I Want Him on My Side: A Video Conversation with Alan Dershowitz –
Author, Professor, Lawyer, Activist
Introduction to Alan Dershowitz: 1:25 min. Photo: Raymond Elman.
Alan M. Dershowitz is a Brooklyn native who has been called “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer” and one of its “most distinguished defenders of individual rights,” “the best-known criminal lawyer in the world,” “the top lawyer of last resort,” “America’s most public Jewish defender” and “Israel’s single most visible defender – the Jewish state’s lead attorney in the court of public opinion.” Before retiring, he was the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. Dershowitz, a graduate of Brooklyn College and Yale Law School, joined the Harvard Law School faculty at age 25 after clerking for Judge David Bazelon and Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg.
He has also published more than 1,000 articles in magazines, newspapers, journals and blogs such as the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, Huffington Post, Newsmax, Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz. Dershowitz is the author of 30 fiction and non-fiction works with a worldwide audience, including the New York Times #1 bestseller Chutzpah and five other national bestsellers. His autobiography, Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law, was published in October 2013 by Crown, a division of Random House. Earlier titles include The Trials of Zion, a novel which has been called “a thought-provoking page turner;” Rights From Wrong; The Case For Israel; The Case For Peace; Blasphemy; Preemption; Finding Jefferson; and Shouting Fire.
Dershowitz’s most recent book is titled Abraham: The World’s First (But Certainly Not the Last) Jewish Lawyer.
In addition to his numerous law review articles and books about criminal and constitutional law, he has written, taught and lectured about history, philosophy, psychology, literature, mathematics, theology, music, sports – and even delicatessens.
His writing has been praised by Truman Capote, Saul Bellow, William Styron, David Mamet, Aharon Appelfeld, A.B. Yehoshua, Elie Wiesel, Richard North Patterson, and Henry Louis Gate Jr. More than a million of his books—translated in many languages—have been sold worldwide.
In 1983, the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith presented him with the William O. Douglas First Amendment Award for his “compassionate eloquent leadership and persistent advocacy in the struggle for civil and human rights.” In presenting the award, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel said: “If there had been a few people like Alan Dershowitz during the 1930s and 1940s, the history of European Jewry might have been different.” He has also been the recipient of numerous academic awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on human rights, a fellowship at The Center for The Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences and several Dean’s Awards for his books.
He has been the subject of two New Yorker cartoons, a New York Times crossword puzzle, and a Trivial Pursuit question. A sandwich at Fenway Park has been named after him—pastrami, of course.
He is married to Carolyn Cohen, Ph.D., a psychologist. He has three children and two grandchildren.
The videos below are organized by topic and run between 20 seconds and 2 minutes. Click on any video. You must be connected to the Internet to view the videos.
CRITICAL THINKING: 0:55 sec.
Where do you place yourself on the Jewish spectrum?
DEVELOP A VOICE: 1:19 min.
What was your earliest awareness of quality writing?
VALUES EDUCATION: 0:48 sec.
What did you learn in college that most impacted your career?
CREATES A UNIQUE PERSONAL BRAND: 1:14 min.
In the 21st century, the more orthodox a Jew is, the more politically conservative.
STRONG DRIVE FOR ACHIEVEMENT: 0:13 sec.
You’ve written 34 books, was “Reversal of Fortune” the biggest seller?
CRITICAL THINKING: 0:58 sec.
What was your impetus for writing “Abraham: The World’s First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer”?
CREATES A UNIQUE PERSONAL BRAND: 0:34 sec.
Did Harvard ever pressure you regarding your political positions or the cases you took?
INSIGHT & INSPIRATION: 0:53 sec.
Who were your role models and influencers?
SELF-CONFIDENCE: 1:39 min.
Please describe a challenging situation with a successful outcome.
CRITICAL THINKING: 2:00 min.
What are your views on President Obama’s foreign policies?
INSIGHTFUL: 1:54 min.
Some people say that President Obama thinks like a lawyer, and wants to examine all sides of a situation before acting; whereas George W. Bush thought more like an entrepreneurial CEO, constantly making decisions and betting that 80% of them would be correct.
SELF-CONFIDENCE: 0:47 sec.
In Stephen Kinzer’s book on the Dulles brothers, he provides examples of how the leaders of U.S. foreign policy did not comprehend the consequences of their actions.
PERSEVERANCE FURTHERS: 1:49 min.
Dan Okrent wrote a book called “Last Call” which describes how alcohol prohibitionists were able to control congress based on one issue. Why hasn’t the “Right-to-Life” movement been able to do the same?
EXPOSURE TO BROAD INFLUENCES: 1:25 min.
What is your involvement with the arts communities of the Miami area?
LEVERAGES NETWORKS: 0:33 sec.
What kind of relationships have you forged in the art communities of Miami?