Dershowitz vs. Tenured Extremists

One individual who is extremely effective in upsetting the academic radical Left is Professor Alan Dershowitz from Harvard University.  Dershowitz, “Dersh,” has long been the nemesis of the far Left, especially academic radicals.  They like to blame him (falsely) for the firing of Norman Finkelstein from DePaul University.  [Actually DePaul fired Finkelstein because he had never published a single academic publication.]  And Dersh’s defense of America and of Israel drives them to conniptions.  But it are not only radical Americans professors who find Dershowitz enraging.

Without warning, academic freedom of speech has become the leading topic of discussion in Israel.  The local newspapers and TV shows are filled with debates about “censorship” in academic institutions. Suddenly, everyone in Israel can see the anti-democratic nature of Israel’s academic fifth column.  And Israel owes Prof. Alan Dershowitz a debt of gratitude for exposing the damages of Israel’s anti-Israel academic far Left, the academic copperheads who support the enemies of their country in a time of war.

Receiving an honorary doctoral degree at Tel Aviv University just recently, Dershowitz gave a dramatic and eloquent speech denouncing the anti-Israel Israeli Left dominating if many universities across the nation nowadays. The entire speech can be read here. Tel Aviv University is arguably the worst den of tenured extremists and academic communists in Israel.

In the speech, Dershowitz defended the rights of extremist academics to exercise freedom of speech, or – in his words – the right to be wrong.  But he also defended the rights of others to denounce and criticize them, something the Israeli semi-fascist Far Left has been attempting to suppress and prohibit.  Dersh explained that it is misleading when such people whine about being denounced.  Sure, they claim they are only engaging in “criticism” of Israel. But to the contrary, Dershowitz described how these people are engaging in treason, delegitimizing Israel itself, calling for world boycotts of Israel and calling for it’s annihilation. They even go so far as to organize boycott campaigns against their own country and their own universities with foreign anti-Semites. Dersh named several Tel Aviv University anti-Israel extremists, including some in Boston that day attempting to organize a boycott of Israel’s engineering university, the Technion, for being a “war machine.”

Dershowitz then denounced the Tel Aviv University Stalinist professor Shlomo Sand, who is really an expert on the French cinema, for writing a shocking propaganda book.  In it Sand claims not only that Israel has no right to exist, but that there is actually no such thing as a Jewish people.  Dershowitz proceeded to denounce far-leftist McCarthyists for insisting that freedom of speech belongs only to people who agree with them.  He denounced far-leftist professors at Israeli universities who harass and persecute students who dare to disagree with the leftist propaganda being force-fed them, comparing their behavior to those who sexually harass students.  He denounced the in-classroom indoctrination conducted by leftist Israeli academics.  He insisted that students too are entitled to academic freedom, and that includes the right to disagree with the indoctrination by radical leftist professors.

The Tel Aviv University audience listening to Dershowitz repeatedly interrupted him with loud applause.  But the members of the tenured Left squirmed in their seats.  It did not take them long to open fire in retaliation.

Within days, a group of Tel Aviv University professors denounced Dershowitz and challenged his right to the freedom of speech and to criticize them.  A petition of anti-Israel radicals and a few fellow travelers who teach at Tel Aviv University was collected (a handful of the signatories are not identified with the ultra-Left), and it was published on a pro-terror, radically anti-Israel, far-leftist website.   Since then the web has been crawling with anti-Dershowitz smears on countless blogs.

Those 46 Tel Aviv University faculty members signed the petition denouncing Dershowitz for mentioning by name two of TAU’s most radical anti-Israel academics and their seditious boycott-Israel activities:  Rachel Giora and Anat Matar.  How dare Dershowitz mention TAU academics by name, the petition shrieks and moans.

By name, you say?  The very same Anat Matar collected and distributed photo and personal information about an Israeli army officer, with the banner headline “War Criminal” and “Murderer,” in a poorly disguised call for the officer to be harmed.   The Israeli Attorney General is now investigating Matar for this (she has been arrested before for her violent behavior in anti-Israel protests.)

And let us take a better look at just who these 46 great “defenders of academic freedom and freedom of speech” are, these people who denounce Dershowitz because he dares to exercise his own freedom of speech.

