Alan Dershowitz at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York, May 7, 2017.
(photo credit: SIVAN FARAG)
NEW YORK – Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said pro-Palestinian activists who interrupted his lecture in Qatar were not interested in a fair exchange of ideas and orchestrated the demonstration only because he supports the State of Israel.
Protesters staged a walkout while the distinguished litigator delivered a lecture titled “Law and Media” at the Qatar campus of Northwestern University in Doha on Sunday night.
In a statement provided exclusively to The Jerusalem Post
, Dershowitz explained that the premeditated protest had nothing to do with the substance of his ideas.
“The walkout and protest were well planned. They weren’t protesting my ideas. They were protesting me because I’m a Zionist,” Dershowitz said.
“They didn’t care that I support a two-state solution. They oppose Israel. They were not interested in hearing any facts that favored Israel. The government and university handled it well. There was no effort to shout me down, unlike in some US universities.”
The lecture, which was later posted to social media, was first interrupted when two men walked pass Dershowitz as he was delivering his remarks. In a video of the lecture, one of the men can be seen unfolding a Palestinian flag and draping it over his shoulders.
The demonstrators were then followed by two women, one of whom told Dershowitz, “Zionists are not welcome here.”
That prompted a number of other individuals in the audience to rise from their seats and leave the auditorium to a supportive round of applause.
The event was held at Education City, a sprawling campus that houses half-a-dozen US universities – Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Texas A&M, Virginia Commonwealth and Northwestern.
According to the pro-Palestinian website Electronic Intifada, Dershowitz accused the protesters of censoring his lecture and abridging his right to speak as an invited guest of the Qatari government.
Northwestern later stated in an email sent to students that it was not responsible for “hosting or sponsoring the lecture by Professor Dershowitz,” adding that the Qatar Foundation backed the lecture at the Northwestern University auditorium.
“In an email sent by [Qatar Foundation], it mistakenly stated that NU-Q was hosting the event. We ask that that be corrected,” Everette E. Dennis, the school’s dean, added in the statement.
The Qatar Foundation is a semi-private nonprofit organization founded in 1995 by then-Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and his second wife, Moza bint Nasser.
The protesters were reportedly members of the Qatar Youth Opposed to Normalization organization, which rejects all ties with Israel and supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against it.
After Dershowitz concluded his lecture, activists took to social media to express opposition to Qatar-Israel relations, using the hashtag “Do not defile Qatar with normalization” in Arabic.