Making the Case for Free Speech – Alan Dershowitz
Making the Case for Free Speech – Alan Dershowitz
He’s defends our civil liberties and free speech… Alan Dershowitz is a New York Times best-selling author and one of America’s most respected legal scholars. Over the past 40 years, he has met with every U.S. president and served as legal counsel on some of the most notable criminal and civil trials in the country. Dershowitz discusses tensions in the Middle East and his upcoming book with host Charles Mizrahi.
- An Introduction to Alan Dershowitz (00:00:00)
- Defending Israel (00:03:37)
- Israel and Progressives (00:07:22)
- Iran’s Nuclear Threat (00:10:42)
- The Palestinian Dispute (00:24:59)
- Cancel Culture vs. McCarthyism (00:34:05)
- Alternative News Sources (00:38:55)
- Free Speech on College Campuses (00:39:31)
- An Optimistic Note (00:47:10)
Alan Dershowitz is been a fierce activist, lawyer, author and educator. Dershowitz kickstarted his legal career after clerking for Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg. He subsequently served as a criminal and civil attorney while teaching at Harvard Law School for nearly half a century until his retirement in 2013.
Today, Dershowitz has written 47 books that span a variety of subjects — from politics in the Middle East to the rise of cancel culture in America. He also hosts The Dershow on Apple Podcasts.
- The Case for Israel
- Cancel Culture: The Latest Attack on Free Speech and Due Process
- Guilt by Accusation: The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo
- Defending Israel: The Story of My Relationship with My Most Challenging Client
- The Case Against the New Censorship: Protecting Free Speech from Big Tech, Progressives, and Universities
Before You Leave:
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I don’t believe in censorship. I don’t believe in shutting people down. I believe in getting into the marketplace of ideas, writing a better book or op-ed and making a better statement on a podcast like this. That’s the way I respond to censorship and cancel culture. It’s the only way I know. I think that in the end, it will succeed.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: My guest today is Alan Dershowitz. Alan is a New York Times best-selling author and one of America’s most respected legal scholars. He’s also the author of more than 47 books, including The Case for Israel, Letters to a Young Lawyer and Defending Israel: The Story of My Relationship with My Most Challenging Client. His books have sold over one million copies, and over a million people have heard him lecture.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: His latest book, Cancel Culture: The Latest Attack on Free Speech and Due Process, makes an argument for free speech, due process and restraint against the often-overeager impulse to completely cancel individuals and institutions at the ever-changing whims of social media-driven crowds.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I recently sat down with Alan to discuss why free speech is facing its greatest challenge and threat since the rise of McCarthyism. Since he’s met with all of the U.S. and Israeli leaders over the past 40 years, I asked him for his insights on the quickly changing alliances in the Middle East.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Alan Dershowitz, thank you so much for being on my podcast. I’m not only honored, but I have also been looking forward to this for the past couple of weeks. Thanks so much.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Oh, it’s my pleasure. I’m happy to be on with you.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: The first thing I want to ask you is — I don’t know how the heck you had a law career, and you were a professor. In addition, you wrote close to 20 books or so, right?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: No, no. I’ve written 46, and now I’m working very aggressively on No. 47. I’m hoping to reach 50 before I have to retire. But I’m 82 [years old], so I hope I have a few good years and reach my goal of 50 books.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: How do you find time to do all this?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I write every day. I’m passionate. There are always issues that excite, annoy and stimulate me. If I’m thinking about it, I want to write about it. I’ve always been writing. I’ve done that for all of my life. I love writing. It’s what I do. I’ve written thousands of [news] articles, hundreds of law review articles and I’m now on my 47th book.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Wow, 47. My apologies. I said 20, but that was around 15 years ago.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Well, there are 20 good ones. And then the others…
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Gotcha. All right, that’s honest.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: You recently came out with Cancel Culture: The Latest Attack on Free Speech and Due Process. I definitely want to speak to you about that. When I was looking for guests, I said: “Boy, oh boy. If I could ever have you as a guest, I would love to discuss the book that you wrote in 2004 called: The Case for Israel.” I also want to discuss a book that you recently wrote: Defending Israel: The Story of My Relationship with My Most Challenging Client.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: So, I want to get into that because there are so many things that I’ve been jotting down over the past couple of weeks. My first question to you is this: Out of all the 190+ countries in the United Nations (UN), why did you feel that you needed to write about the case to legitimize Israel’s birth certificate as a state? Has any other country in the world gone through this?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: No, you’re absolutely right. Nobody would ever write a book about the case for France, China or Cuba — or other repressive regimes. But Israel — which is the most democratic nation in the Middle East and one of the most democratic nations in the world — is condemned at the United Nations and in academia more than all the other countries in the world combined.