Dershowitz Letters

January 5, 2006

In News

UPDATE 11.27.2006: Moment of Truth — Will Dershowitz Release the Letters?

PDF originals:
April 13. 2004 |
April 30, 2004 |
June 16, 2004 |
November 19, 2004

HTML transcripts:
April 13. 2004 | April 30, 2004 |
June 16, 2004 | November 19, 2004


April 13,2004
Printable PDF

Mr. Colin Robinson
The New Press
38 Greene Street
New York, NY 10013


Dear Mr. Robinson:

I have received your letter of March 26th with regard to Rohit Goel. I have just retumed
from a trip to Australia. As I told Mr. Goel, I am in the process of obtaining the entire file from
the Israeli authorities, which I am told contains the investigative report of the independent
investigation. I will forward it to him as soon as I have obtained it.

I am, however, somewhat confused by your letter, which indicates that Mr. Goel’s factchecking
is in connection with a book tentatively titled, Everything Old Is New Again: Reflections
on the New Anti-Semitism
. As I am sure you know, Mr. Finkelstein has publicly stated on
numerous occasions that he is writing a very different book for you, namely a personal attack on
me entitled Letters to an Old Shyster. Not only has he made this statement on numerous
occasions, it has been repeated by others on the internet. I don’t know what the situation is, and I
certainly have no interest in trying to prevent the publication of any book, since I believe
strongly in the marketplace of ideas, but I am concerned that any book you publish not contain
false statements about me. That is why I am happy to cooperate with your fact-checker. But
thus far your fact-checker has simply asked me about one false assertion made by Finkelstein
about me. I am aware of numerous other willfully false and malicious statements that
Finkelstein has made in public about me and that he has implied he will publish in his book. For
example, he has told numerous audiences that I did not write The Case for Israel; that it was
ghost-written for me by students; and that I did not even read it. He has asserted that this is
“literally” the fact and that the “evidence is very clear” that I did not write or read The Case for
. As Mr. Finkelstein well knows, I wrote every single word of the text of The Case for
by hand and I have my hand-written manuscripts to prove it, since I do not type or use a
computer. (I did receive assistance on some of the footnotes from student researchers.)
Moreover, I have numerous witnesses who will attest to the fact that every word of the text was
written by me. Yet Mr. Finkelstein persists in making this false and defamatory statement

I do not know what other false and malicious statements appear in the forthcoming book,
but based on Finkelstein’s past record, I can anticipate that there will be many, since he
repeatedly distorts or makes up facts to support his ideological predispositions. Let me illustrate
Finkelstein’s modus operandi with one of many possible examples.

Mr. Finkelstein has repeatedly asserted that I did not care about Israel until after its
victory in the Six Day War and only became a “fair weather friend” of Israel in order to benefit
from its victory in that war. This is a part of a more general, preposterous, allegation that the
“only two prominent American Jewish intellectuals who were identified with Israel before June
1967 were Noam Chomsky and Hannah Arendt,” and that today’s leading American Zionists,
such as Michael Walzer and Martin Peretz, also didn’t care about Israel until after its victory in
June 1967. He claims that I actually say “at the very beginning” of The Case for Israel that I
only “became actively involved in supporting Israel after June 1967.” I urge you to look at what
I actually say, to see how deceptive Finkelstein is. I say that in 1967 — not after
Israel’s victory in June of that year — I began to make the case for Israel on campuses. In fact,
I began to make
that case in early 1967 before the war began. I led the student and faculty campaign at Harvard
in support of Israel during the months, weeks and days leading up to the Six Day War (along with
Walzer and Peretz). Moreover, I have cared deeply about Israel since I was a child in 1948,
though I have been publicly critical of some of its policies, in the early 1960’s with regard to
imposing the death sentence on Eichmann, and since the early 1970′ with regard to settlements
and occupation. Finkelstein knows this because he has read my earlier book Chutzpah in which I
describe my activities on behalf of Israel before the Six Day War. Finkelstein’s demonstrably
and knowingly false statements are all too typical of his modus operandi.

