Another problem for Dershowitz and his bet?
I received a comment at this post from a person who states he is a Palestinian (see comment number 5). He commented that he found another example that directly challenges Dershowitz with regard to the "bet" that no prominent Jewish leader has ever equated legitimate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.
The commenter's link did not work, but I think the article was a Boston Globe interview with Shulamit Reinharz, a professor of sociology and director of the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center. Professor Reinharz is also married to the president of Brandeis University (See below for the link).
I did find, however, Professor Reinharz's most recently published article (January 27, 2007) in the "Jewish Advocate" where she expounds on her view that critics of Israel constitute "another form" of anti-Semitism. Here is the article, which I urge readers of this blog to read. For it does sum up views I have consistently heard in Jewish organizations and Temples around the US for many years.
The article attacks a variety of people as anti-Semitic, including Jews such as Noam Chomsky, Tony Judt, Tony Kushner and the Washington Post columnist, Richard Cohen. For example, she attacks Cohen for one essay he wrote, in a despairing moment about the Arab-Israeli conflict, while ignoring Cohen's life-long support for Israel--and other articles such as this one where he castigates those who only blame Israel for the war with Hezbollah last summer (I personally have little use for Cohen, an early Iraq War II supporter, defamer of Howard Dean, Al Gore and other Democrats who show any signs of true progressive or liberal spirit, etc.).
On a case by case basis, a few of those Reinharz cites can be reasonably called "anti-Zionist." But others, such as Chomsky, for example, do not even qualify as anti-Zionist. Chomsky has fairly consistently supported separate states for Israelis and Palestinians and merely hopes that one day the parties will federate and live in a peace. He has supported a Zionism that was associated with the early Zionist movement led by Ahad Ha'am and the Hashomer Hartzir (though, since attaining adulthood, he has said he belongs to no such groups). Kushner is legitimately called anti-Zionist, but one should read this interview in Ha'aretz with Kushner to understand why there is a large gap that has to be filled before one can "legitimately" call him anti-Semitic.
Here is another article where Reinharz is interviewed by a Boston Globe reporter who appears to be stunned by her bluntness (which may be the article the commenter had asked me to read). In the article, readers may also note how Reinharz lampoons Carter by using his religious faith. In her defense, this is not an attack on Carter's religion. However, people like Reinharz would argue it was an attack on a person's religion if someone else had used a pro-Israel supporter's Judaism in the way she did to lampoon that pro-Israel supporter.
But, again, note how narrow Dershowitz can get to avoid paying on his bet. Is Shulamit Reinharz a "prominent Jewish leader"? Well, maybe she has become "prominent" when she is interviewed in the Boston Globe and has an article published in a national Jewish oriented journal. Maybe her position and marriage to the president of the most prominent Jewish-oriented university in the US qualifies her as a "leader". However, this is where Dershowitz can wiggle out of having to pay his bet if he were to contest this challenge. On the other hand, as I noted in a comment I wrote in that previous post (see my comment #2 to the post) to a defender of Deborah Lipstadt, Dershowitz has chosen the language for the bet or contract, and he should live with the ambiguity of the language he has chosen.
I would also say that, since Dershowitz has made his statement in a public forum, he ought to perhaps be required to pay $15,000 to every individual who comes forward who makes the case against him--until he formally revokes the bet, which again under contract law he can do before having to pay more persons.
As for Reinharz, shame on her. She is part of the flack machine that attacks Americans who voice opinions similar to those uttered by Israeli Jews in Israel where, in Israel, they do not have to often face such virulent criticism that is leveled against such critics in the US.