Among the signers of the petition, claiming that Dershowitz’s words “remind them of the darkest regimes in human history” when he criticizes anti-Israel extremists, are:

Prof. Chaim Gans of TAU law school, a far-leftist anti-democratic extremist who organized a petition demanding that an IDF woman colonel be prevented from teaching a course in the school because he did not like her opinions.  See this.

Prof. Gadi Algazi, a Marxist historian at TAU who recently led a march of Arabs supporting Hezb’Allah terror – see this.

Prof. Uri Hadar, a psychology professor, who recently organized a conference at TAU to support the Hamas and Hezb’Allah.  See this.

Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal, an educational psychologist and an anti-Zionist Marxist extremist, who produces anti-Jewish propaganda for the UN and thinks Zionism is the obstacle to peace.  See this.

Dr. Gerardo Leibner, who teaches history, a communist and anti-Zionist agitator. See this.

Dr. Orly Lubin, literature lecturer and anti-Israel propagandist.  See this.

Prof. Adi Ophir, an extremist philosophy professor, who recently led the “Israel Apartheid Week” pogrom in the UK.  See this.

Prof. Anat Biletzki, philosophy professor, a leader in the Boycott Israel movement. See this.

Prof. Moshe Zuckerman, history professor, anti-Israel extremist.  See this.

Judd Ne’eman, a rabidly anti-Israel film professor.  See this.

In addition, the two professors who organized the violent protests at TAU a few years back against the opening of a synagogue on the campus (but have no problem with a mosque) are on the list.

The stories about censorship filling the Israeli newspapers also concern the censorship of the governors of Tel Aviv University by the new president of the University, Prof. Joseph Klafter.  He refused to “allow” the Governors of his own university to take a vote in their own plenary session.  In part inspired by Dershowitz’s speech, those Governors sought to condemn Tel Aviv University’s anti-Israel academic extremists and tenured traitors.  In response to the censorship by Klafter, one leading Governor and donor to the university has resigned from the Board. He is likely to be followed by others.  Under the “constitution” of Tel Aviv University, the Board of Governors is supposed to be the supreme power in control of the university, with the president subordinate to it.  But that is obviously not how the institution is run.

Meanwhile the radical progressive psychology professor Carlo Strenger has taken it upon himself to act as Klafter’s button man. Strenger has a long track record of promoting the far leftist agenda and is on record opposing freedom of speech for non-leftists because its exercise by non-leftists constitutes McCarthyism and “incitement.”   (For years, Israeli leftists have used the term “incitement” to refer to any opinion with which they disagree.)  Strenger attacked Tel Aviv University Governors in the Israeli media for their attempt at criticizing the school’s tenured extremists.  He also accused the Governors of lying, something that no doubt will now cost the university in terms of its ability to raise funds.

While writing a toady defense of the worst radicals at Tel Aviv University, including the notorious anti-Semite Sand, Strenger badmouthed Dershowitz and the Governors.  He denied that Sand’s “book” is anti-Israel or anti-Semitic at all, insisting it is nothing more than a call for peace.  Actually Sand’s “Invention of the Jewish People” book carries crackpot themes generally to be found on Neo-Nazi websites about how today’s Jews are imposters and converted “Khazars.”  Naturally, Strenger also denied that any TAU professors ever indoctrinate students or harass non-leftist students.  He found that “only” 140 students at Tel Aviv University have filed complaints about being harassed when they disagree with leftist faculty members.  And that is just a tiny proportion of the entire student body, insists Strenger.

Strenger claims that the media misunderstood what Dershowitz said in his speech, and that Dersh’s comments about bullying professors from the Left were actually referring to professors in the US and not to any at TAU.  That should give Dershowitz a good laugh.  Whether Klafter is behind Strenger’s trashing of the TAU governors and toady piece is unclear.

Klafter and Strenger have also been joined by Prof. Galia Golan, an extremist professor of “Government, Diplomacy and Strategy.”  She was among the founders of the leftist protest group “Peace Now,” which seeks Israeli capitulation to Arab demands.  Writing on the YNET news site, Golan denounced those who dare to criticize the academic far Left.   She repeated the familiar McCarthyist charges – that the exercise of freedom of speech by critics of the Left produces violence and so must be suppressed.  A bit amusingly, she accused those who criticize the Left of being “rich.” (If only that were so.) She singled out an Israeli Zionist student organization, Im Tirtzu, for condemnation because it dares to criticize far-leftist NGOs and professors.

