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Norman Finkelstein calls professor Alan Dershowitz's new book on Israel a "hoax"
The Electronic Intifada ^ | 25 September 2003 | Transcript, Democracy Now!

Posted on 09/28/2003 6:08:11 PM PDT by JohnSmithee

On MSNBC’s Scarborough Country on 8 September 2003, renowned appellate lawyer, Harvard Law professor, and author Alan Dershowitz said: "I will give $10,000 to the PLO…if you can find a historical fact in my book that you can prove to be false." The book Dershowitz refers to is his latest work The Case For Israel. Author and professor Norman Finkelstein takes him on and charges that Dershowitz makes numerous factual errors in his book. Finkelstein teaches at DePaul University and is the author of four books including The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering.


AMY GOODMAN: Why don't we start with you laying out the thesis of your latest book, The Case for Israel.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I wanted to write a progressive liberal case for the two-state solution, which I think that most Israelis favor and have favored for a long time. I dedicate the book to Professor Aaron Barak, the president of the Israeli Supreme Court and for a reason. Because I argue in the book that no country in history faced with comparable threats both external and internal has ever triedas hard to comply with the rule of law. I compare Israel favorably to the United States. In this regard: its court intervened actively in support of Palestinian rights. Even during fighting in war time during the Jenin events engaging in certain actions which in its view violated the rule of law, The Israeli Supreme Court had banned the kind of rough interrogation techniques that are now being employed by the United States in Guantanamo Bay. Israel is the only country in modern history that has never deliberately and explicitly retaliated against those who attack its civilian targets. For example, during the Six Day war in 1973 war, the 1948 war, it's own residential areas were bombed by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, 1600 shells lobbed into west Jerusalem. Israel never bombed Amman, Damascus or Cairo, they bombed areas of Beirut, and in the process have killed innocent civilians. That is deliberately targeting civilians and going after the way the United States did in Iraq, of which I am very critical, but nonetheless with the United States did going after military targets, knowing that they're going to kill civilians in the process. And so myself, I oppose the settlements, always opposed the settlement, since 1967 I opposed the occupation. I think Israel made in my view a terrible view in my view what it should have done is made border adjustments pursuant to U.N. resolution 242 which I actually consulted with justice Goldburg, he was the ambassador to the U.N. was involved in the process of that 242 resolution, which presupposed some territorial adjustments. The problem is, Israel should never have occupied people. Land is different from people. And today I think unilaterally what it ought to do eventually is if it can't find the peace partner to make some unilateral changes, small ones. End the settlements, in fact my peace proposal is that Israel ought to have a schedule for ending settlements. That is a schedule for saying on so and so date the settlement ends conditioned on best efforts by the Palestinians to end terrorism. That would create incentive to ending terrorist acts. By the way you never condition anything on the end of terrorism, that gives terrorists a veto. What you condition it is on making good faith efforts and if we can get Israel to end the settlements and occupation and the Palestinian leadership to stop using terrorism as a tactic, I think finally something could have happened in 1917, two-state solution, in 1937 when the commission recommended noncontiguous Jewish homeland and Israelis accepted it and the Arabs rejected it. In 1947 when the U.N. allocated that portion of Palestine that had majority of Jews in it to a Jewish state, and the portion of Palestine that had Palestinian majority in it to an Arab state, could have had a two state solution. Could have had a two state solution in 2001 and 2000 and Barak and president Clinton offered to be sure noncontiguous state on 90% of the west bank and capital and Jerusalem with the 35 billion dollar refugee package. When Arafat responded by violence, came back to the table maybe we'll negotiate for more. The two-state solution is inevitable. It's going to happen. Only question is how long it takes to happen. My hope is that we can have a reasonable serious debate about the future, about the rights and wrongs I think the rights and wrongs on both sides. But I'm nervous because I heard from my debating partner in the beginning what sounded like it was going to be simply an ad hominem attack on me as to whether I'm qualified to teach at Harvard. I would hope we could elevate the discussion, keep it on the merits. I won't attack Mr. Finkelstein on his merits of his position, let people read his book and judge for themselves. And if he would refrain from personal attacks on me, let people judge the book on the merits. I think we can move the ball forward and have a reasonable serious debate. I think it would be interesting to know where we agree and disagree. What facts we share in common, what facts we have different views on and whether they're empirical and could be subjected to reasonable resolution, where we have moral disagreements, I really think that in the end today you read the news about Israel is other good news. There is a prisoner exchanges between Hizbollah and Israel which Israel would get back one person, civilian who was captured by Hezbollah in exchange for Israel giving back 400 or so prisoners. There's movement forward. Let's not destroy that movement forward by getting involved in meaningless ad hominem discussion, let's see if we can elevate the debate see if we can really move forward to the two state solution that I think virtually everybody in the world today wants.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Alan Dershowitz, author of The Case for Israel. Norman Finkelstein, your response.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I appreciate Alan Dershowitz's seriousness at least in these remarks. I have no intention whatsoever of getting involved in an ad hominem debate with Mr. Dershowitz. I'm interesting in the facts. I was asked to come in and discuss his new book. I went home, purchased one copy, in fact I purchased two copies. I read the book very carefully. I did what someone serious does with a book. I read the text, I went through the footnotes. I went through it very carefully. There's only one conclusion one can reach having read the book. This is a scholarly judgment, not an ad hominem attack. Mr. Dershowitz has concocted a fraud. In fact Mr. Dershowitz has concocted a fraud which, amazingly, in large parts, he plagiarized from another fraud. I found that pretty shocking, shocking coming from a Harvard professor. I find it shocking coming from any professor.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: We have to cut off I just want to warn everybody here that although I'm not a litigious person when you make allegations . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I'm proceeded to . . .

