May 1, 2006
CC: “Norman Finkelstein” normangf[at]hotmail.com
Subject: Plagiarism @ Harvard
Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2006 17:50:21 +0200
Dear Mr. Zhau
I was very impressed to read about Harvard’s investigations into the recent accusations into plagiarism by a Harvard student, Kaavya Viswanathan. However, I must comment on the fact that although Ms Viswanathan’s issue is being investigated, I can’t help noticing that Harvard has failed to investigate the accusations of plagiarism against one of your professors, viz. Alan Dershowitz.
Having read the articles where Ms. Viswanathan’s fictional works are extremely close in content to that of Ms. McCaffrey, I am astounded that Mr. Dershowitz’s plagiarism of Joan Peters’ hoax, “From Time Immemorial” in his book “The Case For Israel”, a VERBATIM plagiarism, down to the elipses and mangling of Mr. Orwell’s ‘newspeak’ phrase, has not received similar attention. This is particularly fascinating to me, as it is akin to awarding a 4th grader a distinction for rewriting the tales of the Brothers Grimm as historical fact, particularly given that everyone (with the possible exception of Harvard academia) knows that the tales of the Brothers Grimm are pure fiction.
The ommission in your article in The Harvard Crimson (27/4/06) of Mr. Dershowitz’ plagiarism is a clarion call for the death of intellectual honesty in American academia and illustrates how spectacularly US acadamia is under the complete control of the thought police. Perhaps you can explain why Professor Dershowitz’ plagiarism has never been acknowledged by yourself and/or your university, despite copious evidence that Mr. Dershowitz is indeed guilty of the most blatant kind of plagiarism (Or have you not been trained to think for yourself, Comrade? …I didnt think so either.)
As a South African quasi-intellectual, yet by no means stupid person, unlike clearly, the academics at Harvard, I must point out the hypocrisy, double-standards and blatant academic blindness of yourself and others at Harvard ‘university’.
I write this from my home in deepest, darkest third world Africa and LAUGH, yes, LAUGH, at the joke that Harvard has become. You see, from the movies you send to us here in the ‘stupid’ , illiterate and uncultured Third World, you would like us to believe that American educational institutions and your much vaunted ‘Ivy’ league colleges are the pinnacle of academic freedom and intellectual aspirations. Me thinks the ivy has overgrown Harvard to such an extent that it has stifled all pretence of genuine intellectual pursuit and/or semblance of intellectual honesty.
As others, far more clever and articulate than me have pointed out, academia in the US (mostly) toes the party line, much the way they did in the former USSR. The world is beginning to realise that your academia, much like your politicians, are immoral, hypocritical ‘nontellectuals’, simply because you have failed to properly censure an intellectual and moral coward, in the personage of Alan Dershowitz. Should we assume also that Harvard supports Prof Dershowitz’ advocation of torture, etc etc? Does Harvard support Prof Dershowitz’ mangling of actual historical facts to support his skewed and obscene version of reality?
Harvard, by displaying this arrogant double-standard and by its unwavering support for Alan Dershowitz, surely an embarassment to any university, nevermind Harvard, is gradually being exposed for its moral and intellectual dishonesty. Like the professor it tenures, Harvard is a fake institution of ‘learning’. I pity your students. I pity them because you do them an injustice by continuing to have someone so morally and intellectually bankrupt lecture to them.
For my part, I am happy to send my children to a Third World university here in deepest darkest Africa. At least I am assured that their professors are genuine intellectuals who will teach them to be independent thinkers and where they will revel and thrive under the auspices of intellectual and academic freedom. More importantly, where they wont have their moral and intellectual compasses bankrupted by the very institution that is supposed to teach them to be ethical and free-thinking human beings.
Way to go, Harvard. Even us stupid okes in deepest darkest Africa (where lions do not, by the way, run wild in the streets) are smart enough to see your hypocrisy, double standards and embarassing lack of ethics.
Yours in intellectual and moral honesty
Cape Town, South Africa