Dershowitz and Lefkowitz to Discuss U.S.-Israel Relations at Fundraising Event

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Alan Dershowitz and Jay Lefkowitz differ in political ideologies, which should make for a lively discourse on Nov. 18 at the Crystal Tea Room in Center City. 

When two political experts from opposite sides of the spectrum discuss what’s best for Israel, it’s sure to be heated.
 
Alan Dershowitz and Jay Lefkowitz differ in political ideologies, which should make for a lively discourse on Nov. 18, when Lubavitch of Montgomery County hosts a conversation between the two at an event also honoring the Israeli corporation Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries at the Crystal Tea Room in Center City. 
 
Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter professor of law (emeritus) at Harvard Law School. He graduated from Brooklyn College and Yale Law School and joined the Harvard Law School faculty when he was 25. He has written many books on law, the Iran Deal and U.S.-Israeli relations. 
 
Lefkowitz is a senior partner in the New York City office of Kirkland & Ellis. He is an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School and has also worked as a senior lawyer and domestic policy advisor in the White House for President George W. Bush and President George H.W. Bush.
 
“Jay and I come from somewhat different perspectives,” Dershowitz said. “He is a centrist Republican. I’m a centrist Democrat. He’s more on the conservative side. I’m more on the liberal side. We both have strong positive feelings about Israel. And we have different approaches to the future of the Jewish community. It will be an interesting set of differences.” 
 
Lubavitch of Montgomery County director Rabbi Shaya Deitsch said Chabad is interested in advocating for Israel’s safety and security, and that an effective way to do so would be to have a fundraising event with both meaning and message.
 
He added that this discussion will allow people to get a better understanding of why it’s important to have good relations between the U.S. and Israel and to have the right tools and know-how to advocate for it.
 
Richard Egosi, event chairman and executive vice president and chief legal officer for Teva, said because of the speakers’ different political stances, the discussion should be very insightful. 
 
“Some of the misconceptions about the relationship between the U.S. and Israel and their relationship [are] on the security side and also on the policy side, so I think it should be very interesting,” he added, claiming that the community wants answers to these misconceptions. 
 
While Dershowitz has a wealth of knowledge and experience conversing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, Lefkowitz also has experience as a senior advisor in the White House, so they can speak on behalf of the current issues going on with Iraq, Syria and the implications for Israel. 
 
“I think for me, a real measure of success for this event will be if people walk away from it saying, ‘I didn’t really understand the dynamic going on in Israel or the relationship between the U.S. and Israel as much as I did going in,’ ” Egosi said. 
 
Lefkowitz said he and Dershowitz will discuss issues related to the Middle East, particularly in terms of American foreign policy and Syria, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the BDS movement, the U.S.-Israel relationship and the broader subject of the political condition of the American-Jewish community.
 
“I’d imagine that the moderator would be interested in a range of subjects including the relationship between the U.S. and Israel now during the Obama administration, which certainly seems to be under a lot more pressure than it has been under a number of prior administrations,” Lefkowitz added. 
 
No matter the conversation, the two are excited to share the dialogue together.
 
“Alan Dershowitz is a treasure in the Jewish community,” Lefkowitz said. “He’s on the frontlines of the fight to promote interest [for Israel], the American-Israeli relationship and to really take on the anti-Israel BDS movement in a way that really no one else is putting himself out right now. I think having this dialogue with him with be very enlightening.” 
 
They will also discuss the upcoming presidential election and how the candidates would affect Israel.
 
Dershowitz has met Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and he thinks they would each be supportive of Israel.
 
“I think in general the major candidates, the ones likely to get the nominations, are going to be supportive of Israel,” he added. 
 
Lefkowitz agreed for the most part in terms of beneficial candidates.
 
“We’re likely to see, irrespective of who is the next president, the warming of relations between the U.S. and Israel,” Lefkowitz said. “Whether or not the Democrats prevail or one of the Republicans prevail, there’s certainly no question that the leading Republicans who have a public policy background and government experience like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and Chris Christie are all strong supporters of Israel and I think would adopt policies that would firm up the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.”
 
Overall, Dershowitz hopes to provide some answers to guests’ questions — and more examination of the issues.   
 
“I hope we will increase their level of confusion,” he joked. “Everybody’s confused but at least it will be a deeper confusion, hopefully.” 
 
Contact: rkurland@jewishexponent.com; 215-832-0737

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