Tovi Rose

By TOVI ROSE

On October 23rd, the Canadian Associates of Ben Gurion University will be holding a gala in honor of two of the Winnipeg Jewish community’s most philanthropic members, Hope and Howard Morry. The couple have long been active members of our community, with more than a few impressive titles between them. I doubt that anyone can argue against these two being honored for their many contributions, and thus, their gala is sure to go on without any protest. That is, it would, were it not for one key component. That component is the guest speaker for the night, one Mister Alan Dershowitz.

 

 

 

 


My name is Tovi Rose, I am an 18- year-old member of this community, and I would like to take this opportunity to call for the immediate removal of Alan Dershowitz from any events relating to Winnipeg Jewry. I believe that in hosting this man, we are tarnishing our community, and letting down the women who are a part of it.
To those unfamiliar with Alan Dershowitz, he is a well-known American lawyer, who has a repertoire of successful celebrity and high-profile trials under his belt. Most will remember him as a key member of O.J. Simpson’s “Dream Team” of lawyers, in the oft-contested “trial of the century”. Recently, he has been part of the legal teams for Julian Assange and Harvey Weinstein.
Dershowitz has become an outspoken advocate for ending the investigation into American President Donald Trump’s potential ties to Russian election interference, and has denounced the campaign to impeach the President. Starting in September of last year, Dershowitz became a leading voice amongst those defending then Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, claiming that the charges of gang rape brought against Judge Kavanaugh were unsubstantiated.
Dershowitz has now written two books on Donald Trump, both of which seek to defend the President’s actions, and assuage much of the hatred directed towards him.


Of course, none of this so far is enough to justifiably call for Mr. Dershowitz’s removal from the gala. My call for removal is based on something entirely different. This would be Alan Dershowitz’s incredibly close ties to, and alleged involvement with, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, whose recent case and subsequent trial, in which he has been charged with sex trafficking of minors, has become international news and implicates an array of high profile figures in an alleged sex trafficking ring.
For context, the well-connected billionaire Jeffrey Epstein has been accused multiple times of severe sex crimes, many of which directly involved minors, and has gotten off with little to no punishment, until his arrest this past month. This case has led to international outrage and intense probing into his connections and potential co-conspirators. One of the most notable of these alleged co-conspirators is the very subject of this article, Alan Dershowitz, who has perhaps the most interactions with Mr. Epstein of anyone allegedly involved, particularly in regards to the very crimes in question.


The relationship between Epstein and Dershowitz is both that of a client and lawyer, as well as that of two close friends. This friendship stems back to 1996, when a mutual acquaintance introduced the two. They became fast friends, and were inseparable for a number of years.
In 2006, accusations from a 14-year-old girl who accused Epstein of molesting her led the Palm Beach Police on an 11-month long investigation, which ended in them charging Epstein with four counts of unlawful sex with minors and one count of molestation. The police were outraged to soon learn that Epstein was, oddly enough, only being charged with one count of felony solicitation of prostitution. This led to an even stranger series of events, wherein Epstein was given a sweetheart deal by District Attorney Alexander Acosta, which led to him serving only 13 months in county jail, with work leave. This deal was, as of February 2019, deemed illegal. His lawyer for the entirety of this case was Alan Dershowitz. Dershowitz claimed that he was hesitant to take the case, due to the two being so close, but that he ultimately agreed. Not until after Epstein’s 2019 arrest did he say he regretted representing him.


One of his reported tactics in defending Epstein was presenting MySpace conversations from the underaged accusers, in which they spoke about marijuana and alcohol, and used this as evidence that the girls were “not to be trusted.”
A series of accusations against Epstein began to pile up, but each time they were swept under the rug by unknown means. In 2015, Ms. Virginia Roberts Giuffre came forward, alleging that she had been one of many sex slaves held hostage by Mr. Epstein, starting when she was 17. She claimed to have been trafficked to and raped by multiple people, including Dershowitz. He denied the claims, along with ever having met her. The claim went to court, where he pushed for a settlement. Dershowitz also drafted a statement he wanted Giuffre to sign. The statement read: “The events at issue occurred approximately 15 years ago when I was a teenager. Although I believed then and continued to believe that AD was the person with whom I had sex, recent developments raise the possibility that this may be a case of mistaken identification.”


In a recent New Yorker article on Dershowitz, a woman by the name of Sarah Ransome came forward to accuse Dershowitz of having forced her into sex when she was in her twenties, on the orders of Jeffrey Epstein. Once again, he denied ever having met the woman, despite evidence to the contrary.
For a reputable organization like the Canadian Associates of Ben Gurion University, to allow someone like Dershowitz to come and speak reflects negatively on the entire Winnipeg Jewish community. It’s as if we are all welcoming this man into our city and our community. And, to a younger person such as myself, this action speaks volumes about how our community views women and girls. It says that we do not value the women of our community, that we don’t believe victims, or respect those who come forward.
If you believe that this is untrue, if you value the women and girls of this community, and choose to believe victims when they have the courage to tell their stories, then you too will speak out against this injustice, and call for this man to be disinvited from the event.