Dershowitz threat rings hollow 2

June 8, 2007

I read with incredulity the latest outburst from Alan Dershowitz - his threat to "devastate and bankrupt" those British academics who support an academic boycott of Israel.

He clearly hasn't yet found a foolproof way of doing this, but one possibility he is considering is to mobilise 1,000 American academics to declare themselves honorary Israeli professors, so that when they are boycotted the full weight of US law can descend on their boycotters.

Dershowitz has a distinguished legal mind. But lawyers really should read the small print.

First, the boycott hasn't even been endorsed yet by UCU - the union has, rather, set up a year-long debate to provide the information base for a decision.

Second, the boycott, called for by Palestinians, is of Israeli academic institutions, not individuals. So it is conferences, journals, funded joint projects and the like that would be subject to boycott.

It is a shame that Dershowitz's abundant creative energies aren't employed, rather, in devising and advocating ways of arriving at a just peace.

Jonathan Rosenhead
London School of Economics

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