“Have You No Sense of Decency,” Mr. Dershowitz?

By Nicholas Urie


The publication of Alan Dershowitz’s latest article, A Victory Over Bigotry at Friends Seminary, from The Algemeiner on February 2 has me frothing with confusion once again over the charge that New York’s Quaker Friends Seminary is a harbor of anti-Semitism and bigotry. This time, the article is dedicated to Dershowitz’s conquest of the school, a kind of published victory lap reminding everyone of the undeniable power of ‘The Dersh.’

My confusion comes from the sheer amount of spin and misinformation present in all of Mr. Dershowitz’s writings on the concert at the Quaker Meetinghouse. As someone intimately involved in the production of the concert, I just don’t quite know What Dershowitz is getting on about and why the school is in the middle. It seems like the Dershiverse is capable of bending any fact into a tool to manipulate and injure the Friends Seminary.

Reading Mr. Dershowitz’s piece I was reminded that I have a major problem with the way we do things in this country. I have a problem with the rhetoric. I have a problem with the media and those who manipulate it for their own gain. Mitt Romney bugs me. I’m annoyed by Newt and his brand of politics. Sarah Palin gives me acid reflux and I think Santorum deserves his Google Problem. All this being said, I have a real problem with people like Alan Dershowitz. In fact, I have a problem with Alan Dershowitz. Personally.

Mr. Dershowitz uses cultural taboos to bully and shame people he doesn’t agree with. Charges of bigotry and anti-Semitism against his philosophical and political opponents are so common that R.J. Eskwo said in the Huffington Post that, “Dershowitz hands out accusations of bigotry like a clown hands out balloons at a birthday party.” (read: Guess What? Alan Dershowitz Thinks You’re a Bigot!).

Frankly, Alan dershowitz is a man of no moral grounding who will smear anyone in the most vile and politically expedient way possible in order to achieve his goal, which is unchanging. It has become plainly clear to me through this whole boondoggle at Friends Seminary that the glorification of Alan Dershowitz and his personal causes is reason enough to do or say anything - his flexibility in this arena is Romneyian, to say the least.

All of this comes down to one unavoidable realization. It explains everything. Alan Dershowitz is a neo-McCarthyite. Really, he is. It is a strange comparison to make, I admit, but it is one that must be made. I was reminded by a friend involved in the Atzmon MLK concert of Joseph Welch’s blistering condemnation of Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy Hearings. The invocation of McCarthy got me thinking about Dershowitz’s ghoulish din. The connection between Senator McCarthy’s tactics and those employed by Dershowitz in the Atzmon fiasco with Friends Seminary can’t be missed. You can read the full list of charges in my last two comments on the debacle, Alan Dershowitz, an Amoral and Impotent Dwarf and, Wall St. Journal Ignores Dershowitz’s History of Attacks in, “School Hits Sour Note.” Dershowitz’s cause is Israel, not communism, but the zeal in which he employs his McCarthyian tactics is at least on par with the late Senator.

McCarthyism can be broadly defined as a hysterical practice of publicizing (often groundless) accusations of political dissent with little regard to evidence, and the use of unfair investigatory methods in order to stifle free thought and inquiry. Senator McCarthy was a man who was unbound by conventional morality. I think in McCarthy’s eyes, his cause was a higher one, who’s ends always justified the means. Mr. Welch bravely said to Senator McCarthy, ”Senator, may we not drop this? … You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” I think Mr. Dershowitz has left himself no sense of decency as his behavior continually demonstrates. He should apologize to The Friends Seminary and the parents, teachers, and students that have been negatively affected by his untruths in the press. Sadly, he is without shame, so my call for his apology will go unfulfilled. The late Christopher Hitchens had a great line he used to commemorate the death of Jerry Falwell that I think would apply to Mr. Dershowitz equally. Hitch said that, ‘If you gave [Jerry] Falwell an enema, he could be buried in a matchbox.’ Indeed.