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: When you make allegations of plagiarism that's a . . . It has great legal implications. And I can't obviously sit quietly by and . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I agree. Well that's -- Let's look at the evidence.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: . . . of plagiarism . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Let's look at the evidence. In the first two chapters of your book you extensively reproduce all of Joan Peters' pages in her book. I read it carefully. In 1984 . . .

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Show me one sentence.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I am going to show you I think I have . . .I made available the charts to you.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: You've shown me nothing. Let's start with that. That's a categorical lie. What you're hearing now on radio is a claim that Mr. Finkelstein made available to me certain charts. That is a lie.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Mr. Dershowitz, I think you had about five minutes' time I wasn't looking at the clock. If we're going to have a civil debate you're going to have to remain . . .

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: It's not going to be about me, let me be very clear about that.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I have no interest in you, Mr. Dershowitz. None at all. I'm interested in the scholarship, I'm interested in the facts, I'm interested in your book. In 1984 one Joan Peters published a book called From Time Immemorial, the book was universally recognized by serious scholars to be a fraud. Without wanting to toot my own horn I'm widely recognized as the person who exposed the fraud. I know that book inside out. I read it at least four times, I went through all 1854 footnotes. I started to read your book, Mr. Dershowitz, I then came to chapter one footnotes 10, footnote 11, footnote 12, footnote 13, footnote 14, footnote 15, footnote 16, all of the quotes are from Joan Peters. They're so from Joan Peters that you have a long quote here from Mark Twain on pages 23 to 24. I turned to Joan Peters page 159 to 60, identical quote from Twain with the ellipses in the . . .

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Is the Twain quote wrong?

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: . . . with the ellipses . . . let me finish sir. They're in the same places. The identical quote from Twain with the ellipses in the same places.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: It's been quoted, as you know.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Mr. Dershowitz, I . . .

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: What's your point?

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Let me finish . . .

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I would ask you a question. Is it a direct quote? Is it an accurate quote of Twain? Did Twain say . . .

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Dershowitz the way we can have a civilized discussion here is that each person will get a chance to make their point and won't be cut off.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: You have a nearly full page quote from one William Young, a British consul from May 1839.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Is it an accurate quote?

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I'm going to finish, sir. On page 18 of your book. I turn to Joan Peters, page 184, the identical quote with the ellipses I'm holding it up for the camera perhaps they can see this is the length of the quote.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Is it an accurate quote?

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: It's in the identical place. Last point. I'm not going to go through chapter two where there are 29 plagiarisms from Joan Peters.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: To be very clear, it's not plagiarism to quote Mark Twain correctly.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Except that you cite Mark Twain not Joan Peters. I'm a professor, sir. I know what plagiarism is.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: And plagiarism is . . . What is your definition of plagiarism?

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: We're not going to get involved in that now.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: You're using a word you're not going to tell us what you mean by it?

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: The documentation, you know what we'll let everybody else decide for themselves because documentation one last example. I want to make it very clear, in Joan Peters' book From Time Immemorial she coins a phrase. The phrase is "turn speak”.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: She borrows it from . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Sir, I'm sorry she coins the phrase, you see you don't know what you're talking about that's pretty terrible. She coins the phrase, "turn speak,” she says she's using it as a play off of George Orwell which is, all listeners know, used the phrase “news speak”. She coined her own phrase, "turn speak”. You go to Mr. Dershowitz’s book he got so confused in his massive borrowings from Joan Peters that on two occasions -- I'll cite them for those who have a copy of the book -- on page 57 and on page 153 he uses the phrase, quote, George Orwell's turn speak. Turn speak is not Orwell, Mr. Dershowitz, you're the Felix Frankfurt chair at Harvard, you must know that Orwell would never use such a clunky phrase as turn speak.


NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, maybe you like it. Evidently Joan Peters liked it. But George Orwell never heard of it to the best of my knowledge.

