Slime Throwing as "Debate" - The Dershowitz Treatment
By NORMAN FINKELSTEIN
Jimmy Carter's book plainly threatens to ignite a serious mainstream discussion of the Israel-Palestine conflict. To avert such a disaster he just as plainly must be reduced to ridicule and the debate turned into a circus. Enter Alan Dershowitz.
After Carter responded affirmatively to a provisional invitation that he speak at Brandeis University, Brandeis president (and Zionist historian) Jehuda Reinharz predicated a formal invitation on his willingness to debate Dershowitz. "I don't want to have a conversation even indirectly with Dershowitz," Carter replied. "There is no need for me to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine." (1)
Brandeis is a distinguished nonsectarian university founded by American Jews. Aside from the conventional social science departments its divisions include an International and Global Studies program, an Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies program, and a Near Eastern and Judaic Studies program. Brandeis also houses the Crown Center for Middle East Studies, the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, the Sarnat Center for the Study of Anti-Jewishness, the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry, the Goodman Institute for the Study of Zionism and Israel, the Stoll Family Chair in Israel Studies, and the Summer Institute for Israel Studies.
Yet Reinharz apparently couldn't find anyone more qualified than Dershowitz to debate Carter. In a 2003 meeting of the United Jewish Appeal, Reinharz lamented: "Many of the dozens of centers for Middle East Studies in America are in sorry shape, and over the past 25 years these centers have been controlled by ideologically motivated forces or individuals, and very often produce biased and shoddy scholarship.Criteria of excellence must be applied to Middle East Studies, as they are applied to other areas of study." (2) One indication of Reinharz's "criteria of excellence" was his praise for Joan Peters's From Time Immemorial hoax as a "valuable synthesis" and "new analysis" --just like the syntheses and analyses presented at Iran's Holocaust Conference. (3)
After Carter's demurral the Boston Globe editorialized that if he "can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen"--i.e., shut up on the Israel-Palestine conflict. In particular the Globe took Carter to task for allegedly fearing "genuine debate" with that "inveterate defender of Israel, Alan Dershowitz." >-- More ---> http://www.counterpunch.org/finkelstein12292006.html