Golan writes:

“It is not clear just what is behind the present attack on Israeli civil society and academia.  Is it simply a misguided campaign by a small, inconsequential (but rich) minority on the extreme right?  Is it the lashing out of a weak government responding to outside pressure and criticism?  Or, is it, more likely, the expression of an ideology now in power – that of the right-wing, the Likud and its supporters? …The Knesset (parliament) committee called upon the Council for Higher Education to take the report of Im Tirzu and investigate what Committee Chair Zvulun Orlev called ”subversive and anti-Zionist.”  These (and more) are not isolated items. They add up to a policy, a campaign designed to cripple civil society, stifle criticism and eliminate opposition. They endanger the very essence of liberal democracy and of a free society, namely pluralism – of thought, deed, and expression.”

Israel’s tenured Left is displaying growing hysteria.  It is being targeted, monitored and exposed by watchdog groups, similar to the Campus Watch group that operates in the US.  Campus Watch is also commonly denounced in hysterical terms as “McCarthyist” by the McCarthyist Left.  The main group in Israel exposing the extremists is Isracampus.  A second watchdog is NGO-Monitor, which exposes the political bias and extremist agendas in anti-Israel Non-Government Organizations.  Israeli leftist professors, led by TAU’s Daniel Bar-Tal and Ben Gurion University’s David Newman, have repeatedly issued calls for the suppression of these groups, supposedly in the name of freedom of speech and democracy.

The hysterical reactions by people like Golan and the tenured signers of the anti-Dershowitz petition show how effective these watchdog groups are in exposing the seditious activities of Israel’s academic fifth column.  Today, those who expose and monitor the seditious Left are the real guardians of Israeli democracy.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    It is just so unbelievable that in the name of freedom Israeli teachers would harm
    their own country and espouse the teachings of Marx and Lenin and Yasser Arafat.
    Are we to believe that right and wrong have no place in life today and that anyone
    may say incendiary and subversive lies without being held accountable in Israel?
    Dr. Dershowitz is a power above the evil cancer in your University, the physician
    that diagnoses and points out the tumor, what are you going to do with it? From my
    perspective which is almost one of shocked disbelief a radical excising of the
    malignancy is proper, moral and necessary for your survival…………….William

  • Robbins Mitchell

    Being somewhere to the right of Cardinal Richelieu myself,I must confess that Dersh has caused me to grit my teeth from time to time with his liberalish positions on certain matters…having said that,the notion that he has no right to free speech or to criticize Israeli academics is laughably naive on his face…as is the petition being circulated by them that makes such a preposterous claim…he clearly does have that right and exercised it beautifully at his lecture….talk about trying to close the barn door after the hoss has run off…frankly,I can't help but wonder where people like that get off calling themselves "academics",since their behavior demonstrates that their actions personify the very antithesis of what I understand to be free academic inquiry….sort of like the reactionary leftists in the US who call themselves "progressives"….but if nothing else,Dersh's speech there served to separate the sheep from the goats once and for all….and for that he is to be commended.

  • John K. Wilson

    There are a lot of dubious claims made in this article, but this one is clearly false: "[Actually DePaul fired Finkelstein because he had never published a single academic publication.]" This is doubly untrue. First, Finkelstein does have academic publications. Second, DePaul did not fire Finkelstein for a lack of publications. They denied him tenure for lacking "Vincentian" values–that is, for being rude to scholars such as Dershowitz in his academic writing, an excuse that even conservatives should be appalled by. Then they banned him from teaching in his terminal year for reasons that remain mysterious.

    • Stern

      John, way to prove Plaut's point. You cite half truths in defense of your argument, making it seem that Finkelstein was some kind of benign genius who simply was a little rude in commenting about his critics. Of course, you left this out – and I quote from a letter to DePaul's Board on Tenure and Promotion: "In agreement with the minority report, I find the personal attacks in many of Dr. Finkelstein's published books to border on character assassination and, in my opinion, they embody a strategy clearly aimed at destroying the reputation of many who oppose his views. I find this to be an unfortunate characteristic of his scholarship – one that threatens some basic tenets of discourse within an academic community – to conduct inquiry with civility and without undue or unnecessary personal injury or attack."

    • jenny

      Wrong, wilson. You cannot name a single academic publication because he has none. Not a single one. As for "Vincentian values," that was DePaul's polite euphemistic way to say Finkelstein is a little Neo-Nazi hatemonger and Jew-baiter.

