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The demonization of Alan Dershowitz

The demonization of Alan Dershowitz

Ex-friends and ex-admirers are not pleased

One of the things that struck me about this article excoriating Alan Dershowitz for his recent defense (not support, but defense) of Trump is that author Elie Mystal doesn’t actually engage in any detail with the substance of Dershowitz’s arguments.

Mystal’s attack on Dershowitz (and Trump, for that matter) is ad hominem. I assume we’re just supposed to take what the author says at face value. Or perhaps he assumes that if we’re reading him at all, we already agree with him.

That article, and the attacks on Dershowitz and Trump in general, make me think of the Devil speech from “A Man For All Seasons”:

Here’s what Dershowitz has said this past March on the subject of his defense of Trump, and to me it sounds true:

In March, Jeffrey Toobin, a New Yorker staff writer and CNN senior legal analyst, confronted Dershowitz on TV about “carrying water” for Trump. “This is not who you used to be,” Toobin told him. “And you are doing this over and over again in situations that are just obviously ripe with conflict of interest. And it’s just, like, what’s happened with you?”

“I’m not carrying his water,” Dershowitz replied. “I’m saying exactly the same thing I’ve said for 50 years.” He echoed this response when I asked why he thought liberals were criticizing him so much. “There’s such a hyper-partisan passion to get President Trump that anything that’s seen as trying to help President Trump is seen as supporting Trump,” he said.

Although Mystal went to law school, he doesn’t seem to understand (and certainly doesn’t sympathize with) the principle under which Dershowitz has been laboring lately: giving the “Devil” the benefit of law. But even more than that, a tweet by Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe ties in especially well with that “Devil” speech from the movie:

Apparently, Dershowitz has offered to debate Tribe, and so far Tribe hasn’t taken him up on it, at least according to this exchange of tweets:

There’s also this from Dershowitz:

“People can’t just accept that I’m saying what I believe and I would be saying the same thing if Hillary Clinton were president.”

And yet they can’t see it, so eager are they to cut down the law to get after the Devil. Or, if they do see it, they must block it out:

Dershowitz said he “got an email today from a very prominent friend — I’m not going to disclose his name because it was a private email — admitting that I’m right and saying ‘My hatred toward Trump blinds me to your truths.’ That was his email. ‘My hatred for Trump blinds me to your truths. Please stop.’

“And then he said to me, ‘Don’t ever send me another tweet that includes an article that you wrote that helps that son of a b‑‑‑‑.’

I guess it depends what the meaning of “truth” is.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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Pretty much sums up why the left can’t be allowed power. The law is meaningless unless it agrees with them.

Odd. I used to read Neo-neocon’s blog a lot…. up until the election season in 2015-16. It became unreadable. For Neo, and the commenters there could not have been more dismissive and hostile to the Trump candidacy. No, Neo didn’t go the full NRO or Weekly Standard…. but it was enough to tell me I was clearly an idiot… one that supported Trump from the escalator ride onward. I was a fool… a halfwit and unserious. A lot of sites did that too. Thankfully, this one, LI, never went that far, even though many had reservations and were critical.. the line was never crossed.

    stevewhitemd in reply to RobM. | June 4, 2018 at 7:40 am

    I haven’t gone back to all of her 2015-16 posts to check but I do recall reading them, and I certainly don’t recall what you’ve stated. Further, her more recent 2018 posts (which I did go back to review) have been balanced about Mr. Trump. She frequently agrees with him and says so without any ‘but’ at the end.

    So I’d suggest you go back and take another look. I think neo-neocon is one of the good ones.

      tom_swift in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 4, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      I remember it.

      All of LI suffered from TDS for far longer than was seemly.

      As for which staffers showed the strongest symptoms of BDS and which the least, I didn’t keep track; I leave that sort of accounting to Madame Defarge.

        Eskyman in reply to tom_swift. | June 6, 2018 at 12:20 pm

        Back then I was a regular reader & frequent commenter; I stopped visiting this site, as I didn’t care for my opinions to be attacked & summarily dismissed every time I suggested that Trump may be the best choice.

        I’d rather not recall who were the worst offenders, but I do rejoice that sanity has prevailed!

        Trump has already proven to be the best president in my long lifetime, though he has- as the song says- “only just begun.” Now if we can just get rid of some of the RINOs & Dems who are obstructing him!

          sheldan in reply to Eskyman. | June 6, 2018 at 1:02 pm

          “Sanity has prevailed”? You are delusional.

          Yes, there are things Trump has done that are good for the country. But if you think this means this is sanity, you are willing to overlook the man who is neutralizing everything he works for by what he does. I and probably many of us are not willing to do that.

          If that makes me persona non grata to some, so be it. I am an independent for a reason. These past two administrations have reinforced why I don’t want to be tied to a political party, since if they are foolish to nominate the people they have lately, I don’t have to give excuses for them.

          The problem is not the RINOs or Dems. It is the electorate.

          Change that and you will get people more to your liking elected.

          It is not their fault. It is yours.

    oldgoat36 in reply to RobM. | June 4, 2018 at 8:04 am

    I think that those of us who knew the baggage and flaws of Trump, yet put that aside for believing that despite his faults and some stances that we might not agree with, he was bringing a change to the establishment which has been long overdue. Trump is not perfect, but I view him as a modern day Cyrus, who despite his flaws, was to be a powerful ally for the Jewish people in Babylonian captivity.

    Some people do not want to see or hear things outside their own views, and will purposely attack any who try to show them the truth. Some people do not want the truth, they want to hold their beliefs despite any evidence to the contrary.

    This treatment Dershowitz is getting is not different than Kanye is getting. I think this will have an effect that is different than is expected. Not everyone is fooled by lunatic actions of the Anti-Trump crowd. And those in that Anti-Trump who are suffering from TDS seem fine with performing a scorched earth policy just to see Trump brought down by any means. The laws and the truth be damned.

      sheldan in reply to oldgoat36. | June 4, 2018 at 4:45 pm

      Liking some of the things Trump has done is not the same as liking the man himself. I am sure that most of the votes Trump got were anti-Hillary votes (and this was probably true of the other side).

      That is why I am giving everyone a pass with respect to their votes for the 2016 election. As soon as the nominations were decided, we knew we were in deep trouble, no matter who won. But “we needed a change” was not enough of a reason for me to support Trump (I voted write-in). After all, in 2008 people said the same thing.

      I have a problem in calling Trump “a modern-day Cyrus.” I am totally in favor of what he is doing with respect to Israel, but again I wish that this had been done with any of the other 16 candidates we could have chosen. That is not TDS; that is simply ambivalence that I think many of us share.

    herm2416 in reply to RobM. | June 5, 2018 at 6:25 am

    “Thankfully, this one, LI, never went that far, ”
    I stopped reading LI for quite some time. Kemberlee Kay was unhinged in her hatred,of Trump. Between her and Rages, it made the site unreadable for me.

“is that author Elie Mystal doesn’t actually engage in any detail with the substance of Dershowitz’s arguments”

And the reason is straight-forward. Lefties do not have facts which support their positions, leaving them only with feelings and emotive invective. Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch is well familiar with this tactic. He knows Islam and its texts thoroughly; that is, he has facts, textual and historical.

Alan Dershowitz is not a man whose political philosophy I agree with. However, he at least knows the difference between the rule of law and anarchy. For this, and this alone, he has earned my respect.

The fact that the lefties can’t abide his staunch defense of the rule of law speaks volumes re their hatred for America.

Neo-neocon, I applaud your understanding of what we “deplorables” are facing when we attempt to reason with those who prefer anarchy over our constitution and its underlying principles.

    alaskabob in reply to bear. | June 4, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism” spells this out. Even being way left of the Leftist party line and you are ostracised as “rightist” or “fascist”.

It’s a great point. I forget where I first read it.

