You’ve got to hand it to Alan Dershowitz. He is 79, but he keeps on adding to his resume. His latest role is as an advocate for Donald Trump. And of course wherever Dershowitz goes, Israel is in the picture. It pops up again and again in Dersh’s interactions with the disruptive president.
The news is that at a time when Trump doesn’t have many legal chums, Dershowitz has been serving as Trump’s legal mouthpiece. He’s said that special counsel Robert Mueller is over-zealous, and you can manufacture crimes against anyone. He’s said that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the apparent firewall protecting the Mueller investigation, ought to recuse himself from his overseeing role. He’s accused the ACLU of trampling civil rights in order to get Trump.
The New Yorker has been in and out of the White House this week, Politico reports:
On Tuesday evening, Dershowitz dined at the White House with the president, who has been considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller or deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein in the wake of an FBI raid on the New York home and office of his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen.
Dershowitz said that he was there to talk about the Middle East with the president and his senior advisers. “It was a previously scheduled meeting,” he told POLITICO.
He was back at the White House on Wednesday, huddling again with senior Trump aides….
And where Dersh goes, Israel is not far behind. Politico says Dersh “has used the newfound fame that alights on anyone in Trump’s orbit to tout his Middle East bona fides and position himself as a conduit to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Recalling his run-in with Trump at Mar-a-Lago six months ago, he said the president’s main concern was Israel, not the law. ‘He pulled me aside,’ Dershowitz recalled, ‘and said, I have messages for you to give to Bibi.’”
Dershowitz isn’t only touting Netanyahu to Trump. He’s also promoting “Start Up Nation,” Israel’s effort to brand itself as a technological leader, so that it won’t become a pariah state.
Dershowitz is on the board of an Israeli company called Watergen that builds machines to extract water from the air. Last year Sheldon Adelson, who is Trump’s biggest donor, pressed Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, to meet with Watergen. Pruitt met with two Watergen executives in March 2017.
And lo and behold, Watergen lately scored a cooperative research agreement with the EPA.
Israeli innovation for the last 69 years has produced products that the world can’t live without! Drip agriculture. So many other products. We learn from the Talmud that who saves a single human life it’s as if they saved the whole world. But it’s better to save the whole world, and Israel can do that through its water technology and this great innovation!
I don’t know just when Dershowitz got on the Watergen board; but suffice it to say, neither AIPAC nor Dershowitz gave any inkling that Dershowitz already was or was soon to be on the Watergen board.
Dershowitz’s free pass into the White House underlines the fact that no matter how toxic the president, the Israel lobby is firmly ensconced. Just like it was ensconced in the previous three administrations. Bill Clinton had Rahm Emanuel, Dennis Ross, Stu Eizenstat and Larry Summers, to name just a few. George Bush had Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz. Barack Obama had Alan Solow, Martin Indyk, the Pritzkers and Elena Kagan.
Now Trump has several men with Middle East “bona fides,” as Dersh put it, right at his elbow: Dershowitz, Adelson– who wanted Obama to nuke Iran– and Jared Kushner, the son-in-law whose family foundation supported illegal settlements. Alongside Kushner, Israel-supporters David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt are part of the ace diplomatic team.
Kushner first teamed up with Dershowitz 15 years ago at Harvard, speaking at the dedication of the Chabad House there when Kushner was an undergraduate. (The link to that video is now dead; but I have watched it several times and can vouch for the meeting.)
Now a Trump loyalist, Ed Russo, has gotten the job as CEO of Watergen’s U.S. operation. Russo was an environmental consultant to the Trump organization, and wrote a book titled, “Donald J. Trump: An Environmental Hero,” before the presidential election.
Update. This afternoon it was announced that Trump had pardoned Scooter Libby, the former counsel to Dick Cheney who had been convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame case during the Iraq war fomenting. All commentators (on MSNBC and CNN as of 1:50 PM) are saying Trump is doing this to send a signal to those being investigated by Robert Mueller now, to keep their mouths shut, and he’ll pardon them. But Dershowitz has argued for Libby. Libby was a dedicated supporter of Israel. I can only imagine what Sheldon Adelson has said to DJT about Scooter. But no, the Israel lobby is never an angle for mainstream journalists
Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.