Defend “Israel’s advocate” Alan Dershowitz against rape claims, says prominent rabbi

Alan Dershowitz is a man of “sterling character,” according to the pro-Israel pundit Shmuley Boteach. (US Embassy Tel Aviv)

In his recent column at the New York Observer, anti-Palestinian activist and famed American rabbi Shmuley Boteach implores Jews everywhere to speak out in defense of Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz against allegations that he raped a minor. Why? Because “for decades, Israel has found its most eloquent defender in Alan Dershowitz,” according to Boteach. “He is just so good at being Israel’s advocate.”

The rape accusation against Dershowitz was made in a 30 December court filing that is part of an ongoing lawsuit on behalf of four women against the US government for violating their rights as victims when it made a secret 2008 plea deal with their rapist, super-rich hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein, without informing them. Dershowitz was a close friend to Epstein and eventually served as one of his lead attorneys, helping secure a plea deal that ensured Epstein spent just thirteen months in prison. 

An FBI investigation determined that Epstein had sexually abused no less than forty underage girls hundreds of times as part of a child sex trafficking ring, which involved loaning his victims out to powerful friends, who, according to the court filing, included “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister and other world leaders” with the purpose of “ingratiating himself with them for business, personal, political and financial gain, as well as to obtain potential blackmail information.”

One of the victims named in the suit (under the pseudonym “Jane Doe #3” to protect her identity), was ”converted” into Epstein’s “sex slave” at the age of fifteen and forced to have sex with his powerful associates. Jane Doe #3 named two of those associates as Alan Dershowitz and Britain’s Prince Andrew.

“Epstein required Jane Doe #3 to have sexual relations with Dershowitz on numerous occasions while she was a minor, not only in Florida but also on private planes, in New York, New Mexico, and the US Virgin Islands,” alleges the court filing. “In addition to being a participant in the abuse of Jane Doe #3 and other minors, Dershowitz was an eye-witness to the sexual abuse of many other minors by Epstein and several of Epstein’s co-conspirators.” 

The lawsuit notes that Dershowitz played a central role in negotiating the secret plea deal provision that immunized “any and all potential co-conspirators of Epstein” from federal prosecution. This means, if Jane Doe #3’s allegations are true, “Dershowitz helped negotiate an agreement with a provision that provided protection for himself against criminal prosecution in Florida for sexually abusing Jane Doe #3.”

“Sterling character”

In his New York Observer column, Boteach dismissed the allegations as “bizarre attacks” against Dershowitz that are as preposterous as suggestions that the 11 September 2001 atrocities were an inside job. Boteach also suggested that the allegations against Dershowitz amount to an anti-Semitic blood libel.

“Here is a man of sterling character who has been a champion of the Jewish people and Israel his entire life. He is America’s best-known defender of Israel.”

Boteach continued, ”You simply can’t have a situation where an individual spends his life defending his people and then when he himself comes under attack he is abandoned.” 

“What Alan Dershowitz deserves is the gratitude of his community,” Boteach added.

Just in case the message of his column didn’t get accross, Boteach’s publicist at Rubenstein Public Relations promoted the article in an email sent to journalists and media outlets, including The Electronic Intifada, using the subject line, “Rabbi Shmuley calls all Jews to defend Alan Dershowitz.”

Demanding that Jews collectively and unquestioningly support Dershowitz against child molestation allegations as a form of tribal “gratitude” for Dershowitz’s lifelong commitment to defending Israeli atrocities is both absurd and appalling. By conflating the state of Israel with “all Jews,” Boteach is dangerously and wrongly implicating Jews everywhere in Israel’s crimes, effectively promoting anti-Semitism among the uninformed and providing real anti-Semites with cover. 

Attacking the victim

There has been no trial to determine whether Dershowitz is guilty of the allegations against him, which he “categorically” denies. Therefore, he should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. 

However, it is remarkable that his increasingly bellicose responses bear a striking resemblance to the tactics he typically deploys against Palestinians and their supporters when defending Israeli criminality, most notably blaming and attacking the victim. 

Jane Doe #3 was the victim of a sexual predator (Jeffrey Epstein) who molested her repeatedly when she was a minor. Yet Dershowitz has been on a media blitz threatening to sue her and her lawyers for defamation. Meanwhile, he has referred to her as a “serial prostitute” whose testimony cannot be trusted “against somebody with an unscathed reputation like me.”

