Alan Dershowitz Derides Theory of Intersectionality in Columbia Lecture

Alan Dershowitz
Alan Dershowitz / Photo via Alexi Rosenfeld
• September 28, 2017 11:19 am


Alan Dershowitz derided the theory of intersectionality as the "phoniest academic doctrine I have encountered in 53 years" in academia, during a lecture at Columbia University on Wednesday evening.

Dershowitz called out the concept that sees all historically persecuted groups as targeted by the same oppressors, making all minorities allies in resisting that common oppression, as an oversimplification of reality that makes for the "strangest of strange bedfellows."

Through intersectionality, LGBT activists stand in solidarity with with advocates of shariah, said Dershowitz, even though Islamic law denies the rights with the former.

Dershowitz slammed the hard left and hard right for their similar use of such "identity politics" to bolster their positions, saying both political extremes do not evaluate ideas or individuals on the basis of the quality of their character.

The renowned criminal defense lawyer primarily discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how it is perceived on U.S. college campuses. He issued a challenge to tenured liberal, Zionist professors to "come out of the closet" and openly defend Israel on campus.

"Stand up for you students," urged Dershowitz, as he condemned the "propagandistic" use of the lecture podium by many academics who push their anti-Israel views on a "captive audience."

Dershowitz's talk proceeded without interruption, despite expectations from event organizers, the campus group Students Supporting Israel, that members of Columbia University Apartheid Divest would disrupt the lecture, as anti-Israel protesters have done at numerous other SSI programs.

Dershowitz thanked Columbia students for not shouting him down, telling them, "You're better than that."

He also responded to a document CUAD members had handed out to the audience, titled, "Alan Dershowitz, In His Own Words." The flier pulled quotes from Dershowitz's writings on Israel and American politics, most of which the Harvard law professor said were accurate.

"I approve of this. This is a good way of protesting," said Dershowitz.

Dershowitz encouraged University of California-Berkeley administrators to follow Columbia's lead and allow him to speak on campus in two weeks, and to overturn the current rule UCB has in place of requiring eight weeks notice for events featuring "high profile" speakers.

He threatened a lawsuit should he be kept from speaking at the public university, a violation of his First Amendment rights.

"There are no safe spaces for ideas," said Dershowitz. "When you come to university you sign a waiver—your ideas will not be exempt from challenge."