May 6, 2006
Editor’s Note: Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote in defense of the Walt-Mearsheimer article, “The Lobby,” against its more strident critics like Dershowitz, who charged them with…plagiarism.
Richard Cohen criticized me for accusing John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt of using quotes that also appear on hate sites. That was not my accusation. I accused the professors of lifting the quotes from anti-Israel Web sites, a serious charge that has not been rebutted.
Mr. Cohen said that Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Wlt “took those quotes” from a book by Max Frankel. I believe they found them on lists of anti-Israel quotations that appear on several Web sites. My proof is
that the quotes are out of context and often make those appear to say the opposite of what they in fact said. On at least one occasion, the quoted material did not accurately reflect the original (Nahum Goldmann’s “The Jewish Paradox”) but mirrored a Web site from which it appeared to have been copied.
I see only two possible explanations: Either the authors were unaware of the context of the quotes because they read only the misleading excerpts ripped out of context by the biased sources in which they found them but which they did not cite, or they decided to misuse the quotes and mislead readers.
My accusation, therefore, is not “guilt by association”; it is guilt by conscious distortion.
ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