Temple Emanu-El joins cancel culture against Alan Dershowitz

To start out the Chanukah holiday of 2021, a prominent Jewish temple seems to have forgotten who its friends were, and decided to silence one of Israel's strongest and most eloquent defenders, disinviting prominent legal scholar Alan Dershowitz from an important event. 

Here is the story from Jewish News Syndicate:

Temple Emanu-El silences a pro-Israel and amplifies an anti-Israel voice 

The synagogue preferred to hear from journalist Peter Beinart, who advocates the end of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and who supports boycotts against Israelis, than on biblical trials that intrigue and educate adults and kids. 

It's a disgrace.

Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard, and an acknowledged stellar legal scholar for some five decades, was in fact disinvited to be a debater on Biblical issues at the temple, despite a demonstrated vast audience, in the past, for such debates. A reputed 1,500 attendees filled the sanctuary when such debates on Bibical issues were held in the past.

Now, in a move evocative of the similar disinvitation to the legal guru by the prestigious 92nd Street Y in New York City, this board, and perhaps the rabbi of Temple Emanu-El have dropped the professor from their lineup, despite his fame, oratorical skills, and undimmed drawing power. 

The excuse they scramble for for this summary barring? 

That he was accused of involvement with notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, which he vehemently denies. Having looked into this, I am convinced he's telling the truth.  

But the synagogue does not care. Guilty or innocent, they told him, they do not want the taint associated with even an innocent party to this Epstein scandal. 

The losers will be, of course, the patrons and members of the Temple, and Biblical knowledge in general. 

Dershowitz, for his part, loses the important opportunity to speak on behalf of Israel. The public debate itself will be debased with this muting of Dershowitz's important voice.   

For decades this Constitutionalist has been a known full-throated defender of Israel, having written a plethora of articles, spoken in Oxford debates and panels galore elsewhere. He's written a modest hillock of books justifying and clarifying Israel’s legitimacy and righteousness. So dismissing Dershowitz, even by a so-called “Temple” where Jews gather to pray, presumably in favor of Jewish statehood, rings a particularly regrettable and mournful dirge for the intestinal fortitude of American Jewry. Synagogue membership at Emanu-El  does not come cheap. Its membership is a dependably elite tier of the crème de la et cetera of America’s tiny but visible minority. 

The departure from public podia of such an important voice marks a low point in the high-profile cathedral of Jewish puissance. 

Frankly, along with many proud Jewish Americans,  I am saddened by reading this added account on us, on Zionists, on Jews of record, and empathize with Dershowitz, whose troubles echo the trajectory of many innocents now being pilloried over their pro-Israel views and public stances.  

Tov Shem tov mishemen tov, a key pitgam/aphorism as we see the vile cancel culture destroy careers based on pitiably absent empirical evidence of any kind.  

In English: A good reputation is far better than a precious oil. 

It is grievous for Temple Emanu-El to so behave. If I were a member, I would rescind my membership over this clearly self-loathing and perdurable position. We are as you know all already in a fragile situation now, with zero real support from this administration, Iran on the verge of actionable refined nuclear material  brazenly threatening to destroy Israel again even in the face of the JCPOA being touted by a sorry and misled president--and a noted rise in random and specific anti-Semitic acts and attacks against Jews in this country. 

I mourn for advocate Dershowitz. I reject Temple Emanu-El. And I mourn for us all while this narrative can be broadsided. We do not deserve this frivolous, unfair insult. Especially when anti-Semitic manifestations are at an all-time high, as acknowledged by those keeping track. 

Image: The Huntington, via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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