyahu, i would be suicidal. [laughter] dr. dershowitz: that is not an option. dr. west: if i can reach that point and still build on martin luther king jr. i would engage in a whole different way of conceiving of a process that we would be concerned with the decolonization. we would be concerned with ending occupation. we would be concerned with ensuring that we want palestinian brothers and sisters to know that we do care and we better quit telling innocent folks. dr. dershowitz: what would you do in the meantime, while the process was going on and rockets were hitting school buses and hospitals and cafeterias? would you simply sit back and take gandhi's stance? we will die, or would you fight back? and if you fall back, how would you do it when the terrorists use children as human shields?
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i put a great cartoon on the cover of one of my books. it had an israeli soldier standing in front of a baby carriage, protecting the baby carriage with his life, then it had a palestinian terrorist to standing behind the baby carriage, allowing the baby carriage to protect his life. how do you respond to that? dr. west: that was not the case for over 500 babies. not at all. let's look at it this way. we know the history of jewish resistance against the british. there is variety of different forms of resistance of all people against forms of oppression. if we are concerned about calling into questions the very conditions under which these people come to such desperate conclusions, that is where we have to get when it comes to the piece prospect. -- piece of process. you cannot get partitioning slices of x and y and not come to terms with the fundamental roots of it.
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when you ask me what i would do if i was netanyahu, that is like asking what i would do if i were donald trump. i'm not them, i am my mom's child. i'm concerned with the moral and spiritual dimensions of whatever life, nation, civilization that i am a part of. dr. dershowitz: i do not accept that. eric: it is professor dershowitz questions. dr. dershowitz: let's take it on your terms. you want to end the so-called settler regime. dr. west: it is not so-called, it is a fact. dr. dershowitz: how would you do it, would you make israel commit politicized, give up its status as a nationstate. the only nation state of the jewish people and create yet another arab/muslim state under sharia law? that was the palestinian constitution. said sharia law will dominate in palestine.
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tell me what you would do to bring about a peaceful resolution that, so far, nobody else has thought of? dr. west: i would say that i'm not god, i am not messiah, i have one voice, one life to live. i would say, going back to 1948, let's first tell the truth about how israel as a state came into existence. the sensitivity of coming out of jew hating europe, looking at uganda, not going there, looking at the middle east, going there and having to come to terms with all of these people already there. the trajectory of the voices. dr. dershowitz: i don't get it, tell me what you would do. dr. west: i tell you good place to start is here.
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turn the commentary magazine to may 1, 1948 when hannah arendt wrote her powerful essay to save the jewish homeland. she said if israel does not watch out, it is going to lose its moral and spiritual character. she was a powerful speaker who is right about something and wrong about others. what she did with her personal life. i'm not going to put her down, she is my sister. dr. dershowitz: i want to hear also. i will talk about gertrude stein that way.
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eric: let me turn your question. dr. west: i got a be true to clifton and irene. eric: let me turn the question back to professor dershowitz. assuming that there is a continued rejection by the palestinians of the two-state solution and you reject the notion of the boycott, what is the systemic project that you would advocate would lead to the resolution of the israeli-palestinian conflict? dr. dershowitz: name dropping. is i was with the prime minister a month before he had his stroke, which led to his death. at that point he was advocating and i supported it. unilateral withdraw by israel. by the way, there was no control over the entry and exit until
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the rockets started. it could've been singapore on the mediterranean if they had accepted european offers to build institutions and build the rockets started. schools. instead they took all the money and build tunnels and rockets. so, he wanted to unilaterally leave the west bank, at least major portions of the west bank. that is no longer feasible in light of what happened in gaza. the last thing the palestinians want is for israel simply to leave because it would take over from the palestinian authority the way they took over from gaza. it is very, very complicated. it requires a very detailed negotiated peace. it requires assistance of the united states and a marshall ,lan from the arab countries the emirates on the gulf states to build palestine into west germany. when i send my students to israel i send them to ramallah because it is a vehicle city
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-- a beautiful city without a single israeli soldier or policeman. it shows what could be done if there were a will to have a two state solution. i am part of an investment fund that invests money only in startups that have palestinian and israeli investors. it is headquartered in ramallah. there are things going on that are wonderful. the life of the typical palestinian in ramallah is excellent. the life of a palestinian in gaza is horrible, but it is a self-inflicted wound. they voted for hamas. the took the money and used it for rockets and rocket tunnels. i was in the tunnel. could you imagine living one hundred yards away and having your school 100 yards away from a terror tunnel with 25 terrorists coming up in the middle of the night and killed the students of the school. that is what israel has to cope with. it is more complicated than my brother suggests. einstein will not solve this problem. none of this brilliant
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theoreticians will solve these problems. problems will be solved by compromised negotiations and a will to peace. palestinians could've had a state in 1937, 1948 and 1968. 2000, 2001, 2005, 2008 they said no. it is time for the palestinians to come to the table. you talked about my mother so i will end with my mother's favorite story. [laughter] dr. dershowitz: my mother's favorite story was in all jewish man who is 79 years old. every day until his 80th day he prayed to god and set i have made all my life. -- before he turned 80 a want to win the new york lottery. he prays and he prays and he prays and on his 80th birthday it does not happen. he turns to god and said god, why, i tried so hard, i prayed all the time. a voice from heaven says, help me out a little, buy a ticket. [laughter] dr. dershowitz: the palestinian
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leadership has not bought a ticket. they have not done what they need to do to get a state they have to compromise. the bds tactic disincentivizes them from compromising. that is why am strongly opposed to it. [applause] eric: let me pose the same question to dr. west, assuming that without a huge influx, a huge emphasis on the boycott of israel, i would suggest also a secondary boycott. assuming that has not succeeded, and is not going to succeed, what should the next step be? dr. west: i think a lot of the palestinians have not bought a ticket because they think the palestinian is owned by the
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government. it is very different in the new york lottery. the lottery is owned by the u.s. and israel. it is very different in the new york lottery. a lot of corruption in new york but that lottery is fairness. that has not been the case. dr. dershowitz: whitey bulger won the boston lottery. you remember that? [laughter] eric: we have all these injections here, brother. dr. west: i think the crucial thing is, is that this was -- in -- jewish high school -- in 20 there was a poll taken among jewish high school students in israel and 60% said they did not believe their fellow arabs in israel had the right to vote. that is a right-wing sensibility andby netanyahu, lieberman by a host of others that is reinforcing ugly forms of tribalism. the effect opposite is the case in the united states. the absolute opposite in the united states. you get young jewish brothers and sisters saying their concern
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about the spiritual dimensions of israel. you're getting not just divisions and separation, you are getting escalating reactionary tribalism that has taken over more and more in the state of israel, which means what? if you are concerned about peace, it is not going to come within israel, just like in south africa. if you are concerned about peace it would not come within south africa. there had to be international forces. i agree with my dear brother allen. that do have a very intense sensi the international forces must be forces that do have a very intense sensitivity in terms of anti-semitism, anti-jewish hatred, but the anti-semitism must never be an excuse to rationalize jewish domination of the jews, jewish marginalization, jewish intellectuals. , jewish intellectuals. trump has been called an
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anti-semitic. he is not anti-semitic, he just disagrees with alan. dr. dershowitz: he was my camp counselor in 1948. dr. west: you just had a disagreement. you have to keep track of the anti-semitic elements, but you cannot use that as a way of trumping. i cannot use that anymore. [laughter] dr. west: for a way of closing dialogue. that is a very delicate tightrope to watch. if your concern about the legacy of amos and isaiah and martin luther king and dorothy day, and edward, id'd -- and arab.ty card, i am an if we are really concerned about that, we will have to take knowledge it is a new day. i believe that my dear brother within thell caught old framework.
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that framework is coming to an end. that is one in which we hope we have a love affair with the jewish people, a love affair with the palestinian people and fundamentally believe that both people, myself as a christian made in the image of god to serve as much attention and civic -- and sensitivity in their plight. eric: we have got a little bit longer than i planned. my thought and interaction between these two titans was worth not having more audience participation. we have time now for two closing arguments and they will be six minutes a piece. dr. west, the floor is yours. dr. west: i'm willing to give my time to the audience, i am a democrat. i'll give my time to these magnificent and intelligent folk.
