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Alan Dershowitz laments being ‘shunned’ on Martha’s Vineyard

Alan Dershowitz.Todd Heisler/The New York Times/file 2015

One downside to publicly defending President Trump? The liberal elite on Martha’s Vineyard won’t like you anymore.

At least, that’s what renowned Harvard lawyer Alan Dershowitz is lamenting.

In an op-ed piece for The Hill published last week, Dershowitz said his friends on Martha’s Vineyard are “shunning me and trying to ban me from their social life” because he has defended Trump’s “civil liberties.”

Alan Dershowitz (right) with Larry Ruttman at a Martha's Vineyard Sharks game in 2014. Handout

Dershowitz reportedly moved to the Vineyard after retiring from his Harvard Law professor job in 2014. He even offered pal John Kerry advice on how to fit in on Martha’s Vineyard when Kerry swapped his Nantucket home for one in Chilmark.


But Kerry might want to rethink taking any advice on how to be popular on the island after reading Dershowitz’s recent piece. The renowned defense attorney wrote that even though he’s politically liberal and voted for Hillary Clinton, “that is not good enough for some of my old friends on Martha’s Vineyard.”

One of those friends, described by Dershowitz as an academic at a distinguished university, “has told people that he would not attend any dinner or party to which I was invited.” Other friends have “demanded ‘trigger warnings’ so that they can be assured of having ‘safe spaces’ in which they will not encounter me or my ideas,” Dershowitz said.

But ever the optimist, Dershowitz said the whole ordeal has a silver lining: It has taught him “who my real friends are and who my fairweather friends were.”

“From a personal point of view, I could not care less about being shunned by people whose views regarding dialogue I do not respect,” he wrote. “I will not change my views as a result of these attempts to ostracize me, but there are some who may remain silent for fear of being shunned. Silence is not my style. Cowardice is not my philosophy.”


The anecdote supported an argument Dershowitz was making about Representative Maxine Waters, who had called on supporters to harass Trump and members of his administration.

“Right now I am speaking up in disagreement with Maxine Waters,” Dershowitz wrote in the op-ed. “She — like those who shun me on Martha’s Vineyard — is part of the problem rather than the solution.”

Dershowitz has recently surprised many by becoming an outspoken supporter of Trump’s legal positions, arguing that a special counsel shouldn’t have been appointed and claiming there’s no evidence that the president has obstructed justice. He has even become known as a sort of “Trump whisperer,” gaining the president’s ear after making his opinion on the special counsel case known on national TV news networks.

Matt Viser and Mark Shanahan of the Globe staff contributed to this report.