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ If you look at the UN resolutions against Syria, Cuba, China, and Russia and count them all up, they don’t even compare to the number of times Israel has been singled out for condemnation. There’s a word for it. When you only single out one country, and it’s a nation-state for the Jewish people, and it has one of the best records of human rights, there’s only one explanation: anti-Semitism.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Israel is the Jew among nations. You might ask yourself: “Among the thousands of religions in the world, why have there been pogroms, inquisitions and Holocausts against the Jews?” The answer is the same. The state of Israel is there to prevent a repetition of the history of oppression against individual Jews who were stateless. Now that Israel is a state with a strong military, intelligence and nuclear capacity, Jews can’t be picked on like they used to be for hundreds of years.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: The fact that there’s a nation-state of the Jewish people is a very positive development. I will spend a lot of my life defending Israel against false accusations and attacks. When Israel warrants criticism, I’ll be there to criticize it. As long as it’s treated to a single standard — the same standard has to apply to every nation in the world — I’m on board.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I totally agree with you. But my question to you is this: What’s the other side? For someone who is listening to this for the first time and hears this, are they saying: “There has to be another side to the story. It’s legitimacy. There must be something special that this state and these people do. The whole world can’t be wrong on this”?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: The whole world is wrong. When the whole world said that Jews used to kidnap Christian children and use their blood to bake matza, people believed it. The whole world was wrong. The whole world can be wrong. And it’s been wrong before when it comes to Jews and the Jewish state.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Of course, you can criticize Israel. Should it have gone into Lebanon? I didn’t think so. I was critical of Israel’s decision to go into Lebanon. Should it have gone into Gaza? Yes, it should have gone into Gaza to prevent rockets from attacking its civilians. But should the United States have gone into Iraq? No. Should it have gone into Afghanistan? Maybe — for a while.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: But instead of criticizing its policies, [the UN] criticizes [Israel’s] legitimacy — the very existence of the state. “We don’t like what Israel is doing. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a state.” It’s the only country where that kind of attack exists at the UN, in academia and among progressives and anti-Semites.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Why do you think the progressive movement has picked up on this baseless hatred? It’s not based on facts. I just want to tell my listeners: The Case for Israel is brilliant in its format. You wrote it as a lawyer. You have the question, and then the accusation. You have what the accusers say and then the reality and proof. So, it’s open and shut on each one. And you have all your sources, which is outstanding. Even when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was being interviewed — prior to her run — she picked up one of these [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS)] talking points and was challenged on it. Why are they picking this up?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: First of all, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a total ignoramus when it comes to Israel. She has no idea what Israel is about. She just listens to the people to the left of her, Ilhan Omar and others in the squad. They just repeat the claims that are made against Israel. Israel is an apartheid state. No, Israel is not an apartheid state.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Israel has a more diverse ethnic and religious population than any country in the Middle East — and almost any country in the world. It consists of Yah Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Sephardi Jews, Black Jews, white Jews and brown Jews. It has Christians, Mormons, Evangelicals, Catholics, Muslims and Russian Orthodox [individuals]. If you want to talk about an apartheid state, go to South Africa — which has roads for Muslims only. In Jordan, Jews can’t buy land. Israel’s laws are equally applicable to every single one of its citizens.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: There are territorial disputes throughout the world — in China, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, India and Pakistan. Why is the Palestinian issue such an issue that you can’t open the newspaper and not see something about it?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: The Palestinians were offered a state in 1938, 1948, 1967, 1990, 2000, 2001, 2005 and 2008. Now, they’ve been offered an opportunity to have a two-state solution if they just sit down and negotiate. That isn’t true of these other countries. They’ve never offered statehood or independence to the nations and land that they’ve occupied. And yet, you don’t see them condemning those countries. All the condemnation is reserved for Israel.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I can give you a hypothetical. If there was only one African country in the world — and all the world’s attention was focused on that country — wouldn’t we recognize that as bigotry? I think we should recognize the selective criticism of Israel as a function of bigotry rather than reality.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I’m totally with you. If I were listening to this for the first time, I would say this makes all the sense in the world. Several Republican presidents — especially President Trump — recognize that — especially when Nikki Haley was the ambassador in the UN. She was outstanding. Why doesn’t the Biden administration get this?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I think it does. I’ve known Biden for more than 40 years. I met him during Ted Kennedy’s 1980 campaign for president. I was very close to Ted Kennedy. So was Joe Biden. He’s pro-Israel. His heart is in the right place. I’ve been in Israel when Biden was there. He’s getting pressure from the hard-Left. He’s also getting pressure from the OEC wing of the Democratic Party to be more “balanced.”
