Vineyard Haven library to host Dershowitz

Invite comes after Chilmark library said there was no room on its schedule.

Alan Dershowitz mingles with friends on on the porch at the Chilmark General Store. — Gabrielle Mannino

Alan Dershowitz, whose op-ed about being shunned on Martha’s Vineyard because of his support for President Donald Trump’s constitutional rights went viral last week, has been invited to speak by the Vineyard Haven library on Wednesday, July 18, at 7 pm at the Katharine Cornell Theater in Tisbury.

“He usually speaks at the Chilmark library, but her schedule is full,” said Betty Burton, who is charge of adult programs at Vineyard Haven library. Chilmark put out a request Islandwide, and Vineyard Haven took the bait. “We’re a library. We try to be neutral,” Burton said.

Billed as “An Evening with Alan Dershowitz,” Burton said it will likely be a chance for him to talk about his new book, “The Case Against Impeachment,” which was released Monday. But he will no doubt face questions about his public comments over being ostracized from the Vineyard social scene. “We’ll let him say what he wants to say,” Burton told The Times.

Judy Crawford, a member of the League of Women Voters of Martha’s Vineyard, will moderate the talk. The details haven’t been fully worked out, but Burton and Crawford will be meeting with Dershowitz soon.

The invite comes after a week of fireworks on the Vineyard prompted by Dershowitz’s piece and his subsequent interviews. He has made appearances on network television, including one where he said a woman threatened to stab him, and done multiple interviews with the New York Times.

On “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, Dershowitz made comments that are likely to stoke the controversy. “You cannot question a president’s motives when the president acts,” Dershowitz said. “If a president pardons, that’s it. If a president fires, that’s it. You can’t go beyond the act and get into his motive or intent.”

The first interview with the legendary defense attorney after his Hill op-ed was done by The MV Times. Following that, The Times asked our readers in our daily newsletter, The Minute, if they would invite Dershowitz to an event. Here are the results:

The poll on whether you would invite Alan Dershowitz to dinner garnered hundreds of responses. Of those, 37 percent said they would invite “Dersh” to dinner; 63 percent said no.

Of those who said yes, 42 percent said they would invite him because they agreed with his public defense of President Trump; 29 percent said they’d invite him because it might be interesting — even if they don’t know him. And 29 percent said they’d invite him because even though they disagree with him, they like spirited dinner conversation.

Of those who said they would not invite Alan Dershowitz to dinner, 56 percent said the reason was because they disagreed with his defense of Trump; 36 percent said they don’t know him, and don’t like inviting strangers to dinner; 4 percent said they did not like the fact that he was a Hillary Clinton supporter, and 4 percent said they had friends who disagreed with him, and preferred to keep their dinner parties peaceful.

On Saturday, those results were quoted in the New York Times. It’s the second time in a week that the New York daily has quoted the MV Times.

All of this led up to the release of Dershowitz’s latest book — ”The Case Against Impeachment” — on Monday.

Dershowitz is also scheduled to speak after a showing of “American Chaos” by the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival on Wednesday, July 25, at 8 pm at the Chilmark Community Center. Labor lawyer Jules Bernstein is the other speaker at the film festival event.

Burton said she’s not quite sure what to expect at the July 18 library-sponsored event. Dershowitz could still be a hot commodity, or things may have fizzled by then. “It seems to just keep going,” she said.


  1. Ironic the Dersh argues Islanders are abusing his freedom of speech by infringing on theirs. Everyone check their egos at the door, especially the NY Times for exposing us to this drivel.

  2. It is truly entertaining to watch the snowflake savagery against one of their own. Alan Dershowitz is a man of dignity and accomplishment, unlike his detractors. If something like this gets the snowflakes into such a spasm, what is going to happen to them if the Trumpistas make any election gains in November?

    • Dershowitz said a president is above the law and that, readers, is fascism. The leader is the state. What part of the Constitution will the Right want to trash next?

    • Schadenfreude is ugly. Publicly admitting to it is sickening. I expect nothing less from those with the pretense of morality. The worst of what human nature is capable of is nothing to brag about, especially if you exemplify it.

        • Admit not but I spent many evenings helping a gentleman run sailboat races. Turns out he was in the first Army company to find and liberate a Nazi death camp. I’ll take his word and those of camp survivors I’ve met over the years.

          • Sorry you had to miss the show – getting the stories second hand doesn’t quite deliver the flavor, or the smell…

      • I am so glad we have a originalist nominated for supreme court tonight and now we will have 5 and when Ginsburg goes we will have 6. Hooraah. Trump has given us everything he has promised. Justices, tax cuts, cuts in regulations, Iran ripped up, pressure on Nato to pay it 2 percent of gnp, out of climate change nonsense. The list continues. More than any other President he does what he promises. the deplorables are very pleased while the angry left is in tears.

  3. I would invite him to dinner at my house– actually, already have–
    So my question to trump supporters–
    How do you feel about trump dis inviting ( that’s withdrawing an invitation) to the super bowl champion Eagles, nba champion warriors , and didn’t even bother to invite the 2017 WNBA champs, the Minnesota Lynx ?
    He’s the president of the united states– a public official that spends millions of tax payer dollars every day while he plays golf ( 119 golf days so far )
    he sort of is obligated to invite all manner of people into “the peoples house”
    wealthy liberals are not
    And when do you think was the last time a guy like Hannity invited liberals into his personal house for a dinner party ?

    • Don, this is not the first time Alan Dershowitz has experienced shunning on this island. Remember when Thomas Bena of the MV Film Festival invited and then dis-invited Dershowitz to the panel discussion with Angela Davis? Bena didn’t want the subject of her anti-Israel sentiment discussed on his panel after the “Free Angela” film. I think this story is more about the popular pro-Palestianian/anti-Israel sentiment than anyone wants to admit.

      • If the Library is really going to host, you need a couple of Constitutional lawyers on hand to let you know when he goes way off base. Be nice to the lawyers, at least treat them to a nice dinner.

  4. The slightly cooler weather is energizing the snowflakes – more robust leaping and bounding (to conclusions).

  5. It’s clear that Dershowitz is engaging in attention seeking behavior as a means of selling his book. He’s a drama queen, even making the ridiculous claim that someone on the Island threatened to stab him in the heart. I will be glad when he gets over his self-pity party and returns to parading nude on the beach where he is shunned for reasons having nothing to do with politics.

  6. I think the Headline needs clarification. The event is at the Katherine Cornell not the library. The headline confuses that fact

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