Dershowitz v. Finkelstein

Alan Dershowitz campaigns against tenure for Norman Finkelstein. in Counterpunch:

The feud between Alan Dershowitz, a senior professor at Harvard Law School, and Norman Finkelstein, a junior professor of political science at DePaul University, is back in the news. Finkelstein is up for tenure this year, and Dershowitz has been waging an aggressive campaign against him. Both Finkelstein’s department and an outside committee voted in favor of tenure, but the dean then recommended against it. As of this writing, the university has not made a final decision.

To date, the coverage of the dispute has not included any serious attempt at evaluating the merits of Dershowitz and Finkelstein’s charges and countercharges. It’s clear enough that these guys don’t like or respect each other, and that each claims the other’s work is a travesty. But the question remains: Who’s right, and who’s wrong? Answering that question ought to be relatively straightforward, and it is high time that someone other than Finkelstein or Dershowitz tried to do it publicly.

The feud began when Finkelstein charged that Dershowitz’s book The Case for Israel (2003) was partially plagiarized and wholly false. Finkelstein ultimately published his critique as part of a book of his own, entitled Beyond Chutzpah (2005). The book quotes Dershowitz as offering, in an interview, to “give $10,000 to the PLO” if anyone can “find a historical fact in [The Case for Israel] that you can prove to be false.” (p. 91) Finkelstein maintains, to the contrary, that “[t]he genuine challenge is to unearth any meaningful historical fact in The Case for Israel.” (p. 91) Finkelstein goes on to quote one assertion after another from The Case for Israel, examine Dershowitz’s supporting evidence, and then adduce his own evidence that the assertions are false and Dershowitz’s evidence is worthless.