Norman Finkelstein ‘Ambushes’ Alan Dershowitz (Part II): An original transcript from theExperiment

I think that there is grounds for hope. All we have to do is show a little courage, show a little integrity, do our homework,

and most important: don’t fear those thugs and hoodlums. They really aren’t so smart and they really aren’t that clever….

Alan Dershowitz has come to the point where he’s had so many people write so many of his books so fast, that he doesn’t even read them. And his assumption is: you go on radio, and of course the airhead

moderator never read the book. You say what you want, they say, “terrific, great, wonderful.”

He figures that with his credential, and the fact that everybody’s terrified of answering him back, he can get away with

anything. Yes, there’s a certain amount of brazenness, there’s a large amount of arrogance. But there’s also a desperation,

because he has to invent things and fabricate, because the reality is so completely at odds with his claims to being just.

And he’s now saying he was “ambushed.” Apparently ambushed consists of: the person you’re talking to knows something.

2003.12.06

[Norman Finkelstein, professor of political science at DePaul University in Chicago, is the author of four books: Image

and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, The Rise and Fall of Palestine, A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen

Thesis and Historical Truth, and The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering. The

following remarks are from his presentation at a benefit for the International Solidarity Movement at Udi Aloni’s gallery in

New York City, on Saturday, 2003.10.04.]

So we have at our fingertips very potent weapons, and now the challenge is to learn how to use them. Which I think more and

more people are learning how to do—to learn how to use them and to force those who want to tell another story to come to

grips with what the mainstream says.

At one point [on the Democracy Now radio show] when I debated Mr. Dershowitz—there was 1 hour done on air and 1 hour done off

air, Amy Goodman figured he’s in the studio why not just keep going—and we went for another hour and at the very end of the

2nd hour Dershowitz was desperately trying in any way possible to discredit me, and he said, “Well you know, Finkelstein is a

well known extremist,” and so on and so forth. And I said, “Well let’s see who’s the exremist: Alan Dershowitz uses as his

Primary Source a hoax, I use as my sources mainstream Israeli scholarship. Alan Dershowitz uses as his source—for human

rights violations—he uses IDF websites.” He conjures up all of this stuff.

Incidentally, it’s very striking. He has 2 pages on the ISM and they are really grotesque. It’s not only the

characterizations—he says they should be characterized as a terrorist organization—it’s that he gets every fact wrong. He

says that they’re supported by, and paid agents of, Hamas [Islamic Resistance Movement]. And I had people just check it. He

falsifies everything. Even things like he says Rachel Corrie “threw herself in front of the bulldozer.” Now that didn’t

happen. I mean you had to just open to the New York Times photo.

The brazenness! But it’s not just brazenness, it’s brazenness because they think they’re teflon. He figures that with his

credential, and the fact that everybody’s terrified of answering him back, he thinks he can get away with anything. Yes,

there’s a certain amount of brazenness, there’s a large amount of arrogance. But there’s also a desperation, because he has

to invent things. He has to fabricate because the reality is so completely at odds with his claims to being just.

The reality is so overwhelmingly on the side of those who are looking for a decent resolution of the conflict. We have the

information, we have truth, we can win. I am absolutely certain of that.

Grounds for hope

One time a friend of mine said to me, “Well you always say different things. Sometimes in front of audiences you say you can

win, but then privately you say, ‘Oh, it’s hopeless.’” I said to him, “It’s entirely disingenuousness on my part.” Bear with

me: we all feel hopeless alone. If I’m sitting in front of a computer screen and typing away—you know, you’re staring at four

walls and it’s this mammoth power or powers that you’re confronting—it feels hopeless. But when you’re in a room with people

who are committed to the same ideas as you, and you have people from—literally they’re your normal fairly average people—who

found it in themselves to go over to Palestine and put their lives on the line, it’s very inspiring. And then I see there is

excellent grounds for hope. There is hope in our sense of solidarity, commitment.

I think that there is grounds for hope. All we have to do is show a little courage, show a little integrity, do our homework,

and most important: don’t fear those thugs and hoodlums. Have no fear of them. They’re not so smart. You know that? They

really aren’t so smart and they really aren’t that clever. You know, everyone says, “Alan Dershowitz, he’s a lawyer,” and

this and that, and inside of two minutes, for those of you who’ve seen the video, somebody said they almost saw a tear in his

eye. He was so pathetic. He’s such a complete fraud. Don’t be so afraid of these people.

They’re such contemptible crooks. I figure, what the heck, I’m not going to be afraid of this guy. So I kept saying to him,

“Mr. Dershowitz I don’t think you wrote the book.” Now, if somebody really wrote the book you would expect a ferocious

answer. Like the guy is going to go at you and want to throttle you. But he really didn’t answer that way, because Alan knew

he didn’t write the book. And then I figure—which I honestly believe—I don’t believe he read the book. People think that I’m

speaking cavalierly—occasionally I do, but mostly in private. In public I want to be responsible for my words. And I said to

him at one point, “Look Mr. Dershowitz, if you have any sense of self respect you would just say, ‘I didn’t write the book

and I had no time to read it. I’m sorry.’”

