As part of the efforts to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement at the University of Pennsylvania, pro-Israel groups including Hillel and the Philadelphia Jewish Federation invited renowned lawyer, writer and Harvard University professor, Alan Dershowitz, to speak at an event, held February 2, entitled: “Why Israel Matters to You, Me, and Penn: A conversation with Alan Dershowitz.”
Lori Lowenthal Marcus in The American Thinker notes, “while the left believes Dershowitz to be reflexively and unquestioningly pro-Israel, the right frequently sees him as reflexively pro-Obama Democrat and rigidly anti-‘settlements.’”
Yet, in response to a question posed by a member of the audience as to whether Prof. Dershowitz would oppose the Penn BDS conference if it only targeted Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, he proclaimed, “Absolutely. If they are interested in human rights, then what is the excuse for not applying BDS to China for occupying Tibet, and Russia, for its occupation of Chechnya, or to Hamas or Hezbollah for their brutality and murders of civilians. The BDS of Israel, any part of Israel, is merely a pretext for hatred.”
In other words, as the American Thinker explains, “partial boycotts don’t pass muster with Dershowtiz.”
In response to the pro-Israel event on campus, Media Matters’ Max Blumenthal wrote an article for the Daily Pennsylvanian, the university newspaper, entitled, "Torture, Violence Advocate to Keynote anti-BDS Event," with the sub-heading, "Alan Dershowitz, supporter of bulldozing Palestinian towns and torturing criminal suspects, is coming to campus."
In his article Blumenthal accuses Dershowitz of being “an open advocate of torture who has urged Israel to destroy entire Palestinian villages, attack civilians and bulldoze their homes.” He goes on to state that, despite “Dershowitz’s professed concern for political dissidents living under autocratic regimes, he has called for personal retaliation against Israeli academics who speak out in favor of BDS. Meanwhile, Dershowitz routinely smears high-profile critics of Israel’s 45-year-long occupation as evil anti-Semites — and worse.”
Media Matters, the Democratically aligned media watchdog organization, has been widely accused of engaging in anti-Semitic discourse, namely the repeated use of the term “Israel firster,” by Media Matters’ senior foreign policy fellow, MJ Rosenberg, to describe American Jews whose main concern in American politics is its effect on Israel.
Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise that Max Blumenthal and others, who use the pretext of dual loyalty and anti-Israel discourse to promote anti-Semitism, should be opposed to pro-Israel activities on campus.
Yet, the claims against Dershowitz are not only completely unfounded, but may in fact constitute outright libel.
Dershowitz, who declined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appointment to become Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, for fear that “it would have sent to a fevered pitch the ‘dual loyalty’ argument against American Jews” and who epitomizes the Democratic and liberal ideals upon which universities pride themselves, should simply not be the target of undue slander, professed by the proponents of BDS.