I’ve written about Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz before, Alan Dershowitz, Praised:
Charles C. Johnson (no, not that that CJ) has a post at Big Government, In Praise of Alan Dershowitz. It’s worth the read, but hardly does justice to someone who for generations has fought for civil rights and the survival of western democracy even when it meant bucking the liberal establishment. Dershowitz’s website details his many accomplishments.
Most recently, Dershowitz earned the scorn of the left for his defense of Sarah Palin’s use of the term “blood libel.”
I first met Dershowitz when I was in law school. I didn’t have him for a professor, but he was the advisor to the Harvard Jewish Law Students Association, in which I was active. At the time, the fight on campus was the attempt by supporters of the PLO and “indigenous people’s” movements (including students Glenn Morris, who later worked closely with Ward Churchill, and George Bisharat, now an anti-Israel law professor) to delegitimize Israel.
My how times have not changed. We still are fighting that fight. And Dershowitz is at the forefront of fighting the academic establishment which has turned on Israel, and people like Richard Goldstone who seek to deny Israel the right of self defense by holding Israel to standards no one reasonably could meet in the face of Hamas and other Islamists.
Dershowitz’s report, The Case Against The Goldstone Report, is a primer on how the international human rights movement is used to support the worst abusers of human rights against a pro-western democracy.
You don’t have to agree with Dershowitz on every or even most domestic issues to realize that he is a liberal lion among progressive hyenas.
In a recent column at The Guardian, Dershowitz describes what it is like to be the point man in defending Israel against the academic and political mob:
Whenever I speak in support of Israel or in criticism of its enemies, the dogs of defamation are unleashed against me. The attacks, all from the hard left, seemed coordinated, focusing on common ad hominem themes. They accuse me of being a plagiarist, a supporter of torture, a rightwing “Zio-fascist”, a hypocrite, an opponent of the two-state solution and a supporter of Israel’s settlement policies. All these allegations are demonstrably false, but this does not seem to matter to those whose job it is to try to discredit me….
The most recent unleashing of the dogs of defamation was stimulated by the position I took on a BDS conference at Brooklyn College. Although I support the conference going forward, and oppose any attempt to censor it, I raise troubling questions about whether the Brooklyn College political science department should be sponsoring and endorsing that advocacy event, if they would not be willing to sponsor and endorse an anti-BDS event by an equally radical anti-Palestinian rightwing group….
Why, then, is there such a concerted effort to attack me personally and to question my integrity every time I speak about Israel?
It has little to do with me, because my attackers know that I can fight back and that my academic standing will not in any way be influenced by their attacks. The attacks are directed at young academics, without tenure who would dare to speak up on behalf of Israel.
The message is clear: if you support Israel, we will attack you like we attack Dershowitz, but you will be hurt much more that Dershowitz would. We will damage your reputation, hurt your student evaluations and decrease your chances for tenure.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that so many pro-Israel young academics refuse to speak up. I know because they call and discreetly tell me about the fear they have that they will be subjected to the same kind of McCarthyite tactics that I am subjected to.
That is why I will continue to fight back and respond every time the dogs of defamation are unleashed against me.
I wonder who the next Dershowitz will be in defending Israel against the academic dogs of defamation, someone with the academic pedigree in international law and history, the will to fight, and who is beyond intimidation.
It will not be me. I do what I can, but it requires, frankly, someone of greater stature. There must be someone out there.