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ALAN DERSHOWITZ: A Short History Of How The National Lawyers Guild Came To Support Hamas


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Alan M. Dershowitz Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School, and the author most recently of The Price of Principle: Why Integrity Is Worth The Consequences. He is the Jack Roth Charitable Foundation Fellow at Gatestone Institute, and is also the host of "The Dershow" podcast.
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It began as a liberal organization that was taken over by the communists and supported the Hitler-Stalin Pact.

Within a day of the massacre of Israeli babies, women, the elderly and others, the National Lawyers Guild issued a statement in support of the mass murderers. The Guild is a group of hard-left lawyers, students, and legal employees. It has branches in law schools throughout the country and has many members, especially among law students.

It began as a liberal organization before World War II and included many legal luminaries, including Jews. Quickly, though, it was taken over by the Communist Party, and it supported the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939.  As a result of its support for Hitler, many liberal members quit.

Committed Communists who always follow the party line remained members. Following World War II, the Guild again attracted some liberals who saw it as an alternative to the conservative American Bar Association.  In the 1970s, it was taken over by radical leftists¸ including some members of the Communist Party.  It was no longer a home for liberals. (RELATED: ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Harvard Must Condemn Pro-Hamas Students) 

In 1948, the Guild followed the lead of the Soviet Union in supporting the establishment of Israel.  When the Soviet Union and the Communist Party turned against Israel in the 1960s, the Guild followed suit in opposing Israel and supporting Palestinian terrorists. Nonetheless, some liberals, including Jews, stayed on as members. It remains to be seen whether it will lose the support of Jewish liberals, following the events of October 7, 2023.

It is important to note that the lengthy statement by the Lawyer’s Guild in support of Hamas and in opposition to Israel was issued before Israel responded to the Hamas attack.  It was posted on October 8, while bodies were still being recovered from the south of Israel.

The statement begins by emphasizing “the legitimacy of the right of the Palestinian people to resist the legal military occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing … as well as Israel’s perpetration of its atrocities.” It described the rapes, beheadings, murders and kidnappings committed by Hamas as “the recent military actions carried out by Palestinian resistance…”

The Guild’s statement urged the public to support resistance to Israel’s occupation “by all available means including armed struggle.” It criticized those who had condemned Hamas’ barbarity.  It accused Israel of  genocide and demanded that Hamas be removed from the United States list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Plus, too, the Guild demanded that Israel be held legally accountable for the defense of its citizens.  It claimed that Israel’s goal is to “annihilate” the Palestinians, and it demanded the release of every single Palestinian prisoner — including those convicted of mass murder.

The Guild did not call for the release of the hostages held by Hamas, and it opposed efforts of any country to “normalize relations with Israel.” It said not a single word in condemnation of the rapes, beheadings, and kidnappings of Israeli babies, children, and women.

I am not aware of any law school in which the National Lawyers Guild has a chapter condemning or even criticizing this statement. It has gone largely unnoticed in the law school community.  This statement, though, was not produced out of thin air or by artificial intelligence, it was written and circulated by specific leaders of the National Lawyers Guild, including students at America’s leading universities.

Students who support this antisemitic, anti-American, and anti-humanitarian statement are currently being given job offers by America’s leading law firms, by government agencies, by hedge funds and by other potential employers.  I am sure that these employers are unaware that they may be hiring lawyers who support the rapes and beheading of Jewish women and children.

Full transparency, which lies at the core of the marketplace of ideas protected by the First Amendment, demands that the name of every member of the National Lawyers Guild who supports this statement be made public, so that potential employers know whom they are hiring. Few clients would be willing to be represented by lawyers who have advocated the rape, beheading, murder, and kidnapping of Jewish civilians.

If there were groups of law students at any law school that advocated the lynching of African-Americans, the raping of women or the killing of gay and transgender people, the National Lawyers Guild would be the first to demand that the names of the students supporting such atrocities be made public. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and it is the Guild that is supporting such barbarity.

Publicizing the names and law schools of students who support Hamas violence against civilians is not “doxxing.” It does not disclose private information about their home addresses, their sexual preferences, or anything else other than their names. These students have identified themselves as members of the National Lawyers Guild. They are adults and are responsible for their actions and inactions.

Publishing their names serves the interest of truth and transparency. And so, I intend to publish — on my website, my podcast, and in my op-eds  — the names of any student who signed or supported the bigoted statement of the National Lawyers Guild.

Alan Dershowitz is professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and the author of “Get Trump,” “Guilt by Accusation” and “The Price of Principle.” This piece is republished from the Alan Dershowitz Newsletter.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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