12 September, 2007

Pot. Kettle.

"He's a man who is a propagandist and is not a scholar."

Thus speaks Alan Dershowitz, who when not advocating the legalisation of torture, is a man always ready to heap vitriol on anyone with whom he disagrees. He was commenting on the recent resignation from DePaul University of Norman Finkelstein. DePaul had previously denied Finkelstein tenure, following a campaign against him by Dershowitz. The Dershowitz-Finkelstein love-in has being going on for a while now, with Finkelstein's recent book Beyond Chutzpah being largely a riposte to Dershowitz's The Case For Israel. Part of Finkelstein's claim was that Dershowitz had plagiarised elements of his book from Joan Peters' From Time Immemorial; Finkelstein had originally made his representation by exposing that book as fraudulent and plagiarised.

I can't claim any great familiarity with Finkelstein's work, nor can I comment in an informed manner on his suitability for tenure in DePaul. My suspicion, though, is that Finkelstein is being punished not for unscholarly writing but for taking on one of the giants of his profession, and that he was denied tenure not on academic grounds but because he was trouble.

1 comment:

string bean jen said...

Ooh, look at you taking on a Chicago story! There was a cover story in the Chicago Reader (weekly massive free maybe 'alternative' newspaper) about a year ago on this, acquainting the situation to me, but I'd forgotten 'bout it!