Defending Dershowitz, To A Fault?

Defending Dershowitz, To A Fault?

Associate Editor

Former Harvard Law School professor and staunch Israel supporter Alan Dershowitz has been accused of having sex with an underage girl, the “sex slave” of a Dershowitz’ client, financier Jeffrey Epstein — which has, what exactly, to do with Israel?

The case involves four women who allege that they were sexually exploited by Epstein. They claim the government violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by agreeing to Epstein’s plea bargain without consulting them; that legal maneuver apparently led one of the women (Jane Doe No. 3) to say she slept with Epstein’s friends, Prince Andrew and Dershowitz.

Dershowitz denies ever meeting Jane Doe. Well, none of this had anything to do with Israel, until Rabbi Shmuley Boteach penned a column in the Observer (Jan. 5) defending Dershowitz because he is “America’s best known defender of Israel,” deserving our “gratitude,” so “where are the Jewish leaders to rise to Mr. Dershowitz’ defense?”

Rabbi Boteach admits, “There is no way any of us can know” if the charges are true. But who needs to know? The rabbi knows Dershowitz. “I believe Mr. Dershowitz, and not just because he denies it.”

Some Palestinian activists agree with Rabbi Boteach, at least insofar as this plea bargain dispute that has nothing to do with Israel is indeed about Israel.

Rania Khalek, writing in Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian website based in Chicago, argues, “Dershowitz always felt children were fair game for Israeli missiles. Now the question is whether he thinks they are fair game for the sexual exploits of his powerful associates and himself.”

As for Rabbi Boteach, Khalek writes, “Demanding that Jews collectively and unquestioningly support Dershowitz against child molestation allegations as a form of tribal ‘gratitude’ for Dershowitz’s lifelong commitment to defending Israeli atrocities is both absurd and appalling.”

Dershowitz paused from his own counter-attacks against Jane Doe and her lawyers to tell the Jerusalem Post, yes, this case is about Israel, and that he was getting “all kinds of [antagonistic] emails [from] anti-Israel and anti-Semitic groups.”

Ronn Torossian, founder and the executive of 5W Public Relations, emails, “I do not believe he is a good spokesman for Israel or the Jewish people.”

For example, writes Torossian, whose clients include those on the Jewish right, Dershowitz defends President Obama, speaks out against settlements, and “advocates for the discrimination of Jews when he proclaims that Jews should not live in Hebron,” the flammable yet holy West Bank city, from which Jews were driven out in 1929 before returning in 1967.

Says Torossian, “As a proud Jew, I find the argument that [Dershowitz] should be protected because of his Jewishness to be despicable.” Torossian doubts Dershowitz even received all that many emails from anti-Semites, “but it is smart PR — sympathy does help when you are accused of rape.”

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