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4.01.2004

Why Terrorism Works:
In line with Patrick’s previous link to the suicide bomber story:

This is a speech given by Alan Dershowitz at the First Parish Church in Cambridge, Mass in December 2002. It is titled “Why Terrorism Works,” based on the book of the same name. He makes the claim that Terrorism--which usually gets rewarded and is therefore successful—must, like piracy of the 17th and 18th centuries, be stopped by punishing it rather than rewarding it. Reasonable people can disagree on Dershowitz’s general theme or specific points. Nevertheless, it is well worth listening to.

But there is a question worth asking that emerges from Dershowitz’s presentation: If Terrorism could have been as successful for the Jews of Nazi Germany in the late 1930’s and 1940’s as it’s been for other groups in the 20th Century, that is, if Jews could have bombed residences in Munich and Bonn, or blown up Berlin buses and achieved their particular goals, should they have done it?

This question is not meant to equate the situation of Jews in Nazi Germany with Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza, the Kurds in Turkey or Iraq, or the Tibetans, all of which are mentioned by Dershowitz in his speech.

Note: Having not yet read his book "Why Terrorism Works," I do not know if he addresses this question in it or in any other of his lectures, articles or books.

-S. Schudy

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