A'nold Teaches Dershowitz a Lesson In Civil Libertarianism

Dershowitz, the “champion” of freedom of speech, is once again exposed as a hypocrite:

What do you do when somebody wants to publish a book that says you’re completely wrong? If you’re Alan Dershowitz, the prominent Harvard law professor, and the book is Norman Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, you write the governor of California and suggest that he intervene with the publisher–because the publisher is the University of California Press, which conceivably might be subject to the power of the governor.
Schwarzenegger, showing unusual wisdom, declined to act. The governor’s legal affairs secretary wrote Dershowitz, “You have asked for the Governor’s assistance in preventing the publication of this book,” but “he is not inclined to otherwise exert influence in this case because of the clear, academic freedom issue it presents.” In a phone interview Dershowitz denied writing to the Governor, declaring, “My letter to the Governor doesn’t exist.” But when pressed on the issue, he said, “It was not a letter. It was a polite note.”

You can read more about the quarrel between Dershowitz and Finkelstein here.

18 thoughts on “A'nold Teaches Dershowitz a Lesson In Civil Libertarianism

  1. mmm, let’s see, if mlk iii asked his governor not to allow the local state university to publish a book by david duke, would that be hyprocracy?

  2. If i thought that Finkelstein was a good man, I’d probably have feel better referring to his gripe with Dershowitz. Honestly, I think he’s a bitter man who subconciously tries to convince people his Holocaust “research” is somehow divinely legitimized by his “status” as the son of Holocaust survivors. Concerning his clear problem with Alan Dershowitz, a real incredible American and Jewish scholar, we should take into account his own exploitation of the Holocaust to push a rather cliche interpretation of the Holocaust as a universal human symbol. There’s more to the Holocaust and more to Dershowitz than their complex relationship to the character of post-1967 Zionism. For that, I really don’t give Finkelstein the credit. He affords Zionism the sort of all-encompassing power over Jewish civilization that he critiques. bwah.

  3. Prof. Dershowitz’s “polite note” is hypocritical because he claims to be a proponent of First Amendment rights, and he’s asking a public university’s press to suppress the book. There would be no hypocrisy in Avi’s hypothetical because Martin Luther King III, to the extent that he is well-known at all, is known as an advocate of civil rights. It would be hypocritical for him to write a book *with* David Duke. Asking a local press not publish a book promoting Duke’s viewpoint, however horrible from a First Amendment perspective, would be *consistent.*

  4. Finkelstein is a discredited crock with little academic bona fides.
    Dershowitz has had books published by mainstream publishers, without having to rely on the ideologically biased University press system.
    Ahnold was right not to mix in on an isolated case – but that doesn’t mean that the university is really promoting “diversity of opinion” or that this is entirely an issue of “academic freedom”.
    Would a letter-writing campaign to prevent publication of Holocaust-denying “research” also be unacceptable?

  5. I’m troubled that Dershowitz claimed that he didn’t write to Schwarzenegger, then admitted that he did; that he hired a law firm to prevent the book’s publication, then told the editor at the Nation that “I want Finkelstein’s book to be published, so that it can be demolished in the court of public opinion.” I’ve always found him to be somewhat arrogant, but this behavior is extremely disturbing, and calls into question his credibility in all matters.

  6. Cipher – Dershowitz is an attorney. And Finkelstein started this as a vicious grudge match.
    Dershowitz is using every avenue available – or at least testing out every possible avenue. That’s SOP for a good lawyer.

  7. Check out the new issue (July/August) of Tikkun for two letters, one from Dershowitz and one from Finkelstein in which they really go at eat other. Dershowitz calls Finkelstein “neo-Nazis’ favorite Jew” and Finkelstein calls Dershowitz a “desperate man” who “falsifies sources or fabricates sources out of whole cloth.” Finkelstein’s letter is quite tame compared to Dershowitz’s letter. http://www.tikkun.org/

  8. What is Dersh up to? It’s like when Frank Rich and the ADL went after Mel Gibson. Just amounts for free promotion and advertising for Finklestein’s work. Ordinarily I might not care but this makes me interested to read what Dersh thinks is so important to make a fool of himself for trying to stop this book from seeing the light of day.