But it’s the reason I grudgingly tolerate flag burners even though I imagine setting them on fire. Freedom of speech includes the right to desecrate the symbols of this country in protest. They are a canary in a coal mine – violate their freedom of expression and we all lose a little bit of Liberty.

    txvet2 in reply to Fen. | June 3, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    I agree, but if you want to get the left’s opinion on that, try burning a rainbow flag.

      oldgoat36 in reply to txvet2. | June 4, 2018 at 8:08 am

      I hate that rainbow flag, not for the reasons of it being the symbol of the alphabet sexual confusion crowd, but because it took the symbol of the covenant God gave and perverted it, just like the left pervert most things. Including sexuality being mixed up with mental disorders.

        ahad haamoratsim in reply to oldgoat36. | June 4, 2018 at 10:54 am

        oldgoat, some of us notice the irony of their choice of the rainbow. In Jewish tradition (Medrash in Bereshis Rabbah), the flood did not come until men began writing wedding songs (i.e. got married to) men — or as we call it today, same sex ‘marriage.’ And according to the Sages of the Talmud, the appearance of a rainbow is a warning that mankind has again reached a level of wickedness that would justify another flood, and is being spared because and only because of G*d’s covenant.

        herm2416 in reply to oldgoat36. | June 5, 2018 at 6:33 am

        That, more than anything else, i.e. all the “identities” they have manufactured for themselves, makes me loathe what the whole “community” stands for. I don’t care what people do behind closed doors, private life should BE private life. Gay Pride Day has now morphed into Pride MONTH. Let me march for hetero Pride, I’d probably be risking my life, because that “Pride” does not extend to me.

        They have utterly destroyed the meaning of the rainbow, on purpose.

    Shane in reply to Fen. | June 3, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    I would say a lot more than a little bit.

And I’m not surprised to see the Left purging the last vestiges of intellectual integrity from their party.

Most of them won’t survive their 2nd purge.

    sheldan in reply to Fen. | June 4, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    What really worries me is that there are very few Democrats who will resist the leftist assault on the party. At least, there are still some Republicans who are not extremists.

    But if both parties succumb to extremism, we are in very serious trouble.

Mystal: “he seems to think this is all a game”

Quite the opposite. It’s people like you who are so detached from reality that you are traeating the legitimate election of a man you despise as some sort of Game of Thrones episode. Without any awareness of how us “peasants” out here in flyover country would respond to your little coup.

She goes on to create an Army of Demonic Strawman to justify her mowing down all the trees to get at him.

Elle, Trump is not our last chance. He is your last chance. Keep playing games with our Republic and you won’t survive the storm that follows.

    Milhouse in reply to Fen. | June 3, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    Point of order, it’s Elie, not Elle. Almost certainly a Hebraic person of the masculine persuasion.

great unknown | June 3, 2018 at 7:29 pm

Same thing happened in Germany eighty years ago.

“I thought you were a colleague, a friend”.
“But that was before I discovered that you were Jewish”.

inspectorudy | June 3, 2018 at 7:30 pm

This attack on Dershowitz is just a higher level attack. The msm does it every day and most of the half-wit Dems say things, Maxine Waters a good example, that are just flat out lies. Turn on the evening news and start counting the ball faced lies that are thrown out like actual news. Consider the automatic names that Trump is labeled with. White supremacist, racist, homophobe, misogynist, dumb, anti-black, Mexican hater and many more that we have all heard. Yet not one person identifies the incident that proves their name-calling. Many mention Charlottesville as supporting the skinheads but all Trump said was that there were good people on BOTH sides. As it turned out there were many good people who were marching to preserve the Confederate monuments that were being destroyed. The racist attacks all come from Trump saying that Mexico sends us rapists and criminals. He NEVER said all Mexicans were such but that is how they distort reality and lie about things.
Recently the msm claimed that Trump said he fired Comey because of Russia. They played a small portion of a Lester Holt interview to prove it, yet when the entire interview was replayed it was clear that Trump said no such thing. Dershowitz is getting a taste of what the right has dealt with for decades.

    txvet2 in reply to inspectorudy. | June 3, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    “”Dershowitz is getting a taste of what the right has dealt with for decades.””

    The glaring fact that, as he points out, he hasn’t in any way changed his position isn’t even considered by the people denouncing him. They say that the recent convert is always the most fervent, and at the same time is most hated by his former colleagues, but that doesn’t even apply to Dershowitz. He’s being vilified for NOT changing his mind.

    Milhouse in reply to inspectorudy. | June 3, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    Many mention Charlottesville as supporting the skinheads but all Trump said was that there were good people on BOTH sides.

    In the leftist account of the events, it was a white supremacist rally, attended only by them; therefore by definition anyone who attended was one. And there can be no such thing as a good person who is a white supremacist. Whereas, in their account, the other side was not an antifa rally but a rally of all opponents of the white supremacists, certainly including some antifa thugs, but overwhelmingly made up of good, peaceful people who merely wished to express their rejection of the other side’s vile position. It honestly does not even occur to them that this might not be what actually happened.

    It’s also an article of faith that the violence must have been started by the evil people, but even if it wasn’t they had the duty of distinguishing between the peaceful and thuggish protesters, and retaliating only against the latter, whereas the lefty thugs had no such duty to distinguish between peaceful and thuggish attendees of the rally, because the mere fact of attendance automatically made one a thug.

    They’re not lying or pretending, this is honestly how they see it. Trying to tell them that perhaps that’s how it happened in some universe, but in this universe that’s not how it happened is mostly futile; they demand solid evidence, which they neither got nor demanded before swallowing their version, and wouldn’t believe anyway because it comes from “faux news” or some other unreliable source (unlike their sources, which are completely reliable).

    The truth, as far as I’m able to make out, is that it was the Battle of Cable Street, with innocent spectators hurt on both sides.

    Immolate in reply to inspectorudy. | June 4, 2018 at 10:17 am

    “bald faced lie,” although apparently “bold faced lie” is also appropriate, which I’d never heard used.

rabid wombat | June 3, 2018 at 7:46 pm

Though I will disagree with Dershowitz on a lot, he typically presents an argument (re: debate, not rant). This is like Moynihan, intelligent and articulate. You may disagree with the opinion, but not the man. We have lost a lot of that.

Henry Hawkins | June 3, 2018 at 8:04 pm

Dershowitz is the rare leftist who has somehow managed to maintain an open mind.

    ConradCA in reply to Henry Hawkins. | June 3, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    It’s not an open mind, but intellectual integrity.

      MarkS in reply to ConradCA. | June 4, 2018 at 7:41 am

      and the difference is?

        Tom Servo in reply to MarkS. | June 4, 2018 at 11:17 am

        To explain by giving an example – I do not have an open mind towards communism. I have reached the conclusion that it is morally, ethically, and logically wrong, and nothing anyone could say or write, no matter how brilliant it may be, will ever change my decision on the matter. I do not have an open mind on the topic.

        BUT if I am asked to defend my position, I will defend it with integrity, meaning with honesty and logic.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to ConradCA. | June 4, 2018 at 11:28 am

      An open mind is a primary prerquisite for intellectual honesty.

    Sorry but Dershowitz is not a ‘lefty’, he somewhat of a rare bird, he is a dye in the wool liberal, not a lefty in any meaning of the word.

      sheldan in reply to ronk. | June 4, 2018 at 4:48 pm

      Maybe he’s a classical liberal, as in the 1960s liberals. I agree that he is not a leftist (as in the label leftists avoid by calling themselves “progressives”).

I think his legal defense of Trump has more to do with his support for Israel. If Trump wasn’t such a friend to Israel, Alan would probably just stay mostly silent on the legal stuff. I consider it his back-handed “thanks”.

    oldgoat36 in reply to labrat. | June 4, 2018 at 8:15 am

    If that were true, then why would he not have condemned so much of his party’s actions against Israel during the last couple of decades? Why would he still be an avowed Democrat? This just doesn’t hold water.

    His views on all of this is the rule of law. I think in some ways he is not happy with his defense of Trump, you can see it and hear it in his interviews, yet the law is his guide post, not his personal feelings.

      Tom Servo in reply to oldgoat36. | June 4, 2018 at 11:23 am

      I think Dershowitz has a commitment to the law which truly is much like Sir Thomas More’s. Thomas More had a dogged, uncompromising approach to the law, which Henry VIII loved when it was used to his benefit. Once Henry put himself on the wrong side of More’s determination, no threats or promises could move him, so Henry had him killed.

It’s a problem for us as well. I used to have a list of liberals that I vehemently disagreed with but sought out to read and watch because they made valid points that checked my own political bias.

But ever since Florida 2000, that list has been shrinking. These days, anti-trumpism has so many Democrats (and quite a few Republicans) literally losing their minds that I don’t know who to take seriously anymore.

It’s dangerous because it blinds us to our political movement’s faults, leaving us vulnerable to being felled out of nowhere as the Dems were last election (Hillary 85% to win?), as well as innuring Trump to *legitimate* crticism (because every village boy is crying wolf).

Who do you guys check in on from the Left for serious analysis these days?

The Dershowitz critic got the “your truths” business from the Starbucks racial sensitivity training manual. Take a look.

The infantile and hypocritical Left is so utterly vile.

Not a peep of outrage while St. Obama the Infallible and his odious lackeys engaged in farcical, self-congratulatory and vanity-driven capitulation with Iran’s despots, presented as alleged grand and sagacious statecraft, that enriched and empowered one of the most oppressive regimes on Earth, all while contemptibly invoking anti-Semitic tropes by postulating that “Jewish money” and interests were opposed to the laughably-termed “deal,” and, painting a picture of alleged Jewish/Israeli warmongering that completely and unfairly dismissed legitimate concerns of Iran’s anti-Semitic zealotry and genocidal aspirations.

Not a peep when St. Obama was happy to quash a DEA investigation that was actively engaged in stopping terrorist group Hezb’allah’s multi-billion-dollar U.S. cocaine operations, all to avoid angering those same Iranian despots, while St. Obama played footsie with them.

Not a peep when the preening, egotistical and attention-seeking St. Obama was happy to cavort with brutal dictator Raoul Castro at a baseball game, like some star-struck communist fan-boy, lending this reprobate undeserved moral and diplomatic legitimacy, again, with no concessions extracted.

Not a peep when St. Obama admonishes Americans to refrain from
criticizing Muslim terrorists and jackbooted thugs for their Nazi-like barbarism in immolating a captured pilot and torturing other prisoners, because, he contends, alleged atrocities committed by Christians during the crusades almost one thousand years ago prevent us from from criticizing contemporary Islamic atrocities and barbarism.

Leftists are contemptible and morally bankrupt fools.

When Obama was in office, government agencies were turned into virulent weapons against conservatives. Now that Trump is in office, they attack him at every opportunity, create and endlessly publish blatant propaganda against him, and have even engineered an attempted coup against Trump (that is still o going with the Mueller investigation/debacle). Can the Democratic Party be trusted with any power any more or have they simply cemented their position as a domestic enemy of the US? All evidence appears to support the latter.

    oldgoat36 in reply to Cleetus. | June 4, 2018 at 8:22 am

    I would say that the Democrats should not have been trusted with power of any kind for quite a long time. Since Reagan the Democrats have been sliding further from the American ideals, with Bush it turned drastically enough for the masks they wore to slip, with Trump the masks are off, and they don’t really care.

    Obama showed what they want for this country. His desire was to bring the US down to a lower level, rather than make any effort to raise other countries. It shows the paucity in their beliefs, it shows their desires is to lower those in better economic standing to equal things out rather than look to bring those in lower economic standing to a higher ground. That is the true point of Socialism/Communism, while the ruling class and their cronies enjoy the fruits of other’s labors. It happens every time with the leftist views.

      onlyabill in reply to oldgoat36. | June 4, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      Obama showed what they want for this country. His desire was to bring the US down to a lower level, rather than make any effort to raise other countries. It shows the paucity in their beliefs, it shows their desires is to lower those in better economic standing to equal things out rather than look to bring those in lower economic standing to a higher ground.

      It is even worst than that. Like Bernie Sanders those in power and driving this train are not the true believers. They want all that you say BUT not for them, for they fully expect to be the ones in power. Just as with the old USSR, they are the “more equal” animals. Everyone else should be equal (equally miserable) but not them. Look at socialist Bernie for the gold standard. What is he up to now, three McMansions but I make too much and am too selfish. And the clueless lap it up.

      Republicans have their blind spots. They were the last defenders of Alcohol Prohibition. Which helped us get FDR.

      And now they are the last defenders of Drug Prohibition. Fortunately Trump is of a different opinion.

      Addiction is a medical problem – Trump
      And on cannabis would you believe that Sen “Indian” Warren and Sen Gardner (R-CO) have introduced a bill? With Trump’s approval.

Dershowitz hasn’t changed. It is the rest of the democrats that have moved far left and abandoned what used to be liberal principals. I was a liberal in my youth, but they left me behind with their anger and desire to destroy people who don’t agree with them.

A similar kind of vilification is being heaped upon Peasants beyond the Moat, those of us who support the POTUS.

We have become pariahs in all sorts of venues.

Even commencement ceremonies have been politicized into anti-Trump screeds.

I’m only moderately intelligent, but I do read a lot. “A Man For All Seasons” has always been one of my favorite movies and my respect for the intellectual rigor of Allen Dershowitz has always superseded my disagreements with him politically. From a long line of lawyers, I know that it is the law that ultimately binds us together and allows for civilization.

I do not think in a linear fashion and love looking into oddities. Yesterday, I happened to look up Peter Thiel and his interests and foundation. Somehow, the study of MIMETICS seems to fit into what we are experiencing in the United States today and may explain some of the propaganda and behavioral manipulation we are seeing from the Left. Scapegoating Trump, his supporters and people like Allen Dershowitz seem to fit the pattern. Why is it I am positive that Georg Soros understands mimetic theory and is using it to advance his causes, just as some people read Machiavelli and use “The Prince” as a playbook for their own purposes, rather than an academic dissertation on power.

Just thoughts rattling around my brain this morning.

“I would say the same thing if Hillary were President.”

Yes, we would probably be in the same position if Hillary were President. We must give the President credit for the good things he does, even if the man himself is repulsive.

“Please stop.”

Dershowitz should say that he’ll stop if the other stops sending the e-mails praising the other side.

BierceAmbrose | June 4, 2018 at 11:47 pm

“Liking some of the things Trump has done is not the same as liking the man himself.”

I’m so old I remember a time when you wanted “the man himself” to be good enough, but the deciding thing was what he — or she — would do.

This politics of celebrity comes up from time to time. The decline of Rome. Fascist nationalism. The great man as the personification of the national will.

Part of Trump’s value as an official is that he is personally distasteful. Wait, did I just make an argument for voting for Herself? No, no one of the attributes that made Trump a viable candidate against Herself, is that he’s one of the few practicing politicians as personally distasteful as she.

I mean in public, while pursuing office. Once the’re done, they quit hiding. But while they’re in the game, they tend to pretend they’re good people.

DINORightMarie | June 5, 2018 at 12:49 am

“My hatred toward Trump blinds me to your truths.”

This one statement is what is wrong with these people.

Hate. Pure, unadulterated hate. Hate that fills them up, that oozes into everything; it obscures and darkens their hearts, their souls, permeating their very essence of existence. Hate so deep, so visceral, so consuming that makes them want to destroy.

And…that is what they want for us. To destroy…us. One by one; piece by piece; bit by bit. Destroy.Us.All. By.Any.Means.Necessary.

That anyone so succinctly spoke the heart of darkness that is the left – shocking, yet priceless.

    sheldan in reply to DINORightMarie. | June 5, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    No argument. During the Bush administration, I wondered how opposition to a president could be so hateful, and with these last two administrations I think too many people have let their emotions toward a president be expressed without any filter. This can’t be good for the country.

    Whichever way the 2016 election went, we were in for a nightmare. And we may have at least two and at worst six more years of this. Maybe I’m old, but I hope people don’t forget when the opposition still would work for the good of the country and not to demonize the ones they disagree with.