Dershowitz steps down from Harvard to spend more time with what he loves — Israel

(Photo: Sun Sentinel)

(Photo: Sun Sentinel)

Often times, when powerful and public figures – from government officials and politicians, community leaders, high-powered corporate CEOs, NFL coaches, and countless local TV news anchors -  leave their longtime positions, they say their decision was influenced by wanting “to spend more time” with their families and loved ones.

Such a stated reason is often a tried and true euphemism for either being forced to resign or trading an official post for a better paying lobbying gig.  Those employing the excuse are usually being disingenuous.

Well, after a half century at Harvard Law School, Alan Dershowitz has finally stepped down from his post (where he presumably teaches young, malleable law students how to defend celebrity murderers, justify war crimes, and advocate for torture and extrajudicial killings). So why is he doing it? He certainly wasn’t pushed out. And he already has the money.

According to an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Dershowitz genuinely wants to spend more time with that which he loves most of all: the State of Israel.

(Image: 92nd Street Y)

(Image: 92nd Street Y)

Unlike many similar high-profile retirements, however, the shameless self-promoter isn’t keen to leave the public eye. Rather than leaving academia to live a life of septuagenarian relaxation, Dershowitz is “reinventing myself” so that, in his words, “I can spend more time in Israel and fight against its delegitimization.”

Spending his first eight days after leaving Harvard in Israel, Dershowitz delivered propaganda speeches and met with government officials. He’s even “giving thought” to becoming an Israeli citizen.  Doing so, according to the Jerusalem Post, “would let him send the message to those boycotting Israel that ‘if you’re boycotting Israel, you’re boycotting me.’”

Never before has a clearer, more compelling rationale for supporting the human rights and international law based BDS movement been articulated.

While in Israel, Dershowitz’s “schedule varied from a speech to American Latinos on a trip to learn more about Israel; to tea with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara; to a hyped slot at the huge Globes conference of businesspeople; to meeting with virtually every major political party leader.”

The entire interview is full of Dershie gems, from insisting Iran is “moving ahead with nuclear weapons” to declaring that the International Criminal Court “should be Africa-centric… because that is where the genocides are. African countries don’t have the internal systems where citizens can seek remedies.” (Remember all those Palestinians successfully seeking remedies?)

On Yasser Arafat, Dershowitz lamented, “If only he had died earlier. I would not shake his hand, he was a mass murderer and a terrorist.”

Meanwhile, he said, “[Former President Jimmy] Carter is a bad person, he has gone to the dark side and is bought and paid for by Arab lobbies.” He further condemned Carter for , what he called, “loving Yasser Arafat and having contempt for every Israeli prime minister.”

Dershowitz had slightly kinder words to say about Judge Richard Goldstone, however, whom he said had “made a mistake and lacked the courage to stand up to the others appointed to look into the Gaza War,” but had “shown a willingness to reconsider his views.”

While Dershowitz may no longer spend his days warping the minds of college kids, he will now be able to make propagandizing and promoting war on behalf of his favorite occupying apartheid state his full time job.

About Nima Shirazi

Nima Shirazi is co-editor of the Iran, Iraq and Turkey pages for the online magazine Muftah. His political analysis can be found on his blog, WideAsleepinAmerica.com, where this post first appeared. Follow him on Twitter @WideAsleepNima.
Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine

{ 41 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Krauss says:

    Dershowitz becoming a full-time hasbara lobbyist for Israel? This is great news!
    Has Dershie swayed even a single liberal? He’s a right-wing nationalist who is liberal inside America because he benefits/profits from that as a minority, not because of principles.

    And this is exposed everytime he opens his mouth on Israel.

    He’s even “giving thought” to becoming an Israeli citizen. Doing so, according to the Jerusalem Post, “would let him send the message to those boycotting Israel that ‘if you’re boycotting Israel, you’re boycotting me.’”

    This is written as if it’s a bad thing. He also seems to think people would seriously be apprehended by this. If we could get Dershie on as the face of Israeli hasbara, the BDS movement would gain a genuine propaganda victory.

    Remember he loudly defended blood diamond merchant and fanatic right-wing pro-settlement Zionist Lev Leviev:

    A liberal, huh?

    • puppies says:

      Who is the retarded booby who would ever believe that this guy has not been a hidden double national for very many years? A good reason for not saying it would be that he had his Israeli passport years before double citizenship was allowed.