Mr. Finkelstein has made numerous false statements about my use of historical
quotations that appear both in my book and in Joan Peters book From Time Immemorial. I am in
the process of documenting each of Finkelstein’s false statements and will be happy to provide
them to the fact-checker if he tells me what facts he is checking. With regard specifically to the
Twain quote, which he has highlighted in his charge of plagiarism: I have been using that quote
since 1970 — and I can prove it. Moreover, his claim that I use the identical words that were
quoted by Peters is demonstrably false. Two entire sentences that appear in Peters were not
included in my quote of Twain. Moreover, the same quote appears in numerous books about that
historical time period other than Peters. The same is true with regard to my quotations from the
Peel Commission Report, which I have also been using for decades. I use many quotes from that
report which do not appear in Peters. His charge that I have “plagiarized” my book from Peters
is maliciously and demonstrably false. Numerous experts — including the former president of
the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and Dartmouth as well as several experts at Harvard
and other universities — have compared the two books and concluded there is not even an
arguable claim of plagiarism and that Finkelstein’s charges are totally unfounded and false. If
Finkelstein persists in making the false and defamatory claim of plagiarism, it is imperative that
he include the fact that experienced experts have concluded that his accusation is false, as well as
the undisputed fact that every single sentence and phrase that appears in my book and that was
written by others has quotation marks around it. This is essential, since no reasonable person
would conclude that plagiarism can occur unless sentences or phrases written by another are used
without indicating they are not the author’s words. As far as ideas are concerned, I explicitly
state in my book that I do not accept Peters’ ideas or her interpretation of the historical

Finkelstein’s most serious defamation is that based on a relatively small number of
criticisms, focused on a relatively few pages in a 264 page book dealing with nineteenth century
history, he has characterized the entire book as a “hoax,” a “fraud,” and a product of
plagiarism,” and has said that it contains no “facts” or “arguments.” This is simply false and
unfair and displays his ideological bias and malice. The vast majority of the book deals with
contemporary issues and is beyond dispute factually correct and he knows it. Yet he uses words
that suggest that he has proved the entire book to be a fake or fraud of some sort. This too is
typical of Finkelstein’s malicious modus operandi. Nor does he tell his audiences that his sole
basis for leveling the false charge of plagiarism is his claim that I originally came upon several
quotations I use in my book (all within quotation marks) in Peters book and that I cite to the
original sources rather than to Peters. He does not claim that I used even a single phrase or
sentence written by Peters without attribution, or that I use a single quotation from any one else
without attribution. His bizarre complaint relates solely to a disagreement over whether it is
better form to cite the original or to cite the secondary source in which the original quote was
first found by the author. He does not tell his audiences that the minor and trivial disagreement
is the entire basis for his accusation of plagiarism. Instead, he tells his audiences that I lifted two
chapters “practically whole cloth” from Peters. Although he doesn’t challenge the accuracy of
any of the quotes in my book, he complains that I lifted them from “a hoax,” thus implying that I
borrowed Peters’ conclusions or arguments, which he knows I did not. He simply lies — even
about his own accusations!

Finkelstein and others have pointed out several accidental typographical errors, which I
have corrected in subsequent printings. Yet. he persists in repeating them, as if they were
deliberate and remain uncorrected. One in particular discloses his malice. On page 80, I discuss
Benny Morris’ account of a particular phase of the evacuation of Arabs from villages, which
became part of Israel in 1948. During this phase, according to Morris, “Arab commanders
ordered the villagers to leave…” Obviously the more villagers ordered by Arab commanders to
leave, the stronger my argument becomes. Yet, as a result of a secretarial mistranscription, the
figure of two to three hundred thousand Arabs became two to three thousand Arabs, thus
inadvertently weakening my point. Only a person with malice and no intellectual honesty would
claim this self-defeating typo was deliberate, but Finkelstein has persisted in making this
obviously false claim.

