Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard, presented a lecture on "Zionism as a Progressive Value" on Friday afternoon in Earl Hall.
"I support Israel not despite the fact that I have liberal values, but because I do," said Dershowitz, who interrupted his family vacation in New York to speak at Columbia.
The event was organized by the student group Pro-Israel Progressives, with LionPac's cooperation.
Dershowitz argued against an array of alleged misconceptions pertaining to Israel, including the notion that Israel is the prime human rights violator in the world, and that it is an apartheid state.
Many other such "accusations" are challenged by Dershowitz in his book published in 2003, The Case for Israel.
Though the lecture took place less than three weeks after a Muslim Students Association-sponsored address on "Israel and Palestine: Misuse of Anti-Semitism, Abuse of History" by Dershowitz' rival, Norman Finkelstein, Pro-Israel Progressives President Andrew Avorn, CC '08, emphasized in his introduction that "this is in no way a response to any previous speaker."
After speaking for roughly 45 minutes, Dershowitz responded to questions from the audience. He prefaced the question-and-answer period by requesting "only hostile and antagonistic" questions from the audience.
"No friendly questions," he insisted.
Dershowitz is the author of 20 works of non-fiction and two novels. He is considered to be one of the best-known criminal lawyers and defenders of Israel in the world.