      • William Smart

        Norman Finkelstein is hated for taking apart the incredibly shoddy "The Case for Israel" by the very same Dershowitz and a second book "From Time Immemorial" by Joan Peters, each as bad in their different ways as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

        But more than that, Finkelstein is hated for "The Holocaust Industry", arguing that "The Holocaust" was moved to the center stage of American life after the June 1967 war to immunize Israel from criticism, and that the Holocaust industry engaged in a "double shakedown" of both European countries and actual Jewish victims of Nazi persecution.

        Naturally, if these charges weren't true, then it would not be a problem. Finkelstein's work leaves very little room for doubt that they are true.

        • Stern

          Smart, once again you prove that you are the bearer of the world's biggest misnomer. If you're willing to believe the absolute BS that finkelstein writes (lower case deliberate), then you are anything but smart. You are a useful idiot and a bigot. Moreover, calling "the Case for Israel" shoddy is another easy comment, not born out by the truth. Dershowitz has the temerity to tell the truth, and you and your fellow finks can't stand that.

  • PW Virginia

    Keep up the pressure on these "leftists"…their obvious hysterical responses are proof that they can't handle debate and will try to shout down their opponents…Thank you Mr Dershowitz for taking the struggle against these neo-Stalinists into their home turf, you will never see the left stand on the power of their arguments in a location not supportive of them.

  • Erastus CoupeDeVille

    As to the profundity of Alan's ("The Dersh") opinions… just do a google search for two words… "lawyer joke".

    • Stern

      Clearly, Erastus, all you've ever read are leftist "criticisms" of Dershowitz. If you bothered to read something like his "Case for Israel", you might be surprised to discover that the man speaks the truth.

  • Abraham

    The "left" will do anything they can to censor any viewpoint that is not in agreement with their point of view. Freedom of speech and opinion only exist for the left.

    • DP111

      Freedom of speech and opinion only exist for the left.

      Freedom of speech and opinion only exist for the left and Islamists.

    • Liberallyproud

      That is not true to any degree. However, I remember the days of George Bush when NO ONE was allowed to enter the room unless they were pre-screened knee jerk apostles of his ideas. We are and always have been open to intelligent and realistic ideas from ALL fronts. But stupidity in any form is still stupidity and rigid fundamentalism from Jews is no prettier than Christian Fundamentalism or Muslim Fundamentalism, especially when it becomes violent. The killing and isolating of the Palestinians is just as serious an affront to Jewish people of conscience than it is to the rest of the world. I would also offer the first Tea Baggers as PERFECT examples of shouting down anyone who didn't agree with their views, including women in wheelchairs and 11 year old children.

  • LIbby

    Hmmmm….. I wonder if tenure protects a professor from charges of treason? Can a professor lose tenure if convicted of treason?

  • jenny

    Want to know why Finkelstein was fired by DePaul? Just read this and you will know:

    Finkelstein is a juvenile sewer rat.

  • jenny

    Here is the address again

    or just go to and see the 4th item down his page

  • Patrick

    It's alarming to see others, besides our American left, that are full of self-hatred and who jump at the chance to give aid and comfort to the enemies of the state. What is it about these people that they would sucker up to people who want them dead and attack those who dare to oppose them.
    Good work, Mr. Dershowitz. Please continue to speak out and expose these " academics " for the frauds that they are.

    • Liberallyproud

      Is there anyone who is a bigger enemy of the state than Dick Cheney? Torture? Lies to take us into an illegal war, waiving the very safety valve that would have prevented the oil rig disaster to save his buddies $500K? What about outing a CIA operative, or giving huge tax breaks to Big Oil while everyone in the country was paying up to $5 per gallon of gas and struggling to make ends meet. Or giving his Halliburton KBR buds no bid contracts and whose work ended up electrocuting/killing our soldiers in Iraq while they took their showers? The coward who got 5 deferrments to keep his lilly livered a** out of Vietnam but he sent OUR kids to get killed with faulty equipment? Yeah, I'd consider Cheney #1 ENEMY of the STATE! He should be in prison!

  • rich b

    I'll never understand Dershowitz and his dualism. He stands out among academics and legal minds for his stron support of Israel and free speech.

    OTOH – one would think that after all of the years and his support of many leftist causes the hypocrasy and group think of the far-left would give him a nasty case of OCD and leave him in the shower trying to wash off the stink.

