Anti-Israel groups are trying to shut down my defense of Israel by demanding that I not be allowed to speak, because of the false and disproved accusation against me that has been legally withdrawn. When I was invited to speak about Israel to students at the University of Miami, a group calling themselves “Canes for Palestine” (“Canes” short for the Miami Hurricanes, the nickname of the school’s intercollegiate sports teams) circulated a poster calling me “a known pedophile.”
Back in 2011, a woman I never met or heard of decided to write a book about her experiences with Jeffrey Epstein, who I had represented as one of his lawyers from 2006 to 2008. A journalist for a British tabloid suggested to her that she mention me in the book proposal, even though they both know and know now, I had done nothing wrong. Since I am famous, the inclusion of my name as someone she may have “seen” with Epstein would help sell the book. So she did mention me as someone she saw with Epstein, but with whom she did not have any sexual contact. She told the same thing to the FBI in a formal interview.
Years later she was pressured by her lawyers to say she did have sex with me when she was 18 or 19. But she later publicly admitted that she may have confused me with someone else and may have mistakenly identified me. She formally withdrew all legal allegations against me. That’s where matters stood when the anti-Israel group called me a “known pedophile.”
If I can find out who drafted or posted the false accusation, I will sue them for defamation. As a result of the false accusation, efforts are underway to cancel or protest my appearance on the campus. The campus newspaper, The Miami Hurricane, wrote an article about the invitation entitled: “Who Is Alan Dershowitz and Why Is He Coming To Campus?” The article misstates many of the facts, falsely claiming that I was accused of sex with an underage woman, and that I “frequently” visited Epstein’s private island. Both are provably false.
Canes for Palestine then proceeded to elaborate on its poster by telling the Hurricane that “pedophiles and victim blamers are not welcome on campus.” It quotes students who are opposed to the university “approving him to speak on campus,” arguing that “there has to be a line somewhere.” It then quotes a student, Ainsley Hilliard, as asking whether we really want to listen to “an accused rapist who is obsessed with false accusations, age of consent and purposefully controversial cases?” She then said, “when I found out who he was, I was disgusted. Regardless of his legal career, the accusations and views on rape are gut wrenching and vile.”
Let’s be absolutely clear about one conclusion: were I not invited to speak in defense of Israel, none of these issues would have been raised.
The accusation against me has been resolved in my favor. The truth is that I did absolutely nothing wrong, and the only reason the false accusation is being raised again is because Canes for Palestine, according to The Miami Hurricane, have started “a widespread media campaign” against “his presence on campus.”
This anti-Israel campaign will not deter me from defending Israel. Nor will it silence me on other issues. I refuse to be cancelled based on a false accusation that I have conclusively disproved factually and that has been withdrawn legally.
The problem is that other universities, fearing protests, will not invite me to defend Israel. Already several invitations have been rescinded and others have not been extended. If that continues to happen, then the mendacious anti-Israel accusers like Canes for Palestine, will have won — and truth and the open marketplace of ideas will have lost. This is, of course, part of a larger problem of the double standard applied to Israel and its supporters.
Many anti-Israel speakers have been welcomed on campuses despite questionable histories, including associations with terrorists, anti-Semites and other do-badders. Efforts are rarely made to shut them down, as they should not be. The marketplace of ideas should be open to all, especially on a subject as controversial and nuanced as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
So shame on those who are searching for phony excuses to censor me. Ask me hard questions — about Israel and yes about Epstein. I will answer them all truthfully. You may not like my answers but that is no excuse for denying others, who want to hear me, that right.