Match Point

Noam Chomsky

The New Republic, June 1, 2007

It is always intriguing to see just how far Alan Dershowitz will go in his efforts to conceal the fact that Norman Finkelstein exposed him as a vulgar and fraudulent apologist for Israeli human rights violations -carefully, judiciously, with extensive documentation. Knowing that he cannot respond, Dershowitz is reduced to a torrent of slanders and deceit about Finkelstein’s alleged misdeeds – which would, transparently, be irrelevant if there were a particle of truth to his easily-refuted charges. The latest chapter in Dershowitz’s efforts at self-protection is a campaign to undermine Finkelstein’s tenure appointment, actions that are utterly without precedent, even reaching to an op-ed in the Wall St. Journal.. In an attempt to obscure what he is up to, along with other little fibs that I’ll ignore, Dershowitz has now invented a new fairy tale: that he is following my course when I “led [my] own jihad” to deny Kissinger a faculty position at Columbia (“Cambridge Diarist,” TNR, May 21).

As reported in such exotic sources as the national press (e.g., Washington Post, May 27, 1977), when Henry Kissinger left the government, the Columbia administration created a special endowed chair for him, apparently without faculty consultation or normal review procedures. That elicited widespread opposition on campus, including a front-page denunciation in the student newspaper, protests signed by hundreds of faculty and students, and much more. My role in this was precisely zero, as Dershowitz knows, with one exception: I was invited by Columbia faculty members to speak at one of the events they organized. So much for the precedent Dershowitz invents to try to defend his disgraceful efforts to block Finkelstein’s tenure.

Why does he drag me into this? For the same reasons as his Finkelstein rampage. I have been the target of a deluge of Dershowitz deceit and inventions since 1973, when I responded to his slanders about the Israeli League of Human Rights, even gross falsification of Israeli court records as he sought to defend serious violations of elementary civil rights that the court barred – exactly contrary to his claims (Boston Globe, April 29, May 17, May 25, June 5, 1973, available online). As always when his performances are exposed, Dershowitz knows he cannot respond, and makes no effort to do so, instead resorting to the device that comes naturally to him: a torrent of vilification and deceit, of which his “Cambridge Diarist” submission is the most recent. As of today.

Noam Chomsky

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