Alan Dershowitz: ‘The New Yorker’ Is Trying to Silence Me
I recently learned, from a source close to The New Yorker magazine, that its editor, David Remnick, has commissioned a hit piece against me for the explicit purpose of silencing my defense of President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the State of Israel. Remnick despises Trump and Netanyahu, and is well known for his strong anti-Israel bias. Remnick explicitly told people that I must be silenced because mine has been the most persuasive voice in favor of what Remnick feels poses a danger to values he holds dear, and that he will use the credibility of The New Yorker to accomplish this goal.
The New Yorker used to be a great literary magazine. I read it for its short stories, profiles of literary figures, film and drama reviews, humorous vignettes, and clever cartoons. But since David Remnick took over as editor, left-wing politics have trumped non-partisan literature. Profiles have become personal attacks on Remnick’s political enemies and hagiographies of his political friends.
Among Remnick’s most persistent enemies are Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump. Ad hominem attacks on the Israeli Prime Minister include mocking his name (“Netanyahoo”) and calling him a “mendacious mouse.” Remnick consistently singles out Israel for condemnation, while ignoring real violations of human rights.
An op-ed in The Jerusalem Post observed:
Under Remnick’s reign, The New Yorker, and particularly Remnick himself, repeatedly and obsessively focuses on what Remnick perceives to be the failings of the State of Israel,” accusing it of “medievalism,” “apartheid,” and “xenophobia.” Its one-sided views have been “posted prominently on the website of ‘Intifada – The Voice of Palestine.'”
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America has characterized Remnick’s writings as “almost frantic agitation” against the Netanyahu government. Israel and/or its leaders are scorned for being “bigoted,” “arrogant,” and “stubborn,” and for displaying “ineptitude” and a penchant for “fantasy.” The Palestinian leaders, on the other hand, are “moderate and constructive.” Remnick’s attacks on President Trump are even more ad hominem, calling him “unhinged,” “chaotic,” “corrupt,” “infantile” and comparing him to Nero.
The New Yorker’s reputation for objectivity, fairness, and scrupulous fact checking has been replaced by a growing awareness that nothing it publishes should be taken as true without rigorous independent checking, especially when it comes to Israel, Netanyahu, and Trump. The same is true when it comes to public figures Remnick believes are supporters of his sworn enemies. I know, because Remnick has arranged for a like-minded attack journalist named Connie Bruck to target me in a mendacious hit piece designed to still my voice on Israel, Netanyahu, and Trump.
Bruck is so emotional in her hatred toward those who say anything positive about Trump that when her own stepson came out for the president, her family — according to the stepson — “singly excluded” him from family events “when the rest of the family was invited.”* Bruck’s antagonism toward Israel is reflected by the fact that the only Harvard Law School professor that she interviewed about me is a virulently anti-Israel radical, whose one-sided course on the Israel-Palestine conflict I strongly criticized.
Another academic she interviewed is Robert Trivers, who compares Israel to Nazi Germany.
Remnick’s decision to have this biased reporter profile a man who has vigorously defended the legal rights of both Trump and Netanyahu makes it clear that he was commissioning a one-sided screed, rather than an objective profile.
The New Yorker apparently got the idea of using false allegations of sexual misconduct to silence me from another like-minded web attacker of pro-Israel advocates named Phillip Weiss, who wrote the following on his Mondoweiss website: “We have picked up news about the sexual allegations against Alan Dershowitz because Dershowitz is such an outspoken defender of Israel and the matter has inevitably affected his influence in the foreign policy arena.” Remnick has made similar statements about the need to reduce my influence and silence my voice.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with what I’ve been saying about Trump, Netanyahu, and Israel, every American should be outraged at this partisan effort by a giant of the media to stifle the marketplace of ideas by exploiting the past credibility of The New Yorker to try destroy the reputation of a public intellectual with whom they disagree. Let them publish articles challenging my views on their merits, instead of disseminating defamatory attacks that will be believed by partisans, regardless of overwhelming evidence that the accusations are false. This is the latest weapon in the partisan warfare that divides our nation. It is a misuse of freedom of the press to stifle the freedom of speech of those with whom one disagrees.
But The New Yorker picked on the wrong innocent victim, because I have the will and resources to fight back against the falsehoods he is directing at me and those who want hear my voice. The truth is my weapon in this war of words, and the truth is unequivocally on my side. So here are the indisputable facts that The New Yorker will either not publish or will distort:
Four years ago, a woman who I had never met was “pressured” — her word — by her lawyers to falsely accuse me of having underage sex with her. They expected a big payday, but I was able to prove from travel records that I could not have been on the Caribbean island, New Mexico ranch, or other places where she perjuriously claimed we had met. She also claimed to have met Al and Tipper Gore, as well as Bill Clinton, on the island, but Secret Service and other records proved she had made up that story as well. She also made up stories about having underage sex with prominent political leaders — senators, ambassadors, prime ministers, and other heads of state — but her own employment records prove conclusively that she was well above the age of consent when she falsely claimed to have met these men.
My records led her own lawyer to admit in a recorded conversation that it would have been “impossible” for me to have been in those places and that his client was “simply wrong” about her accusations. An investigation by a former head of the FBI concluded that the accusations were disproved by the evidence. The judge struck the accusations and her lawyers withdrew them, admitting it was a “mistake.”
Having seen the initial accusation demolished, her lawyer told people he was trolling for a second accuser because “two is better than one.” This time they “found” a real doozy: a woman who had tried to get The New York Post to publish her claim that she had sex tapes of Hillary and Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Richard Branson. She also wrote hundreds of pages of emails accusing several prominent people of having sex with her when she was in her 20s, but I was not among them — until she met the ethically challenged lawyer David Boies. I had never met this false accuser either, but her lawyer allowed this obviously mendacious or hallucinatory woman to submit a perjured affidavit accusing me.
Two provably false accusations by women with long histories of lying about famous people are not better than one, especially when both were engineered by the same lawyer. Sometimes smoke does not mean fire; it means arson.
So this is where the story stood: I had disproved these false accusations both in the courts of law and public opinion. No reasonably objective person examining the evidence would possibly conclude that I was guilty of any wrongdoing. The matter was closed. Until The New Yorker decided to resurrect these false allegations in an effort to silence me. Remnick commissioned the hit piece from Bruck, who actually completed her article, subject only to fact checking, without even interviewing me or anyone who might say something positive about me. She ignored or minimized the evidence of my innocence. She relied on interviews with the lawyers of my false accusers and my political enemies. She did not question my accusers, simply accepting the unchallenged words of proven liars, taking them from court documents that are privileged and thus not subject to a defamation suit.
I have been advised that The New Yorker’s policy, as expressed by Remnick, is that the magazine will not publish sex allegations against someone unless there are three credible independent sources. My source heard this directly from Mr. Remnick. Yet the proposed article doesn’t even come close to meeting that standard. In the first place, there are only two sources. They are anything but independent, since both women were groomed by the same lawyers to lie about me for financial gain. Moreover, both sources lack credibility. They each have documented histories of telling false stories about well-known people for financial gain.
In every other “#MeToo” accusation reported by The New Yorker and other media, there was some corroboration or admission of the external facts: they had sex; they worked together; they knew each other. In my case there is absolutely no evidence I ever met these false accusers, because I did not.
The question thus arises why The New Yorker is willing to violate its own standards by publishing false accusations against me that have no credibility or corroboration and are refuted by indisputable documentary evidence. The answer is obvious to those familiar with Remnick’s political misuse of his magazine to destroy his enemies, regardless of what compromise he must make with journalistic standards.
Not content to falsely accuse me of sex crimes, Bruck trolled the internet and came across a neo-Nazi, Holocaust denial website called Rense.com, which both the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have declared to be antisemitic.
This site accused me of beating and murdering my first wife. It showed “pictures” of her and my children, which were not them, but stereotypical Jews with long noses. No one would believe anything on this hate site — no one, that is, except a journalist prepared to use any dirt, regardless of its source and absurdity, against her target. Bruck has admitted using this discredited site as the original source for claiming in her article that I abused my first wife and “stripped” her of custody of my two sons. She even used the same words she found on the Holocaust denial site. The truth is that my first wife and I, who were married when I was 20 and she 19, grew apart. There was no abuse, and the court granted me custody based on the report of the social worker, and on his explicit finding that I committed “no misconduct.” But that boring story would not achieve The New Yorker’s goal of destroying me. So they went into the gutter and followed the lead of an antisemitic website.
This is not journalism; it is defamation motivated not by a search for truth but a determination to destroy and silence a political enemy. Bruck’s reckless disregard for the truth has become all too typical of The New Yorker under Remnick. So has taking revenge against political enemies, especially those who have the temerity to fight back against The New Yorker.
Since completing the first draft of this hit piece, Bruck has been given many documents and much information that disproves her thesis. Perhaps this will cause her to alter her false narrative in the final version. I have offered to meet face to face with her, but she has refused. I have told her that in a few days, the court will be unsealing emails and a book manuscript that proves conclusively — in my accuser’s own words — that she never had sex with me. But The New Yorker refuses to wait to include these exculpatory documents in her story.
I fully anticipate that Remnick and Bruck will redouble their attacks against me for calling them out. Bruck has already attacked me in emails for earlier public criticism I leveled against her. I expect more vengeful responses in the pages of the magazine.
So when you read The New Yorker attack on me, read it with an understanding of its source, motive, and methodology. Remember that you are not reading The New Yorker of old that had well-earned credibility. You are reading a glossy version of The National Enquirer, with partisan and personal agendas. Only the clever cartoons are the same. On second thought, you might just want to skip the partisan articles and jump right to the cartoons.
* Bruck’s stepson, Adam Levine, wrote an article entitled “Coming Out As A Republican To My Family Went Worse Than Coming Out As Gay,” The Federalist.com, Jan. 9, 2018.
Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of Trumped Up, How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy.