I’ve been meaning to write about a debate between Alan Dershowitz and Cornel West over the BDS movement. Dershowitz beats me to it with this article for the Gatestone Institute.
The resolution Dershowitz and West debated was: “The boycott, divestiture and sanctions (BDS) movement will help bring about the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Naturally, the debate ended up being more about that conflict than about BDS per se. However, Dershowitz had plenty to say about that noxious tactic (during the debate he explained why it’s not a “movement”).
Dershowitz won the debate in two senses. First, voting by the audience before and after the debate showed that he swayed 36 votes in his favor (i.e., against the resolution), while West swayed only 2 in his direction. Second, Dershowitz mopped the floor with West.
Dershowitz says he carried the day not because he’s a better debater than West, “but because the facts, the morality and the practicalities are against BDS.” He’s right about the facts, morality and practicalities. However, it’s also the case that Dershowitz is a great debater while West is a great performance artist.
In his Gatestone piece, Dershowitz provides a good and fair account of the debate. However, I recommend watching the whole thing.