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i come from the people that say lift every voice. is after the, alan. is that all right, judge? eric: the first question, as long as the landgrab continues throughout settlements, will bds have any effect whatsoever? dr. west: i think, indeed. one of the reasons why bds has been able to escalate around the it haso the degree that is that the deeply right-wing government in israel reinforces their power because of their refusal to end its settlements. the u.s.rue for government, barack obama had to wrestle with this in so many ways. i do believe it will escalate. the question will be ensuring more than spiritual
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character. are twohowitz: there reasons why it has moved to the right. one, it is when he turned on the peace offer, it really damage the peace movement in israel. it ended up hurting palestinians. bill clinton called it a crime. arabiance of saudi called it a crime against the palestinian the other thing that moved israel slightly the left was bring one million people from the former soviet union. when you bring one million people who have suffered under communism, don't expect them to become radical leftists overnight. did will be conservative. that is chip -- they will be conservative. that is changing. their children are becoming much more progressive and willing to make chances for peace. i agree with you. i think we need movement on both
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sides, and i am part of that. i fight very hard to push them towards resolution. right now, israel is put on the table -- has put on the table for many years these kinds of peace offers with land swaps that would end the settlements and allow palestinians to have enormous amounts of land in what is called -- that is the basis for a two state solution. do we agree that a two state solution is the right result? >> but the wonderful question. i think this is a situation that's that's a wonderful question. -- that's a wonderful question. i do not believe in any state think it is any religion or race or group and advantage. i am committed as a christian to a secular society and secular state where there's writes across the board -- there's equal rights across the board. --kawai start with israel
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but why start with israel? >> and the supreme court of israel has challenged to that, and now any marriage that is valid anywhere in the world is now valid. >> i'm talking about within israel. i am not going to cyprus and poland. init made a terrible mistake 1948 by handing over to many of the personal functions. we who are secular jews are fighting hard against that. but frankly, that is nobody's business but the israelis and the jews. we are fighting our own battle there. it is much worse in the palestinian authority. you get killed if you marry somebody who is a non-muslim. in israel you just have to go to cyprus, come back, and your marriage is valid and it is a pain in the neck. but you don't get murdered. you don't get thrown off a roof.
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you become a general of the army, a member of the supreme court. gay rights in israel is completely validated, and yet we have this concept where people argue -- >> that's my question about the one state solution that was asked. we don't want to go on and on -- >> you want to end the nationstate of the jewish people? >> no, i said in principle i spoke secular states in this particular instance. >> you're a man of principle. >> if i am -- yes i am. i don't believe in any naive child is translation from prince will to practice. i also -- principle to practice. the options now are a two state solution, but a two state solution that has nothing to do with those small partitions. a two state solution in which there is full freedom for both peoples and both peoples respecting the rights and liberties of those.
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but if in fact, given the principles of it, i am highly suspicious of any state that aeps in one way or direction group. >> like all arab states. >> absolutely. >> let's start with them. >> but you are rationalizing again. don't rationalize. >> go to minneapolis. they allow you to get married in minneapolis then come back to dallas and live on the down low. >> we are talking about the principle across the board. >> we will now have our closing arguments. dr. west, if you will start coming will have four minutes. >> one thing is i am so glad my dear brother allen was able to move on the terrain of the moral lawyer, as a brilliant
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, he likes to keep it legalistic. and if you keep it legalistic you can talk about the peace process and leadership, but when he elevates himself as we attempted to do today to the moral terrain -- and that is very important because you know there's been a whole host of laws in this country and anywhere else around the world that were as immoral as could be. slavery was legal. jim crow was legal. a whole lot of laws need to be called into question. the fact we could engage at this moral level is very important. so which ever way you vote, i simply want to say that i am so glad that we have been allowed to have this public dialogue, and c-span can hear it all around the country in the world, to let them know that there's voices in the midst of this country that have a moral concern with palestinians, a
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moral concern with israelis, both jewish and palestinians, but also the africans and asians in israel, so at least we are making some effort to keep alive the best of the voices that you see on these walls. they were folk who were courageous. they weren't scared when various institutions tried to bring pressure to bear. they stood based on something grander than themselves. that is one way of paying tribute to them. >> thank you very much. thank you. [applause] my opposition is moral, practical, and legal. a, it is completely illegal. refusing to sell a product or buy a product from israel is no different than a baker who won't sell a cake to a gay couple who wants to get married or a bigot who won't rent an apartment to an african-american. there is no difference tween
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boycotting -- and by the way, the tactic doesn't only apply to israelis. it applies to me. just yesterday i was invited to roger waters, a strong supporter of the bds, and he backed out. we were both invited to debate at the oxford union. they won't debate me because i am age you who support israel -- who support israel, and i suffer therefore from the boycott movement. who suffers? because they won't be able to contribute what they have conjured to the world today in terms of curing diseases, to be able to contribute to high technology the way they have. no country in 70 years has contributed more to the world per capita than israel has done, and the boycott movement would
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end all that. it would end efforts of bringing palestinian children together in with the israeli children. it is so deeply immoral, so deeply illegal, and most of all it will destroy any realistic effort at peace. a want to quote, friedman of "the new york times," who is very strongly critical of israel. he says "criticizing israel is not anti-semitic, and saying so is vile." i agree with that. it is important to criticize every country. but singling out israel, he says, "for international sanctions out of party with any other country in the middle east is anti-semitic, and not saying so is dishonest. just because there are anti-semites who blame israel for everything that is wrong does not mean that everything israel does is right." we must continue to have a new
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wants to debate. bds is not nuanced. it is a sledgehammer. it punishes israelis who work, israeli leftists who bring about peace. it is collective punishment. it brands all israel he's and all jews like me as pariahs subject to discrimination. it is wrong morally, and i am glad we had elevated this debate to a moral level because i rest my case on a moral opposition to an immoral tactic. thank you. [applause] >> i think i speak for all of us when i thank you both for an enlightened and magnificent discussion of a very complex issue. ladies and gentlemen, it is now your time.