I am sure you are aware of Mr. Finkelstein’s personal animus and malice toward me.
Although he has stated that he never engages in ad hominems and that his criticism of me is
purely academic, he has publicly called me an “imbecile,” a “raving maniac,” a “shyster,” “evil,”
a “pathological fraudster,” and a “Nazi” comparable to “Adolph Eichmann.” When criticized for
analogizing Jews to Nazis (he never analogizes them to Stalinists or even Mussolini fascists —
only Nazis) Finkelstein has said: “Nazis never like to hear they’re being Nazis.” He has also said
that he “can’t imagine why Israel’s apologists would be offended by comparison with the
Gestapo.” Finkelstein’s own connection to neo-Nazis has been documented. He drew cheers
from large Nazi audiences in Germany when he invoked anti-Semitic stereotypes, calling Jewish
victims of the Holocaust who seek reparation “greedy,” “cheats” and “a band of crooks and
liars”. He also received sustained applause from Holocaust-deniers when he supported their
denial by calling Elie Wiesel — who has written movingly about his experiences at Auschwitz —
a “liar” and a “clown,” and when he said that most “survivors” are “bogus” and have “fabricated
their pasts.” And he lent support to Holocaust minimizers when he equated the murder of six
million Jews with “other crimes,” characterizing the Holocaust as merely “a Nazi experiment in
demographic engineering.” The only constant in Finkelstein’s life has been a hatred of Zionism,
the Jewish religion, Holocaust survivors and decency. He is prepared to get into bed with
Stalinists or Nazis, as long as they hate Jews, Israel and Holocaust survivors who are seeking
justice. He has been aptly described as a Jew who “supports anti-Semitism.” A German writer
observed “seldom has a Jew been more celebrated by brown propaganda than Finkelstein.” One
neo-Nazi-admirer has called Finkelstein “The Jewish David Irving” — a reference to the
notorious Holocaust denier and Jew-hater who recently lost a defamation suit in England.

His personal animus seems entirely selectively aimed at Jews who either support Israel or
justice for Holocaust survivors. He repeatedly uses the same words to characterize his political
and ideological enemies: “hoax,” “fraud,” “fake,” “plagiarist,” “liar”, etc. He never uses these
loaded words against those who agree with his politics or ideology. It cannot be that Finkelstein
— who claims to be an objective “forensic” analyst — is incapable of finding any fault with the
writings of his ideological soul mates. He is clearly an ideologically selective critic who throw
around these ad homimens knowing that they are false but hoping they will stick nonetheless.

Finkelstein is a failed academic who by his own admission had been fired by several
colleges and universities. I have learned that the reasons for these firings include serious
questions about his academic integrity, his alleged scholarship and biases. I am aware of no
peer-reviewed publication that has ever accepted anything from him after review by
professionals in his discipline. He has repeatedly lied about his academic status, implying that
he is a full professor, when in fact he is a 50 plus year old assistant professor, who was once an
associate professor and has now been demoted.

Again, let me emphasize that I have no wish to prevent the publication of anything
written by Finkelstein, since everything he writes further discredits him and his publishers
among serious people. Finkelstein’s book The Holocaust Industry was devastated by The New
York Times
reviewer who called it “indecent,” “juvenile,” “stupid,” “reckless,” “ruthless,”
irrational,” and “insidious.” I fully anticipate similar reactions to this book. But I do
respectfully request that you check each statement he makes about me because of his long track
record of making false and defamatory statements about Jewish supporters of Israel and of
justice for Holocaust survivors. The repeated use of ad hominems against me surely demonstrate
extreme malice and require scrupulous checking of every possibly false statement he makes
about me. I respectfully request that your fact-checker provide me with an opportunity to
provide refutation to every such allegation in the book, and I await the opportunity to correct his
false and malicious defamations before they are published.