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: You’re not supposed to be balanced when Russia invades Crimea or the Ukraine. You don’t need balance when you see one-sided issues. There’s a push to do that. And I don’t think that he’s going to give in.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Tony Blinken, who’s the Secretary of State, has a warm spot in his heart for Israel. I used to work a lot with his stepfather — Sam Pisar — who was a Holocaust survivor and great lawyer in France. I’m sure Janet Yellen has a warm place in her heart for Israel. It’s a mixed picture.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Polls show that more Republicans support Israel than Democrats. But there’s widespread support for Israel among Democrats as well — older Democrats more than younger Democrats. Young Democrats have been propagandized against Israel by the academic hard-Left. But we’re fighting back. I’ve written eight books about Israel, and I hope I’ve had an impact on changing some minds. People haven written to me and told me it helped change their minds.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I’m just not getting this point. Progressives are for all sorts of tolerance when it comes to gender and alternative lifestyles. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where women are treated equally. They’re not treated like grown children as they are in some Arab countries. Homosexuals are hanged on cranes in other Arab countries. Yet, the progressives still find a way to side with Israel’s enemies. Could you make sense of that for me?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: No, I can’t make sense of it for you. And I think it would be insulting to your intelligence and the intelligence of your readers, viewers and listeners to try to make sense of bigotry. You can’t make sense of the Ku Klux Klan. You can’t make sense of white supremacists. And you can’t make sense of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel bigots.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Listen to this fact: Israel was the first country in the history of the world to elect a woman to be its leader — who wasn’t related to a man who was previously its leader. That’s Golda Meir. She wasn’t related to anybody. She just made it on her own. She was the first prime minister of Israel. Indira Gandhi was related to the guy who replaced Gandhi.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: And all the other women who have been leaders of their countries have kind of been surrogates for their male-dominated leaders. Not Golda Meir. She was the first in history. In Israel, women have equal rights. Half of the Supreme Court is women. The Supreme Court contains Arabs, Muslims and secular and religious [people].
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: It’s the most diverse, interesting country. And yet, people don’t even want to go. They boycott Israel. They are afraid that if they see a vibrant democracy operating within the context of a nation-state of Jewish people with equal rights for all of its citizens, maybe they’ll change their minds. But then they’ll be thrown out of the progressive movement.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: If you want to be [part of] the progressive movement, you have to be anti-Israel. And the progressive movement has become regressive. It’s become McCarthyite in its tactics, and it cancels Zionists. Anybody who’s seen as supportive of Israel gets canceled. You can’t be supportive of Israel and be part of the progressive movement. That’s just wrong.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: When Israel was first established, it had the support of the Left, Communist parties and the Soviet Union. Suddenly, when it showed that it was a powerful country and won the Six-Day War in 1967, the Left turned against it.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: The Left loves victims. It would turn back to Israel if it were weak, vacillating, victimized, lost, defeated and Iran attacked it with a nuclear weapon. Then, you’d see the Left show sympathy. Israel is not going to do that. Jews are never going back to a position where they’re victims.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Let me ask you something about that. Out of the 193 countries in the UN— currently thereabouts — the only member-state that’s threatened with complete destruction is Israel. And it’s from Iran. Is any other state or country that’s threatened with destruction in the UN? Maybe I’m missing something.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: No. Iran’s liberal president — Rafsanjani — said a few years ago: “If Iran develops a nuclear arsenal and drops a bomb on Tel Aviv, that’s the end of Israel.” Because Israel is a “one-bomb state.” And if Israel were to retaliate, drop bombs on Tehran and kill 20 million Muslims, he said that it would be worth it because Islam would survive with the loss. But the Jewish state would be ended forever by the dropping of one atomic bomb.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: So, Iran has sworn the destruction of Israel first and then the United States. Israel is the small Satan, and the United States is the big Satan. If Iran is ever permitted to develop nuclear weapons, there will be a war. Israel will never allow Iran to develop and deploy nuclear weapons. It’s been through one Holocaust. It will never allow a second Holocaust.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: So, the progressives and leftists are calling back the U.S. Government to get into negotiations with Iran over the nuclear treaty? Explain that to me.