Book Review: The Case for Israel


Professor Alan Dershowitz recently gave a talk at the University of Auckland. He was the youngest ever person to be made a professor at Harvard University and continues in that role, specialising in constitutional law. He has written 38 books, his most popular being The Case for Israel.

A long-time democrat and personal friend of the Clinton family, Professor Dershowitz does not allow his personal political views undermine his principles. He has defended some of President Trump’s actions by referring to the constitution and American law even though he personally disagrees with Trump’s views. It is with this sense of ethical standard that Professor Dershowitz lays out the case for Israel.

Professor Dershowitz worked on the book from 1967 until it was first published in 2003. Unfortunately, the book is needed now more than ever.

The introduction reads:

The Jewish nation of Israel stands accused in the dock of international justice. The charges include being a criminal state, the prime violator of human rights, the mirror image of Nazism, and the most intransigent barrier to peace in the Middle East. Throughout the world, from the chambers of the United Nations to the campuses of universities, Israel is singled out for condemnation, divestment, boycott, and demonisation…The time has come for a proactive defense of Israel to be offered in the court of public opinion…Professor Alan Dershowitz, The Case for Israel

The underlying premise of The Case for Israel is that the country and her citizens have the right to exist in peace and security and that the accusations levelled at the Jewish state are unfair and baseless. Professor Dershowitz defends Israel against the double-standards applied to her, and the attempted demonisation and delegitimisation. His moral and legal arguments are presented most articulately.

Each chapter’s argument follows a very legalistic framework – defining the accusation, identifying who is making the assertion, explaining what the reality is, and providing evidence to substantiate the case for Israel. Each of the thirty-two chapters covers an important anti-Israel question, such as chapter 1 – “Is Israel a Colonial, Imperialist State?”; chapter 16 – “Has Israel Made Serious Efforts at Peace?”; and chapter 22 – “Is the Israeli Occupation the Cause of All the Problems?”.

There is even a chapter devoted to the false premise used to support New Zealand’s co-sponsorship of UNSC resolution 2334. Chapter 26 of The Case for Israel answers the question “Is Settlement in the West Bank and Gaza a Major Barrier to Peace?”. The book quickly became a New York Times bestseller and continues to be a valuable resource for anyone interested in defending Israel against those intent on her destruction. The Case for Israel was made into a 2009 film that includes high profile commentators including Israeli Minister of Defence, Ehud Barak; Former Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Hon. Irwin Cotler; and Professor of History, Benny Morris.


The Case for Israel
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 1 edition (August 1, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0471679526
ISBN-13: 978-0471679523