On Fox News, Dershowitz Rips 'Book Burners' — Anti-Free Speech College Students

On Friday's The Kelly File on Fox News Channel, Harvard Law's Alan Dershowitz blasted left-wing student activists over their chilling of free speech on many college campuses: "These are the same people who claim they're seeking diversity. The last thing many of these students want is real diversity — diversity of ideas." Dershowitz continued by pointing out that "it was the students at universities who first started burning books during the Nazi regime. And these students are book-burners." He later asserted that "the fog of fascism is descending quickly over many American universities." [video below]

Host Megyn Kelly first noted that "we have rules in corporations that say you can't talk a certain way and work here. They [the students] say, why can't we have those same rules on college campuses? You can't talk that way; you can't say those things; because this is a institution — this is a place where you shouldn't have to be subjected to that." The Harvard professor replied with his "book-burners" label of the student protesters, and cited the opposition to his recent lecture at Johns Hopkins University:

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: When I went to speak at John Hopkins University, there were protests. It was said that because I won't acknowledge that Israel commits crimes against the Palestinians, I am — quote, 'harassing students,' and violating the ethical standards of Johns Hopkins University. By expressing my opinion, I'm harassing students. This has become a very serious problem — not only in American universities, but in universities around the word as well. And it is influencing and having a terrible impact on the education of students.

Kelly followed up by harkening back to when she was a college student: "When you go to college...you go and you express your freedom, and...you don't want anybody getting all up in your business. But now, they're demanding that the school get all up in everybody's business, and the freedom has to stop when it comes to words."

Dershowitz returned to the John Hopkins incident, and highlighted that "the same students who were talking about safe places — painted a Hitler mustache on my posters — no concern about that. It's an absolute double standard. It is free speech for me, but not for thee. And universities should not tolerate this kind of hypocrisy — double standard."

The Fox News anchor later wondered, "Where is the spine of these administrators?" Her guest bluntly replied, "They're all afraid. After Larry Summers got fired from Harvard; after the president of Missouri gets fired — college administrators don't want to have to confront students...you have to speak back to the students. You have to call these things what they are: double standard, hypocrisy, bigotry, McCarthyism."

The full transcript of the Alan Dershowitz segment on the November 12, 2015 edition of The Kelly File on Fox News Channel:

MEGYN KELLY: Joining me now, Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor and Yale Law school graduate, who himself has experienced a tense experience on a college campus recently. He's also author of the new book, Abraham: The World's First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer. Great to see you, Professor—

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: Thank you—

KELLY: So, let's — all right. I mean, I think the viewers — the viewers know where I stand on this. I've made it very clear. However, let me take the position of the young woman we just saw. We have — we have rules in corporations that say you can't talk a certain way and work here. They say, why can't we have those same rules on college campuses? You can't talk that way; you can't say those things; because this is a institution — this is a place where you shouldn't have to be subjected to that.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, these are the same people who claim they're seeking diversity. The last thing many of these students want is real diversity — diversity of ideas. They may want superficial diversity of gender — superficial diversity of color — but they don't want diversity of ideas.

We're seeing a curtain of McCarthyism descend over many college campuses. You know, I don't want make analogies to the 1930s, but we have to remember that it was the students at universities who first started burning books during the Nazi regime. And these students are book-burners. They don't want to hear diverse views on college campuses.

When I went to speak at John Hopkins University, there were protests. It was said that because I won't acknowledge that Israel commits crimes against the Palestinians, I am — quote, 'harassing students,' and violating the ethical standards of Johns Hopkins University. By expressing my opinion, I'm harassing students. This has become a very serious problem — not only in American universities, but in universities around the word as well. And it is influencing and having a terrible impact on the education of students.

KELLY: You've spent your life in a courtroom and on college campuses — on one in particular — and it is an elite institution. When you go to college — you know, as my hundred-year-old nana would say, 'At least it was when I went to school' — you go and you express your freedom, and you find your — it's young adulthood, and you — you want to do all sorts of things, and you don't want anybody getting all up in your business. But now — now, they're demanding that the school get all up in everybody's business, and the freedom has to stop when it comes to words.

DERSHOWITZ: No, it's the worst kind of hypocrisy. They want complete freedom over their sex lives; over their personal lives; over the use of drugs. But they want mommy and daddy dean and president to please give them a safe place — protect them — from ideas that may be insensitive. Maybe, we'll make them think. But it's a double standard.

Look at what's happening at Hunter University — City University of New York. Students from the — Students for Justice in Palestine have issued a petition, saying, Zionist administrators are causing high tuition in the school. 'Zionist administrators' — you know what they mean by 'Zionist.' They mean Jews. Blatant anti-Semitism — nobody says a word.

When I spoke at Johns Hopkins University, some of the protesting students — the same students who were talking about safe places — painted a Hitler mustache on my posters — no concern about that. It's an absolute double standard. It is free speech for me, but not for thee. And universities should not tolerate this kind of hypocrisy — double standard — and college administrators have to start treating students as adults and talking back to them—

KELLY: Where's their spine? Where — as somebody who's been in academia, where is the spine of these administrators?

DERSHOWITZ: They're all afraid; they're all afraid. After Larry Summers got fired from Harvard; after the president of Missouri gets fired — college administrators don't want to have to confront students — or if you're going to be a college administrator or a professor — if you have tenure, you have to speak back to the students—

KELLY: Yeah—

DERSHOWITZ: You have to call these things what they are: double standard, hypocrisy, bigotry, McCarthyism. And the fog of fascism is descending quickly over many American universities. We have to fight back against these students—

KELLY: Yeah. The duty to educate doesn't walk out the door just because things get tense and uncomfortable—

DERSHOWITZ: Absolutely—

KELLY: Professor Dershowitz, thank you for being here.

DERSHOWITZ: Thank you.

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