  9. Anyone who wants to understand Dershowitz’s antipathy towards Finkelstein, just google Mr. F; you’ll find him to be a holocaust denyer, a hater of jews and jewish advocates. So is it inconsistent for D to object to a unit of the state of california publishing the works of F? Free speach doesn’t mean a governmental agency is OBLIGATED to publish every crackpot/antisemite who wants to write a book, free speach means the state can’t stop a private organization/person from publishing even anti jewish tracts. free speach is not the issue here.

  10. mmm, let’s see, if mlk iii asked his governor not to allow the local state university to publish a book by david duke, would that be hyprocracy?
    avi green

    First of all, yes. Free speech is free speech, it means nothing at all if it does extend to those you strongly disagree with.
    Second of all you sick fug Finkelstein was the son of Holocaust survivors whose families on both sides were otherwise wiped out, who dedicates his work to neither forgetting nor forgetting what happened to them, and Duke is a literal Holocaust-endorsing neo-Nazi. What is it with people always screeching about unfair Hitler comparisons while calling everyone they disagree wioth Hitler?

  11. Finkelstein’s history as the child of Holocaust survivors make even sadder his history as a Holocaust denier (google his name for confirmation). Sadly, he is not the only example of Jews gone bad: Adam Shapiro, Noam Chomsky are just a few of the prominent “jewish” origined people who attack jews and Israel. I have always thought jewish anti-semitism was a form of the Stockholm syndrome, jews who try to blot out their judaism as a result of being imbued with the antisemitism of xtianity and muslims over the centuries. After all, if we weren’t evil, why did/do they hate us? Some americans are being infected with that same virus: perhaps our country must be evil if we are so hated in the arab world. but nobody said judaism, and western values, aren’t tough to sustain.

  12. I don’t think this is a free speech issue to Alan Dershowitz. From what I read, and I could be wrong, Dershowitz’s attempts were aimed at a work which very may have large and substantial inaccuracies. But, to the rest of us, it is a free speech issue, because, as much as I can’t stand Finkelstein and I believe he is a fraud, nonetheless I lack the credentials to disprove him.
    This is a common thing among scholars who write about the Arab-Israeli conflict; what would normally be heavily scrutinized and examined in any other field is just glossed over so as to avoid political controversy (ie Finkelstein on the anti-Israel side and say, Joan Peters on the pro-Israel side). But, like someone said earlier, Dershowitz is a lawyer, so these tactics are typical of an attorney.
    Oh, and by the way k&y, when you make statements like, “Finkelstein was the son of Holocaust survivors whose families on both sides were otherwise wiped out, who dedicates his work to neither forgetting nor forgetting what happened to them” you sound just like Republicans talking about GW: a cheerleader.

  13. Raul Hilberg (widely considered the dean of Holocaust Studies) comments on the first edition of The Holocaust Industry:
    “When I read Finkelstein’s book, The Holocaust Industry , at the time of its appearance, I was in the middle of my own investigations of these matters, and I came to the conclusion that he was on the right track. I refer now to the part of the book that deals with the claims against the Swiss banks, and the other claims pertaining to forced labor. I would now say in retrospect that he was actually conservative, moderate and that his conclusions are trustworthy. He is a well-trained political scientist, has the ability to do the research, did it carefully, and has come up with the right results. I am by no means the only one who, in the coming months or years, will totally agree with Finkelstein’s breakthrough.”

  14. defamation isnt protected by the 1st A. in fact, its illegal. are you saying that the state should knowingly publish such a book?

  15. I don’t know for sure since I haven’t seen Finkelstein’s book, but there is good reason to believe it contains many instances of slander designed exclusively to discredit rather than engage Dershowitz.
    For example, in previous dialogues Finkelstein had with Dershowitz, he accuses Dershowitz of plagarism. He complains that Dershowitz quoted Joan Peters without citing her. Dershowitz explained that he had quoted the same sources Peters used, and attributed them properly. But because Dershowitz did not add the Peters used the same sources, Finkelstein builds an elaborate tale of plagarism.
    The intent is clear. He wants the words plagarism attached to Dershowitz’s name, whether it’s true or not, and he counts on his mindless hordes of follewers to support him in the claim.
    And why is Finkelstein so concerned about Dershowitz all of the sudden. Does it have anything to do with the fact that Dershowitz has become an elequent defender of Israel? Well, since Finkelstein is such an unimpeachable seeker of truth, that couldn’t have anything to do with it, now could it?

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