Alan Dershowitz

cc: New Press Board of Directors

April 30,2004
Printable PDF


Colin Robinson
New Press
38 Greene Street
New York, NY 10013

Dear Mr, Robinson:

I arn now in a position to answer Mr. Goel’s initial enquiry regarding endnote 9 of
Chapter 18 in The Case For Israel, though I was promised all the fact checks
together. First, some background.

Here is the charge Finkelstein has publicly leveled against me on C-SPAN and said will
be part of his forthcoming book about me:

“Dershowitz simply conjures things up frcm thin air, I’ll give you one example.
There was a famous case in 1995 of a Palestinian who was shaken to death while
in detention. And nobody disputed the facts–the Israeli pathologists’ office, the
forensic pathologists who were brought into the case, eventually it went to the
Israeli High Court of Justic–they all agreed. And I’m quoting now from the
High Court of Justice Judgement: ‘All agree that Harizad (phonetic) died from the
.’ If you go to Dershowitz’s book, he discusses the case and says, quote,
‘An independent inquiry found that he didn’t die from the shaking, but from a
previous illness’ (emphasis added). That was just made up. Now that was literally made

Virtually everything in Finkelstein’s statement is demonstrably false–including
his alleged “quotes.” Let me note first that the statemsnt Finkelstein says I made (he
deliberately misquotes it) appears in an endnote, not even a footnote, though Finkelstein
makes it appear as if the statement was central to the text of my book. Second,
Finkelstein is referring to a different case than the one I describe in the endnote,
and he knows that.

Most important, every word I wrote in endnote 9 is absolutely true and there is
documentary evidence to support it, including the actual autopsy reports, I made nothing up, and
Finkelstein knows it. Several years ago I was told about a case in which a detainee named
Mustafa Akawai died of an unknown, pre-existing heart condition after having been shaken. I
was told about this case by a number of sources, including the doctor who conducted the autopsy
at the request of Boston’s Physicians For Human Rights and the state attorney in charge of the
investigation” I also read about this case in the press. I have spoken publicly about the case for
several years in speeches and lectures. The official conclusion of the Israeli investigation based
on the autopsies was that Mustafa Akawai’s death was caused by a “heart attack” and “no other
reason.” Dr. Michael Baden, among the most eminent forensic pathologists in the world, flew to
Israel to conduct an autopsy on the body of Akawai, who had died following interrogation. The
Israelis were accused of having caused his death by the treatment he received while under arrest,
including shaking during interrogation. Dr. Baden told me, confirming what I had been told by a
high-ranking official in the Israel State Attorney’s Office, that Akawai died from a previously
undiagnosed heart condition. Baden was, however, quite critical of Israeli authorities and did
conclude that their rough treatment of Akawai precipitated the heart attack, but that such
treatment would not have precipitated a heart attack in a person without an extremely sever
heart condition
, and that the Israeli authorities were entirely unaware of his heart
condition.[1] Accordingly, the investigation was ultimately closed on the ground that
“the pathologist’s post-mortem examination did not suggest a connection between the interrogation
and/or its character,
and the heart attack that caused his death.” Nonetheless, the investigator in charge of Akawai’s
interrogation was disciplined because his actions violated accepted standards “although a
connection was not found between his behavior and the death of the deceased.” Reasonable
people can disagree about this conclusion, but there is no doubt that an independent investigation
attributed his death to an unknown pre-existing medical condition, precisely as I wrote.

fn 1; pg2. Baden told me that when he made his
announcement, he was greetcd with derision by anti-Israel activists who
were hoping that he would conclude that Akawai died directly from the shaking. (Another doctor, Derek Pounder,
has been “called in by anti-Israel groups to examine several cases, and had always blamed Israeli authorities,
regardless of the evidence, Dr. Pounder’s reputation was very poor in the community of experts and at least one
prominent forensic pathologist has called him a fraud and a one-sided political hack.) Because Dr. Baden had
previously come to
“a conclusion in an earlier case that supported the Palestinian account, it was assumed that he
would come to a similar conclusion in the Akawai case. But his autopsy revealed the pre-existing coronary
condition and that it was unknown to the Israeli authorities.

fn 2; pg2. I not only wrote every word of the book by hand, despite Finkelstein’s defamation to the contrary’
I also wrote the text of the endnotes. My research assistants did help in finding the authorities
cited in support of the textual endnotes.

