July 22, 2006

Allan Dershowitz Is Going to Hell

via Kevin Drum, Alan Dershowitz posits a continuum of civilianity, culminating with the idea that anyone who remains in southern Lebanon after being ordered to leave by the Israeli army is "complicit"—in terrorism, presumably. Thus, if there are terrorists anywhere around you, another country has the right to make you a refugee; if you refuse to become a refugee, you are aiding and abetting the terrorists, and are no longer to be considered an innocent victim. Which means, I think, that it's not too bad to kill you.

This is extraordinarily repulsive stuff. Yglesias has pointed out that ordering an evacuation is not an adequate way to prevent civilian deaths, because "becoming a refugee is an extremely large risk factor for death." There are other things that could be said here, but when someone's arguments go this far into evil, I think it's best not to engage.

[Yglesias and I are both Jewish, which shouldn't need saying but possibly does.]

UPDATE: More from Fontana Labs and Henry Farrell.

Posted by Matt Weiner at July 22, 2006 04:29 PM

Hell, of course, is not a Jewish concept, so you can see how people might get confused. Also, I hate Dershowitz.

(I'm Jewish too.)

Posted by: teofilo at July 22, 2006 07:52 PM

You can think of it as allegorical, like Dante. As in, "You know those people in the Ninth Circle who committed crimes so vile that their souls descend into the ice while they are still alive, and their bodies are being run by demons? Dershowitz is acting like that."

Maybe the title should be, "Dershowitz, your undead army is on line two."

Posted by: Matt Weiner at July 22, 2006 07:56 PM

Just because Dershowitz don't believe in hell don't mean it ain't a-comin' his way.

Posted by: Cala at July 27, 2006 09:37 PM

teo's point was that I don't believe in Hell either. Though I do sometimes believe in lots and lots of Purgatory.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at July 28, 2006 06:43 AM