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I have no problem with negotiations, but they have to produce the end of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The Mossad stole Iran’s nuclear program a couple of years ago and presented it publicly — which produced the lie.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Remember, Iran said that it never wanted to develop nuclear weapons. These documents prove that it was always in the process of developing nuclear weapons — and it’s still in the process. It has now enriched to 60%, which is only a few percentages away from what you need for a nuclear bomb.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Anybody who doubts that Iran is on the road to developing nuclear weapons should look to North Korea — which also denied it. Now, North Korea is a nuclear-armed country, and we can’t negotiate with it. I don’t mind negotiations, but they have to lead to an absolute end to any possibility that Iran will ever develop a nuclear weapon.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: That’s not what the Obama administration did. It gave them a green light to develop nuclear weapons after about eight or nine years. That’s why the Trump administration pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal. We’ll probably go back, but I hope we go back to a different deal.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Warren Buffett said: “You can never make a good deal with a bad person.” Do you think there could ever be a deal with Iran?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I don’t think so — not a deal that anybody would expect Iran to listen to. You’d think we’d have learned from Chamberlain trying to make a deal with Hitler. Peace in our time? Right. As soon as they made the deal, the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia — and other countries. They started stronger in World War II than they would have been.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: That’s the problem. The Obama administration gave Iran billions of dollars, including bills — on an airplane — and euros, so they didn’t have to go through Congress to get approval. What do you think Iran used that money for? It didn’t use it to help its citizens. [Iran used it] to export terrorism all over the world and help develop a nuclear weapon. If we give Iran money and take away sanctions, the country will not respond by complying with the deal. I think every thoughtful person understands that.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: What was going through President Obama’s head? What was his reason for doing this? Why was he so misguided? Was he another Chamberlain?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Yes, and I wrote a piece for The Wall Street Journal calling him a Chamberlain — warning him. I knew Obama from the time he was a student. We were friends. He wrote me the most beautiful card from my 75th birthday. He invited me to the Oval Office. He invited me to the White House for the ceremony honoring Shimon Peres. He sat with me in the Oval Office and said: “Alan, you’ve known me for a long time. You know I mean it when I say I will never abandon Israel. I will always have Israel’s back.” What I didn’t know is that he’d have Israel’s back to paint a target on it.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: He then made a deal that endangered the very existence of Israel. Weeks before he left, in a parting attack on Israel — a revenge attack on Netanyahu — he didn’t veto a UN resolution that declared Israel’s holiest places — the Western Wall, the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem, the access roads to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Hadassah Medical Center to be flagrantly, illegally occupied territory.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: It was completely wrong as a matter of law and history. But he did it. And that broke my relationship with him. I terminated my personal relationship with Barack Obama over that deception. He looked me in the eye and got me to support him in the 2012 election. And then, he abandoned Israel the way he did.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: You’ve known this guy for a long time. What was his thought process? He’s not a stupid man. What was he thinking?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: No, he’s not. I think he was getting revenge on Netanyahu. He despised Netanyahu because he had the courage to stand up to him, go before the United States Congress and make a speech. I was there. I sat in the front row with Elie Wiesel — praising Netanyahu for his courage. He got standing ovations after standing ovations. That really upset Obama and set him off.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I think he’s very naive. Remember: Obama didn’t have a foreign policy. He had foreign principles. He had an approach, but his policies were very destructive. He was — in my view — one of the better domestic policy presidents in recent years and the worst foreign policy president in modern history.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: And you’re not that’s saying that lightly. You’re telling me he was worse than Jimmy Carter?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: As president, he was worse. Jimmy Carter became much worse after he left the presidency. But you have to give Jimmy Carter credit for the Camp David Accords. There’s nothing I can point to in the eight years of Barack Obama’s foreign policy that has left us stronger, better, and has strengthened democracies. I don’t believe that. I think he’s been the worst foreign policy president in modern history.