The Counselor vs. The Camper: Chomsky Debates Dershowitz On Post-Disengagement Israel

Yes, well, if you didn’t know already, know now: Noam Chomsky was Alan Dershowitz’s camp counselor at Zionist youth camp in the ’40s. That ought to help you frame their dynamic. Watch Chomsky wipe the floor with his visibly frazzled camper at Havard.
Torrent, Real Streaming.
(c/o Kalman Rushdie)

18 thoughts on “The Counselor vs. The Camper: Chomsky Debates Dershowitz On Post-Disengagement Israel

  1. It’s funny…the different impressions that different people have of the same event. I have read two or three articles (other than your post) on this debate now. Two just discussed it. One said that Dershowitz was the clear winner…both with his knowledge and with the crowd. And now you say that Chomsky “wipe[d] the floor with him.” Or wait, did you just want to think that. Or maybe the others just wanted to think that Chomsky seemed uninformed. Or…AAAHHH….

  2. Watched it. You don’t think that Chomsky looked foolish when someone from the crowd said that he was at Camp David and that the expert that Chomsky keeps quoting about Camp David wasn’t even there???
    That just substantiated Dershowitz’s repeated statement that Chomsky quotes questionable sources and misquotes others.

  3. that part’s fair. norman finkelstein’s holocaust industry is largely written in such a way. my mom was at half the meetings he cites in the book and was flabbergasted at just “how wrong” he got what actually went on there. but dershowitz is just as guilty, particularly in the case for israel, which he lifted more-or-less straight from joan peters’ from time immemorial, which finkelstein (interestingly) managed to refute quite thoroughly.

  4. I watched the whole thing, and I can tell you, Dan you’re right and anyone who thinks Dershowitz wiped the floor with Chomsky is right too. Ergo, they wiped the floor with each other.
    There were times Chomsky didn’t respond to the questions he was asked. Of course, in the beginning, Dershowitz didn’t even address the initial question at hand.
    It was mildly entertaining, and, to be a minority voice in here, I’m going to say there was no “winner.”

  5. Having met both of them on different occasions, I like neither side. Chomsky is the best orator I have ever seen, but I hate most of his views, even if he supports them well. Dershowitz, on the other hand shares could win my heart if he wasn’t such an arrogant prick. He seems to just want to make others look bad, then by default look like the only smart person around. I think the meeting of the two is just a polarized snafu that is only enjoyed by those who already thought their side was right. Its almost like watching a bad political debate close to election time. Whatever, I’m uninterested and could have thought of a many better ways to waste my time. Oh well.

  6. Chomsky wiped the floor with him?!? Did you watch the whole debate? Chomsky failed to address any of Dershowitz’s points, offered nothing in the way of a cogent vision for peace, refused to answer questions about whether he’d support a peace agreement not along his preferred lines, and completely dodged the question about his feelings about Jewish victims of terror.
    Dershowitz may have been more frazzled, but that’s what happens when one of them relies on facts (Dershowitz) and the other pulls a litany of accusations out of his ass (Chomsky). Chomsky was forced to reverse himself on several occasions, especially on Pundak, proving Dershowitz correct when he said Chomsky throws out information he knows you won’t check.
    I say it was a clear knock out: Chomsky was exposed as nothing more than a biased critic of US and Israeli policy with no vision or hope for peace. Dershowitz outclassed him as a thinker, as a debater, and as a fighter for peace.

