[Marxism] Forwarded from Ian Pace

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 24 14:51:30 MDT 2006

(Ian, this exceeded the Marxmail limit. When something is available online, 
you should send the first few paragraphs and a link.)



Comments on Dershowitz

08.17.2006 | <http://www.chomsky.info/letters/20060817.htm>chomsky.info
By Noam Chomsky

Alan Dershowitz's regular little performances are eminently ignorable, 
including the one reproduced below. But since I've been asked several times 
for comments on this one, a few follow.

Dershowitz's opens by writing that "Chomsky is circulating a letter which 
he got two naïve Nobel Prize winners--the playwright Harold Pinter and the 
poet José Saramago--to sign." The rest goes on with "Chomsky claims," etc., 
and ends with a warning to those who "sign a Chomsky letter without 
checking its contents. If they don't, it tells us how little they value truth."

Let's take it apart, piece by piece.

As Dershowitz knows, the letter was written and circulated by John Berger, 
who approached the "two naïve Nobel Prize winners," as well as me and 
several others. In the normal fashion, some of us had suggestions about the 
text, and then helped him to circulate it.

By Dershowitz standards, this fabrication is very minor, but it is of some 
interest nonetheless. Dershowitz readers will be aware that whenever his 
sensitive antennae pick up a phrase that might be critical of Israeli 
government policies, if my name is even remotely associated, it quickly 
becomes the "hard left gang of Israel bashers" led by the evil demon 
Chomsky. Why the consistent fabrications over the past 36 years – which, of 
course, merit no response? Dershowitz and I know very well, but others may 
be intrigued, so I might as well make the reason public for the first time. 
His pathetic behavior traces back to what was probably our first contact. 
In April 1973, Dershowitz wrote a scurrilous attack in the Boston Globe 
against Israel's leading human rights activist, Dr. Israel Shahak, the 
chairman of Israel's League for Human and Civil Rights, in which he even 
went so far as to support a government effort to destroy the League by 
methods so outrageous that they were at once declared illegal by the 
Israeli courts. I responded, correcting his slanders and fabrications – 
that is, every single substantive statement. He then tried to lie his way 
out of it, even descending to falsification of Israeli court records. I 
responded again, citing the actual court records and responding to his new 
lies and deceit.

The incident demonstrated conclusively that Dershowitz is not only a 
remarkable liar and slanderer, but also an extreme opponent of elementary 
civil rights. That is crystal clear from the correspondence, reproduced 
below. Dershowitz flew into a fury over the exposure, and ever since has 
produced a series of hysterical tirades and lies concerning some entity in 
his fantasy world named "Chomsky," who lives on "planet Chomsky." That is 
his standard style when he is exposed, reaching truly grotesque levels in 
his efforts to discredit Norman Finkelstein (and even his mother, probably 
a new low in depravity) after Finkelstein's meticulous documentation of 
Dershowitz's astonishing lies in his vulgar apologetics for Israeli crimes 
(Beyond Chutzpah).

Dershowitz's tirade about Berger's letter opens by referring to the first 
two sentences, which read: "The latest chapter of the conflict between 
Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a 
doctor and his brother, from Gaza. An incident scarcely reported anywhere, 
except in the Turkish press." Here Dershowitz reveals his amazing discovery 
that statements in brief letters of protest are not technical monographs, 
and are necessarily incomplete and imprecise. His counterparts in Teheran, 
if they sink low enough, would make exactly the same complaints about 
statements protesting repression of dissidents and other state crimes. The 
quoted statement in Berger's letter is, in fact, accurate as far as it 
goes, more than sufficiently so for a brief letter protesting atrocities. 
And Dershowitz doubtless discovered from his Google search that full 
details are readily available on the internet, on this very website and on 
Znet, where he found the following footnote to my account of this incident:

Jonathan Cook, "The British Media and the Invasion of Gaza," Medialens 
(UK), June 30, 2006, 
http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/060630_kidnapped_by_israel.php; Josh 
Brannon, "IDF Commandos Enter Gaza, Capture Two Hamas Terrorists," 
Jerusalem Post, June 25, 2006; Ken Ellingwood, "2 Palestinians Held in 
Israel's First Arrest Raid in Gaza Since Pullout," Los Angeles Times, June 
25, 2006, p. A20. Apart from the Los Angeles Times, there were only a few 
marginal words in the Baltimore Sun (June 25) and the St. Louis 
Post-Dispatch (June 25). Moreover, no mainstream media source chose to 
refer to this event when discussing Shalit's capture. The only serious 
coverage I know of in the English-language press appeared in the Turkish 
Daily News (June 25). (Database search by David Peterson.)

The opening sentences in Berger's letter are indeed curtailed, in the 
normal fashion of all protest letters. Though accurate as far as they go, 
they leave it to the reader to understand the crucial significance of the 
kidnapping of the two Gaza civilians, the Muamar brothers, on June 24, over 
and above the fact that it is yet another crime of Dershowitz's favored 
state. The point is obvious, but since it may require a moment's attention, 
Dershowitz evidently assumed that it would provide an opening for yet 
another exercise in deceit. So let me spell it out, apologizing to the 
reader for stating the obvious.




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