Alan Dershowitz versus Susan Abulhawa: "Israel/Palestine: Novel Approaches" at Boston Book Festival 2010 [podcast]

This program was titled, optimistically, "ISRAEL/PALESTINE: NOVEL APPROACHES." Alas, it turned into "Israel/Palestine: Same Old Shit." Well, what did you expect? Put human canonball Alan Dershowitz on a panel with the Palestinian novelist Susan Abulhawa, a daughter of 1967 refugees, and you've got a new version of the old saw: Boston went to an argument about the Israel/Palestine situation and a book reading nearly broke out. 

This gets ugly pretty quickly: Dershowitz goes absolutely berserk and starts screaming at Abulhawa and at the audience, Abulhawa stays cool but reverts to canned provocations from a polemical script, both speakers turn infantile and bicker about how much response time they're being given, and moderator James Sebenius -- director of the Harvard Negotiation Project -- experiences firsthand the limits of negotiation, as insult, indignity, and insurrection overwhelm his even-tempered attempts at rational discussion. 

The result? Something that's less a debate than a sad metaphor for the difficulty of a serious dialogue on the conflict. 

A note on the podcast: the audio version is missing several minutes at the beginning, and picks up with Dershowitz's remarks in progress. However, the video above includes the full intros. 


The Boston Phoenix is podcasting every panel from the 2010 Boston Book Festival. To subscribe to our podcast,  paste this RSS feed into your podcatcher or feed-reader of choice, or bookmark October 16 at the Old South Church Sanctuary.
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