  7. as “admirable” as his call for a truce between academics and supporters of israel and palestine may have been, he, unlike chomsky, did not in any way address the issue at hand in his opening statement. chomsky presents a thorough picture of the current political situation, clearly demonstrating israel’s designs on the west bank and why they are preventing peace. dershowitz’s opening was pure polemic (soft propaganda), chomsky’s – pure, thoroughly sourced facts – many of which i’ve been acquainted with first hand.
    calling chomsky out for “not answering questions” is silly. he’s staying on topic and not allowing the conversation to be siderailed into the leftist vs. rightist bullshit dershowitz keeps trying to drag it into.
    dershowitz takes the very first opportunity to rebut chomsky’s opening, even tho that was not the question asked by the questioner. then dershowitz exhibits a complete contempt for the rules of the debate and keeps at it, even though the moderator is trying to stop him. then chomsky gets interrupted responding — which wasn’t fair.
    he doesn’t do anything to refute the facts that chomsky presents about the west bank expansion program working as a road block to peace. rather he focuses on palestinian rejectionism pre-’67.
    dershowitz also sticks words in chomsky’s mouth. chomsky’s quoting others and dershowitz is saying it’s “planet chomsky,” even though chomsky’s sources are all verifiable. chomsky’s rejection of dennis ross is also sound and everyone knows — even those on the right — that ross is full of shit.
    dershowitz had a fair point about israel’s stance on the international court of justice, but i myself read the quote of the israeli court saying they wouldn’t heed the icj’s ruling when it was first printed in haaretz.
    chomsky’s alleged lack of a creative solution, which he’s getting skewered by the zionists for, is present in his demand that israel abandon its schemes on the west bank. it may not be “imaginative” but it’s completely reasonable.
    i don’t object to dershowitz’s solution. i just don’t think he’s being honest about israel’s unilateral implementation of that solution is going to shaft the palestinians.
    in the end, everything chomsky says that dershowitz doesn’t have a valid response for, he alleges chomsky made up. but chomsky’s sources all stand. he twists what chomsky says to paint him as delusional instead of finding real factual refutations.

  8. I just finished watching the Harvard debate. I have a pretty high tolerance of rude pushy lawyers, being one myself, but Dershowitz was a pain in the ass–loud nasty personal attacks on Chomsky made him look bad whereas Chomsky was rather gentlemanly for the most part. Now I realize that many Jewschool correspondents can get pretty, uh, rude at times as well but when you act like an asshole and your opponent doesn’t, you just look bad. Having said that, there probably wasn’t a person watching the debate whose opinion could be changed anyway.
    It was a nice gesture (read:tactic) for Dershowitz to implore Chomsky to work for peace at the end but it didn’t undo the hour and a half of screaming. Chomsky’s remark about Cuba’s human rights record being better than Israel’s was pure lunacy. He did pretty well I thought until then.
    I call it for Chomsky but barely.

  9. One note – Dershowitz lied when he claimed it was the UN who designed the partition plan so that Gaza and the West Bank didn’t meet. They did meet in the partition plan. They only didn’t meet after the 1948 war when Israel seized the land between them.

  10. John-lets see some evidence for your claim. Surely there are maps that show it. But tell me, why are you so upset about Israel taking the land “in between” but have no problem with Egypt and Jordan taking the land itself? If you ask me, that’s the problem, no matter how much you spin it on Israel.

  11. what do jordan and egypt have to do with anything? i wasn’t even alive yet to scream my head off about it! you won’t get double standard out of me. i’ll bitch about their occupations as much as israel’s. it doesn’t change the fact that it’s israel that occupied the west bank and gaza and kept the prison camp routine up established by the initial arab occupiers — if that’s the narrative you care to use. it doesn’t change the fact that that’s ancient history already. we’re 30 years past arab occupation.
    btw, do the zionist’s own maps help? are those verifiable sources enough for you? because you might notice the contiguity between gaza and the west bank, thanks.

  12. I don’t have very much time for Noam Chomsky not because I don’t share his views but that I find him intellectually dishonest. I simply cannot agree that his arguments are well formulated (biased diatribe, more like) and I would rate Christopher Hitchens as head and shoulders above Chomsky in this regard. Chomksy is more interested in proving how right he thinks he is than in furthering peace, and for that he should be ashamed. Further, I would encourage anyone seeking truly intelletual public discourse on this to seek out Intelligence Squared debates from London.

