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Democracy Not! By: Alan M. Dershowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Democracy Now!, the hard left radio-television talk show starring Amy Goodman, boasts of its fairness and of presenting both sides of the issues.  A recent experience with the show exposes this claim as a bold face lie.  A few weeks ago, Noam Chomsky was invited on the show and, spurred on by Amy Goodman’s question, proceeded to attack me for conducting a “jihad” against Norman Finkelstein, who is up for tenure at DePaul University. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Norman Finkelstein, he is Holocaust-justice denier and overt anti-Semite, who repeatedly attacks Holocaust survivors as frauds and says that Jewish leaders resemble the grotesque anti-Semitic cartoons published by the Nazis and in Der Stürmer.  He repeatedly calls Israel a Nazi regime and calls prominent Jews, like me, Nazis and moral perverts.  He claims that Elie Wiesel made up his past and calls him a “wimp.”  Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, got it absolutely right when he described Finkelstein as “poison, he’s a disgusting self-hating Jew, he’s something you find under a rock.”

As if to prove Wieseltier’s statements, Finkelstein recently published an article entitled “Should Alan Dershowitz Target Himself For Assassination?”  In the article he called me “moral pervert who missed the climactic scene of his little peep show.”  To illustrate this point, he commissioned a Neo-Nazi cartoonist, who had recently finished second in an Iranian Holocaust denier cartoon contest, to draw a cartoon of me masturbating in ecstatic joy while watching Lebanese civilians die on a television set while sitting in a chair labeled “Israel Peep Show” with a Star of David.  If you want to throw up, you can view this cartoon.

Well enough about Finkelstein, let’s get to Democracy Now!.  After learning of the Chomsky attack I had my office call the show and ask for an opportunity to respond.  They conditioned my response on my willingness to debate Finkelstein or one of his clones.  Since I have a policy against debating anti-Semites, and because I know Finkelstein only name-calls rather than debates, I insisted on the right to come on the show by myself and respond to Chomsky’s false charges.  After all, Chomsky was on by himself.  Democracy Now!’s Aaron Mate told me that the show has an absolute policy of never having any controversial guests on without having a contrary view presented at the same time.  Since I rarely listen to the show, I could not contradict them, though I had my doubts.  He spent more than an hour with me on the phone earnestly trying to sell me a bill of goods that Democracy Now! always has a balanced presentation and that it would be unfair to present me alone responding to Chomsky.  In the end, they refused to have me on the show.  I then learned that several days later they had two strong supporters of Finkelstein on their show, without anyone there to respond to them and present the other side.  The net result of their phony attempt to achieve “balance” was that they had at least three pro-Finkelstein zealots, on two separate occasions, with no one presenting an opposing view.  So much for balance.  So much for honestly from Mate and Goodman.  Democracy Now! is the Pravda of the airways.  Democracy NOT!

Alan M. Dershowitz is a professor of law at Harvard. He is the author of many books, including, most recently, “The Case Against Israel’s Enemies.”

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