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11.23.2015

Finkelstein-Dershowitz Debate on Democracy Now!

I really enjoyed listening to this debate (quite old now, circa 2003) between Norman Finkelstein and Alan Dershowitz on Amy Goodwin's Democracy Now.  It's pretty comically dated, at one point Finkelstein references the OJ Trial.



I found Finkelstein's accusation of plagiarism in Dershowitz' book A Case for Israel perplexing.  Does he have a point that copying a quote from another book and keeping the ellipses in the very same place is tantamount to stealing another persons' idea?

Additionally, I found it incredibly disingenuous that Finkelstein identified an inaccuracy in Derschowitz' book, (D. quotes Benny Morris as saying that 2-3K Arabs fled their homes during the 2nd Stage of the Exodus when Morris in fact says that 200-300K Arabs fled their homes) then Derchowitz vehemently denies that it's an inaccuracy and says that by understating the number he's overemphasizing his point.

Didn't really go for his excuse, and found his back tracking lacking in character.  Dershowitz really ought to pony up to the PLO with $10K as he promised if anyone to found a mistake in his book.

Additionally, I found it extremely punitive to read that following the debate, Derschowitz actually wrote a letter to Finkelstein's university advising that they deny him tenure.  What a small man, it seems, that he could so overtly make steps to jeopardize a man's career and livelihood as vindication for being humiliated in a debate.

One unfortunate side of the debate is that they spent SO much time quibbling over the quote/plagiarism argument that they never really could debate the substance of the book itself.  Overall, however, I'd say it's worth a listen.

Clearly from what I've stated you can see that IMO, Finkelstein won.

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