Thursday, May 26, 2005

Alan Dershowitz denounces Norman Finkelstein, DePaul's holocaust minimizer

If you're visiting this site, you very likely know who Alan Dershowitz is: defense attorney for OJ Simpson and Claus von Bulow, among others. He's also a best-selling author, and an ardent supporter of Israel.

As a man who takes on controversial causes, he's going to attract enemies. One of those enemies is DePaul professor Norman Finkelstein, who's been called a holocaust minimizer and an anti-Semitic Jew.

But Norman Finkelstein's free speech rights are safe at DePaul, unlike those of DePaul's suspended pro-Israel professor, Thomas Klocek.

Professor Finkelstein has a new book coming out next month, Beyond Chutzpah : On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. The title is a backhanded slap at Alan Dershowitz's "Chutzpah."

Earlier this week, the web site published an essay by Dershowitz, available here.

Below is an excerpt. I omitted Dershowitz's footnotes in the interest of readability:

Finkelstein has said that he “can’t imagine why Israel’s apologists would be offended by a comparison with the Gestapo” and asserted that Israel’s human rights record is “interchangeable with Iraq’s” when it was ruled by Saddam Hussein. He has said that most alleged Holocaust survivors—including Elie Wiesel—have fabricated their past, are “bogus,” and that those seeking reparations are “cheats” and “greedy.” Because of my support of Israel, he has compared me to “Adolf Eichman [sic],” and accused me of expressing “Nazi moral judgments.” When challenged to defend his frequent comparison between Jews and Nazis, he has responded, “Nazis never like to hear they’re being Nazis.” He is a popular speaker among German neo-Nazis; one, Ingrid Rimland, whose husband, the notorious Ernst Zuendel, wrote The Hitler We Loved And Why, even referred to him admiringly as the “Jewish David Irving” (“J├╝discher David Irving”)—a reference to the British Holocaust denier and Hitler admirer. The comparison is apt because Finkelstein has reportedly praised the Holocaust-denying Irving as “a good historian!” and as having “made an indispensable” contribution to our knowledge of World War II.”

A German writer has observed that “seldom has a Jew been more celebrated by brown propaganda that Finkelstein.” Another writer aptly described him as a Jew who “supports anti-Semitism.” Gabriel Schoenfeld has labeled his views as “crackpot ideas, some of them mirrored almost verbatim in the propaganda put out by neo-Nazis around the world.” His books do not sell in America, but they are best-sellers among the growing number of neo-Nazis in Germany.

(Added 3:30pm CDT) I forgot one important detail about Finkelstein: He's a big pal of Noam Chomsky.

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