When I wrote the text of endnote 9,[2] I was referring to the Akawai case, which had
received considerable publicity around the world. That was “the famous case”” I did not make it
up. It is Finkelstein who has made up his alleged quote from the High Court of Justice judgement
and a quote from me. There is no statement in the High Court judgement that says “all agree that
Harizad [referring to the other case] died from the shaking.” What the High Court said is that
“all agree that, in one particular case, (HCJ 4054/95) the suspect expired after being shaken
(emphasis added). Finkelstein pretended to be making a direct quote and then made up the
words “died from the shaking”. The difference between died fron the shaking and died “after
being shaken” is considerable, especialiy since the sentence in the High Court judgment is
preceded by the following description of the medical literature offered by the state and quoted by
the High Court: “medical literature has not, to date, reported a case in which a person died as a
direct result of having been shaken.” One sentence after saying that the suspect “expired after
being shaken”, the High Court said that “death was caused by an extremely rare complication
which resulted in pulmonary edema.”

Finkelstein then proceeds to distort a quote about me, putting the following words
between quotation marks and in my mouth “an independent enquiry found that he didn’t die
from the shaking, but from a previous illness.” What I in fact said in endnote 9 was the
following: “one person died following shaking, but an independent investigation attributed his
death to an unknown pre-existing medical condition.” Even though the substance is similar, the
very fact that he would falsely describe it as a direct quote is typical of Finkelstein.
Although I
was referring to the Akawai case, and Finkelstein was referring to the Harizad case, my
description — as it turns out — comes much closer to what actually occurred in the Harizad case
than does Finketstein’s, because Finkelstein deliberately distorted the quote from the Israel High
Court to serve his ideological interests.

In any event, the fact is — and I can prove this by external evidence — that I was referring
to the Akawai case when I wrote the text of endnote 9. I have spoken about the Akawai case
repeatedly and saw the documentation in that case. I was unaware of the Harizad case
Finkelstein refers to. Accordingly, Finkelstein’s allegation that I literally made up what I wrote
in endnote 9 is false and defamatory.

After reading my one sentence textual endnote, my research assistant cited to the opinion
of the high court in general {“See Public Committee”, etc.} which includes the language that the
“medical literature has not, to date, reported a case in which a person died as a direct result of
having been shaken” — language that supports my text. According to The Bluebook: A Uniform
System of Citation
(17th ed. 2000), a citation preceded by “see” is designed to indicate that
proposition is not directly stated by the cited authority but obviously follows from it; there is an
inferential step between the authority cited and the proposition it supports,” Where the citation
does not direct the reader to a particular page (as mine does not), it is citing the entire case as
inferential support. In this instance, the proposition is inferentially supported by at least two
statements in the opinion quoted previously.

The opinion also refers to a case by number, not by name, in which a person died after
being shaken. I was aware of only one case involving a death following shaking” the Akawi
case. That is the case I wrote about. To accuse me of making something up on this basis is both
irresponsible and defamatory. If it were anyone else but Finkelstein, I would be prepared to
accept his mistake as an honest one, but because of his pattern of lies, it seems more likely that
he is aware of his error, yet persists in his irresponsible politically motivated accusation.

