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Finkelstein the Sexist By: Alan M. Dershowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, November 22, 2007


A recent e-mail from Norman Finkelstein, which was forwarded to Dean Elana Kagan of the Harvard Law School, indicates that Finkelstein’s name-calling has now turned sexist. Using his mother’s voice, Finkelstein describes Dean Kagan as “a whore” and says that if his mother were still around she would come up to Cambridge and call her that demeaning, sexist term “to her face and then throttle her.” (This sounds very similar to the threat made by Finkelstein admirer Robert Trivers when he threatened to come to Cambridge and perpetrate violence on me.)

Finkelstein’s apparent complaint about Dean Kagan -- who he regards as “ten thousand times more repellant than Dershowitz” – is that she is “an Eichmann-like bureaucrat currying favor with the powerful while blandly following orders.” Here is Finkelstein’s email:

Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 20:12:11
To:Cal Pitts <calvinpitts@gmail.com>,
dersh@law.harvard.edu
Cc:ekagan@law.harvard.edu
Subject: RE: Published comments about the mother of Dr. Norman Finkelstein

Thank you for this which, with your permission, I will post on my web site. Allow me the observation that Elena Kagan is ten thousand times more repellent than Dershowitz. In the case of Dershowitz it can at any rate be said that he's being vindictive because I exposed him as a fraud and did irreparable damage to his reputation. It's not a pretty sight and what he's written is wretched beyond words, but his actions are nonetheless humanly comprehensible. Kagan, on the other hand, refused to remove Dershowitz's disgusting slander of my late mother from the Harvard Law School web site. Why? Because she's an Eichmann-like bureaucrat currying favor with the powerful while blandly following orders. Were my mother still around, I am quite sure - I mean this literally - she would have taken the first train to Cambridge and - just as she did with the Nazi guards from Maidanek when confronting them at the postwar trial in Dusseldorf in 1979 - called Kagan a whore to her face and then throttled her.

Finkelstein in apparently angry that Dean Kagan refused to censor my truthful words or fire me based on his false allegations. This is the same Finkelstein who whined so loudly about my intrusion into the DePaul tenure process, because I responded truthfully to a request by the former chairman of the political science department at DePaul for an evaluation of Finkelstein’s alleged scholarship.

Finkelstein’s abusive and sexist name-calling should be known to all, since it helps in evaluating his credibility, or lack thereof, in the marketplace of ideas. This is not the first time that Finkelstein has been caught using outrageously sexist terms and threatening violence against those with whom he disagrees. According to an account in the Chicago Sun-Times Finkelstein allegedly called a female staff member a “bitch.” Finkelstein’s history of such abusive conduct is apparently documented in the dissenting report of the three political science professors who voted against his tenure. Although Finkelstein leaked all the positive information about himself from the confidential reports in his tenure file, he has suppressed the dissenting report which apparently contains many smoking guns.

Finkelstein, who is always calling on others to disclose confidential material, has the right to disclose the dissenting report. The fact that he has suppressed it suggests that he is afraid of its contents. I can understand why, but he should not be able to use the confidentiality of reports as both a shield and a sword. Let the world read the entire record and judge for itself whether an academic whose so-called scholarship consists primarily of calling women “whores” and “bitches” and of calling Jews “Nazis” and “stereotypes right out of Der Sturmer,” deserves to be taken seriously in the marketplace of ideas.


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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