03 Jan Why I Avoid Blogging About Israel (updated)
Comments like this one, made not by some obscure commenter but by David Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason and a member of The Volokh Conspiracy, in response to my Dershowitz post below:
Herein the phoniness of international law. Humble Law Student has raised several significant questions with Heller’s analysis, including whether it matters under international law, as it surely does, if Hamas is using human shields in such a way as to ensure that Israel’s actions in self-defense will wind up killing civilians. The answer: dead silence. Heller, and the like-minded, are all just like O’Donnell. They think Israel shouldn’t exist, so that anything that Israel does to defend itself is illegitimate. That position at least has the advantage of being forthright, if stupid. Hiding behind international law when you are really just anti-Israel is both stupid and dishonest.
I have been accused of being overly critical of Israel before. I have been accused of being too pro-Palestinian before. But I have never — not when I was a student and far more radical than I am now, not when I was a lawyer, not when I was a TV writer, not since I’ve been an academic — been accused of believing that Israel should not exist. Princeton Wordnet defines “forthright” as “squarely, directly, and without evasion.” I dare anyone to find anything I have ever written that suggests, much less claims “squarely, directly, and without evasion,” that I am opposed to the existence of Israel. I will happily resign from the blog if someone can do so.
It is sad that a post about IHL and ICL in which I specifically avoided arguing that any of Israel’s attacks on Gaza were disproportionate — largely because, as I said, I think proportionality arguments are essentially useless — would lead to such vitriol. Proof positive that intelligent dialogue about Israel issues is nearly impossible.
UPDATE: Professor Bernstein has apologized in the comments for missing my response to Humble Law Student, so I have removed the second half of the original post. I am leaving the first half up with a new response, for reasons that should be evident. Nevertheless, I appreciate Professor Bernstein’s apology.