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: You’re telling me that his whole approach towards Israel was based on personal revenge? It was that petty?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: No, I think his last refusal to veto the horrible anti-Israel resolution was based on that. I think the Iran deal was part of his naiveté. He was told by people in his administration — some of whom are now back in the Biden administration — that you can trust Iran. If they promised they’d do something, they’d do it. And there’s every evidence that that isn’t the case. Clearly, they had always [planned on] breaking the deal.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Doesn’t that scare you? Doesn’t it get you a little crazy when you hear what you’re saying? The same people who put this deal together are now back. You’re telling me that you know Biden, and he’s a supporter. Part of his administration is. But now you’re telling me that the same guys are back in control? I don’t know. That keeps me up at night.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: It’s very scary. It keeps me up at night, too. Two or three people who are back on the Iran desk and trying to get the deal done with Iran are the villains of the first Iran deal. And they want to vindicate themselves. I’m afraid that we will rush into — The New York Times had a big editorial by some “leading authority” in Iran who didn’t know what the heck he was talking about. He said we had to rush back into the deal. We had to do it now.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Otherwise, there’ll be a war. Otherwise, there’ll be an attack. We have to do it now. We have to get back quickly. It was a stupid op-ed. Of course, The New York Times only publishes one side of the story. It would never allow somebody else to write a piece that contradicted that [side]. It was dead wrong. And it gives the Iranians a lot of solace. They get a negotiating position when The New York Times supports giving them basically anything they want — and giving it to them quickly.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Are they not seeing the reality that the Abraham Accords — that President Trump put in place — bypass the whole Palestinian dispute? We were told for years that there could never be peace in the Middle East without solving Palestinian issues.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: They were wrong. You’re right. That’s why I nominated Jared Kushner for the Nobel Peace Prize. I think he disproved the Palestinian veto over the peace process and got at least three or four Sunni Arab countries to support peace with Israel without giving the Palestinians a veto.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Remember: The Palestinians’ veto has always meant it doesn’t even have something on the negotiating table. They’ll wait. They’ll get their say. They’ll get it through the UN. They’ll get through the BDS movement. They’ll get it through the squad. They’re not going to get a state unless they sit down and negotiate with the Israelis. And both sides will have to make painful compromises. That’s the nature of negotiating a deal.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Would it be fair to say that Palestinian leadership does not want a state at all?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I think there’s a lot of ambivalence there. The Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They could have had a state five times between 1938 and the present — and they always said no. They can’t take “yes” for an answer. Running a state is difficult. Becoming a terrorist and being oppositional is much easier. So, I think a lot of the Palestinian leadership would rather be the heroes of the UN, academia or the people who are being oppressed rather than have the responsibility of running its own state.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: That would be an Islamic state with Sharia law. It would discriminate against Jews and Christians. Look what’s happened all over the Middle East. Christians have been made to leave. Christians no longer live in Gaza. Christians no longer live in significant numbers in Lebanon. They’ve been chased out of Bethlehem — the home of Christianity. But Christians thrive in Nazareth. There are many Christian churches. Christians have equal rights in Israel but not in Muslim or Arab countries.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Didn’t the Biden Administration just give the Palestinians $200 million or more?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: They’re trying to. There’s an effort by some in Congress to slow it down. Look, you should not be paying the Palestinian Authority to implement its pay-for-slay policy. Right now, if you kill an American as a Palestinian did — a U.S. Officer named [Taylor] Force — the family pays.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: No American government should support that policy — which encourages terrorism against innocent civilians. So, I think there will be a lot of debate over whether the Palestinians should go back or get hundreds of millions of dollars if they stop their pay-for-slay program, the textbooks which demonize Jews and other things that are clearly against American policy.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Where did all that aid go to over the years — the billions of dollars that were given the Palestinians? Where did it go?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Well, we know where it went. First of all, it’s Yasser Arafat’s bank account. You know what the Palestinians call the Palestinian Authority?
