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 Post subject: The Real Issue Is Israel's Human Rights Record:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:14 pm 
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Norman G. Finkelstein - The Real Issue Is Israel's Human Rights Record:
A statement by Norman G. Finkelstein upon publication of Beyond Chutzpah ... g=11&ar=50

Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University is currently best known for his advocacy of the "most excruciating" torture against terrorist suspects such as a "needle being shoved under the fingernails." The alleged purpose of this torture is to extract a truthful confession but its real consequence, as human rights organizations have pointed out, is to produce whatever statements are necessary to end the suffering. For 15 months Dershowitz has applied a variant of this truth-seeking technique -- less physically painful but no less excruciating -- to prospective publishers of Beyond Chutzpah, which offers a critical examination of Israel's human rights record and Dershowitz's defense of it. Enlisting one of the most powerful law firms in the country after his personal initiatives proved unsuccessful, Dershowitz has repeatedly threatened to bankrupt highly respected publishers with litigation if they didn't cancel publication of my book. He could then proclaim that the cancellation confirmed the "truth" that Beyond Chutzpah didn't meet scholarly standards.

Dershowitz justified these blackmail tactics on the ground that Beyond Chutzpah libels him. Yet, when I first began to expose his gross scholarly misconduct, Dershowitz publicly declared at UCLA (on 21 October 2003) that he wouldn't respond with a libel action because he believed "so strongly in the First Amendment and full freedom of speech." Ironically, just as he was threatening my publishers with expensive and time-consuming lawsuits, Dershowitz denounced Holocaust denier David Irving, who had sued Deborah Lipstadt for libel, with these words: "Before Irving lost his case [against Lipstadt], several publishers had refused to issue books critical of Irving, out of fear of his bringing expensive and time-consuming lawsuits. That was a chilling of free speech" (Afterword to Lipstadt's History on Trial; his emphasis).

My publisher, University of California Press, was understandably at great pains to fend off a potential lawsuit by Dershowitz; for an academic publisher the associated costs would have been ruinous, to the point of making certain victory meaningless. On occasion our relationship became strained and at one point it appeared as if we had reached an impasse. However, through the skillful mediation of Nation magazine senior editor Roane Carey (who was the freelance editor of Beyond Chutzpah) and others, a satisfactory compromise was reached that protected the interests of both publisher and author, and, most importantly, preserved the integrity of the book. I would like personally to extend my heartfelt thanks to all who supported me and the press during this difficult period.

Unable to suppress publication of my book, Dershowitz has instead declared victory on the ground that certain allegations about his scholarly misconduct have been removed from the final text. Resorting to blackmail and censorship is not normally reason for boasting. It's also difficult to understand how the publication of a book copiously documenting that The Case for Israel is among the most spectacular academic frauds ever published on the Israel-Palestine conflict should be cause for his gloating.

More to the point, is it accurate to state that allegations of mine have been removed? An appendix to Beyond Chutzpah irrefutably demonstrates that Dershowitz not only massively lifted information and ideas from another author, Joan Peters, without attribution, but that he did so from a book, Peters's From Time Immemorial, universally dismissed as a fraud. It is left to readers to decide whether Dershowitz committed plagiarism as defined by Harvard University -- "passing off a source's information, ideas, or words as your own by omitting to cite them." The appendix also explicitly recounts my previous conclusion that Dershowitz didn't have "a clue of his book's content" and that he was "manifestly ignorant of the content of his own book" (Beyond Chutzpah, pp. 95, 254). Again, it is left to readers to draw the only possible inference. In light of the comprehensive falsification of sources in The Case for Israel that I have documented, Dershowitz might have been better advised to disclaim authorship. As I stated to him on Democracy Now!, "For your sake, I truly hope you did not write this book." >--More-->

You will know you have spoken the truth when you are angrily denounced; and you will know you have spoken both truly and well when you are visited by the thought police.

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