    • Sumud says:

      Has Dershie swayed even a single liberal?

      My thoughts exactly. By his own admission liberals disown him because of his opinions on a Israel.

      Zionism is becoming more and more like the flat-earthers.

    • just two weeks ago i called the the office of the president of harvard, without any association whatsoever with the school, and complained politely but forcefully about good ‘ol al.
      i wonder if it might have helped here, even just a little.
      oh well, at least it doesn’t hurt to dream, but i certainly contributed my two cents!

  2. Talkback says:

    On Yasser Arafat, Dershowitz lamented, “If only he had died earlier. … he was a mass murderer and a terrorist.”

    Strange, that he doesn’t feel the same about Jewish mass murderers and terrorist or wishes this for Sharon. What could be the reason? Ah wait, he is on the “liberal side of every political issue”.

    • Kathleen says:

      “a mass murderer and a terrorist” sure applies to Ariel Sharon.

    • just says:

      Yes, but.. but..he’s special. What if some prominent “other” wished the same about any Israeli “leader”– past or present? Would there be an outcry? Would there be masses calling it “antisemitism”? Would there be unanimous condemnation by our Congress?

    • talkback- you could go down the whole article, like a school teacher examining a paper, and pick similar things out like what you just said. i’d do it myself, but there’s just too many to list. besides, i trust my fellow mondo readers know anyway. at least i sure as hell hope so!

      • i wonder what the very distinguished and honorable fellow harvard professor stephen walt thinks about all this. i’ve spoken with him many times following his epic work, the israel lobby, he’s a very nice man.
        and also i wonder if finky can try, once again without the annoyance of dersh, to try to get that well deserved academic appointment!

      • Talkback says:

        I agree. That’s why I picked this big one to show how big his hypocracy is.

  3. lysias says:

    I’m not at all convinced that he was not pushed out of Harvard, which felt he had finally gone too far, or was not at least ordered to stop making such controversial statements.

    • Ron Edwards says:

      I think you may well be right. He’s been an embarrassment to Harvard and its law school (which is really saying something) since the internal investigation into plagiarism – whose results have yet to see the light of day.

      As far as I’m concerned, his inclusion in academia at all has yet to be justified in any understandable way.

    • I doubt Prof. Dershowitz was put under any pressure to retire. He’s 75 years old. Not many faculty where I teach approach that age. One of my close colleagues at UAA retired at 74, and he was far and away the elder on our faculty. I’m 67, and thinking about two or three more years – starting my 43rd semester next Tuesday.

      I know there are profs at most universities older than Dershowitz. Noam Chomsky is 85. My last conducting prof, Stanley Chapple, taught into his mid-80s too, and worked his butt off inspiring us. But the norm is to retire at the Dersh’s age or earlier.

      Good riddance!

      • eljay says:

        >> I doubt Prof. Dershowitz was put under any pressure to retire. He’s 75 years old.

        There’s no age limit to hatefulness and immorality.

        • RoHa says:

          “There’s no age limit to hatefulness and immorality.”

          But when you get old, you find some of the immorality is a bit more difficult to commit.

          • eljay says:

            >> But when you get old, you find some of the immorality is a bit more difficult to commit.

            That’s when you start holding your nose while your co-collectivists handle the dirty work.

  4. a blah chick says:

    ‘if you’re boycotting Israel, you’re boycotting me.’”

    It’s a twofer!

  5. just says:

    ‘if you’re boycotting Israel, you’re boycotting me.’”

    You betcha! Whadda puke.

    “The entire interview is full of Dershie gems”

    LOL– I first read that as ‘full of Dershie germs………..’

    Thanks Nima. Harvard is very lucky to “lose” this loser.

  6. dbroncos says:

    More evidence that Israel Lobby establishment types are getting desperate in their lurching efforts to reverse the tide of “delegitimization”.

    • And what does ‘delegitimization’ even mean? When I type the word, the spell check red lines it, presumably because no such word even exists in the English language!

      Now I of course know Israel is unique and imcomparable in every single way, but is there any other instance of criticism of a country/political philosophy being referred to as ‘delegitimisation’?

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        “And what does ‘delegitimization’ even mean?”