CHARLES MIZRAHI: What’s that?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: It’s a kleptocracy. It’s a place where money is stolen. The money stays at the very top. It doesn’t filter down to the people, and it doesn’t make their lives any better. We know how much money Yasser Arafat’s family has managed to accumulate. A lot of it has come from American, UN or NGO support and aid. But the people have not benefited.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Do you see the Palestinian people saying: “Enough with this”? Or do they not have the strength or organization [to do so]?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I hope so. I think there are a lot of Palestinian people who are fed up with the fact that they’re getting nowhere. You don’t get a state by refusing to negotiate. I think we’ll see [what happens] in the next decade. Of course, Abbas is going to end his leadership position fairly soon. We’ll see what the new leadership is.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: If it’s Hamas, then it becomes hopeless for any kind of resolved, two-state solution. If it’s somebody who’s more pragmatic — somebody who is willing to sit down and make a hard deal — they’ll get a state. It won’t be the kind of state they want. It’ll be demilitarized. It won’t have an Army, Navy or Air Force. But that’s the nature of what happens when you attack a country for years and years.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: When we defeated Japan and Germany in World War II, we didn’t immediately allow them to have a military so they could continue to fight us. They were under occupation for quite a bit of time and had to prove their peaceful intentions. Only then were they allowed to build military forces.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: It must be so disheartening for the Palestinians who live in the territories now — Area A, B and C — and see Arab Israelis who are thriving and have more freedoms than they will ever have. In fact, [they have more than] any of the Muslim countries. They are in the startup nation, with GDP that’s soaring and new innovation and technology.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Now, they may be instrumental in deciding whether or not Netanyahu goes back in office. Each side is trying to make deals with the Palestinian Arab parties. So, they not only have economic, political and gender equality, but also political power. They have judges, justices and academics. There are no Arab people in the world who have more rights than those who live in Israel.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Right. That’s just reality. That’s a fact, right? That’s not subjective at all.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I don’t think anybody can dispute that. What people will say is that Israeli Arabs don’t have as many rights as Israeli Jews. In some respects, they have a point. Israeli Jews have the right of return. A Jew like me can move to Israel if I choose to, whereas the relative of a Palestinian who lives in the United States can’t automatically become a citizen of Israel. That’s true. But beyond that, there are equal rights within Israel itself.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I remember Menachem Begin, Israel’s former prime minister, said something to the effect of: “There are Christian countries. There are Muslim countries. Yet, the world can’t find it in its heart to have one Jewish country.”
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: That’s right. It’s a Jewish country only in the sense that it celebrates Jewish holidays and has a Jewish flag. But it’s Jewish in the same way that British is British and French is French. It has equal rights for non-Jews in Israel — in every respect. The Declaration of Independence and basic laws all provide equal rights. But it is a nation-state for the Jewish people. You can call it a Jewish state, but it’s not a Jewish state in the sense that Saudi Arabia is a Muslim state. It’s a Jewish state in the sense that England is an Anglican state — with equal rights for everybody.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I didn’t know that you nominated Jared Kushner for the Nobel Peace Prize. That’s astounding. I’m just trying to get my hands around this. How do you see this playing out? Do you see the Palestinians ever coming to the table and dropping their weapons? Do you see the Abraham Accords picking up steam and more Arab countries joining? Or, do you see a combination of the two?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I think it’s both. I think more Arab states will now join. Hopefully, the Saudis will [join]. They might have. I think they wanted to reserve that very big decision for the Biden administration rather doing it under an outgoing Trump administration.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I think we will see other Arab and Muslim states make some kind of peace with Israel. And then, the Palestinians will be squeezed. They’re not going to win a state by having Professor Noam Chomsky, the BDS movement or The New York Times support them. They’re going to need support from the international community. They’re going to need support from their own people. And they’re only going to get it if they compromise. Right now, they’re not prepared to compromise. That has to change.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Let’s talk about your new book: Cancel Culture: The Latest Attack on Free Speech and Due Process. I read some reviews on Amazon. The book is catching fire. People love it. It’s about the latest attack on free speech and due process. What made you write this book?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I myself was canceled. I was canceled because I defended President Trump in front of the United States Senate. I was canceled because I was falsely accused of having sex with a woman I’d never met. Fortunately, I was able to find emails that she was trying to suppress — and her lawyers were trying to hide — in which she admitted that she never met me and didn’t know me. I also found documents proving that her own lawyers didn’t believe her. If her own lawyers don’t believe her, why should anybody else?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I have a tape recording of her own major lawyer saying: “You couldn’t have been in the places she said you were. She’s wrong.” As a result of an accusation — that I disproved beyond any doubt — I was canceled. The 92nd Street Wire — where I’ve spoken for 25 years — cancelled me and said: “You can’t speak here anymore — even though we know you’re innocent — because you’ve been accused.” So, I wrote another book called Guilt by Accusation: The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo. When I get angry —
