by Ronn Torossian
Saturday night on Zev Brenner’s radio show, Professor Alan Dershowitz lashed out at me for my opinion piece which was published week ago, and suggested “Defending Dershowitz is Not a Jewish Issue.” Since my piece was published, I have been inundated with messages of support from leaders of American Jewish organizations, and countless others. What I wrote was – and is – absolutely warranted.
As the sexual allegations against him and his client, Jeffrey Epstein who has been convicted of sex crimes remains in the headlines, The Jewish Week quoted my op-ed in part, and Dershowitz referred to that Jonathan Mark column as “scandalous.” Mark mentioned my commentary that, “I do not believe he is a good spokesman for Israel or the Jewish people,”, and “As a proud Jew, I find the argument that [Dershowitz] should be protected because of his Jewishness to be despicable.”
I stand by my comments – as well as the part which Mark did not include; that Dershowitz deserves fair play as far as the complaint that was levied against him.
During the interview with Brenner, Dershowitz complained that The Jewish Week called me for comment, but he missed the fact which Mark’s article stated; my comments were made online and in email format. The Jewish Week did not talk to me – and Dershowitz was wrong on the facts. He implied there was a conspiracy as if the interview was a courtroom and he was trying to create reasonable doubt. He asked for an investigation into, “[T]he relationship between Ronn Torossian & The Jewish Week.” Let me make it easy – I own a PR agency, I am involved in Jewish communal life and write on Jewish issues. A Jewish newspaper quoted me. There’s no conspiracy between me and the largest Jewish newspaper in America.
Dershowitz’s attack against me on the Zev Brenner program was vicious. He called me a “liar”, and said that I was “lying through my teeth;” then added I was a “despicable human being.” Even he admits that we have never personally met, making his visceral hatred for me stunning.
The opinion of the masses against him must hit him hard. The great Alan Dershowitz, self-proclaimed defender of Jews, being told that his Jewish credentials do not entitle him to a defense for an alleged crime that has zero to do with Jewishness or Israel. I was and am right.
On Zev Brenner’s show, Dershowitz condemned those who are “making false accusations in order to benefit themselves.” That is precisely what he is doing to those of us brave enough to stand up to him in the court of public opinion. He is lashing out like a big baby who is a bully, and attacking anyone who challenges him.
In an ongoing debate between him and Ed Whelan of the National Review, Dershowitz wrongly accused Whelan of needing to be corrected, and attacked Whelan’s “sloppy research.” The National Review retort notes that Dershowitz is “the one being “sloppy”—and remarkably so (which, I suppose, makes it more plausible that a similar sloppiness accounts for his mischaracterization of the allegations).” I agree.
The fact that one of America’s finest legal eagles is attacking those who challenge him in the court of public opinion so violently is amazing. Does Dershowitz think that he can manipulate and control both the courtroom and the media? Intimidation doesn’t always work.
He should not be defended or protected simply because he is Jewish and defends Jewish causes.
Nor, as academic Bonnie Goodman recently noted should he be believed simply because he is a powerful man, and it is wrong that “there is more public sympathy for Dershowitz than for the victim, especially among the Jewish community, because of his public profile and advocacy work he is the one believed.” The National Review, Goodman, and I are right.
Dershowitz oddly claimed I have a vendetta against him and I am “trying to get even.” Had he done the most basic amount of research, he would have found numerous articles I wrote which praised him, including “Words of Wisdom from Alan Dershowitz and Elie Wiesel” “NJDC: Ignore Alan Dershowitz” and “Jews Should Join Alan Dershowitz and Reject NJDC Adelson Accusation.” Further, my lifelong Rabbi, and someone I write of as my hero, Rabbi Avi Weiss is someone Dershowitz recently backed in a high-profile dispute.
Dershowitz has a long and history of attacking those who challenge him or his clients. In 1993, he made headlines for seeking to appeal a case “to the Supreme Court into a sweeping constitutional attack on laws that protect rape victims’ sexual privacy.” In this case which is attracting headlines, The Guardian reported that “Dershowitz, recruited private investigators to carry out inquiries on the alleged sex slave,” while claiming she displayed a “fascination with marijuana”. The list goes on and on.
Dershowitz is unable to bully everyone – as he’s seen from the libel lawsuit filed against him recently by the alleged rape victim’s lawyers (which he threatened to file first.) Rather than engaging in low blows against those of us engaging in civil debate, Alan Dershowitz should focus his ample energy on the allegations against him. He’s accused of committing heinous crimes, and facing numerous lawsuits and legal problems.
If he has free time, he should devote his ample legal efforts to continuing the search for Ron Goldman’s real killer, as his client O.J. Simpson vowed to do during his trial.
Dershowitz is going through a crisis and this issue appears to be unhinging him. I said it before and will say it again – I find claims implying that accusations against Dershowitz are about Anti-Semitism, or are somehow a Jewish issue, to be absurd. Whether they are found to be true or not, this is simply not a Jewish issue.
Shame on Alan Dershowitz.
P.S. – The woman who made the allegations against Dershowitz made this statement: “I am looking forward to vindicating my rights as an innocent victim and pursuing all available recourse. It appears that I am now being unjustly victimized again. These types of aggressive attacks on me are exactly the reason why sexual abuse victims typically remain silent and the reason why I did for a long time. That trend should change. I’m not going to be bullied back into silence.”
While I know nothing about her claims, I do know that his attacks surely qualify the man as a bully.