Alan Dershowitz, the noted academic and lawyer, is no stranger to controversy. He has been arguing on for the right to advocate unpopular opinions for several decades, including, as far back as the 1950s, a public defense of communists’ right to speak at Brooklyn College.
Now he is in the crosshairs of political liberals after he publicly questioned the legitimacy of the federal investigation into Donald Trump. Progressives are deeply unhappy with his decision to criticize the investigation; many of his friends, he has said, have turned their backs on him because of it. And his response?
“I’m enjoying this. It’s a red badge of courage,” he told The New York Times recently.
In an interview with Times reporter Jeremy Peters, Dershowitz lamented that the current political climate has devolved into a “Red Sox/Yankees” binary, in which “you have to pick a team.” For many on Martha’s Vineyard, that is an accurate analogy: Following Dershowitz’s comments about Trump, an informal poll commissioned by The Martha’s Vineyard Times revealed that over 60 percent of respondents said they would not invite Dershowitz over for dinner.
These individuals “want to stop the dialogue,” Dershowitz told Peters. “They don’t want to have the conversation. It will upset people at the dinner party or on the porch. This is like safe spaces in colleges.”
From the interview:
Today the passions are so strong that if I do anything that is perceived as helping Donald Trump, I am an evil conspirator. I go back to the 1950s, when I was one of the few people at Brooklyn College standing up and defending the right of communists to speak and to teach. I hated communism. They would say, “You can’t defend communists. They wouldn’t defend your rights. They would take away your civil liberties.”
And that’s absolutely true. Every generation I’ve lived through, there has been an excuse for taking away civil liberties. “Trump is going to destroy the country; you can’t defend his civil liberties.” Anything you do to help this man is villainy…
I’m a Hillary Clinton liberal Democrat who’s trying hard to restore Congress to the Democrats, who will help finance Democratic candidates all over the country. I’m a liberal Democrat. I haven’t changed one iota in 50 years. I am not a Trump supporter. I’m a supporter of civil liberties. Calling me a Trump supporter is like calling me a communist supporter in the 1950s. I was not a communist supporter. I defended the communists’ right to speak and to teach.