Dershowitz’s latest target for antisemitism smears: Jeffrey Epstein’s victims

Mondoweiss – by David Samel

Several of the major players in the sordid Jeffrey Epstein-Ghislaine Maxwell scandal are Jewish, including Epstein and Maxwell themselves, Leslie Wexner, Ehud Barak, and Alan Dershowitz. (Many others who have been accused of various acts of misconduct are not – Jean-Luc Brunel, George Mitchell, Bill Richardson.) Dozens of women have come forward with horrific tales of sexual abuse at the hands of the Epstein-Maxwell crowd when they were young, vulnerable teenagers. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before there were public accusations that the victims were motivated not by the horrors they endured but by anti-Semitism, and there is no better candidate to launch those scurrilous attacks than Alan Dershowitz.

For many years, Dershowitz has unleashed a torrent of vitriolic accusations of anti-Semitism against those who dared stray from the exceptionally narrow boundaries of Dersh-approved “legitimate” criticism of Israel. Some of these targets are almost universally admired as human rights icons, such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, whom Dersh describes as “one of the most evil men in the world”; Daniel Berrigan, who was “an evil, evil man”; and Jimmy Carter, for whom there is a “special place in Hell” (where people who build houses for the poor into their 90’s are themselves housed). And of course, that’s just a tiny sample of Dershowitz’s targets. Apparently, Dershowitz’s theory is that these men, and Richard Goldstone, Jeremy Corbyn, Roger Waters, etc., who have led very public lives for many decades, are secretly consumed with hatred for the Jewish people but in a transparent attempt to camouflage their bigotry, they express their anti-Semitism only with criticism of Israel.

Dershowitz’s desperate and outrageously dishonest smears of Israel’s critics are deserving of their own multi-volume treatise, but he has now used his trademarked anti-Semitism weaponization against a victim of Jeffrey Epstein. One of the featured witness-accusers in the Netflix docuseries “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich”, Maria Farmer, now 50, recently had a lengthy telephone interview with Whitney Webb, who published the audio on YouTube. Some of Farmer’s statements about Jews are indeed troubling, but Dershowitz’s willful misinterpretations and even alterations of them are far worse. In a recent column based on the Farmer-Webb interview, he disingenuously suggests that Farmer “may have been motivated by the anti-Semitic attitudes she has long harbored, to falsely accuse prominent Jews of sexual misconduct.”

On Norman Finkelstein’s website, Vernon Thorpe offers a comprehensive analysis of Farmer’s statements and Dershowitz’s integrity-free portrayal of them. Essentially, Dershowitz employs his usual trifecta of pretending that Farmer’s quotes about individual Jews referred to all Jews; excising Farmer’s language indicating that she struggled to overcome anti-Semitic feelings in the past; and reversing cause and effect with respect to Farmer’s encounters with her (Jewish) tormentors and her subsequent feelings about Jews.

Here are a few of Thorpe’s examples:

Quote 1, per Dershowitz: “They think Jewish DNA is better than the rest of us.” This abbreviated quote seems to be an anti-Semitic accusation that Jews naturally harbor feelings of supremacy. But Thorpe shows that Farmer’s full quote paints a very different picture:

“When I called Ghislaine [Maxwell] and asked why I couldn’t eat there [at a private and exclusive country club] she said, ‘It’s a Jewish country club, you’re not Jewish, they’re not going to serve you.’ This is how this woman spoke to me, yeah. This is how these people think, Whitney. They, honest to God, think their DNA is better than everybody else’s, I swear to you. It was a theme all the time with them. With Eileen Guggenheim, with Jeffrey Epstein, with Ghislaine. It was a theme.”

As Thorpe concludes: “It is quite clear from the context that Farmer, when she says ‘They’, is referring to the set of people she mentions and not all Jewish people. Yet Dershowitz, by stripping away the context of the quotation, leads the reader to assume that ‘They’ is a universal ascription of certain views to Jews in general of the kind that might be made by a genuinely bigoted person.”

Quote 2, per Dershowitz:  “These people truly believe they are chosen every one of them.” Here, Dershowitz isn’t content to wrench a quote out of context; he actually alters it to change its meaning. Thorpe’s accurate transcript:

“You wouldn’t believe the way Jeffrey and Ghislaine spoke about African-Americans. It was like, it made my skin crawl. Anybody who was not Jewish, and you should write about this, but the way they spoke about them, it was really horrifying and it showed me a great deal about how these people truly believe that they are chosen to do something here. I don’t know, it’s unbelievable to me. I mean, and it was every one of them, the way they spoke.

Not only does Dershowitz again falsely imply that Farmer was referring to Jews in general rather than just the Epstein/Maxwell clique, he also omits critical words in the middle and sews together the fragments of two different sentences without an ellipsis to signify the omission.

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Quote 3, per Dershowitz: “I had a hard time with all Jewish people”; “I think it’s all the Jews”; “All the Jewish people I met are pedophiles that run the world economy.” Farmer’s actual quote:

For a long time I had a hard time with all Jewish people, I’m gonna be honest with you. For a long time I was like, I think it’s all the Jews. Like I don’t know, because my sister is like, ‘Maria, it’s just the ones you met, it’s these people.’ It’s just unfortunate that all the Jewish people I met also happen to be pedophiles that run the world economy, you know. So it gives like a bad taste in your mouth. But David Icke has kind of helped me with that. I kind of understand it better now, but like er that looks hard. You know, they did a number on all of us. We’ve all had a hard time with, like, a lot of it because of the abuse, you know. So it’s hard to not then go, All these people are like this, when it’s not true, not all of them, just a huge chunk of elites are like this.”

