15 May, 2007

Reader Mail: 5/15/07

Posted by alex in Reader Mail at 3:45 pm | Permanent Link





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Taking the Bait
by Alan Dershowitz

A few years ago, I barely knew the name Norman Finkelstein. I was vaguely aware of his screed, The Holocaust Industry, which argued that Jews “fabricated” their victimhood. I had heard of his comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany. (“[I] can’t imagine why Israel’s apologists … would be offended by a comparison with the Gestapo,” he once wrote.) And I had caught wind that neo-Nazi Holocaust-deniers like Ernst Zundel, now in an Austrian prison, praised him for “making three-fourths of our argument–and making it effectively.” But I certainly never imagined meeting such a person.

Like David Duke, who is now teaching in the Ukraine, Finkelstein is a failed academic. By his own account, he has been fired by “every school in New York,” including Brooklyn College and NYU. One of his former department chairs attributed Finkelstein’s firing to “incompetence,” “mental instability,” and “abuse” of students with different politics from his own. That may help explain why he accepted a job at DePaul, a school Finkelstein describes as “a third-rate Catholic University.” With a political science department known as hard left, Finkelstein finally saw a path toward tenure–a sorry possibility now being debated, and one that I may have inadvertently helped along.

While I was touring in 2003 for my book The Case for Israel, I was invited by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now to debate Noam Chomsky. I agreed, but, when I showed up, it was Finkelstein in the studio. “Chomsky couldn’t make it, so we have a substitute,” Goodman said. Unbelievably, Finkelstein’s performance sunk well below Chomskian standards of honesty. He accused me of not having written or “read” my own book, which he implied was written by Israeli agents. For good measure, he also accused me of plagiarizing it from a 1984 book written by Joan Peters. (His absurd accusation was that I found quotes from Mark Twain and others in Peters’s book and attributed them to the original authors rather than to Peters.) Finkelstein knew that, as an academic, I would have to rebut these charges. I asked Harvard to investigate them, which it did and dismissed. Yet Finkelstein continued to repeat his lies–and I kept responding.

Now Finkelstein could say that we were in a feud–a charge that, in retrospect, clearly served his purposes. He published an article in the online newsletter Counterpunch titled “Should Alan Dershowitz Target Himself for Assassination?” An accompanying cartoon portrayed me as masturbating while viewing images of dead Lebanese civilians on a TV set labeled “israel peep show.” The cartoonist, solicited by Finkelstein, had won second place in an Iranian Holocaust-denial cartoon contest. To reinforce his point, Finkelstein called me a “moral pervert” who “missed the climatic scene of his little peep show.”

Should I have taken his bait? Well, I responded and handed him a crucial argument: Finkelstein could then use our feud to argue that “outside interference” had denied him tenure. His problems, of course, have nothing do with ignorant arguments (he accused Leon Uris of naming his Exodus protagonist Ari, “[a] diminutive of Aryan,” reflecting Israel’s “admiration” for Nazism) or overt anti-Semitism (he compared Jewish leaders to “stereotypes straight out of Der Sturmer”–the Nazi propaganda organ). In light of Finkelstein’s history of attacking Holocaust survivors–Elie Wiesel, he claims, lied about his background–it is not surprising that, when the Iranians convened a Holocaust-denial conference last year, they invited two Americans: David Duke and Norman Finkelstein. (Finkelstein backed out because of a disagreement over his allotted speaking time.)

In our recent contretemps, I can say for a fact that I wasn’t provoked into attacking–I was invited. Specifically, the former chair of the DePaul political science department asked me to “point [him] to the clearest and most egregious instances of dishonesty on Finkelstein’s part.” I responded with evidence of Finkelstein’s history of making up quotes, citations, and facts. Despite this evidence, DePaul’s politicized political science department voted nine to three to recommend tenure. The dean, however, rejected its recommendation.

And now, just as I could have predicted, Finkelstein screams “outside interference.” Naturally, when pressing this case, he presents thousands of signatures from outsiders demanding that the dean reverse his recommendation. He has now organized a “Finkelstein solidarity committee” and threatened a lawsuit. (I can’t wait to be called as a witness.) I’ve been a leading villain of this effort. Chomsky has accused me of launching a “jihad.” (I am not alone, it should be noted, in opposing Finkelstein’s tenure: The president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights argues, “Finkelstein lacked the requisites associated with academic excellence.”) Chomsky, referring to my involvement, complains that he had “never seen anything like it.” Well, I have. Back in the late ’70s, Chomsky, who was teaching at MIT, led his own jihad against Henry Kissinger when Columbia University considered offering him a position. Kissinger, of course, was a distinguished academic with a long record of publications, while Finkelstein writes unscholarly ad hominem screeds. But, for Chomsky, that distinction doesn’t matter. In his eyes, hard-left politics are enough to qualify an academic as a “good scholar,” a term he has used to describe Ward Churchill (“little Eichmanns”), Robert Faurisson (a French Holocaust-denier), and Norman Finkelstein. Great company!

