BOSTON – A group of Muslim lawyers has asked the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers to punish Alan Dershowitz because of the Harvard Law School professor's proposal to raze Palestinian villages in response to attacks on Israelis.
The Washington-based Muslim Legal Defense and Education Fund claims Dershowitz broke the rules of his profession by advocating for a policy that would violate international law.
Dershowitz, who helped defend O.J. Simpson, proposed in March that Israel declare a short moratorium on reprisals for terror attacks, and then circulate a list of locations that would be demolished if Palestinians carried out further attacks.
The lawyers' group, formed in January to protect Muslims from hate crimes, separately is suing AOL Time Warner for allowing harassment of Muslims in online chat rooms.
"As attorneys, we're sworn to uphold all laws," Sareer Fazili, a member of the group's board of directors, told the Boston Sunday Globe. "There are treaties that prohibit collective punishment. What he called for was no due process, no judge and jury, and that mass reprisal take place."
Dershowitz said the complaint is a publicity stunt.
"They clearly have no hope succeeding — it's just a publicity ploy — but it is nonetheless a despicable attempt to silence me," he said. "What they're doing is un-American and unlawyerly."
Penalties available to the Board of Bar Overseers range from reprimand to disbarment, although most complaints are dismissed. A spokesman for the board said he couldn't recall a discipline case that turned on international law.