Two decades ago I found Alan Dershowitz to be a most stunning personality. His take on the law, which he often presented in television interviews, was insightful and allowed for non-lawyers to gain access to how the law should be viewed and applied in our national debates. But then he started to move towards illiberal democracy–not only in the United States but also doubling down and condoning it in Israel. Over the past year he has taken a deep dive into truly troubling and indefensible territory with his hand-holding of Donald Trump.
This has not only turned me away from watching him on television, but as reported from Martha’s Vineyard, has made for some very public rebukes about his troubling views. Rebukes, which Dershowitz deserves. He now has gone public about being shunned. Perhaps it is time that Dershowitz just plan to take his vacations at Trump Towers where he can be with his pals and not need to face those who value democracy.
While I love contrary opinions, as that then allows for a fun conversation,. there are lines which can not be crossed. Especially when our republic is at stake. Undermining the rule of law in the nation is one such line which we must not allow. Alan Dershowitz must realize that too.
For years, former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz and some of his high-profile pals have spent summer afternoons opining on the porch at the Chilmark General Store on Martha’s Vineyard.
Not this summer, and maybe never again. As a result of Dershowitz’s vocal opposition to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate President Trump’s ties to Russia, the coffee klatch has turned combative. In recent days, the clique has been exchanging bitter e-mails that lay bare the anger over Dershowitz’s seeming support for the president, which is a no-no on the Vineyard, a liberal enclave that has great antipathy for Trump.
Responding to an op-ed Dershowitz wrote for The Hill, in which he complained that his island friends were “shunning” him because of his relationship with the president, Walter Teller, a prominent Los Angeles entertainment lawyer and longtime Vineyard resident, sent Dershowitz and others in their circle an e-mail explaining the sudden estrangement.
The politically charged missive didn’t pull any punches. Teller, whose wife is director Claudia Weill, said Dershowitz had embarrassed himself by so often appearing on television to strenuously oppose the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel.
“You thereby gave Trump an opportunity to use you and your positions in his own defense, to wave you like his pom-pom. How unfortunate for all of us,” wrote Teller, a partner in a Beverly Hills law firm. “You defended and gave cover to this president who relentlessly disrupts and destroys all that we value and causes massive and lasting damage to our political system, our courts, our standing in the world, the environment and more. In all of that you are complicit.”
Teller’s e-mail, shared with the Globe by one of the many island residents to whom it was forwarded, also attacked Dershowitz personally, saying he has a quenchless appetite “to be in the public eye, to have a seat at the table, even if the table is at Fox News, Mar-a-Lago, the White House, with Bibi (Netanyahu).”
“You proudly announce where you have dined and with whom, going so far as to send out pictures of the menu of your meal with Trump at the White House,” Teller wrote. “And then you complain publicly when you are not invited to dinner.”