I am, of cour,se, not surprised that Finkelstein would make this charge in light of other
false and defamatory charges he makes. For example, he alleges that “the first two chapters of
The Case for Israel are lifted practically whole cloth from Peters… ” Yet he knows that I cite
Peters numerous times and explicitly mention that I disagree with her conclusions. There is not a
single idea or phrase in my book that is lifted from Peters. (I did, mistakenly believe that the
word “turnspeak” had come from Huxley. I confused turnspeak with newspeak. This honest
mistake has been corrected in the forthcoming paperback edition, along with several other honest
mistakes of little consequence.) I did originally find several historical quotes used by Peters
in her book and, after checking the originals when I could, I used those quotes, citing them to
the original, as the Chicago Style Manual mandates. Every author who does research finds
useful quotes inother books; it’s called research. No one disputes their accuracy or the fact they are
cited to the original. Whatever one may think of Peters’ conclusions — which I explicitly reject
in my book — no one has questioned the accuracy of the quotes I found in her book. No one says
she made up the quotes I used! Moreover, I checked them independently whenever possible.
What then is the issue? As every responsible person who has been shown this — including the
former president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dartmouth, and the University
of Iowa — agrees, this is not plagiarism; it is scholarship. At most, it is a disagreement about
proper citation styles, a disagreement about which the authorities clearly support me. But under
no conceivable understanding of the term plagiarism, is this even close to plagiarism. What is it
Finkelstein claims I “plagiarized,” if not Peters’ words or ideas — her ellipses? Even those are
different in the major quote from Mark Twain he claims (eroneously) I first found in her book.
(I have been using the Twain quote since before the Peters book was written.)

The proof of the pudding of Finkelstein’s malice and selective criticism only of pro-Israel
writers is his acknowledgement on C-SPAN that “I don’t get too excited about the plagiarism
issue” — except apparently when he can use it to throw mud at pro-Israel writers.

Another example of a categorical and demonstrable lie by Finkelstein is the following,
from his C-SPAN talk:

If you look at it, about three-quarters [of The Case for Israel] is
given over to discussing human rights issues: house demolitions, torture, so on and so forth.
About three quarters is given over to discussing it. And if you look at the
footnotes for the book, he never once — I mean literally, not once
mentions any
mainstream human rights organization. Never a mention of Amnesty’s findings,
never a mention of Human Rights Watch’s findings, never a mention of
B’Tselem’s findings, Public Committee Against Torture, Physicians for Human Rigbts — none.
(emphasis added)

Yet a simple review of my book reveals that I cite Amnesty on at least five occasions,
B’Tselem on three occasions and numerous other human rights groups and individuals (such as
Chomsky, Said and Boyle) who are extremely critical of Israel’s human rights policies.
(Amnesty and B’Tselem even appear in the index!) Again, Finkelstein simply looks his
audience in the face and deliberately lies aftor assuring them that he is purporting to be “literal.”
This is his standard modus operandi, of which you are on notice.

None of this surprises me since I recently learned from one of the several universities that
fired Finkelstein, that he was fired for three reasons: 1) serious questions about his scholarship;
2) his “abuse” of students who disagreed with his politics and 3) his “mental instability”. A
recent incident supports this last conclusion. In a speech at the University of Buffalo, Finkelstein
apparently tried to prove that Israel is a Nazi state because it favors “blue-eyed, blond-haired
Aryan types” (refening to Russian Jews). To support this bizarre point, he said that the lead
character in the novel Exodus was named “Ari” because it was short for Aryan. (Ari is, of
course, short for ancient Semitic names such as Arieh and Ariel, and is common among
Sephardic and Ethiopian Jews). Finkelstein is truly an irresponsible person who will say and
write anything, so long as it is anti-Israel.

You should beware that there is documentary evidence establishing these serious
allegations. If you are not, this is to put you on notice that they exist. You are now also on
notice of his demonstrable lies during his C-SPAN speech. This should place a heavy burden on
you to be certain that every one of his defamatory statements are entirely truthful and are not
motivated by malice or political bias — a malice and a bias he virtually admits.

