Alan Dershowitz

Academic

 
 
 

Affiliations

Harvard Law School: Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus (1964-2013)

The Hill: Opinion Contributor (2014-Present)

The Jerusalem Post: Contributor (2005-2018)

Huffington Post: Contributor (2011-2015)

Gatestone Institute: International Policy Council, Contributor (2008-Present)

Bio

Alan Dershowitz is a professor emeritus of law at Harvard Law School. Dershowitz has had a long, prestigious career in the field of law as a criminal and civil rights attorney, being the youngest professor at Harvard Law School to receive tenure. Of his notable cases, he is most famous for his representation of OJ Simpson during the Nicole Brown Murder Trial. Additionally, Dershowitz has been an outspoken defender of Israel and supports a two-state solution. It is important to note that Dershowitz’s claims regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are not always directly, or even intentionally, Islamophobic (he has been critical of radical pro-Israel figures, such as Caroline Glick), but his characterization of the conflict often lacks its inherent nuance and complexity, which in turn betrays his argument and leads to hypocritical statements that belittle Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim viewpoints. In a more transparent example of this, Dershowitz led an effort to have critic of Israel, Professor Dr. Norman Finkelstein fired from DePaul University in 2005. Dershowitz also attempted to have a book by Finkelstein, critical of Israeli apologists, slated for release, despite the fact that Dershowitz himself often admonishes the opposing side for not allowing for sufficient dialogue.

SOURCE: Pazzanese, Christine (“Dershowitz Reflects on 50 Years at HLS”, Harvard Law Today)(October 8, 2013), Dershowitz, Alan (“Qatar universities have a lot of work to do”, The Hill)(March 7, 2018), Bernie, Quigley (“Alan Dershowitz vs. Caroline Glick: Israel at a sea change”, The Hill)(September 18, 2013), Young, Gary (Salon)(August 12, 2005), Dershowitz, Alan (“Qatar universities have a lot of work to do”, The Hill)(March 7, 2018)

RECENT ACTIVITY

Dershowitz retired from Harvard Law School in 2013, but continues to be a prominent figure in American political and academic circles. Most notably, Dershowitz has become a staunch defender of President Donald Trump in the news. He has written two recent books on the subject: The Case Against Impeaching Trump and Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy. He has appeared on Fox News and other networks a number of times, defending Trump’s rights against the Mueller investigation and impeachment. At the end of 2018, Dershowitz was accused of being involved in a sex trafficking incident, which he denied outright. Furthermore, Dershowitz has come out in strong defense against the proposed charges of indictment by Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit towards Prime Minister Netanyahu. He also maintains an active Twitter account.

SOURCE: Mandery, Evan (“What Happened to Alan Dershowitz?”, Politico Magazine)(May 11, 2018), McCafferty, Molly C. and Aidan F. Ryan (“Epstein Allegedly Directed Second Woman to Have Sex with Harvard Prof. Dershowitz, Court Documents State”, The Harvard Crimson)(December 22, 2018), Kershner, Isabel (“With Netanyahu Facing Indictment, Israel Braces for a Wild Election”, The New York Times)(March 1, 2019)

Islamophobia

Dershowitz’s application of the term “anti-Semitic” or “anti-Semitism” has been contradictory, labeling Palestinians or those groups and individuals who display support for the Palestinian cause in blanket terms, while at the same time practicing caution in using the term when it favors his cause.

SOURCE: North, James (“After years of careless accusation, Dershowitz says anti-Semitism charges must be ‘very careful’”, Mondoweiss)(November 15, 2016)

“Jimmy Carter has literally become such an anti-Israel bigot that there’s a kind of special place in hell reserved for somebody like that.”

SOURCE: Dershowitz, Alan on “ShalomTV” (now “Jewish Broadcasting Service”) accessed via YouTube (March 8, 2008)

“[Goldstone] is a traitor using his Jewishness to malign Israel...He is an evil man, one who allowed himself to be used against the Jewish people, an absolute traitor.”

