May 30, 2006
By ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
To the editors:
In her comment, “One Week Later” (Apr. 28), Lauren Schuker wrote that I “recently stood accused…of academic dishonesty.” The crucial fact that Schuker fails to mention is that I was innocent of that politically motivated charge and was so found after a thorough investigation, which I requested. Several distinguished individuals who examined the accusations including former Dartmouth President James O. Freedman, former Solicitor General Charles Fried, and the head of the Harvard Law School library Harry S. Martin ’65 also dismissed them as baseless.
The charges were part of a politically motivated campaign by a hard-left, anti-Israel academic who was falsely charging “plagiarism” against me and several other pro-Israel writers. The false charge was that I found several quotations by Mark Twain, Lord Peel, and others in a secondary source, but cited them to the primary sources in which they originally appeared. That is the citation method approved by The Chicago Manual of Style. Moreover, I cited the secondary source eight times and was using several of the quotes years before the secondary source was even published. I can document highly visible anti-Israel writers who have done exactly the same thing I was accused of doing, but were never accused of plagiarism by my biased accuser.
Plagiarism is a serious charge. It should not be trivialized by failing to distinguish those who are innocent of it from those who have admitted to it.
ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
May 1, 2006
The writer is Frankfurter Professor of Law.
Political Allegiance Shouldn’t Bear On Merit Of Argument
The Harvard Crimson | May 26, 2006
by Norman G. Finkelstein
To the editors:
Alan Dershowitz dismisses allegations of plagiarism on the grounds that I am a “hard-left” academic (“Plagiarism Accusations Unfairly Characterized,” letter, May 5). I understand neither what this means nor its relevance: the basis of rational inquiry is the merit of an argument, not its provenance.
NORMAN G. FINKELSTEIN
May 8, 2006
The writer is a professor of political science at DePaul University.