Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
News

Alan Dershowitz Backs Steve Bannon, Calls Left ‘Anti-Semitic’

Alan Dershowitz waded into the debate this week over Steve Bannon, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for chief White House strategist, dismissing charges of anti-Semitism directed at the aide and throwing back those allegations at the political left.

“I think we have to be very careful before we accuse any particular individual of being an anti-Semite,” Dershowitz told the ‘alt-right’ Breitbart News on Tuesday. “The evidence certainly suggests that Mr. Bannon has very good relationships with individual Jews.”

He said that Bannon, the former head of Breitbart, might appeal to anti-Semites, but that does not necessarily qualify him as one.

“I think the larger problem – and it’s a very complicated one today – is how you assess a person who himself might not have negative characteristics, but who has widespread appeal to people who do,” he added.

Bannon’s appointment has drawn condemnations from civil rights groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the American Civil Liberties Union. With Bannon at the helm, the site called neoconservative Bill Kristol “a renegade Jew” for opposing Trump’s candidacy, published an article that dismissed the existence of anti-Semitism and defended caricatures that had stereotypically Jewish features.

Dershowitz also lobbed charges of anti-Semitism against mainstream politicians in the Democratic Party, criticizing Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison and Black Lives Matter as anti-Semitic in a separate Tuesday interview on MSNBC.

“Many of his supporters hate Jews. Many people who applaud his nomination,” Dershowitz said of Ellison, a leading candidate to become the new chair of the Democratic National Committee.

“I love the concept of Black Lives Matter, but they are an anti-Semitic group,” he continued, citing the organization’s accusation that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians as evidence.

Dershowitz said that both right and left camps should examine their followers for anti-Semitism.

“I have to tell you, the only thing the hard left and the hard right have in common, they hate Israel and America,” he concluded.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at [email protected] or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.