by Eli Clifton
Former Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz spent the first two years of the Trump administration defending the president against the possible threat of impeachment, attacking critics of the White House, supporting Brett Kavanaugh’s controversial nomination to the Supreme Court, and lambasting the Iran nuclear deal. He even went so far as accusing Harvard law students who protested Kavanaugh’s confirmation of practicing “a new form of McCarthyism that is quickly descending on university campuses.”
On cable news, Dershowitz has emerged as a go-to Trump-defender and critic of the left wing of the Democratic Party, all while self-identifying as a “liberal Democrat.” Over the summer, Dershowitz loudly complained about being shunned by Martha’s Vineyard’s largely liberal residents.
But Dershowitz’s shift to the right, and the frequent defense of the Trump administration, has coincided with a lucrative source of income for the retired professor.
Dershowitz’s work for the anti-refugee and anti-Muslim Gatestone Institute paid him $120,000 in 2017, making him one of the group’s highest paid contractors, according to tax disclosures reviewed by LobeLog.
National Security Advisor John Bolton, who served as the group’s chairman until joining the administration, received $130,000, and Gatestone’s accounting firm, Eisenramper LLP, received $156,319.
Dershowitz sits on the organization’s board and, as its tax returns reveal, enjoyed the lucrative benefits of association with a group partially funded by billionaire Trump megadonors, Robert and Rebekah Mercer, who contributed at least $250,000 to the group between 2014 and 2016.
Gatestone, under Bolton and Dershowitz’s leadership, produced a steady of flow of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, falsehoods about refugees, and xenophobic warnings about the “Islamization” of Europe. During one week in March, The Intercept’s Lee Fang closely reviewed articles published by Gatestone and found:
Just this week, the Gatestone Institute published stories claiming that the “mostly Muslim male migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East” in Germany are fueling a “migrant rape crisis” and that “Muslim mass-rape gangs” are transforming the United Kingdom into “an Islamist Colony.”
The website routinely portrays Muslim migrants and refugees as an existential threat to Europe and the United States, claiming that immigrants bring “highly infectious diseases,” genital mutilation practices, and terror to any nation that accepts them. The site spent years sharply criticizing the Obama administration for having a “traditional Muslim bias” against Christians.
According to a review of Gatestone output by NBC News conducted in April, the group warned of a “jihadist takeover” of Europe leading to a “Great White Death,” and published thinly sourced stories claiming “Germany Confiscating Homes to Use for Migrants,” and that immigrants, including Somalis, were turning Sweden into the “Rape Capital of the West.”
Also under Bolton and Dershowitz’s leadership, the group forged ties with Rebel Media, a Toronto-based online media outlet with a history of bigotry and anti-Semitism.
In March 2017, Rebel contributor Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys, a far-right men’s organization that promotes violence, published a video defending Holocaust deniers and repeating anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) took note of both McInness and his Rebel colleague Jack Posobiec in its report “From Alt Right to Alt Lite: Naming the Hate,” writing:
[Posobiec] has enthusiastically promoted a range of lies, including the Pizzagate hoax, and attempted to discredit anti-Trump activists by planting an inflammatory “Rape Melania” sign at a protest event. He frequently tweets anti-Muslim sentiments, and has harassed former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin with anti-Muslim slurs online and in person, tweeting, “I screamed ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ at Huma Abedin.” […] Posobiec was until recently the Washington correspondent for right-wing Rebel Media.
Yesterday, Huffington Post reported that Jeffrey Clark, a 30-year-old man arrested after saying that the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting victims “deserved exactly what happened to them and so much worse” and because his relatives worried he might engage in violence, worked for Posobiec at The Rebel.
Huffington Post wrote:
Laura Sennett, an anti-fascist researcher who works with One People’s Project, spoke with Jeffrey Clark a few weeks after he and his brother were spotted in Bloomingdale with Posobiec, who by then had been fired from Rebel under mysterious circumstances after plagiarizing Jason Kessler, the white nationalist who organized the Unite the Right rally.
“[Clark] told me that Jack Posobiec hired him and his brother to follow him with a camera to take video of his investigation of Seth Rich,” Sennett told HuffPost. “Not sure if it was a documentary or a news story, but [Posobiec] was doing some kind of reporting for Rebel Media. I asked him if Posobiec was aware of his Nazi beliefs. He told me that Posobiec absolutely was and had told Jeff that he was sympathetic to those beliefs.”
In 2016, Gatestone collaborated with The Rebel to produce 12 cross-branded videos featuring anti-Muslim advocates including Daniel Pipes and Geert Wilders. Topics included “the dangers of the Islamization of the West and the growing influence of Sharia law” and “Will Europeans succumb to Islamization, or will they rise to fight radical Islam and hold onto Western values?”
I flagged Gatestone’s partnership with The Rebel, and Dershowitz’s capacity as a board member of Gatestone, in a tweet last night, writing:
Posobiec, working for Rebel Media, allegedly hired a neo-Nazi and said he was “sympathetic to those beliefs.” Rebel co-produced 12 anti-Muslim videos with the Mercer funded, and Alan Dershowitz and John Bolton advised, Gatestone Institute.
This morning Dershowitz tweeted back, “I did not advise. I was simply interviewed. I stand by what I said.”
In a follow-up email exchange about his advisory role at Gatestone and his $120,000 compensation, he explained: “I know nothing about Rebel Media. Gatestone pays me my usual speaker and writing fees.” (Indeed, Dershowitz appears to have produced 46 articles and spoken twice at Gatestone events in 2017, working out to an average payment of $2,500 for each written product and speaking engagement.)
When asked to clarify his non-sequitur statement that he was “simply interviewed,” Dershowitz responded, “I’m interviews [sic] dozens of times a year for videos.”
In addition to his paid work for Gatestone, Dershowitz also engaged in occasional paid legal work for Trump’s biggest donor, Sheldon Adelson, and his corporation, Las Vegas Sands, from 2001 until March 2016.
Dershowitz tweeted today:
I had no knowledge of Mercer/Rebel. I spoke/wrote 4 Gatestone as many good ppl did/do (Lieberman). I’ve never expressed anti-Muslim views.I speak/write for many liberal orgs. I’ll cont to speak 4 Gatestone.I’ll not be deterred by lies/guilt by assoc
It’s difficult to understand how Dershowitz had “no knowledge” of Rebekah Mercer’s involvement at Gatestone while serving alongside her on the group’s board.
Gatestone promptly scrubbed its website of any mention of its board members after LobeLog reached out to it on April 11 for comment about the addition of Rebekah Mercer’s name. But an archived version of the website captured by Archive.org on April 9 shows Mercer’s name. A March 25 capture shows the list without her name, suggesting that she was added to the board at some point between March 25 and April 9.