Dershowitz To “Campaign” Against Media Matters

Israel controversy over liberal group won’t subside.

Dershowitz last year in Kiev, where he defended former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, accused in the murder of an investigative journalist. Sergei Chuzavkov / AP

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, a leading Democratic lawyer who takes a hawkish line on Israel, has declared a personal war on the liberal group Media Matters, which has branched out into sharp criticism of Israel.

“Not only will [the Media Matters controversy] be an election matter, I will personally make it an election matter,” Dershowitz, a professor at Harvard Law School, told WABC’s Aaron Klein today.

Dershowitz has been sharply criticizing Media Matters for weeks, but suggested for the first time today he intends to drive the controversy into the political conversation.

“I don’t know whether President Obama has any idea that Media Matters has turned the corner against Israel in this way,” he said. “I can tell you this, he will know very shortly because I am beginning a serious campaign on this issue and I will not let it drop until and unless [writer and activist MJ] Rosenberg is fired from Media Matters, or Media Matters changes its policy or the White House disassociates itself from Media Matters.”

Media Matters was launched to counter conservative bias in the media, and has waged a well-publicized war on Fox News; it also has begun to branch out into policy areas, taking a relatively predictable progressive line on issues like gay rights, but also taking combative stances on the divisive issues of Middle East politics. Rosenberg, a former AIPAC staffer now intensely critical of the pro-Israel lobby, drew criticism for labeling conservative opponents “Israel Firsters,” and while another progressive group, the Center for American Progress, apologized for a junior staffer’s use of the phrase — which struck some as a classic anti-Semitic slur — Media Matters has doubled down on the criticism.

“I think a lot of the donors to Media Matters just don’t know what has happened. They began to donate to the organization just because they thought it was a counter-weight to Fox News,” Dershowitz said.

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