ALAN DERSHOWITZ CAST IN NEW ROLE
Plagiarist and Fraudster
by Gordon Thomas
PROFESSOR Alan Dershowitz, the darling of the Anti-Defamation League, the defender of O J Simpson, Jonathan Pollard and Ariel Sharon, who often speaks like he is the personal representative on earth of Moses, and is a vicious attacker of anyone who dares reproach Israel for the smallest infraction of human rights, is now revealed as a crude plagiarist and a fraudster.
The accusations come from a fellow Jewish professor, Norman Finkelstein (right).
He is on the faculty of the respected DePaul University and is the author of "The Holocaust Industry".
In a devastating onslaught on Dershowitz on MSNBC's prestigious Scarborough Country, Finkelstein slammed the Harvard professor of law for "falsifying information, plagiarising, and lifting from other books and violating the most basic canons of historical scholarship".
A transcript of the recording (EXCERPTS BELOW) shows Dershowitz at his blustering best.
A row between two Jewish academics would not usually arouse much interest outside their campus followers.
Dershowitz has written a book "The Case For Israel" which normally would only find review space in the newsletter of the Anti-Defamation League. Dershowitz is the man whose every word is slavishly recorded by his powerful media contacts.
He is the authentic voice of Right Wing Judaism - some would say extremism - in America.
To challenge him, it has been said, it is best to carry a cross and a piece of garlic for ever after.
He has seen more potential attackers off than there were numbers of the Biblical Gaderene swine.
The New York Times, the pillar of the Jewish establishment in the United States, has lavished his new book with the kind of unstinted praise it once gave to Jason Blair, the archetypical fraudster who stoked his reporting ego and fooled his readers for many years.
Finkelstein has traduced Dershowitz with the kind of language the Harvard professor usually reserves for anyone who dares challenge him. "There's only one conclusion one can reach having read the book. Mr Dershowitz has concocted a fraud, which amazingly in large parts he plagiarised from another fraud. I found that pretty shocking, coming from a Harvard professor. I found it shocking coming from any professor", Finkelstein told the MSNBC's Amy Goldman and her radio audience.
Throwing his own words back at Dershowitz live on air, Finkelstein slammed the holder of the Felix Frankfurter Chair of Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School: "There was no extensive historical research. Instead, there was the fraudulent manufacturing of historical anti-history. It was the kind of deception for which professors are rightly fired - not because their views are controversial, but because they are violating the most basic canons of historical scholarship".
DERSHOWITZ, now exposed as a master cribber, had levelled the same accusation against a French professor called [Robert] Faurisson, charging him to be a "fraud and a holocaust denier".
Dershowitz could only threaten on the radio programme to sue for defamation. Professor Finkelstein ignored the threat. Instead, he said he had "read the book very carefully. I did what someone serious does with the book. I read the text. I went through the footnotes. I went through it very carefully".
Then, with the remorseless piling of fact upon fact, Finkelstein set about destroying the credibility of Alan Dershowitz.
Central to the accusation of fraud and plagiarism against Dershowitz is a previous book, From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters.
Published in 1984, the book was a poorly written polemic that tried to support the old Zionist claim that Israel had "been a land without people, awaiting people without a land" and that there had been no substantial presence before the Bible's wandering Jews arrived.
Once more The New York Times had salivated ecstatically over the book. But Finkelstein had set about demolishing the Peters book. As Finkelstein said: "I read it at least four times. I went through all 1854 footnotes".
He assumed he would never again have to read the footnotes. But there they were, word for word, in Dershowitz's new book. Yet the Peters book gets no mention in the copious index to "The Case For Israel". Indeed, the only mention of Peters is on page 31 of Dershowitz's book.
He assures his readers that "I do not in any way rely on them in this book".
Finkelstein cited on air what another writer, the excellent Alexander Cockburn, condemns as "this brazen declaration and wholesale unacknowledged looting of Peters' research".
Cockburn goes on: "If Justice Frankfurter had fuelled decisions with this kind of scholarship, he'd have been citing Marvel Comics as useful repositories of case law and precedent.
If, in writings off the bench, he'd (Frankfurter) used the sort of research procedures displayed elsewhere in Dershowitz's The Case For Israel, he'd probably have been forced off the Supreme Court for ethical considerations of a sort I imagine Harvard's president, Lawrence Summers will soon be pondering in the case of Professor Dershowitz".
They make a devastating indictment of his methods.
A comment from Cockburn: "Dershowitz plagiarized Peters, while simultaneously claiming he hadn't used her for any historical material. One fraud ripping off another, the former at last giving the latter justifiable grounds for arguing maltreatment."
An excerpt from the MNBC broadcast offers further evidence on how Finkelstein traduced [sic. trashed?] Dershowitz.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I'm referring to your standards. To miseducate, misinform and misdirect to violate the standards of historical scholarship are grounds for expulsion.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Tell you what I will give $10,000 to the P.L.O. in your name if you can find historical fact in my book that you can prove to be false. I issue that challenge, I issue it to you, I issue it to the Palestinian Authority, I issue it to Noam Chomsky, to Edward Said, every word in my book is accurate and you can't just simply say it's false without documenting it. Tell me one thing in the book now that is false?
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Let's start. Number one, I'm going to first deal with just concrete facts which are not particularly controversial, which can easily be confirmed. On page 80 of your book you write, according to Benny Morris between. . .
AMY GOODMAN: Benny Morris is an Israeli historian.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I have a copy of his book here, which I'll hold up. 2,000 to 3,000 Palestinians were made refugees during the second stage of the flight. Here is the book. Page 256, do you read what the sentence says.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Let me put in the context. Chomsky says that Morris does not believe that any Arab leaders told the Palestinians to leave. I say, in some areas I quote from Morris, in some areas Arab commanders ordered . . .
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Let's be serious.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I agree with you.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Read the next sentence. Morris estimates in your book I have right in front of me. Next sentence.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: That between 2,000 and 3,000 Arabs fled their homes.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Can you please (read) what Mr. Morris wrote.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: You're talking about . . .
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Please read what he wrote.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: If I have the whole book I will find for you if you want to take time. Norm Finkelstein if you want the . . .
AMY GOODMAN: I'm looking at page 256 of Morris book.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Phase two now same one as you. You're talking about . . .
AMY GOODMAN: About 2,000 to 3,000 Arabs fled their homes.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: The difference between 2,000 and 3,000 and 200,000 and 300,000. You could check this many times, Mr. Dershowitz. But you are really going to have to pay the $10,000. I hope you allow me to earmark it for Jenin.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: We're talking about a variety of . . .
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: It is not the O.J. trial. This is not the O.J. trial. We're not going to play a game
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