Dershowitz at Berkeley

Transcript of a fine speech by Alan Dershowitz at UC Berkeley on May 29, 2004:

a young student came to me from Harvard College and asked me for forgiveness. I said, “What do I have to forgive you for? I don’t even know you.”

He said, “I never speak up on campus, in my classroom, in my dormitory, at dinner. I never speak up in favor of Israel even though I’ve been there on Operation Birthright and I know the facts and hear the lies.”

“Why not?” I asked.

He replied, “Because if I am perceived as pro-Israel, pro-Zionist, in favor of Israel, I won’t be able to get dates with young girls.”

It was as simple as that. It’s not cool to be a “Zionist.” It’s not cool. I thought I should start a program at the Harvard campus: “Date a Zionist Tonight!” That’s the way he put it — Not cool to be a Zionist. It’s really a problem.

I decided to make it cool again to support Israel and show you can support Israel from a progressive, liberal perspective. Indeed, I support Israel not in spite of my history as a human rights activist, but because of it. I support Israel because I support female rights, women’s rights, feminism, and the Palestinian Authority does not.

I also support gay rights. I saw a student at a college campus hold up a sign that said, “Gays For Palestine.” I said to him “Imagine what would happen if you carried that sign in Ramallah. You’d be killed.” I support Israel because I support gay rights. Recently a progressive congressman, Barney Frank from Massachusetts, worked with me and Israel to grant asylum for 40 Palestinian gays.

Read the whole thing.