  13. Mobius,
    The occupation of Judea, Samaria and Gaza by Jordan and Egypt before 1967 are very relevant to the debate. In fact, they are very telling about the nature of the conflict itself. Between 1948 and 1967 the so called “Palestinians” never thought it was necessary to fight the occupation (by Egypt and Jordan). There was no Palestinian nationalism, no intifada and no “peace movement”. In fact, the people the mainstream media calls the Palestinians did not consider themselves occupied. Moreover, they did not consider themselves Palestinians. However, Israel still suffered frequent terrorist attacks from the ARABS that inhabited those areas. In other words, the conflicts was (just as it is now) between Jews and Muslim Arabs, as opposed to Israelis and “Palestians”. The arabs who perpetrated terrorist attacks against Israel did not do it in the name of Palestinian nationalism, they did it to destroy Israel and to finish Hitler’s job, as one of the Arab representatives stated so eloquently in a speech to the UN. If one takes these indisputable facts into account, the whole picture changes. Maybe, just maybe, the violence being perpetrated against Israel’s Jews has nothing to do with Palestianian nationalism? Maybe, just maybe Arabs are still trying to finish Hitler’s job? And maybe, just maybe, the war Israel is forced to fight is legitimate self-defense?

  14. Who wiped the floor with whom?
    Yes Dershowitz may be a Dersh-bag – he is an attorney. He is payed to be a Dersh.
    Chomsky is straight out of the MoveOn.org/Hamas playbook.
    The Dersh made good points but more importantly is sourced reputably.
    The Chomster, on the other hand, has found a handful of like minded Israeli dudes and relies, apparently exclusively, on their (very) questionable views.
    The Dersh made a very powerful point (despite himself): Chomster considers Peres a Mass-Murderer?!
    Clinton is conspiring agains Palestine?! He was the moron inviting real Mass-Murderer Arafat, out of exile, to the White House on red carpet and Chomster considers Clinton the conspirator?!
    Like the Dersh or dont, the Chomster is living as the former describes on Planet Chom.
    In my book Dersh wins this outright.

  15. um, sheikh, the seeds of palestinian national identity were sewn in 1948.
    under so-called “egyptian occupation,” the palestinians of gaza were given their own government with the grand muffti as its president. citizens were issued “all-palestine” passports. however, the muffti subsequently declared that the entirety of palestine — israel & jordan — was the palestinian state and that jerusalem was its capital. this claim was recognized by all arab league members except jordan, which had its own designs on the region.
    by the mid-50s, palestinian nationalism was a growing movement, particularly as the palestinians found themselves caught between their own independence — which egypt and the rest of the arab league was supporting — and jordan, which, under hashemite rule, claimed that all palestine was part of jordan (and thus was defacto, a united palestine, though one not under palestinian rule). king abdullah and nasser were both out for their own version of a pan-arab union.
    fatah (a palestinian liberation movement) was founded in 1959 by yassir arafat when nasser nullified the “all-palestine” government (in favor of his pan-arab “united arab republic”). when the plan didn’t work out, nasser supported the creation of the p.l.o.. that was in 1964.
    all of this happens before 1967. all of this happens in opposition to israeli and jordanian control of palestine. all of this happens with the help of egypt.
    doesn’t quite check out with your version of events.

  16. Regardless of who emerged the victor of this dual, the chutzpah of Prof. Chomsky is truly inspiring! His axiomatic support of the underdog with suave confidence, his selective quotes, even granting their legitimacy, is an act of true chutzpah (interesting that it is Dershowitz who penned a book by that title). Chomsky takes pride in stepping upon the accepted notions of contemporary powerhouses. Responding to such grandiose reorientation with logical formulations inevitably fails to combat the tone of the assertions.
    A truly enjoyable act of theater with one debater as a true actor comfortably on his pedestal and the other taking his role with earnest seriousness, even if no one else does.

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