A big blue inside the ranks of Israel advocates isn’t actually about Israel; but it involves sharp criticism of Alan Dershowitz, as a bully who uses violent arguments in an effort to “manipulate and control… the court of public opinion.” These tactics are familiar to those who have criticized Israel and suffered Dershowitz’s obloquy. I first heard about the Dershowitz effect back in 2002, when pro-divestment professors at Harvard and MIT folded their hands on an initiative, one telling me that folks were afraid of having their reputations trimmed by Dershowitz’s charges. Even if Dersh was wild, this person said, the charges stuck. Maybe the charges won’t stick so much going forward.
The criticism of Dershowitz comes from Ronn Torossian, an ultra Zionist pr guy who has attacked President Obama for even faulting Israeli settlements. Two weeks ago Torossian wrote a piece saying that Alan Dershowitz’s reputation has been hurt by the recent allegations of sexual relations with a teenager, and the allegations have nothing to do with Israel advocacy, but:
“I do not believe he is a good spokesman for Israel or the Jewish people.”
Well, today at the rightwing site Arutz Sheva, Torossian reports that Dershowitz lashed out at him on a radio show last Saturday night in a virulent manner, calling him a “despicable human being” and lying about Torossian’s record. In his piece, Torossian goes after Dershowitz as a bully. He describes the Dershowitz method:
Dershowitz’s attack against me on the Zev Brenner program was virulent. He called me a “liar”, and said that I was “lying through my teeth;” then added I was a “despicable human being.” He admits that we have never personally met, making his visceral hatred for me stunning.
Torossian says Dershowitz deserves fair play in the ongoing legal case, but he has been damaged:
The opinion of so many against him must hit him hard, understandably so. Alan Dershowitz, self-proclaimed defender of Jews, is being told that his Jewish credentials do not entitle him to a defense for an alleged crime that has zero to do with Jewishness or Israel. I was and am right about that, unless it is proven that these allegations were meant to discredit him and are false.
Some of the Dershowitzian tactics Torossian deplores will be familiar to anyone who has crossed him on Israel, including Jimmy Carter and Richard Goldstone:
The fact that one of America’s finest legal eagles is attacking those who challenge him in the court of public opinion so violently is shocking.
Dershowitz cannot manipulate and control both the court of public opinion and the court of law
He doesn’t like Dershowitz’s take-no-prisoners approach:
Dershowitz claimed I have a vendetta against him and I am “trying to get even.” Had he done the most basic amount of research, he would have found numerous articles I wrote which praised him
Torossian goes on to say that Dershowitz bullies people and he should use his energy to deal with a personal crisis, not attack others.
Dershowitz is unable to bully everyone – as he’s seen from the libel lawsuit filed against him recently by the alleged rape victim’s lawyers…
Rather than engaging in low blows, Alan Dershowitz should focus his energies on the allegations against him. He’s accused of committing serious crimes, and facing lawsuits and legal problems.
Dershowitz is going through a crisis and this issue appears to be affecting his self-control.