CHARLES MIZRAHI: You write a book.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: If I get upset, I just write a book. I’ve written those books. And I have another one coming out next week called: The Case Against the New Censorship: Protecting Free Speech from Big Tech, Progressives, and Universities. It looks at the new censors who are now trying to censor on the Left. Cancel culture has a list of everybody who’s been canceled.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: And remember: When they cancel a speaker, they also cancel the audience. They don’t let you listen to the speaker. That’s the worst part of it because the First Amendment contains two basic rights: the right of the speaker to speak and the right of the listener to listen. You have the right to do your podcast, but I have a right to listen to your podcast. If you’re stopped from doing your podcast, my rights are violated as well. That’s what’s wrong with cancel culture.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: You know that I say this with total respect: You’ve been around the block. You’ve seen 80 or more years on this Earth. You’ve seen McCarthyism. Is there any difference between what’s happening now with this cancel culture and McCarthyism? Do you see this as worse, the same or less?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I think it’s worse. Let me tell you why. McCarthyism was done by the government — for the most part. You can fight the government. You can take it to court. But when YouTube takes down a debate between me and Robert Kennedy about vaccinations, who do we go to? We can’t go to court because it’s not a government agency. YouTube is a private company. That’s what I focus on in my new book. They’re all private.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: That’s why it’s more dangerous — in some respects — than McCarthyism. But it’s comparable. I lived through McCarthyism. I was the student college president of Brooklyn College during McCarthyism. I fought against efforts by Brooklyn College to fire Communist professors — even though I hated Communism with a passion. I don’t only support people I agree with. I support people I disagree with as well.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: This climate you’re seeing here is worse than it was because the enemy’s around us?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: First of all, they’re good people. They’re our children. They’re our grandchildren, nephews, nieces, friends and cousins. During McCarthyism, there were bad people. We saw them. We understood who they were.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: But it’s much harder to fight against your nephew — who’s trying to cancel you — and good people who are anti-racist and anti-sexist. They have good values, but they don’t understand what goes on. It was Louis Brandeis who once said: “The greatest dangers lurk in people of goodwill — well-intentioned but without understanding.” That’s what we’re seeing with the new censorship.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: How do we have it — based on what you said? I’m feeling depressed while listening to you.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: It’s much harder because these are people who we can’t say that to. These are not drunken McCarthyites like McCarthy was. These are good people — university professors — who share many of our values against sexism, homophobia and racism. But they don’t understand the implications of censoring speech, press and information. So, we have a much harder fight to fight. I’m not pessimistic, though.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I think that in the end, the American people want to hear different points of view. That’s why they listen to your podcast. That’s why they listen to my podcast. They want diverse views. They know they’re not getting it from The New York Times and CNN today. So, they have to go to podcasts and other alternative information [sources].
CHARLES MIZRAHI: In your lifetime, have you ever seen such distrust of the media?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: No, I haven’t. Walter Cronkite couldn’t get a job on mainstream media today because he’s too honest, objective and neutral. We should distrust the media. Don’t believe anything you see on CNN. CNN distorts everything. It doctors tapes, edits people’s statements and makes you say what it wants you to say.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I’m suing CNN because it took a statement I made on the floor of the United States Senate, doctored it and took out the words “unlawful” and “illegal.” I said that a president can be impeached if he does something that’s unlawful and illegal, but not if he just tries to get himself elected.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: They took out the words “unlawful” and “illegal” and had their commentators say: “Dershowitz says that a president can’t be impeached even if he does something unlawful and illegal.” So, I’m suing them to hold them accountable. I’ve learned that you just can’t believe anything you hear on CNN.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: So, how do we turn the tide on this? You telling me it’s my kids, grandkids, nephews and people that we know — who we sit down to dinner with.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: It turns by people like you promoting these values on podcasts and getting to people one, 10, 10,000 or 100,000 at a time. It’s going to be a slow process. Thankfully, the media allows for dissenting voices, such as the ones that you present on your show. I think you’re the answer. That’s why I like to go on podcasts like yours. I get to people who won’t hear my statements on CNN or in The New York Times.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I used to write more op-eds for The New York Times than probably any academic or lawyer in history. I was its most frequent contributor. Today, The New York Times won’t publish anything by me because I supported President Trump in the Senate. I didn’t vote for President Trump. I voted for Biden and Clinton. But because I defended President Trump, I’ve now been canceled by The New York Times and by other left-wing media.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: So, all of your credentials, knowledge and experience just evaporates in a heartbeat in this cancel culture? That’s why you feel these books and everything you’re doing are going to turn the tide?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: That’s the only way I know how to fight back. I don’t believe in censorship. I believe in getting into the marketplace of ideas, writing a better book or op-ed and making a better statement on a podcast like this. That’s the way I respond to censorship and cancel culture. It’s the only way I know. I think that in the end, it will succeed.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Wow. You’re 82 years young?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Yeah, 82.