Is Dershowitz's Obama-plug a bluff?

The lawyer's case for Obama's reelection is inconsistent with some of his previous criticisms.

Dershowitz with Obama in oval office (photo credit: Courtesy)
Dershowitz with Obama in oval office
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In his latest article, Alan Dershowitz waxes sycophancy with a claim that President Barack Obama made him “proud to be an American who cast [his] vote for him.”
I’ve agreed with many of Dershowitz’s analyses and have said as much in these pages. He writes with stunning alacrity and often proves to be a rare voice of reason amid a chattering class that is full of panderers and nitwits. Yet Dershowitz’s recent Obama-plug doesn’t quite jibe with some of the other statements that the civil liberties lawyer made over the course of Obama’s first term. The article glosses over many of the issues that Dershowitz himself has raised with regards Obama’s competency as a president who purports to be a friend of Israel.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Dershowitz acknowledged that Obama has made a lot of mistakes. He goes on to say that “the great fear among many American supporters of Israel, Jews and Christians alike, is that a second Obama term could be more dangerous for Israel than the first Obama term was. So everybody’s considering their options.”
Everybody, it seems, except for Dershowitz.
Back in February, Dershowitz warned that the Obama administration’s ties to hard-left watchdog group Media Matters—who, in Dershowitz’s words, are “radical Stalinists…many of whom support Hezbollah…many of whom are pro-Iran”—could cost Obama his reelection. In language that leaves no room for ambiguity, Dershowitz made the following statement:
I could not vote for anyone who has anything to do with Media Matters, that’s clear. That’s just clear as can be. I will take an oath here that I will not vote for a candidate that has any direct association with Media Matters. That’s like asking me to vote for Hezbollah or asking me to vote for Hamas or asking me to vote for the Fascist Party. I won’t do it…That association has to stop. Just in the same way that President Obama totally terminated his association with the Reverend Wright, he has to terminate any association with Media Matters and with the intellectual thugs who are behind it.

True, Media Matter’s most vociferous anti-Israel fellow, M.J. Rosenberg, has since been fired, but the Obama administration has yet to publicly denounce any ties to the group.  Nonetheless, Obama clearly has Dershowitz’s vote. What gives?
Let’s examine some of the Harvard lawyer’s statements regarding Obama’s attitude towards the peace process and the two-state solution.  A year ago, Dershowitz accused the president of having an “underlying flaw in his thinking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” He said:
[Obama’s] temporal ordering - requiring Israel to give up the “territorial” card before the Palestinians even have to negotiate about the “return” card – is a non-starter for Israel and it is more than the Palestinians have privately asked for. Once again, President Obama, by giving the Palestinians more than they asked for, has made it difficult, if not impossible, for the Palestinians to compromise. Earlier in his administration, Obama insisted that Israel freeze all settlement building, despite the fact that the Palestinians had not demanded such action as a precondition to negotiating. He forced the Palestinians to impose that as a precondition, because no Palestinian leader could be seen as less pro-Palestinian than the American President. Now he’s done it again, by not demanding that the Palestinians give up their right of return as a quid for Israel’s quo of returning to the 1967 borders with agreed-upon land swaps.

Elsewhere, Dershowitz makes the accusation that the president “simply does not understand the dynamics of Middle East negotiation.” He even goes so far as to posit that “the Obama formulation would seem to require land swaps even for the Western Wall.”
Yet Dershowitz’s most recent article barely addresses the issue of settlements and Obama, instead whitewashing it with an oversimplifying disclaimer that “Israel’s settlement policy is deeply controversial within Israel and among Jewish supporters of Israel in the United States.”
Finally, there’s the issue of Iran. In his article, Dershowitz mentions his invitation to the Oval Office by Obama to “discuss his Iran strategy.” What follows almost seems like a thank-you note for having been invited to the coolest party in town. Dershowitz writes that “he is confident that the Obama administration would not condemn [Israeli military] action” against Iran. What suddenly makes him so confident that the Obama administration will support an Israeli attack? Indeed, in the past Dershowitz has voiced his fear that Obama might be remembered as “the Neville Chamberlain of the 21st century, the person who did not recognize the greatest evil.”  (When Chamberlain was Britain’s prime minister he famously signed the 1938 Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler in 1938.) Dershowitz has also he expressed his misgivings about other government officials, claiming that when it comes to Iran, “the administration has not been doing a very good job.” He slammed Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for making “the absurd statement that Iran should be considered a rational actor” and accused Defense Secretary Leon Panetta of “talking with mixed messages.”
But perhaps Panetta isn’t the only one that is guilty of talking with mixed messages. I would hate to think that Dershowitz is using intellectual sophistry to cover up for his mistake in urging American Jews to vote for Obama the last time around. However, I doubt that this is the case. Despite the contradictions, Dershowitz’s “vote Obama” message doesn’t come off as disingenuous. Even so, it does leave me asking if the current administration succeeded in soft-soaping him on some level. If not, just why is the legendary lawyer now taking a leaf out of his chosen candidate’s book and without a hint of guile claiming, “I don’t bluff?”
I suppose that until we hear the lawyer’s defense, the jury’s still out on this one.
The following is a response from Alan Dershowitz:
How US lib-dems should view presidential candidates