Why didn’t Jimmy Carter speak from the podium at the Democratic National Convention? Alan Dershowitz said he had something to do with it.
In an interview with Shalom TV, the Harvard Law School professor says he “pushed” Barack Obama “very hard to make that decision,” Dershowitz said in an interview with Shalom TV. “Barack Obama had to make a choice between his Jewish supporters and his anti-Israel supporters like Jimmy Carter, and he did not choose Jimmy Carter. And that was an embarrassment for Jimmy Carter and a show of disrespect.”
“It was a good decision, a wise decision, a moral decision,” Dershowitz added.
Carter did appear in the convention hall after a video of the former president helping with Katrina relief was shown at the Denver gathering. But he did not make any remarks from the podium.
In the interview, Dershowitz also said he believes that Obama’s support in the pro-Palestinian community could make it easier to advance the peace process.
“The fact that there are some in the pro-Palestinian community who like him may be a positive thing — that he can reach out to both communities and be an honest broker who, without compromising Israel’s security, can facilitate a kind of peace that will be both in the best interests of Israel and the best interests of the Palestinian people,” Dershowitz said. “I have a high level of confidence, not perfect confidence but a high level of confidence, that he will do the right thing.”
Here’s Shalom TV’s press release on the interview:
November 14, 2008 (Fort Lee, NJ) — In an exclusive Shalom TV interview, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz revealed that he was among those who convinced Barack Obama to keep Jimmy Carter from addressing the Democratic National Convention.
“I pushed him very hard to make that decision,” Dershowitz explained in a conversation with Mark S. Golub on American Jewry’s national cable television network. “Barack Obama had to make a choice between his Jewish supporters and his anti-Israel supporters like Jimmy Carter, and he did not choose Jimmy Carter. And that was an embarrassment for Jimmy Carter and a show of disrespect. And I’m very glad he made that decision. It was a good decision, a wise decision, a moral decision.”
Speaking to fears among some American and Israeli Jews that Obama will be less supportive of the State of Israel than President Bush, Dershowitz predicted that Obama “will try to energize the peace process.” Moreover, Dershowitz sees Obama’s support in the pro-Palestinian community as an opportunity for the president-elect to move the peace process forward.
“The fact there are some in the Pro-Palestinian community who like him may be a positive thing–that he can reach out to both communities and be an honest broker who, without compromising Israel’s security, can facilitate a kind of peace that will be both in the best interests of Israel and the best interests of the Palestinian people. I have a high level of confidence–not perfect confidence–but a high level of confidence that he will do the right thing.”
Dershowitz also acknowledged that he received thousands of emails from Jews opposing Obama during the election campaign. While some emails where thoughtful and expressed legitimate concerns, Dershowitz is convinced that many were from “extreme right-wing Jews” and that some were “out-and-out racist.”
“As a Jew I was appalled by some of the racism that I saw in some of the emails that I got,” Dershowitz said. Dershowitz believes that Obama’s election will be positive for Black-Jewish relations. “I think nothing could be better for Black-Jewish relations than the election of Barack Obama,” he observed. “Barack Obama has expressed appreciation for the Jewish community and the role that we played in the Civil Rights Movement, and that’s a good thing because some within the African-American community are very quick to forget that. So far, his relations with the Jewish community have been near-perfect.”
Could Dershowitz be part of an Obama administration, perhaps as Attorney General? Dershowitz responded with a categorical, “no.” Dershowitz also said he declined a request to represent Obama on the campaign trail, explaining, “I said I couldn’t do that because I want to keep my own independent views independent. I don’t want to be a surrogate for anybody.”