AMY GOODMAN: We have to break for stations to identify themselves. 60 seconds. When we come back professor Dershowitz can respond. We're talking to professor Alan Dershowitz author of a new book it's called The Case for Israel and debate with Norman Finkelstein. You're listening to Democracy Now! Stay with us.

[Music Break]

AMY GOODMAN: More music here from the late Frank Lowe as we continue our debate on Alan Dershowitz’s new book called The Case for Israel. Alan Dershowitz is professor of law at Harvard law school. In discussion with Norman Finkelstein who teaches at Depaul University in Chicago. His book Image and Reality: The Origins of the Israel Palestinian Conflict, Professor Dershowitz, your response to this very serious charge of plagiarism.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: It's a frivolous charge, of course. What happened was this. Of course I read the Peters book, anybody writing a book on the Middle East, anybody, would. I also read The Myths and Facts, a book put out originally by AIPAC then published separately and independently probably 30 or 40 other books which use the same quotes, they're very extensively used quotes by Mark Twain because Mark Twain traveled to Palestine, Mark Twain is a very prominent American writer. What he saw in Palestine is very relevant to the debate. He saw barren lands, didn't see a Palestinian community. He saw empty roads and he writes extremely vividly and one scholar is entitled to read a book as I did, Peters' book and to find quotes in the book and check them against the original quotes. And find them to be accurate and then do what I did, I don't know whether or not Mr. Finkelstein read footnote 31 that appears on page 246 which says, the research of French Cartographer Vital relied on for the I may of mispronounced it.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: You misspelled it.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: See Joan Peters From Time Immemorial, then Peters' conclusions and data have been challenged and then I quote from Hitchens, I did not in any way rely on them in this book. In other words, what I did, it's very common for scholars to do that. Is I read her books, I read Mr. Finkelstein's criticism of them I came away from enough doubt about the conclusions that although I don’t regard the Peters' book in any way as a fraud, I think it was well intentioned effort to recreate and very difficult to recreate events that existed in 1890 and 1900. Did I find her quotes which have been as I said used extensively by Facts and Myths and other publications, to be quite compelling. This book and none of my writing, I don't purport to be independent historian who goes back to the Middle East and reads original documents. I'm doing what a lawyer would do and what lawyers do is they find sources, they check the sources, I had a research staff that obviously checked the sources. I haven't heard a word from Mr. Finkelstein suggesting that the quote from Mark Twain is not an accurate quote. If Peters had made up a quote that hadn't existed. Mark Twain had never written it then somebody borrowed the quote without going to check back on whether Mark Twain had said that, obviously that would be a serious charge. I've done nothing like that. The vast majority of my book deals with current situations. In fact I start my book by saying there has to be a statute of limitations on grievances. I don't try to base the case for Israel on the fact that Jews lived in Palestine before the birth of Jesus or the fact that Jews were expelled from what is now Israel in 72 A.D. and I argue that Palestinians can't really make the case against the two state solution based on historic claims that go back 100 years but first couple of chapters which are quite brief, I recount never purporting to be creative or original in the recounting, I recount what has been accepted as traditional history. That includes the fact that the land particularly what is now what would be western Palestine, what was the part of Palestinian allocated to Israel in the 1947 division was land that before the Jews got there in the first 1880 in the beginning of the 20th century was land that was coming into disuse. Now these are controversial, by the way, there are some Palestinians who say you shouldn't trust Mark Twain. Some Palestinians say you shouldn't trust the various English travelers. Reasonable people could disagree about that. I quote those sources, I lay them out there for people to read so that they can evaluate the claims that Israel was established on the basis of colonialism. I make the following argument which I'd love to hear from Finkelstein’s rebuttal. You can't be a colonialist country unless another country sent people there as soldiers to take over that country. For example, France sent its settlers to Algeria. England sent settlers to India. Dutch and other countries sent their settlers to parts of Africa with guns to take over. What did the Jews do during the first and second? They escaped from countries that were persecuting them. They escaped from Russia and Poland, Lithuania. They didn't come at the request of those countries, if you claim people were colonialist you have to say on whose behalf they were working. The Jews weren't working on behalf of Russia or Poland or Lithuania. They came as refugees. Much like American Jews came as refugees to America. The ones who went to Palestine went with rakes and hoes to try to build the land, to try to join collectively with the local population. They did in fact improve the land as the result of work projects in western Palestine many Arabs from eastern Palestine moved there, I cite statistics, Peters cites the same statistics in fact showing in various the fact that I can't remember the exact numbers, Jews moved there attracted 300 or 400, you may disagree with it. But those are the data that I presented and we can reasonably disagree with that. Now I just want to make one point about Mr. Finkelstein’s research. I don't want to get ad hominem into this debate. But for example I do quote Mr. Finkelstein at one point I think only once in the book. That is he makes an argument in the collection that to judge the 1947 partition the only fair way to do it is to look at either all of Palestine, which I don't know whether he needs to include what became Jordan, trans-Jordan or not or you have to look at what became of Israel after the 1948 war. I disagree with that. What I say respectfully in the book is that when you look at the fairness of the 1947 petition, you only look at the land that was allocated to the state of Israel. In that land Jews were clearly a majority according to the U.N. census to be sure once the Arab nations attacked Israel, once the Palestinians attacked Israel there was a war and Israel secured more land which was regularized by a crease fire in 1949. What Mr. Finkelstein does is he counts that land and says, look how much they got and look at the proportion of Jews and Palestinians that's not the correct demographic to look at. So we can have reasonable . . .