    • PW Virginia

      progressive is not leftist…progressives care about workers rights, environment, health care,etc…leftist are care about destroying the west and its culture…they are nothing more than neo-Stalinists…one can bring a conservative view to these progressive issues or a liberal view…The right wants to tar progressives with the "leftist" label and Leftists want to dupe the progressive into believing that they have common cause…That brings us to Mr. Dershowitz, who like many American Jews is progressive and supports the USA and Israel and any other westernized democracy..I ask you and others to think on this as we are dealing with propaganda, its uses and tactics…

  • davidka

    Having gone to school at U.C. Santa Cruz in the early 1970's and U.C. Berkeley in the mid-80's, I was disgusted by the Left's monopoly on faculty members and discourse. These places are as close as an American can come to living in a Stalinist environment where only one view is allowed. At most U.S. universities now, it is almost impossible to get hired or get tenure if you are openly conservative, and even more difficult if you are pro-Israel. Whole fields of study are politicized.

    How amazing that the Israeli universities, of all places, are worse. Can't Israel throw off the suffocating monopoly of Leftist stupidity and hate before it ruins the country?

    • Liberallyproud

      Here's the biggest difference between the Left and the Right: Left = Progressive thinking and open mindedness – Right = Regressive thinking and bullying people to their way of thinking. Thank God most of the Right is over 60 and dwindling.

      • Gábor Fränkl

        You are probably – almost certainly – just simply insane.

  • michael

    It's a bit much to say Shlomo Sand is guilty of treason when he was one of the veterans of the battle of Jerusalem in the 67 war. I don't think his accusers have ever put their lives on the line for Israel.

    • ibn khaldun

      The murderer of Fort Hood also served his country in the military. SO what.

      • Democracy First

        Excellent point.

  • Anna Sazie

    The leftist movement is very peculiar. I find it inhabited by middle school aging creatures. I still hear them saying "Everybody says I don't look Jewish." "I grew up among gentiles." "My family is not the least Kikey". "We joined the country club when they admitted African-Americans."

    They were traitors in the eighth grade. They were not accepted even by the nerds, geeks, bloops, or shlemiels. We have problems with the billion and a half Muslims, but we certainly should know how to handle these misfits by now.

  • lancethruster

    Looking at either Plaut's Or "Dersh's" assertions is like seeing 50lbs of BS stuffed into a 5lb bag.

  • Steve Chavez

    Isn't it strange that when COMMUNISTS/LEFTISTS/LIBERALS/DUPES are being exposed to the light of day, they hide behind the one person they hate the most?: JOSEPH MCCARTHY!

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Joseph McCarthy was appreciated by many thoughtful American conservatives…..

  • Sasha

    If Israelis denonce Israel, why are they still in the country, they don't want to live in?
    I think they have to be given options. to stop idiocity or look for citizentry in the
    country thay love in Saudi Arabia or Syria or any other.

    • DP111

      If Israelis denounce Israel, why are they still in the country, they don't want to live in?


      1. They would not be allowed in any Islamic country

      2. If they were, their throats would be slit, and their bodies dragged through the streets

      These academics are like spoilt little children rebelling against their parents, but knowing, that no matter how badly they behave, their parents love them, and will never make them pay for their foolishness.

      But even the most spoilt of children realize when the family is under threat, and quickly give up their foolishness, and rally to the side of the family. Family is family.

      Its time these academics realize that they are not children, and Israel is under a grave threat.

  • MullahAssassin

    There's something really perverse about self-hating jews.

  • To the ignorant

    Sasha you are sooooooo right!!!!!!!!!!
    It was different when I grow up in Israel!
    The country came first!
    We understood we are jewish and have no other place in the world.
    These so called "academian's" are idiots and commit treason against Israel every time they open their mouth.
    They should just be kicked out of the university and the country.
    Freedom of speech does not include supporting and providing comfort to the enemy of your country!!!!!!!!!!!

  • GFW

    Oh please! Mr. Dershowitz has been a key enabler of the radical left through his knee-jerk support of the Democratic Party. He has a long way to go IMO before he atones for the mischief he has made in support of that dismal enterprise.

    I am encouraged though that the scales seem to be falling from his eyes. Mr. Dershowitz is undeniably brilliant and would make a powerful friend for truth if he can leave his philadelphia lawyer tendencies behind.