SOURCE: Fendel, Hillel quoting Alan Dershowitz (“Dershowitz: Goldstone is Evil”, Arutz Sheva)(January 31, 2010)

“Hypocrisy and bigotry go hand in hand, and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is the poster person for both. If she is the ‘new face’ of the Democratic Party, we Democrats should begin worrying.”

SOURCE: Dershowitz, Alan M. (“Is Rashida Tlaib Guilty of Bigotry?”, Gatestone Institute: International Policy Council)(January 9, 2019)

However, on Steve Bannon:

“I think we have to be very careful before we accuse any particular individual of being an anti-Semite. The evidence certainly suggests that Mr. Bannon has very good relationships with individual Jews. My former researcher, Joel Pollak, is an Orthodox Jew who takes off the Jewish holidays, who is a committed Jew and a committed Zionist, and he has worked closely with him. He has been supportive of Israel.

So, I haven’t seen any evidence of personal anti-Semitism on the part of Bannon. I think the [Breitbart] headline about a Conservative Republican being a renegade Jew was ill-advised. But it doesn’t suggest to me anti-Semitism. It suggests to me a degree of carelessness.

I think the larger problem – and it’s a very complicated one today – is how you assess a person who himself might not have negative characteristics, but who has widespread appeal to people who do. And I think that problem exists on the right and the left. I think there are left-wing candidates who appeal to some of the worst bigots on the hard left. Anti-Semites on the hard left. Anti-Israel people on the hard left. And I think the same thing is probably true of some very right-wing conservatives who appeal advertently or inadvertently to people whose values they probably themselves don’t agree with.”

SOURCE: Klein, Aaron quoting Dershowitz (“Exclusive-Alan Dershowitz Defends Steve Bannon: ‘Not Legitimate to Call Somebody an Anti-Semite because You Disagree with Their Policies’”, Breitbart)(November 15, 2016)

Dershowitz stated stated that Robert Kennedy’s assassination was the beginning of Islamic Terrorism. This was factually incorrect as the assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, was not Muslim.

“It was in some ways the beginning of Islamic terrorism in America. It was the first shot. A lot of us didn’t recognize it at the time.”

SOURCE: Issenberg, Sasha (The Boston Globe)(June 5, 2008)

Dershowitz has written and talked much about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but in simplistic terms that do not take into account all of the conflict’s complexities, thus unveiling contradictory and unfair accusations towards Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and their supporters.

“It is virtually impossible to distinguish the Hezbollah dead from the truly civilian dead, just as it is virtually impossible to distinguish the Hezbollah living from the civilian living, especially in the south. The “civilian” death figures reported by Lebanese authorities include large numbers of Hezbollah fighters, collaborators, facilitators and active supporters. They also include civilians who were warned to leave, but chose to remain, sometimes with their children, to serve as human shields. The deaths of these ‘civilians’ are the responsibility of Hezbollah and the Lebanese government, which has done very little to protect its civilians.

Lebanon has chosen sides—not all Lebanese, but the democratically chosen Lebanese government. When a nation chooses sides in a war, especially when it chooses the side of terrorism, its civilians pay a price for that choice. This has been true of every war.”

SOURCE: Dershowitz, Alan (“Lebanon is Not a Victim”, The Huffington Post)(August 7, 2006)

“The suffering of Palestinians, which does not compare to the suffering of many other groups, has been largely inflicted by themselves. They could have had a state, with no occupation, if they had accepted the Peel Commission Report of 1938, the United Nations Partition of 1947, the Camp David Summit deal of 2000, or the Ehud Olmert offer of 2008. They rejected all these offers, responding with violence and terrorism, because doing so would have required them to accept Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, something they are unwilling to do even today.”

“Had the early Palestinian leadership, with the surrounding Arab states, not attacked Israel the moment it declared statehood, it would have a viable state with no refugees. Had Hamas used the resources it received when Israel ended its occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005 to build schools and hospitals instead of using these resources to construct rocket launchers and terror tunnels, it could have become a ‘Singapore on the Sea’ instead of the poverty stricken enclave the Palestinian leadership turned it into.”

SOURCE: Dershowitz, Alan (“Time to tell the truth about the Palestinian issue”, The Hill)(January 22, 2019)