Once again, let me emphasize that I have no wish to prevent any book from being
published. I insist, however, that every defamatory accusation directed against me be
scrupulously and independently examined, not by an intern for The Nation, which has also
falsely defamed me by repeating Finkelstein’s false charges of plagiarism in a column by
Alexander Cockburn, but by an independent fact-checker with no political or ideological axe to


Alan Dershowitz

P.S. I am enclosing a copy of Dr. Baden’s recent letter [see PDF file for April 30, 2004 letter]
to me confirming what I say. He is still looking for his files in the case. I am also enclosing the
original Hebrew version of a 1993 letter from the Israel State Attorney’s Office, supporting what
I wrote in endnote 9. [see PDF file for April 30, 2004 letter]

Cc: Rohit Goel
Andre Schiffrin

June 16, 2004
Printable PDF

Via Fed Ex

Mr. Colin Robinson
The New Press
38 Greene Street
New York, NY 10013


Dear Mr. Robinson:

I am writing this letter to report a serious breach of publishing ethics committed by Rohit Goel.
You told me that he was working as a fact-checker for your publishing company on a book by
Norman Finkelstein. Last week Goel called Dr. Michael Baden and represented himself as
working for me — Alan Dershowitz. He said he was working on my book for my publisher and
that he was calling to check some facts for me. It was on that basis that Dr. Baden spoke with

Only after eliciting information from Dr. Baden based on his misrepresentation, did Goel clearly
identify himself as working for Finkelstein and against me. He then criticized Dr. Baden for the
conclusions he had incorporated in his letter to me. He claimed that Dr. Baden’s letter
contradicted a report by the Physicians For Human Rights and statements made at a press
conference. Since these events occurred years ago, Dr. Baden understandably asked Goel to
send him the material he claimed contradicted his recent statement. Goel agreed to do so. But
then, according to an email sent by Goel to Dr. Baden, “after speaking with my boss, Norman
Finkelstein, the author of the forthcoming book on Alan Dershowitz and the “new anti-Semitism,”
I will not be able to provide you with the Physicians for Human Rights report or the
Press Conference you gave in 1992 after you conducted the autopsy of Akawi.”

There are several ethical problems implicit in the actions taken by Goel and Finkelstein. First
and foremost, a fact-checker who misrepresents himself as working for me has violated not only
journalistic ethics, but my legal rights. I intend to pursue all legal remedies against Goel and
Finkelstein for this willful and illegal misrepresentation. This misrepresentation may also
constitute a vioiation of criminal law, since it was fraudulently done over the telephone and by
wire. Second, Goel now claims that Norman Finkelstein is his boss. This is completely
contradictory to what he told me. He told me that his only interest was in checking facts for you
and that he was hired by the publisher to protect the publisher from factual errors made by
Finkelstein. He now says that Finkelstein is his “boss.” This demonstrates a clear conflict of
interest in Goel’s role. Finally, it is not the role of a fact-checker for a publisher to threaten a
source, as Goel clearly threatened Dr. Baden in his boss’s name.

All in all, this is conduct totally unbecoming a reasonable publishing company. I do not know
whether you are aware of this pattern of behavior, which is all too tlpical of Finkelstein. If not,
this note, along with the others I have previously sent you, is intended to put you on notice so
that you can take all appropriate action.

As I have previously written to you, I have no interest in trying to prevent the publication of a
book critical of me, since I can adequately defend myself in the marketplace of ideas. I insist,
however, that all the alleged facts in the book be checked in an objective manner, especially in
light of Finkelstein’s long track record of misstating facts and misrepresenting the truth, of which
you are aware. The fact-checking process currently in place does not meet those standards.


