Sunday, September 28, 2003

Alan Dershowitz has written a new book called "The Case for Israel", apparently another in the long line of books written to attempt to justify the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people. I assume the audience for these books is American liberal Jews looking for a salve for their guilty consciences, and the American elites who need a constant justification for American support for the slow-motion ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Since I fall into neither of these groups, I shan't be reading the book, but Norman Finkelstein has, and he has quite a story to tell. Alexander Cockburn does a good job on reporting on the whole mess. There is a much-derided book called "From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the ArabJewish Conflict Over Palestine" by Joan Peters, which has served as the basis for many of the incorrect claims made against the Palestinian cause. Dershowitz is aware of the fact that this book has no credibility in the academic world, but apparently found the propaganda contained in it to be too enticing to ignore. Finkelstein goes over many of Dershowitz's footnotes, and finds direct connections to footnotes made in Peters' book. Rather than overtly rely on Peters' book, Dershowitz went right through her book to her footnoted sources, thus relying on Peters' work without actually citing her. Some might call this plagiarism (although I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for ultra-Zionist Harvard President Lawrence Summers to discipline ultra-Zionist Alan Dershowitz over an ultra-Zionist book), but I think it is more accurate to see it as a symptom of the increasing panic amongst the American apologists for Zionism, who see their plans for Greater Israel falling away once the American public digests the real truth about what is being done to the Palestinians. The truth, which has effectively been hidden by the disgusting American media, is becoming impossible to conceal, and the Zionists needed to get a prominent book out before the American talk shows in a hurry, perhaps too much of a hurry. There was no time to concoct original lies, so a hidden recycling of Peters' lies had to suffice. Finkelstein is a formidable critic of Dershowitz, and appears to have easily won a bet proposed by Dershowitz by finding an error in Dershowitz's book. I wonder if Dershowitz has sent the check for $10,000 to the Palestinian Authority, earmarked for the victims of the massacre at Jenin?