Alan Dershowitz Has No Plans To Keep Quiet in Retirement

Legal Eagle Guards Outspoken Place in Jewish World

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By Anthony Weiss

Published July 22, 2014.

(JTA) — Alan Dershowitz’s house is a bit of a mess.

Most of the rooms in his Martha’s Vineyard home are cluttered with half-unpacked boxes filled with items from his Cambridge house, which he and his wife emptied recently and sold after he retired from his Harvard Law School professorship in June.

Dershowitz himself wears a few days growth of gray beard with his black track pants and a faded blue T-shirt that says “Martha’s Vineyard” in English and in Hebrew letters, looking utterly unlike America’s most famous super-lawyer. Judging solely by appearances, he looks ready to pad comfortably into retirement, with no ambitions beyond a nice walk on the beach.

But appearances can be deceiving. Even at 75, there is nothing retiring about Dershowitz.

Despite leaving Harvard after a 50-year teaching career, despite publishing last October a nostalgic memoir that ends with a letter to the editor to be published after his death (so he can have the last word), Dershowitz says he isn’t slowing down.

“I’m now busier than ever,” he told JTA. “When I was teaching at Harvard, there were limits on how many cases I could take. Now there are no limits. I have no excuses. So I’m involved in some of the most exciting cases in the world today.”

These days, Dershowitz’s practice takes him around the globe as he consults on high-profile international legal issues, such as the trial of former President Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan and a case stemming from April’s deadly ferry disaster in South Korea.

Dershowitz says he has another six books he is writing or plans to write, including one provisionally titled “Abraham: The World’s First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer.” He is working on an opera about the Polish Cantor Gershon Sirota based on Jewish liturgical music.

He wants to create an organization to serve as an alternative to J Street, the dovish Israel policy group with which he has frequently clashed. Dershowitz says his group would seek “a reasonable resolution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “with compromise, but without any compromise to Israel’s security.”

Dershowitz also continues to churn out opinion articles at an astonishing pace, many of them focused on Israel.

“I always have 10 ideas in my head,” he said. “I wake up every morning having to write a column or an article or a chapter of a book.”

Above all, Dershowitz loves to be a part of the action.



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