Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Two Sides of Dershowitz's Mouth

Harvard legal scholar Alan Dershowitz has amassed for himself a formidable reputation as a pronouncer of learned views on legal matters, but his reputation for objectivity may not hold up so well under scrutiny.

He recently declaimed, as he seems to roughly annually, on the unlikelihood of Israeli atomic spy Jonathan Pollard's being able to repeat his crime if he is released from the life sentence he is currently serving for his crime. This hard-to-counter observation, he then deftly converts into an argument for Pollard's release from prison.

As for other persons accused of crimes that were not crimes in the places and at the times they were allegedly committed - say, a putative guard at a German concentration camp such as John Demjanjuk, Dershowitz displays no interest in the accused's ability to revisit his crimes upon a defenseless world. At the time Dershowitz lamented the portions of John Demjanjuk's life that he did not spend in jail for a "crime" in which he neither killed nor hurt anyone, Demjanjuk was 92 years old, and in possession of no capacity whatsoever to take part in any "Holocaust" real or imagined. But no mercy from the eminent oracle of justice for any person so charged, regardless of the quality of the evidence or the antiquity of the offenses.

Demjanjuk was accused - and acquitted - of guarding a camp in which Germany detained criminals, enemy agents, and perhaps racial undesirables during a war for its existence, some 70 years ago. Pollard willingly and under no duress conveyed secret information to a country other than the one (the US) he was employed by and was a citizen of, enabling this other country to develop weapons of mass destruction that have threatened its region in all the time since, up to and including now.

Dershowitz may see the cases as different, as indeed the charges and the quality and quantity of the proofs of them truly are. But the sides he comes down on between them are far better explained by his tribal loyalties than they are by any principles of law or justice.

No comments: