Dershowitz Wins BDS debate at Oxford

Early last month, the Oxford Union debating society sponsored a debate on BDS, pitting Alan Derhsowitz against UK human rights activist Peter Thatchell (Tablet). Derhsowitz won the member vote 137-101. It’s a good debate – I recommend watching it, or downloading and listening. I’m surprised that the reports on the debate haven’t covered the background of an earlier controversy involving Dershowitz and the Oxford Union, back in 2007, when Dershowitz withdrew from a debate amid a flap about the participants. At the time, Dershowitz wrote this in the Guardian: “This is an obituary for the Oxford Union, which claims to be one of the most famous and distinguished debating societies in the world. The reality is that it is no longer a debating society at all; it has become a propaganda platform for extremist views, primarily of the hard left.” Oddly, one of the participants on the pro-Israel side of the 2007 debate was Dershowitz’s recent opponent, Thatchell. There’s got to be a good story behind this twist.