Dershowitz replies to Publishers Weekly

May 19, 2005

In News

To the Editor:

Steven Zeitchik’s article fails to inform your readers about the
lack of credibility of Norman Finkelstein. Peter Novick, the man
who inspired Finkelstein to write The Holocaust Industry, had this
to say about him:

“As concerns particular assertions made by Finkelstein, the
appropriate response is not (exhilarating) “debate” but (tedious)
examination of his footnotes. Such an examination reveals that
many of those assertions are pure invention. No facts alleged by
Finkelstein should be assumed to be really facts, no quotation in
his book should be assumed to be accurate, without taking the time
to carefully compare his claims with the sources he cites.)”

(‘Offene Fenster und Tueren,’ Sueddeutsche Zeitung, February 7,

“I had not thought that (apart from the disreputable fringe) there
were Germans who would take seriously this twenty-first century
updating of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion
.’ I was

(‘Offene Fenster und Tueren,’ Sueddeutsche Zeitung, February 7,

“Finkelstein’s book is trash.”

(Tagesspiegel, February 6, 2001)

Consistent with his usual approach, Finkelstein has entirely made
up the claim that I didn’t write The Case for Israel and that I
didn’t even read it before publication. It was as a result of this
demonstrably false and defamatory claim that I wrote to the
University of California Press
and indeed sent them my handwritten
draft of The Case for Israel. (I don’t type or use a computer. I
write everything by hand, and I preserve my handwritten drafts.)
As a result, the University of California Press has apparently
made Finkelstein remove this defamation from his manuscript. That
is the way the marketplace of ideas is supposed to work: truth is
supposed to push falsehood out of the market.

Lynn Withey, the publisher of the University of California Press,
apparently denies that she made the changes in the manuscript as the result of my letters. Let the record speak for itself. In
December 2004, Finkelstein wrote to the dean of the Harvard Law
School: “My book will demonstrate that he almost certainly
didn’t write the book, and perhaps didn’t even read it prior to
publication.” I wrote my letters following that claim. I am now
reliably informed that Finkelstein’s false claim will no longer
appear in the manuscript to be published by the University of
California Press. I leave it to your readers to judge whether it
is Finkelstein or Withey who is not telling the truth.

Sincerely yours,

Alan M. Dershowitz