But I’m serious. There is no way he wrote the book and I’ll give you two examples. There’s no way he read the book.

Number one: if you’re a college student and you have to write a paper, you have no time to do it or you’re lazy, you go to

one of those agencies to have them write the book. You get the book/you get the paper, and then of course you’re going to

read the paper to make sure there’s nothing to give away that you purchased the paper, and you go through it. Now, Dershowitz

claims to have written the book. If you had read the book and you see a footnote that says,

“www.sonymovies.com/classics/blackseptember,” you would say, “Take out that reference, you idiot. You don’t cite a Sony movie

in a book!” If he had read the book.

Then he has a second reference: it was to a high school syllabus. I tracked it down. It was a chronology from a high school

syllabus on the Israel/Palestine conflict. Would you do that if you’d read the book? He’s such a charlatan. He’s such a

shameless moron. Now when you hear this, go by the Boston Globe because I talked to one of the columnists. I say, “Look what

he’s citing,” and I mentioned the Sony Pictures reference. Alan Dershowitz is asked about it, and he says, “Well, at least I

cited an accessible source.” You know what he said on Amy’s show?.. “But it also came out as a book.”

“Ambushed”

I mean, this is kind of breathtaking. Then in the second part of the program, which was off the air, he comes on and he

discusses the UN resolution 242, as if he has the slightest idea what he’s talking about. Well he claims in his book that he

had some input in writing 242. Everybody now had input. Everybody you meet had input. It’s like everybody’s a holocaust

survivor, everyone wrote 242. “OK,” I said to him, “Mr. Dershowitz you say you had input in writing 242?” He says, “Yeah,

yeah, yeah, I was um… a law student then. Uh, Arthur Goldberg.” I said, “Alright Mr. Dershowitz, who were the main framers of

242?” He says, “Well, Arthur Goldberg.” I said, “Yeah, and who was the other one?” He says, “Uhhh, Lord Shawcross.” I said,

“Lord Shawcross? In your book you wrote Lord Carrington.” He goes, “Oh yeah, Carrington, Lord Carrington.” I said, “Well Mr.

Dershowitz, It wasn’t Lord Carrington. It was Lord Caradon. You don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about.”

It’s not that he only got the name wrong in the book, he keeps writing it Carrington when it’s Caradon. He didn’t know who it

was.

For those of you who listened closely to the thing about Orwell and Turnspeak, Joan Peters, another person who “wrote a

book”—when you talk about these people they’re such colossal frauds everything has to be put in quotations marks—so, Joan

Peters in “her book” [From Time Immemorial] uses this stupid phrase called Turnspeak. And she says Turnspeak is when

you invert reality on it’s head. So Palestinians claim to be victims. That’s Turnspeak, because the real victims are the

Jews. So that’s her expression. And she says in the book, “I derived this expression, Turnspeak, from Orwell’s Newspeak.”

So I said to Mr. Dershowitz, in the first half of the program, “Remember in your book you use the expression Turnspeak?

That’s from Joan Peters.” If you go back and look at the transcript, look carefully at it. He goes, “Oh yeahyeahyeah, but

Joan Peters got it from someone. I can’t remember who she got it from. She got it from someone.” I said, “You wrote

‘Orwell…She got it from Orwell.’” He goes, “Yeah, Orwell. She got it from Orwell.” I said, “I’m sorry to break this to you

Mr. Dershowitz, but it’s not Orwell. It’s Joan Peters. There’s no Turnspeak in George Orwell.” He kept writing in his book,

“George Orwell’s Turnspeak” or “Orwellian Turnspeak.” They got so confused in the plagiarizing, because they were copying her

book breathlessly, they didn’t realize it wasn’t Orwell, it was Joan Peters. But it was very interesting. He couldn’t even

remember that he had written “Orwell’s Turnspeak.” He said, ” Oh yeahyeah, Turnspeak. It came from somewhere else.”

For those of you who didn’t get to watch the video, he didn’t know anything. He didn’t have the vaguest idea what was in the

book.

They’re so brazen. You know, he’s come to the point where he’s had so many people write so many of his books. You know, he

just churns them out. It’s kind of these tiny little books, it’s sort of like a Hallmark line for Nazis. So there is one on

terrorism and one on Israel. He churns them out—or they churn them out—so fast that he has now reached a point where

he doesn’t even read them. And his assumption is: you go on radio, you go on television, it’s Alan Dershowitz. Of course the

airhead moderator never read the book, you say what you want, they say, “terrific, great, wonderful.” And Amy Goodman, my

very dear and close friend, says OK let’s do the show. I go on. I’ve read the book. I’m sorry, I read the book. And he’s now

saying he was “ambushed.” He was ambushed. Ambushed consists of: the person you’re talking to knows something. That’s an

ambush.

But the best line in the whole thing: There’s this guy at Harvard Law School, Charles Fried—some of you may remember him as

the unlamented former Solicitor General for Ronald Reagan. And Fried was interviewed by the Harvard Crimson and he said—I’m

not kidding—he said, “What’s the big deal? What Dershowitz did, we all do.” So that tells you a lot about Harvard Law School.

Author: Norman Finkelstein

News Service: theExperiment

URL: http://theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1991