Alan Dershowitz threatened Thursday to sue the University of California at Berkeley if it doesn't change its rules on "high visibility" speakers and permit him to speak following the same guidelines it would give a person with anti-Israeli views.
"If you are high visibilities, you have to give eight weeks," Dershowitz, who has been invited to speak at the university, told Fox News' "Fox and Friends" program. "But if a department at the university invites anti-Israel speakers, they don't have to go through a eight-week waiting period."
If that rule is kept in place, the famed professor said he'll sue Berkeley, and he'll win.
"We have an eight-week barrier, whereas anti-Israel speakers don't have a eight-week barrier," Dershowitz, Harvard Law professor emeritus, said. "I'm going to sue Berkeley if they don't allow me to speak. They make me wait eight weeks and allow anti-Israel speakers to come in three or four days, that is a lawsuit."
Berkeley receives taxpayer money, said Dershowitz, and it is bound by the First Amendment.
"They can't impose one rule on pro-Israel speakers and one rule on anti-Israel speakers; one rule on conservatives and one on liberals," said Dershowitz, questioning rules the university sets on "high profile" people.
"Would they actually turn down President [Donald] Trump if he said I want to speak there in a week?" Dershowitz asked. "Would they turn down a famous actor, a liberal, progressive actor? I don't think so. They have to have a single standard and we're going to hold them in it. If they don't abide by it we're going to take them to court."
Dershowitz said Berkeley students also are upset by the rulings, as "they are telling me that they're being denied the opportunity to listen to speakers that they want to hear."
And, he continued, he won't let Berkeley get away with treating a pro-Israel speaker, such as himself, differently than an anti-Israel speaker.
"They are a public university and [they] have to comply with the First Amendment," said Dershowitz. "We will win that suit."
People who protest speakers are afraid of differing opinions, said Dershowitz, who noted that his speech at Columbia University Wednesday night also had been targeted by protesters, but he handled the threats pre-emptively.
"I went public, and I disclosed what they were planning to do, he told Fox News.
As a result, the protesters "chickened out" and protested outside, Dershowitz said.
"They came inside, but they just put little leaflets on the seats. They left and wouldn't listen to me. I invited them to come back. Can you ask me the hardest questions. I will stay as long as you want. I will answer every hard question. In fact, only hard questions you get to go first. You get to say whatever you want. They wouldn't engage me."
Dershowitz said the protests had nothing to with the argument and he even had a plan ready.
"If they were going to disrupt me and boo, I was going to start out by making first a pro-Palestinian statement saying I support a Palestinian state," Dershowitz said. "They would go 'boo, boo.' I would say see it has nothing to do with what I'm saying, it's just an attempt to shout me down.
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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