Jane Doe #3’s attorneys have since filed a defamation lawsuit against Dershowitz.

Griping to The Jerusalem Post that anti-Semites and “anti-Israel zealots“ are capitalizing on the rape accusations, Dershowitz seemed to equate defending himself from charges of child rape to defending Israel from anti-Semitism. 

“The anti-Semites are crawling out from under their rocks, they are loving this. And the anti-Israel zealots are loving this,” complained Dershowitz, adding, “I’m not only defending myself here but I am defending other values as well. I am defending the values that I have represented and stood for, for so many years.”

Perhaps this line of thinking shouldn’t come as a surprise. Unwavering support for Israel and its colonial enterprise has always required defending the indefensible. That is, after all, what Dershowitz does best. 




Dershowitz has always come across as an unsavoury character, spreading falsehoods and prepared to go extremely far to defame others. If any of the accusations against him are true, I hope he goes down with a big bang. He deserves to anyway.


Maybe you'd have to be a lawyer to catch the comedy here, but I'll try to explain --

In the defamation case, Jane Doe #3's lawyers are alleging defamation per se, which means, among other things, that they need only prove that Dershowitz made the defamatory accusation against them, then the burden shifts to Dershowitz to prove that his accusation is true. They allege that Dershowitz repeatedly made "accusations of deliberate misconduct and unethical behavior warranting disbarment of the Plaintiffs." As an example of Dershowitz's accusations, the defamation complaint provides the URL

In that interview, there is no doubt that Dershowitz made the accusation. But catch the comedy at 2:00, where Dershowitz says, "I am filing today a sworn affidavit, denying categorically the truth. I am seeking ..."

Now if you can't imagine how those words might come back to haunt him at trial under cross-examination where selected statements from his sworn affidavit will be showing on a projector screen, drop all your daydreams about becoming a lawyer.

Dershowitz just proved again the wisdom of the famous saying, "the lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client."


First, an appreciation to Ali Abuminah for his balanced article above. While Dershowitz is a despicable character from the point of view of those who advocate for Palestinian Rights, the charge is yet unproven and should be treated as such.
AA and EI are not and should never be engaged in "yellow/tabloid" journalism.

The comments of Paul E. Merrell, JD above, "Dershowitz Commedy", are helpful
for those of us with no legal training in deciphering what is going on.

---Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA


Boteach continued, ”You simply can’t have a situation where an individual spends his life defending his people and then when he himself comes under attack he is abandoned.”
What elegant rationale! So, anyone who was an Eagle Scout and then becomes a serial killer is innocent!


up here in Canada the main media outlets mention only Prince Andrew as one of the four defendants in allegations of rape. Dershowitz's name never comes up. Is that an oversight?


Dershowitz response is absolutely appalling. To attempt to drag the entire Jewish people, myself included, into defending him against such a heinous charge is truly the nadir of his disgusting public persona. Even politicians of any party would not dare do such damage to their own so loudly. Epstein ran a sex trafficking ring that smeared the entire Jewish people & along with his financial crimes he brought out the worst anti-Semitic stereotypes Smearing a victim is against Jewish law. She was a sex slave for Epstein not a sex worker. He wasn't mentioned in Canadian media as another asked because he is not as famous outside of US politics/culture & certain Jewish groups. He should have stuck to being a lawyer and Harvard professor emeritus instead of crowning himself as the defender of all pro-Zionists over 55+. The youth on either side of the debate don't need his brand of vitriolic hate. Arguing against opposing view points that never include anyone relevant to the current movement for a better life & recognition for the Palestinians.
Why not let the Palestinians have their own state? Criticize their state policies & focus on bringing democracy makes a moral, better argument than denying any self-determination for an entire people. The early secular Zionists didn't dream of a militarized Holy Land. Istead of a shining democracy they got am unending occupation which transformed Israeli society into a far right militarized state. To me that is a grave injustice for the Levant. Co-opting all Israeli Jews into the occupation via draft ensuring everyone becomes a part of this illegal action. Dershowitz does not speak for American Jewish youth & others. Or for anyone who believes in the rule of law.
Jews helped form the ANC, SPLC, NAACP & so many grea movements for human rights. Israel is a topic where too many liberals suspend their beliefs. My folks didn't flee the USSR as persecuted, abused refugees so idiots can dare to speak for all Jews. Not in my name!


One hand washes the other. So to speak.


One of the Spanish language TV channel ( I believe is Univision) here in USA had a segment on this subject last Monday evening and A. Dershowitz was threatening to sue one of the victims for defamation. The other person involved in the subject, J.Epstein spent only one year in jail for molesting minors, thanks to his money and position in society. Shame.


Same old ,same old, victimizing the victim .Thank you for exposing this.I hope they keep it up ,the world is now waking up to the scams we have all been subjected to .
If the convictions sticks ,we will not be hearing from his ilk no more.No one ,should be able to walk away from this even if they are super rich like Jeffrey Epstein . Sounds like people from high places are also implicated .Time to clean up the trash.


It is ironic how the daily attempts by Zionists to falsely demonize Palestine and its supporters, e.g. Norman Finkelstein, are completely undermined by a truly legitimate sexual abuse lawsuit. This case actually sounds like something the Zionists would resort to accusing a Palestinian supporter of - once again, ironic. It goes to show that the truth will always prevail.


Thank you for your balanced coverage of this important subject. I have been following many strands of the media on this subjec. Thanks to Paul E Merrell for pointing out verbatum what Mr Dershowitz actually said in the CNN interview. After our BBC were in my opinion proved to be biased during our referendum in Scotland I vowed to get my news mainly from other sources. I'd suggest that's what your Canadian reader has seen.


since defamation counter suits are filed, it is now up to dershowitz to prove that his opponents are motivated by anti-semitism! good luck with that, alan!


Interesting request by the rabbi. Just so he knows, many people at Penn State felt the same about Jerry Sandusky. Luckily past actions do not excuse present or future criminal behavior.


I find it extremely difficult to believe that this person holds the honorary position of law professor at Harvard. He has the moral instinct of a predator and the ability to lie through his teeth, try googling the name for his prognostications. But perhaps that is why he is a lawyer. Nevertheless, a despicable apologist for rampant Zionism and proponent of anti-palestinian rhetoric.


Andrei, hopefully more Jews will say as you have--"not in my name" but you also stated "The early secular zionists didn't dream of a militarized Holy Land." Without going into great detail, are you aware of how Israel was created in 1948 by the Nakba (or cataclysm)--the wholesale slaughter of the indigenous Palestinian population by the "early secular zionists." Are you aware of the Dalet Plan--the zionist blueprint for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine approved and completed by the "early secular zionist" leadership under Ben Gurion? Have you heard of Irgun and the Stern gang--- rabid "early secular zionists" butchers---who surely rank among the most inhumane barbarians the world has ever known? Israel was never intended to be a "shining democracy." It was intended to be exactly what it is---an ethnocracy created and maintained by brutal force and merciless tyranny..."means are after all everything. As the means so the end. Violent means will give violent Swaraj [self-rule]."(Gandhi). "The early secular zionists" founded Israel through violence and brutality and Israel is maintained by violence against its neighbors and the world.


Dershowitz says the girl can’t be trusted because she is a “serial prostitute”, when his client [and close friend] was found guilty of inducing her into underage prostitution.

That’s the famous “Dershowitzian” logic.

Or is some form of the logic they used to test if a women was a witch ?

She can't be telling the truth that Dershowitz used her as an underage prostitute because she a prostitute. They pay him for this at Harvard ?

In what bizarre world do you have to live in to believe Alan Dershowitz is of sterling character?


ps--Thank you, Rania. I especially liked-- "Unwavering support for Israel and its colonial enterprise has always required defending the indefensible. That is, after all, what Dershowitz does best."


Remember Ron Goldman...Here was a man who was just starting out his life and it was Dershowitz who helped free his murderer.


And Jesus said, “He who has not sinned may throw the first stone”. Dushowitz throws anyway figuring that he could get off on a technicality regarding the definition of sin.


Very foolish for any in the Jewish community to let Mr. Dershowitz latch on to Judaism and to use his support of Israel as a justification for his atrocious behavior.

Pedophilia has no religious boundaries and no one at all was writing or talking about this mess in anti-semitic tones at all until Mr. Dershowitz injected religion into a far from religious set of experiences.


"Foolish" or Freudian? It seems to me that the whole 'Zionist experiment' has "injected religion into a far from religious set of experiences."

Rania Khalek

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Rania Khalek is an independent journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized.