Legal scholar Dershowitz wants honorary Israeli citizenship to counter BDS

Dershowitz tells Post that if Israel offered “honorary citizenship to musicians and academics who could be subject to BDS” it could dissuade boycotts of the Jewish state.

May 2, 2015 12:22
1 minute read.
Alan Dershowitz

Famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said on Friday that he would like to become an honorary citizen of Israel to fight the boycott movement.

“I think the good answer to the BDS movement is to institutionalize what Evgeny Kissin did,” Dershowitz told The Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview. Kissin, a world-renowned Russian–British classical pianist, became an Israeli citizen in 2013 to stymie countries and organizations that seek to boycott Israel.

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Kissin said at the time, “When Israel’s enemies try to disrupt concerts of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra or the Jerusalem Quartet, I want them to come and make troubles at my concerts, too: because Israel’s case is my case, Israel’s enemies are my enemies, and I do not want to be spared of the troubles which Israeli musicians encounter when they represent the Jewish state beyond its borders.”

Dershowitz said that if Israel offered “honorary citizenship to musicians and academics who could be subject to BDS,” it could dissuade boycotts of the Jewish state. He added that those who accept honorary citizenship would not make full aliya, but rather use their citizenship as an act of solidarity with Israel to blunt the effect of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.

Asked if he would make aliya if Israel did not provide honorary citizenship, Dershowitz said he would “think about it.” He noted that the US allows dual US-Israel citizenship, but said the “better option” would be to be honorary citizenship for those “not ready to assume responsibilities of [Israeli] citizenship.”

In 2007, Dershowitz and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg published a public letter saying they consider themselves to be Israelis when faced with BDS efforts.

The solidarity letter, which garnered the signatures of 15 Nobel laureates and thousands of supporters, declared, “We are academics, scholars, researchers and professionals of differing religious and political perspectives.

We all agree that singling out Israelis for an academic boycott is wrong. To show our solidarity with our Israeli academics in this matter, we, the undersigned, hereby declare ourselves to be Israeli academics for purposes of any academic boycott.

We will regard ourselves as Israeli academics and decline to participate in any activity from which Israeli academics are excluded.”

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