        It’s Orwellian. In 1984, it was not enough that Winston Smith did what he was told; he had to love Big Brother. The anti-delegitimization program of the zios is the same. They insist that you love their racist Apartheid state.

  7. Kathleen says:

    This “shameless self promoter” will be in the limelight even more than ever. He sees the writing on the wall he knows the BDS movement is growing by leaps and bounds. Even with Dershowitz working on offense there is no stopping the BDS train..

    • Daniel Rich says:

      @ Kathleen,

      Q: Even with Dershowitz working on offense there is no stopping the BDS train..

      R: That’s why the Chicago Bears had the ‘Fridge’ on defense.

      Besides choosing one’s battles, it’s appropriate to enlist a balanced army to fight all of them.

    • puppies says:

      What do you mean by “even with…”? It is “thanks to…” Every time that doddering piece of nausea opens his trap people cross over to oppose Zionism.

  8. I can only imagine the HUGH SIGH OF RELIEF among some of the Harvard Board of Trustees and the other less-than-breathless acolytes of Israel among the Harvard community.

  9. Note that he doesn’t say he’s actually going to take up residence in Israel, just – perhaps – take Israeli citizenship. I doubt he’s going to relinquish his US passport or elite east coast lifstyle.

  10. The headline here is the story, no? Dershovitz has been a self apponinted defender for Israel for some time, and for him to retire from Harvard and do it full time is fine. He’s 75 and deserves to retire. He does love Israel. Why should anyone have a problem with that? He is a good advocate, even though I don’t agree with the partisan nature of his advocacy. He cares about representing his client more than the truth–but hey, that’s the adversarial system. So, …. I say chill out. He’s doing what he loves, he’s engaged, he has fun doing it. Show me another 75 year old who will brave a protest like the BDS protest (I assume?) to go purchase some Israeli product (yes?) and do it with some flair. This is not hateful. It’s allowed for people to disagree on this issue. Make your case. When you stoop to ad hominem attacks like “he’s teaching impressionable young students how to advocate for torture and defend war crimes”, and calling him “Dershy,” you come across as immature and lightweight–the kind of opponent who couldn’t go half a round with Dershovitz on stage. Is that how you want to come across?

    • Philip Weiss says:

      Is it immature and lightweight to call him Dershovitz? His name is Dershowitz

      • My apologies for the misspelling, Philip. The point, which I know you appreciate, is that saying something like Dershowitz “(… presumably teaches young, malleable law students how to defend celebrity murderers, justify war crimes, and advocate for torture and extrajudicial killings)” detracts from the message because it is obviously not meant to be taken seriously. The conclusion of the article (“While Dershowitz may no longer spend his days warping the minds of college kids, he will now be able to make propagandizing and promoting war on behalf of his favorite occupying apartheid state his full time job.”) “Warping the minds of kids” and “propagandizing for war” are cut from the same cloth here. They are not serious discourse. This is name calling in an echo chamber (judging by the uniform tenor of the comments).

        Dershowitz is not the story. He’s just an advocate. Heaping hate on a 75 year old engaged man, in a pot-calling-the-kettle-black kind of way, does nothing for Palestinian rights, or moving Israel towards more enlightened polices. The article and your commenters are holding Dershowitz up for ridicule–they are lacking in empathy and understanding; they are not trying to get it just right. If that’s not the goal, this site is not for me.

  11. chris o says:

    It is good to know that he knows that we all think of him as a “rabid, right-wing necon.” Because that is what he is when it comes to the Middle East. Just like Chuck Schumer and the ambitious Cory Booker. Israel owns both sides.

  12. Nevada Ned says:

    Dershowitz has gotten about as far as he can in the US, as a Zionist ideologue and blowhard. But if he moves to Israel, he will find a whole country with lots of people like that. He won’t stand out.
    I wonder if he wants to be a paid Israel propagandist.

    Would that even be a change?

    Has Dersh been receiving a retainer from the Israelis for being their lawyer and attack dog in the US?

    Dersh denies it, claims he doing this pro bono. But there is no proof without taking Dersh’s word for it. And it would be profoundly dumb to take Dersh’s work on anything.

  13. Dan Good says:

    How is he going to change Israel’s use of torture, ethnic cleansing and settlements?

  14. Edward Q says:

    I thought Dershowitz was already defending Zionism 24/7? Now Harvard just needs to get rid of Henry Kissenger.