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we will hear your voice. you have an opportunity to vote one more time. pass your ballots to the end and we will tally the ballots and determine who swayed more. i would like another round of applause. [applause] and also our benefactor. thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017]
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announcer: c-span's "washington journal," live with news and policy issues that impact you. and all this weekend 8:00 a.m., we are hosting authors from the past year. tuesday morning, ken stern, former ceo of npr, will join us to talk abouthia "republican like me." also, an early look at election 2018 with nathan gonzales. c-span's washington journal, live at 7:00 p.m. eastern. join the discussion.
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on c-span this weekend primetime, tuesday night at 8:00 eastern, bill de blasio. >> a progressive democratic candidate with a clear, strong, economic message, with a populist approach will go to the grassroots, that is the republican's worst nightmare. night at: wednesday 8:00 eastern, a debate on the first amendment and hitch -- hate speech from the constitution center in philadelphia. >> it is important for the students to learn how to defend their ideas and criticize people and so forth, but the universe -- university teaches civility. not just defending your ideas, but in a way that doesn't offend other people, make them angry. when people get angry at each other, they become unable to have the sorts of debates that we value. announcer: thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, celebrity activists,
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including ashton kutcher on modern slavery and jennifer garney -- garner on early childhood. in frontit their kids of television and i see it over acrossr demagogues -- this country, the child goes asleep in their mind. announcer: walt mossberg on government regulation. >> think of it as the starship enterprise. you ever watch star trek? that is a computer ambient. it exists in the starship and understands your idioms. you can have a conversation with it and it knows everything. they have all watched star trek. this is what they are gunning for. announcer: all on prime time on c-span. c-span's cities tour takes you to springfield,
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missouri on january 6 and seventh. we are working with media, to explore the literary scene and history of the birthplace of routes 66 in southwestern missouri. on saturday, january 6 at noon eastern on book tv. author jennifer your neely talks about the conflict occurring across the kansas-missouri border over the struggle for slavery in his book "the border between them." john brown comes back to the territory and begins a series of raids into western missouri, during which his men will enslaved people from missouri and help them escape to freedom. in the course of this, they will kill a number of slaveholders. johnegend or notoriety of brown arose as part of this struggle that people locally understand is really the beginning of the civil war. announcer: sunday, january 7 on
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american history tv at 2:00 p.m., we miss -- visit the nra national museum. >> theodore roosevelt was probably our shootingest president. first thing he did when he left office was organize and go on a very large hunting safari to .frica this particular rifle was prepared specifically for roosevelt. it has the presidential seal engraved on the breach and, of course, roosevelt was famous for the bull moose party and there is able moose engraved on the side plate. watch c-span's cities tour of springfield missouri january 6 and seventh on c-span2's book tv and on american history tv on c-span3. working with our cable affiliates as we just -- explorer america. queen elizabeth ii delivered
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her annual christmas message from london. to 1932, with a radio address by king george the fifth. queen elizabeth made the first televised address in 1957. this is just under 10 minutes. ♪ ["god save the queen"] >> ♪ god save our gracious queen long live our noble queen god save the queen send her victorious happy in glorious long to reign over us


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