Dershowitz: Geller’s Contest Similar to Provocations of MLK During Civil Rights Struggle

On her Thursday night “The Kelly File” program on the Fox News Channel, host Megyn Kelly hosted a discussion between famed legal scholar Alan Dershowitz and National Review editor Rich Lowry.

During the discussion, Dershowitz noted the “provocative” nature of Pamela Geller’s “Draw Mohammed” event last week in Garland, TX and that in some ways, that provocation is similar to the provocation civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. employed. However, he was very careful to not to draw a moral or legal equivalence.

Partial transcript as follows:

KELLY: In America, we stand for liberty and freedom to offend, to provoke, to persuade, and to defy. Alan Dershowitz is a Harvard law professor and author of “Taking The Stand: My Life In The Law,” and Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review, a syndicated columnist, and a Fox News contributor. Alan, let me start with you.

DERSHOWITZ: Let me start with you and applaud your statement. It was fantastic. It’s the paradigm of the way Americans have to look at our freedoms and our First Amendment. Jefferson would have been proud of you.

KELLY: Thank you so much. Wow, that’s high praise. I think on this show last night, we went through Eugene Volokh. There’s not a more respected scholar who made very clear this is free speech what happened down in Texas, even if you don’t like the speech. He took it a step further and said the speech is valuable and should have been done. Those who say you shouldn’t, he took that on. Do you agree with that?

DERSHOWITZ: Right. The speech is tasteless, provocative, but it has a value because it’s making the statement that violent extremists aren’t going to set the boundaries of free speech in this country. This is a country where literally nothing is sacred. And if we’re going to accept an assassin’s veto in this case, we’re going to say the only exception is the image of Muhammad. That’s just perverse and that’s not what this country is about, and that’s not the way it should work.

KELLY: It’s like some people want to look at what’s offensive to some in the Muslim world. They don’t like you to draw the prophet Mohammad and say OK that will be our value, too. Well, that’s not. That is not the value of most Americans. If they want to draw Mohammad, they can.

DERSHOWITZ: I know. I agree. Look, everything that the critics of what Geller has said could be said about Martin Luther King. Now, I don’t want to make any comparisons between the two of them morally or legally, but from a constitutional law point of view, there’s no difference. Martin Luther King picked some of the cities he went to precisely in order to provoke, and bring out the racists and show what kind of violent people they are, so the world could see what is wrong with Jim Crow. It’s part of the American tradition to provoke, so that the world can see.

KELLY: Right.

DERSHOWITZ: And there is some value, but I think one has to remember the most important part of this is there’s only one group in the world today that threatens to kill people who offend them, and that is radical Muslims. . They don’t need Geller to do it. They issued fatwas against Salman Rushdie.

KELLY: Right.

DERSHOWITZ: They issued a fatwa and then murdered Theo Van Gogh. You know, Jews and Christians don’t go after and threaten to kill (inaudible) when he makes this outrageous and anti-Semitic and anti-Christian statements are made. They don’t do it to other groups. And we just cannot accept the veto by threatened extreme violence.

KELLY: So why, Rich, have we seen so many in the media rush to condemn Pam Geller and say almost nothing about the two Jihadis two tried to murder her and everyone there.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor


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