Alan Dershowitz

Enclosure: Goel email

cc: New Press Board of Directors

November 19, 2004
Printable PDF

Federal Express

Mr. Niels Hooper
University of California Press
2120 Berkeley Way
Berkeley , CA 94104

Dear Mr. Hooper:

I have just been advised that you are planning to publish a book by Norman
Finkelstein containing false and defamatory information about me. The
book, entitled “Beyond Chutzpah”, (an obvious reference to my book
“Chutzpah”), claims to expose “spurious scholarship” and mendaciousness on
my part. This Letter is to put you on notice that Finkelstein has
repeatedly and deliberately distorted the facts in describing my
writings. I am enclosing, as an attachment to this letter, a draft of an
article I am publishing which summarizes Finkelstein’s distortions, as well
as the letters I previously wrote to the publisher who was originally
supposed to be publishing his book. I don’t know whether Finkelstein
showed you this correspondence before you agreed to publish the book, but
you are now on notice as to its contents.

I have no desire to prevent publication of anything, but I do insist that
anything published about me be factually correct. Finkelstein has a long
documented track record of publishing malicious falsehoods about me (as
well as about others who write favorably about lsrael or about compensation
for Holocaust survivors). I am not speaking about differences of opinion,
but rather, as the attached material clearly proves, demonstrably false
statements of fact that no one can possibly dispute. He claims to quote
material, but he makes up words and phrases in the allegedly quoted
material. He makes up facts from whole cloth. In a recent speech in
Canada, which has even tougher defamation laws than the United States’
Finkelstein repeatedly alleged facts about me (and others) which are
entirely false, including the claim that I did not even write The Case for
Israel. (I don’t type or use a computer, so that the entire manuscript of
my book was written by me by hand. I wrote every single word of the
text.) I note that in your advertisement, you say that Finkelstein’s book
will be “available worldwide”. Finkelstein’s book, as presently written,
contains defamatory material that is actionable not only in America, but in
many other countries in which this book wil] be distributed. I suggest
that you check with lawyers in those countries as well as with American
lawyers, in deciding the nature of the fact checking process that you are
obligated to undertake, especially in light of Finkelstein’s documented
history of defamation against me.

Because of this extensive track record, which is easily accessible to you,
you are under a professional, moral and legal obligation to check every
single claim he makes about me for its accuracy. This check must be
completely independent of Finkelstein. In the past he has hired
fact-checkers (including a man named Rohit Goel) who simply does his
bidding and provides no independent check on Finkelstein’s willful and
malicious distortions. In one case his fact checker willfully
misrepresented himself as my research assistant to Dr. Michael Baden, in an
effort to persuade Baden to change somethlng he had written. You are on
notice of this as well.

You are also on notice of Finkelstein’s demonstrated personal malice toward
me. Although he has stated he never engages in ad hominems and that his
criticism of me is purely academic, he has publicly called me an
“imbecile,” a “raving maniac,” a “shyster,” “evil,” a “pathological
fraudster,” and a “Nazi” comparable to “Adolph Eichmann.” When criticized
for analogizing Jews to Nazis (he never analogizes them to Stalinists or
even Mussolini fascists — only Nazis) Finkelstein has said: “Nazis never
like to hear they’re being Nazis.”

I am confident that when you read the entire file that I am sending you,
you will agree that you hive a heavy burden to check independently every
defamatory statement Finkelstein makes. As of this time, no fact checker
has called me (other than the notorious Rohit Goel, who acknowledged that
he works for Finkelstein, and is anything but independent). Please advise
me as to what steps you are taking to assure that you are not knowingly
publishing defamatory macerial.

I want to emphasize once again that I am not interested in stopping the
publication of anything Finkelstein seeks to write, since everything he
writes further discredits him and his publishers among serious
people. Finkelstein’s book The Holocaust Industry was devastated by The
New York Times reviewer who called it “indecent,” “juvenile,” “stupid,”
“reckless,” “ruthless,” “irrational,” and “insidious.” I fully anticipate
similar reactions to this book. My sole interest is in assuring a fair
process for checking the accuracy of defamatory statements he has made in
the past and seems intent on repeating in this book.

I await your reply.

Sincerely yours,

Alan Dershowitz