Why would the University of California Press (UCP) be publishing a sequel to a book that several distinguished historians have compared to the notorious czarist forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion? It is by an author whose previous works were eliminated from the curriculum by the Toronto School Board because they were “anti-Semitic.” This author has also been characterized as a “writer celebrated by neo-Nazi groups for his Holocaust revisionism…,” and as a purveyor of “crackpot ideas, some of them mirrored almost verbatim in the propaganda put out by neo-Nazis….”
Imagine if a university press were publishing an overtly racist, sexist or homophobic book by a well-known bigot. There would be demands that the university, and the state that supports it, not lend its imprimatur to hate speech. Speech codes and political correctness would be invoked by the censorial hard left. But these same groups are now demanding the UCP change not a single word in this bigoted book by this anti-Semite.
You’ve probably never heard of the author, unless you travel in neo-Nazi, radical Islamic or hard left circles. His name is Norman Finkelstein. Yes he is a Jew. His parents were even Holocaust survivors, though he suspects his mother of having been a kapo (“really, how else would she have survived?” he asks rhetorically). He boasts that because of his parents’ status as survivors, he “can get away with things which nobody else can,” and reviewers have pointed out that if he were not Jewish, the book to which this one is a sequel “would have been dumped by the reviewers as a right-wing extremist pamphlet.”
Nor is he a scholar with any credentials. He boasts that “Never has one of my articles been published in a scientific magazine,” despite efforts by Noam Chomsky who believes Finkelstein’s scholarship is almost as good as Ward Churchill’s. The distinguished professor, Peter Novick, who Finkelstein himself credits with stimulating his dreadful book about the Holocaust has a different view. Novick has written the following:
As concerns particular assertions made by Finkelstein . . . the appropriate response is not (exhilarating) ‘debate’ but (tedious) examination of his footnotes. Such an examination reveals that many of those assertions are pure invention. . . . No facts alleged by Finkelstein should be assumed to be really facts, no quotation in his book should be assumed to be accurate, without taking the time to carefully compare his claims with the sources he cites.
The Finkelstein book being published by the UCP is about Israel, a country Finkelstein has told the Jerusalem Report that “he has never actually visited,” and admits that “I don’t really know very much about Israel.” But he has quite strong feelings about the Jewish nation, as he does about Jews in general. He thinks that Israel should be flattered by “a comparison to the Gestapo,” and he loves Hezbollah, the overtly anti-Semitic terrorist group that makes videos showing suicide bombers where to stand in a crowded bus to maximize the number of Jewish children who will be killed and maimed.
Finkelstein also has a penchant for making up facts about people with whom he disagrees. Here’s where I come in. In 2003, I wrote a bestselling book called The Case For Israel. Finkelstein didn’t like the fact that, in his own words, my book “got great reviews everywhere,” so he started to spread the canard that I didn’t write my book, implying that it was written for me by the Israel Mossad. Not only didn’t I write it, I didn’t even read it! He went so far as to claim I didn’t write any of my books:
“[Dershowitz] has come to the point where he’s had so many people write so many of his books. [I]t’s sort of like a Hallmark line for Nazis… [T]hey churn them out so fast that he has now reached a point where he doesn’t even read them.” (This is after he compared me to Adolf Eichmann!)
Finkelstein knows, of course, that I write all my books by hand, since I don’t type or use a computer. I even sent my handwritten manuscript of The Case For Israel to the UCP, because they were publishing his book and he had written an email to the dean of the Harvard Law School in which he said he was:
“completing a book manuscript for the University of California Press” which will “demonstrate that he [Dershowitz] almost certainly didn’t write the book, and perhaps didn’t even read it prior to publication.”
The UCP made him take this defamation out of his book after I provided them with conclusive proof that it was a knowing lie. He screamed and yelled about being censored, but the First Amendment gives no author the right to make up defamatory lies and publish them. There are many more lies in his book, and I address them in the sequel to my book, The Case For Peace, which is being published by Wiley in August.