Thorpe notes that Dershowitz has removed the critical words “For a long time” twice to conceal that Farmer struggled in the past with ill feelings toward Jews based upon her experiences with this small repulsive clique. As Thorpe argues: “Compare how you might react on hearing that someone had said, ‘For a long time, I thought, black people are inferior’, as opposed to hearing the person had simply said ‘black people are inferior’. Farmer explicitly distances herself from a bigoted stance towards ‘all Jewish people’ seeing herself as trying to recover from such an attitude.” Thorpe acknowledges Farmer’s unfortunate reference to conspiracy theorist David Icke as “a worrying sign of Farmer’s naivete” but continues that “she is actively resisting a tendency to bigotry she presents as arising from her traumatic experiences.”

While some of Farmer’s statements are disturbingly close to anti-Semitism, she makes abundantly clear that her youthful feelings about Jews were entirely shaped by her terrifying encounters with reprehensible people who happened to be the only Jews she was acquainted with. Dershowitz pretends that she had some pre-existing condition of anti-Semitism which led her to make false accusations against prominent Jews in the first place.

Of course, Dershowitz’s primary motivation in accusing Farmer is saving his own skin. Farmer, in a court-filed affidavit, dared to cast a rather mild accusation at Dershowitz:

“Alan Dershowitz was an individual who came to visit Epstein at his New York mansion a number of times when I was working for Epstein. Dershowitz was very comfortable at the home and would come in and walk upstairs. On a number [of] occasions I witnessed Dershowitz at the NY mansion going upstairs at the same time there were young girls under the age of 18 who were present upstairs in the house.”

Dershowitz insists that Farmer is lying, since he supposedly can prove that he and Farmer could not possibly have been in Epstein’s New York home at the same time. (Dershowitz often claims he has incontrovertible proof of some fact without exposing the details of such “proof” to public scrutiny.) He does not explain why Farmer’s anti-Semitism would prompt her to invent a rather mundane allegation of Dershowitz’s opportunity to witness sex with minors rather than fabricate a more salacious allegation of actual participation. If she were a committed Jew-hater, she really could have done better than that.

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But Dershowitz is not content to portray himself as the only target of Farmer’s diseased mind. He claims that she was motivated to “falsely accuse prominent Jews.” Using the plural, he apparently includes Maxwell and Leslie Wexner and possibly Epstein himself as probable victims of Farmer’s animus toward Jews. Dershowitz wants us to believe that everything we think we know about Epstein & Co’s sexual exploitation and trafficking of young women and underage girls might be tainted by anti-Semitic fantasies of the victims.

That’s victims, not just one victim. Dershowitz is not content to accuse only Maria Farmer of anti-Semitic motivation. Farmer’s personal allegations against Dershowitz pale in comparison to those made by Virginia Roberts Giuffre and Sarah Ransome, who both have accused Dershowitz of eagerly accepting Epstein’s “gift” of sex with them during their period of servitude. Dershowitz speculates without any logical or factual basis that Farmer’s supposed anti-Semitism may very well have spread, virus-like, to other victim-accusers of Epstein. Dershowitz’s guilt-by-association fantasy would make McCarthy jealous:

There have been rumors from the very beginning about anti-Semitic statements or sentiments expressed by some of the witnesses [rumors started by whom? – Dershowitz?].

Now we have proof — from the mouth of the witness herself — that it is true about the first and most prominent witness.

Even if true about others as well [is there the slightest reason to believe it is true about anyone else?], this would not excuse or mitigate Epstein’s crimes.

But it would raise questions about the credibility of their accusations against others [the credibility of whom? Witnesses who have never made any anti-Semitic statements but are nevertheless smeared?].

The bigoted motives of accusers are always relevant to their credibility [True, but not relevant unless you can show those bigoted motives].

Throughout history, anti-Semitism has motivated false accusations. Maria Farmer’s overt anti-Semitism must be investigated beyond her own bigoted public statements [What other possible evidence could there be other than her statements? And who “must” conduct this investigation?].

These revelations, which were known to Netflix before they mendaciously presented Farmer as a credible witness, also raise questions about the credibility and ethics of Netflix and the producers and directors of the Epstein series.

They withheld from their viewers this and other damming information [what “other damning information”?] in order to present a false picture of their primary witness. The time has come for the responsible media to investigate all the principles [sic: principals] — accusers and accused alike — in the tragic Epstein saga.

Note how Dershowitz first invokes unsubstantiated (and quite possibly non-existent or Dersh-originated) “rumors from the very beginning about anti-Semitic statements or sentiments…” That’s just his dressed-up version of the familiar Trump invocation: “A lot of people are saying that …” He then claims the “rumors” from years ago are now lent credibility by Farmer’s 2020 interview and he concludes with a call for a media frenzy probing Epstein’s many accusers for signs of anti-Jewish bias. On the basis of what? Dershowitz’s speculative fantasy?

Dershowitz is so accustomed to trotting out his morally and intellectually bankrupt anti-Semitism smear as a first-resort weapon against political adversaries that he has now employed it against youthful victims of sexual predators who happened to be Jewish. Did he go too far here and embarrass himself in such a way that the media will no longer consult him on matters ranging from impeachment to Iran to Israel? Will The New York Times stop publishing any more articles about how he has been forced to endure an icy chill from Martha’s Vineyard social and intellectual elite because of his courageous, principled stands in defense of Donald Trump? Not a chance.