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In Praise of Alan Dershowitz: Is He America's Last Honest Liberal?


This past week’s “blood libel” comment from Sarah Palin brought forth the seeming unlikeliest of defenders, Alan Dershowitz, who, in an exclusive to Big Government, defended the former governor’s comments from her obsessed detractors.

Conservatives are justifiably pleased that their erstwhile foe has become their ally on this. They think that maybe the spirit of civil in our politics really is happening and we need look no further than Professor Dershowitz.

But to those of us who know Professor Dershowitz well, it is par for the course for Professor Dershowitz is a national treasure. He is perhaps America’s last honest liberal – and a genuine friend of America’s only real ally in the Middle East, Israel. I hope what I am writing here should finally put to rest any lingering doubts that conservatives have about him.

A couple of examples will illustrate my point:

    • Professor Dershowitz has defended me – his former research assistant – from scurrilous opponents at Claremont McKenna College, who take umbrage at my exposure of the Hezbollah-and-Hamas-terrorist-supporting director of our Middle East program, Bassam Frangieh. I relish saying, unequivocally, that Professor Dershowitz of Harvard Law School, a great advocate of Israel and of the First Amendment, and professor of Harvard Law School, supports my work. His praise, I suspect, is a great shield against my own detractors, one of whom – Mike J. Kimball CMC ’81, the college’s co-president for the Silicon Valley alumni chapter – incredibly threatened me with a lawsuit for violating federal spam laws after I emailed him just once, with my findings on the mistaken presumption that the college’s co-president of one of its alumni chapters would want to know what’s up on campus. I told Mr. Kimball what Professor Dershowitz had told me – that my email was protected speech. I haven’t heard back from him since.

    So you’ll forgive me, Big Government readers, if I’m not the least bit surprised that Professor Dershowitz has come to the aid of Governor Palin. Professor Dershowitz treats everyone with the utmost respect and civility. Why should the governor be exempt?

    I know this civility is commonplace because I have experienced it firsthand. Professor Dershowitz once plucked me from an obscure prep school, and after a debate in front of the school, offered me a job as a research assistant. There, next to him in his office and working together against the enemies of Israel, he treated me – an often brash, 17-year-old conservative, goyim – as an equal and a friend. Professor Dershowitz wrote me a glowing letter when I applied to college and I haven’t the slightest doubt that his name on my resume has opened many doors for me.

    On domestic politics, Professor Dershowitz and I seldom agree. But he always disagrees respectfully, giving equal attention to all sides of a debate. His politics notwithstanding, Professor Dershowitz is the consummate gentleman-scholar.

    That’s why I hope that my old mentor and friend switches sides should Governor Palin, whom he has now defended, run for president. I am certain that Professor Dershowitz will disagree with Palin on a great many issues, but on one of the most important – standing for truth and defending America and her allies – Professor Dershowitz is as resolute as Governor Palin. Given President Obama’s repeated hostility to Israel, perhaps it is time that supporters of Israel — of all political stripes — recognize this unique moment we have before Iran gets the bomb and act accordingly at the ballot box. For her part, Palin once told President Peres of Israel that, “The only flag at my office is an Israeli flag and I want you to know and I want Israelis to know that I am a friend.”

    Well, my fellow conservatives, I want you to know that Alan Dershowitz is our friend and that we ought to welcome him with open arms should he ever decide to join our party. If not, I suggest we make him our honorary liberal.

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