Fireworks Erupt Between Dershowitz, O’Donnell over French Handling of Terrorists

On the Thursday broadcast of “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” on MSNBC, O’Donnell and Dershowitz engaged in a heated exchange over remarks he made to NewsMax TV’s “Midpoint” host Ed Berliner charging that French policy on terrorism is partially to blame for this week terrorist attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Transcript as follows:

O’DONNELL: Professor Dershowitz, I want to ask you about something you said yesterday about the attack in France. In an interview with NewsMax, there’s a headline in the article that says “Alan Dershowitz: France reaped what they sowed in the Paris attack.”

DERSHOWITZ: That’s not what I said.

O’DONNELL: Let me give you a quotation and I hope you will tell me you didn’t say this. They have you quoted as saying about France, “They reward every terrorist.”

DERSHOWITZ: That is true.

O’DONNELL: That is absolutely not true.

DERSHOWITZ: They have the worst record of any country in Europe on terrorism.

O’DONNELL: You want to stand by, they reward every terrorist. Tell me how –

DERSHOWITZ: Let me give you the context in which I said it.

O’DONNELL: It’s a crazy thing to say. France does not reward every terrorist.

DERSHOWITZ: I’m sorry, it’s right. They have the worst –

O’DONNELL: They do not reward every terrorist do you want to say they’ve rewarded a few terrorists? Are you really going to sit here and say they rewarded every terrorist?

DERSHOWITZ: Virtually every terrorist who has been convicted and sent to prison in Paris has either gotten out — the point I was making was a general one and that is that they voted for Palestinian statehood for a country that was built on terrorism. They have done everything to avoid joining the fight on terrorism. I feel terrible for these people. I feel terrible for –

O’DONNELL: Virtually every country in the world has voted for that statehood, you know that.

DERSHOWITZ: The United States hasn’t.

O’DONNELL: Virtually every kwoun tri in the world.

DERSHOWITZ: Good countries don’t vote for it.

O’DONNELL: So most countries in the world are Alan Dershowitz bad countries?

DERSHOWITZ: I’ve written a book called “Why Terrorism Works” and what I do is I prove in that book that terrorism is rewarded and particularly all through Europe. Terrorism is rewarded. Europe is part of the problem. France is part of the problem. I feel terribly sorry for the victims, but France is part of the problem. Maybe this will give them a wake-up call and have them join the war against terrorism rather than becoming part of the problem of facilitating and rewarding terrorism. I stand by that statement.

O’DONNELL: I will advise you, just for the credibility of your own judgment on anything else you ever say publicly, don’t ever say that France rewards every terrorist.

DERSHOWITZ: Sir, I don’t need your advice on this issue. And please don’t generalize from this to other issues.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.