some amusing updates on Durchowitz/Peters plagiarism scandal...

A year or so ago i managed to catch a 'democracy now' interview between Alan Durchowitz and Norman Finkelstein. pretty hilarious and I urge you to dig though their archives to find the transcript, or video stream, and watch finkelstein decimate an off guard dershowitz who, expecting a debate with chomsky, finds himself confronting accusations of plagiarism against his new book The Case for Israel.

For those unfamiliar with Durchowitz, he's known for his extensive published works in support of zionism, as an attorney in several high-profile law cases (notably as part of the legal defence 'dream team' for O.J. Simpson) and is a Professor of Law at Harvard - so you'd think he'd have at least a modicum of intellectual responsibility...evidently not

The Chomsky Conspiracy
Derchowitz replies to publishers weekly
New York Times

Alexander Cockburn in this weeks Counterpunch Diary:

"At the time there was blast and counterblast both here and in The Nation, where the letters page featured the bleats of Dershowitz and my definitive rebuttal. Since that time Dershowitz has been in an extreme state of agitation at the prospect of Finkelstein's analysis of his borrowings from the work of Joan Peters being published in book form, first scheduled for publication by The New Press, and latterly by the University of California Press."

There hasn't been such a commotion since the British Customs tried to keep Lady Chatterley's Lover out of England. A book that otherwise might have been a relatively modest blip on the national radar screen has been elevated by Dershowitz's frantic squawks to the status of a major cultural event. In his efforts at prior restraint Dershowitz even appealed to Austria's pride, the governor of California, who presumably has more pressing problems on his mind (such as his pell-mell schuss towards single-digit public approval in California) than an impending publication of the University of California.

The last refuge of any cornered mountebank is to invoke "The Plot Against Me", and in a curious inversion of some anti-Semitic tract, Dershowitz has now traced all his problems to an all-powerful troika, consisting of Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and me.
Dershowitz's thesis is that like some Archon of the Galaxies Chomsky croaks from his lair in the heart of darkness, "Destroy Him". The compliant Finkelstein goes to work, and the result of his researches is then publicized by Yours Truly, with devastating effect upon Dershowitz. His life is ruined! A pleasant life formerly devoted to apologias for Israel's barbarous treatment of Palestinians has now been cruelly subverted by the all-powerful Troika. The professor who once impressed young women in Harvard Yard with technical discussions of how best, (under judicial warrant, of course) to push scalpels under the fingernails of terror suspects now fills the air with threats of libel. Like some latter day Ancient Mariner, stopping one in three, Dershowitz posts interminable dissections of "The Plot Against Me" on the internet, dissections which could fairly be accused of partiality towards the male sex, since I recall that even before my own discussion of the Dershowitz-Peters conjunction in late 2003, the affair received detailed scrutiny on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now.

And from Finkelstein website: What if A Harvard Student Did This?

"In the introduction to The Case for Israel, Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School asserts that his account is supported by "facts and figures, some of which will surprise those who get their information from biased sources" (p. 2). Yet, the evidence Dershowitz adduces will surprise no one familiar with the most notorious source of historical bias on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ever published in the English language. The charts below document Dershowitz's wholesale lifting of source material from Joan Peters's monumental hoax, From Time Immemorial. Dershowitz not only copies Peters shamelessly, but knowingly does so from a book serious scholars have uniformly condemned. (For details on the Peters hoax, see Norman G. Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, and Yehoshua Porath, "Mrs. Peters's Palestine," The New York Review of Books, 16 January 1986.) He is effectively no different from a professor lifting sources wholesale from a leading Holocaust revisionist in a book on the Holocaust. On a note both humorous and pathetic, Peters, in From Time Immemorial and claiming to be inspired by George Orwell, coins the term "turnspeak" to signal the inversion of reality (pp. 173, 402). Dershowitz, apparently confounded by his massive borrowings from Peters, credits the term "turnspeak" to Orwell, accusing critics of Israel of "deliberately using George Orwell's 'turnspeak'" (p. 57) and "Orwellian turnspeak" (p. 153). Is this scandalous scholarship, or is it plagiarism, or is it both?"

The whole affair only serves to illustrate the vacuous lack of integrity within intellectual communities. While society lauds these individuals, puts them on podiums, and cowers under their intellectual prowess in humble obedience, behind the curtains they still pull the same dirty tricks that lazy undergraduates like myself pull when they just can't be fucked. the only difference being that durchowitz crimes are currently sculpting the political landscape, and 90% of the time, crooks like him get away with printing all sorts of unsubstantiated nonsense.

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