One of my big regrets is not making more of a connection with Alan Dershowitz while in law school.
I didn’t take any of his classes, but I did have some interaction with him since he was the faculty advisor to the Jewish Law Students Association. We called him “The Dersh.”
In the early 1980s the hot issue was the same hot issue on campuses now, the attempt to delegitimize Israel.
Surprisingly, the leading faces have not changed much. We still have agitators like George Bisharat (then Harvard Law student, now law professor at Hastings School of Law in California) making false claims that Zionism is racism and inventing facts to support the narrative.
And we still have The Dersh refusing to be bullied. The Dersh led the fight against the now disgraced Goldstone Report about the Hamas-Israel fighting in Gaza. Most recently the Dersh spoke out against the BDS conference at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Dersh is an unapologetic liberal. But as his recent comments (h/t Instapundit) about Media Matters make clear, he’s not going to be silent as American and European liberals join with anti-Semites in the demonization of Israel:
Liberal Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz says Media Matters could become the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of 2012 for the Obama campaign if the White House and the Democratic Party don’t clearly distance themselves from the organization.
“Well I think if swing voters in the pro-Israel community had any idea how extreme Media Matters was on issues of Israel and supporters of Israel, they would regard Media Matters as another, you know, Rev. Wright,” Dershowitz told The Daily Caller.
“And for many, many in the pro-Israel community, it would be a game changer.”
Dershowitz went so far as to suggest that Media Matters’s rhetoric on Israel, particularly from Media Matters Action Network senior fellow M.J. Rosenberg, is similar to what one would find on a neo-Nazi website.
“When I started reading their stuff it sounded like the kind of stuff you see on neo-Nazi websites,” Dershowitz said. “Or on Hezbollah-supporter websites. It is so extremist. The thing that shocked me is that anybody regarded it as mainstream.”
The Dersh also does not confuse liberalism with Democratic Party orthodoxy. You may recall my post Alan Dershowitz, Praised, regarding Dershowitz’s defense of Sarah Palin over the use of the term “Blood libel.”
While the entire media and Democratic political universe (along with some Republicans like David Frum) lashed out at Palin, The Dersh defended her. Now Palin is defending The Dersh against attacks on him over his comments about Media Matters.
There are few if any others with solid liberal credentials who speak out against the Islamist-Leftist Anti-Israel Coalition which manifests itself in the BDS movement, on boats heading to Gaza to help Iran’s proxy army, in protests at the Israeli anti-suicide bomber barrier, and in use of terms like “Israel Firsters” by a senior employee of Media Matters.
I don’t believe leading liberals fail to recognize the destructive path liberalism is on by cozying up to anti-Semites, it’s just that they lack the courage of The Dersh.
Update: I can’t believe I found in my files this original paper issue of The Harvard Crimson from April 21, 1984, with the front page article “Dershowitz, Law Students Condemn PLO Panel Talk.” Enlarge it and read it carefully, and you may see another name you know.