October 2, 2006
Editor, The Guardian, London
Sir, – Alan Dershowitz’s extraordinary attack on the Guardian (“The Guardian at the crossroads,” September 28) was misleading and misinformed.
Half of his piece focussed on a “Guardian op-ed piece” by Henry Porter. In fact, this piece never appeared in the Guardian: it appeared in The Observer. The Observer is also owned by the Scott Trust, but has a a different editor, a separate editorial team and a separate editorial position on many issues, including Israel. This confusion was an elementary mistake which no-one familiar with the British media would have made. It follows, therefore, that Dershowitz’s complaint that the Guardian “refused to publish his letter” was entirely without foundation since it never published the offending article in the first place.
His second complaint concerned a Guardian review, by an outside contributor unconnected with the paper, of his recent book Preemption and what he claimed was a refusal by me, personally, to publish a letter in response. I have never, until yesterday, been contacted directly by Alan Dershowitz, nor have I ever had a telephone conversation with him. It seem likely that he misunderstood the role of the person at the Guardian with whom he dealt. It follows, therefore, that I did not tell him that I refused to publish a letter from him. Until yesterday, I was unaware of such a request. I am more than happy to publish a response and have offered him that opportunity.