In the past months, I have received threatening calls and letters. The Rutgers biologist Robert Trivers, for one, has warned, “Nazi-like apologists as [you] need to be confronted directly.” Suddenly I’m the Nazi? And a masturbating one to boot! I’m not shy about entering arguments, but I can’t help feeling like I walked into a trap. How could I not argue against Finkelstein? But, when I raise my voice, I know that I’m supplying essential ammunition. I guess when you’ve got no scholarship to make your tenure case, you need all the outside interference you can get.

Alan Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter professor of law at Harvard and author of Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways.



Dear Friends and Supporters

It is with great pleasure that we announce the
Official DVD release of Occupation 101 for sales in
the United States and Canada!

We chose to release our film on this day the 15th of
May — to remember and honor the struggle of the many
innocent victims of displacement, oppression, and
unfortunate circumstances since before 1948. We have
devoted many years of our lives to make sure that we
present to you our best work in a most sincere and
honest way — and with the best in artistic creativity.

Our goal is to raise awareness on the tragedy of
Israel and Palestine through the medium of film so
that we can re-educate millions of people in North
America and across the world about a conflict that is
most widely misunderstood. Give us 90 minutes of your
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you will not only be informed, but inspired to take



Minister Calls for Obligatory ‘Holocaust’ Studies in Swedish Schools

Swedish Schools Minister Jan Bjoerklund has said he would recommend that the
Holocaust and crimes committed in the name of communism in the Soviet Union
be mandatory elements of the history curriculum. He made the statement after
a poll, published on Wednesday, revealed that a majority of Swedish
teenagers don’t know what communism is and don’t know which countries
neighbour their own. The poll has raised questions about Sweden’s education
system. Ninety percent of teens aged 15 to 20 don’t know which foreign
capital is closest to Stockholm, 90 percent don’t know what the Gulag is,
and 40 percent think communism has increased prosperity in the world.



Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence

Historical accounts of Jewish violence — particularly against Christians —
have long been explosive material. Some historians have distorted these
records for anti-Semitic purposes. Others have discounted, dismissed, or
simply ignored the evidence, often for apologetic purposes. In Reckless
Rites, Elliott Horowitz takes a new and forthright look at both the history
of Jewish violence since late antiquity and the ways in which generations of
historians have grappled with that history. In the process, he has written
the most wide-ranging book on Jewish violence in any language, and the first
to fully acknowledge and address the actual anti- Christian practices that
became part of the playful, theatrical violence of the Jewish festival of



New Wave of Multinational Companies Poses Challenge for US

A new wave of foreign competitive pressure is beginning to ripple through
the U.S. economy, from companies in emerging markets like Brazil, Russia,
India and China. These companies are seeking to become world-spanning
multinationals – just as Samsung Electronics emerged from South Korea and
Toyota sprang from Japan in earlier phases of globalization … Russian
companies like Gazprom, Lukoil and Rusal are using Russia’s natural
resources to leap into the United States and other countries. India is
producing powerhouses in technology services … The world’s largest steel
company is now controlled by Lakshmi Mittal, an Indian living in Europe.
China may be the largest single source of new multinationals.











  • 7 Responses to “Reader Mail: 5/15/07”

    1. Jake Says:

      if the jews and queers really do own all of vegas theres not a damn thing any of you red neck cunts can do about it so keep bitching, ur prob just pissed cuz u can’t afford or ur too stupid to gamble

    2. Myles Says:

      It should be noted that the “blond Swedish Viking” magician has already started the first stage of penance for telling the truth about Jews. Oblivious to the fact that he’ll never be forgiven, see him bow and scrape and beg his tormentors for forgiveness:


    3. birdman Says:

      las vegas is the epiotome of evil, whores are legal, drug use is overlooked, promiscuity is celebrated, while gays are first class citizens.
      let’s not forget about all the illegal spics working there as underpaid day laborers.
      i have never been to vegas, and never will go.
      satan has a special place, for those who go to vegas

    4. NT Says:

      I think that place is call San Francisco. It is such an overrated dump unless you’ve got 30 million.

    5. Jake Says:

      satan is propaganda created by dumb ass christians to scare people into converting to christianity, faggot

    6. Lina Says:

      Oh really? Well, I’d rather be safe than scorched for eternity; I’ll take the safe route.

      PS – Can I ask why you say satan was made up by Christians? I do believe that the Prophet Abraham, Father of the Jews as they say, was tempted by satan. What say ye?

    7. Jake Says:

      jews believe in temptation but not an eternal hell, only a hell for a maximum of eleven months depending on how bad u were in life then u go to heaven … but me, i belive when ur dead ur dead