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Well, I hope to have half the amount of energy and insight that you have. It’s absolutely astounding. I want to tell you: As depressed as I feel about what you’re saying, I do feel optimistic because of guys like you.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: In Israel, they say that a pessimist is somebody who says: “Things are so bad. They can’t get any worse.” And an optimist says: “Yes, they can get worse!” So, I’m both a pessimist and an optimist. I think things can get worse. But I do believe Martin Luther King when he said: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I think Americans will come to their senses and realize that they’re being manipulated by the press, hard-Left and those who censor. And [they’ll realize] that our basic, most fundamental right of free speech and the exchange of ideas is more important than any particular political result.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I really, really hope so. I’m going to ask one last thing because you were in academia for a long while. How did we lose the war at the campuses of America — where we turned good college kids into leftists and progressives? Where did we go wrong on that?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: First of all, we haven’t lost the war. It’s a war that’s very much being fought on college campuses. Some of the bravest people are young, conservative Zionists, Christians and Libertarians. They’re supporters of free speech. So, it’s not a fight that has been lost.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: But what happened is that professors started using their classrooms as propaganda platforms. After 50 years of teaching at Harvard, I never expressed a personal view in the classroom. My job was not to teach the students what to think, but how to think. I always took the devil’s advocate point of view. I always expressed views different from the majority — just to get the conversation going and get students to think for themselves. I think that’s the goal of education. We have to get back to that.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: My kids went to Brooklyn College. They told me that in the past seven to 10 years, the professors used their classes as bully whips and pulpits — where they basically spewed whatever they wanted to against Trump, Republicans and conservative values.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: And against Israel. Let me give you an example. I may be bragging, but I am probably among the most distinguished graduates of Brooklyn College. I’m certainly among the most distinguished graduates of their political science department. The political science department will not allow me to speak. They will not invite me to speak.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: They will invite Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky and anybody who has anti-Israel advocacy. They can speak at Brooklyn College. But if you dare to support Israel, don’t expect to be invited to Brooklyn College. I graduated with great honors and was present of the student body. I was the head of the debate team. No. I’m not good enough for Brooklyn College anymore because I’ve been canceled due to my views on Israel and defending Trump.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: That’s what’s happened to Brooklyn College. My archives are in Brooklyn College. All of my history is in the library at Brooklyn College. I hope there will come a time when it’ll change. I was at Brooklyn College when it went through McCarthyism. Now, it’s going through left-wing McCarthyism. Let’s hope they get back to a situation where all points of view can be presented.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: I asked my kids: “What did you do when you heard something that you disagreed with [in class]?” And they just said: “You stayed silent.” They said it’s just wasn’t worth it. The classmates would shut them down. And then the professor would give you a bad mark on a test or final grade. I said: “You’ve got to be joking.” And they said: “No.”
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Students today are being suspended. Suspended! A town manager in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota was fired because he had the gall to say that Kim Potter — the officer who shot Dante Wright — was entitled to due process. The manager was fired as a result of saying that Kim Potter was entitled to due process.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: That’s what’s happening with students today. Students get up and say: “I understand that it’s terrible when an innocent Black person is shot by a policeman. But you have to understand that policemen are under pressure.” They would get suspended from school for saying that!
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: You just can’t express opposing points of view in the classroom today. There’s something very wrong with that because once they get into the real world, they’ll hear opposing points of view. They may as well get to hear them in the classroom so they can learn how to respond before they get out into the real world.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Absolutely. Alan, give me a final word. Give me a takeaway that will make me a little happier.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: We had these fights before — right after the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights were enacted. We had the Alien and Sedition Act in 1797 or 1798. We overcame that. We overcame McCarthyism. We will overcome this new form of left-wing McCarthyism. Just keep the faith, and understand the enduring values of our Constitution.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Keep writing books. God should bless you with another 40 to 50 years to keep writing books and getting out there. You’re a voice of reason in a sea of distortion and lies. It’s just absolutely astounding.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I appreciate it. Thank you. Keep educating the public through your podcast.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Alan Dershowitz, thank you so much. You’ve not only made my day but really my month. I’m so glad you’ve been on the show, and best of health and luck to you in everything you do. Thanks so much.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Thank you so much. Be well. Bye.
CHARLES MIZRAHI: Thanks for listening to this episode of The Charles Mizrahi Show. If you’re a new listener, welcome! If you’ve been listening for a while, we’re glad to have you back. Either way, we’d love to know what you think of the show. Please leave a review if you listen on Apple Podcasts. Reviews make it easier for others to find the show. You can also see the video of the interview on The Charles Mizrahi Show channel on YouTube.
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