AMY GOODMAN: Let's get the response to that.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Stay away from the ad hominems and get to the merit of the case.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Professor Dershowitz, I'm not a professor at Harvard but I do . . .

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: You seem to resent that a lot.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I do teach elsewhere. And when we discuss issues like falsifying information, plagiarizing, lifting whole cloth from other books I've never heard that called ad hominem for a serious scholar and a serious academic, those are very fundamental issues.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: But when they're false . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: If they're false then you dispute them. To characterize them as ad hominem seems really out of court for a professor . . .

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: You said I don't deserve to teach at Harvard that sounds pretty . . .

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Dershowitz let Norman make his case.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: You raise that issue then I'll address it then returning to the substantive issues of your book.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: First tell me why I shouldn't be teaching at Harvard.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: On page 207 of your book you say that to deliberately misinform, miseducate, and misdirect students is a particularly nasty form of educational malpractice.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Of which I accuse Noam Chomsky and others.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I consider what you have done in the book to be a paradigmatic illustration of misinforming, miseducating and misdirecting. Allow me to finish.

AMY GOODMAN: Let him make his point.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Allow me to finish, Mr. Dershowitz, I've with very respectful of your time. On page 213 you discussed Holocaust fraud by Robert Soan and you write, quote, "it was their extensive historical research” referring to his book.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: That's right.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Instead there was the fraudulent manufacturing of false anti-history.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: That's right. And Chomsky wrote as you . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Please don't bring in Mr. Chomsky. He can defend himself. We're talking about you and your book. It was the kind of deception referring to the book that let me quote clearly, for which professors are rightly fired.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I stand by that.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Not because their views are controversial, let me underline this again, but because they are violating the most basic canons of historical scholarship.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Let me respond to that. You compare me to . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I didn't ask . . .

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: You made up the story that the Holocaust . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I'm referring to your standards. I have no interested in someone else; I'm talking about your standards. To miseducate, misinform and misdirect to violate the standards of historical scholarship are grounds for expulsion.


NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: It's not an ad hominem argument, it's using your standards.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: No, it's an ad . . .

AMY GOODMAN: I'm going to interrupt here because I want to get to some of the main points of your book. Also we were intrigued on watching Scarborough Country when you debated, the offer that you made just play it for a moment.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Tell you what I will give $10,000 to the P.L.O. in your name if you can find historical fact in my book that you can prove to be false. I issue that challenge, I issue it to you, I issue it to the Palestinian Authority, I issue it to Noam Chomsky to Edward Said, every word in my book is accurate and you can't just simply say it's false without documenting it. Tell me one thing in the book now that is false?

AMY GOODMAN: Okay. Let's go to the book. The Case for Israel -- $10,000.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Let me tell you what he came up with this is really fascinating if you show the rest of the clip. He came up he said on television, I saw a photograph or a videotape of Israeli soldiers aiming their guns at that, whatever 12-year-old boy who was caught in the cross fire and killed and I actually upped the offer to $25,000 if he could produce a photograph or if he could produce proof that he had seen that. Why was I so confident? Because German television did a very thorough study of that one particular incident. Let's just spend one minute on that. What happened is when that child was killed in his father's arms, the nation of Israel went into almost universal mourning, it was as if they were sitting shiva on one of their own children. A child had died, it looked as if possibly Israeli soldier might have shot him. When you contrast that to how Palestinians respond to a child dying in Israel from terrorism -- dancing in the streets -- it's a very striking comparison. Then German television did a study they found out that the Israeli soldiers were positioned in a way that it was physically impossible for the bullet from an Israeli soldier to have hit that Palestinian child and it was virtually certain that the bullet had come from a Palestinian gun. In my view that's not particularly relevant when a child is caught in cross fire it's a tragic death resulting from the crossfire. Which bullet actually hit was not relevant. But that was the answer that he came up with.

AMY GOODMAN: Norman Finkelstein.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, first of all I want to clarify the monetary issue. Is it now $25,000?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: $25,000 on that issue.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Just on that issue. In general $10,000.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Let me be clear

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: We just saw the tape. I think it's clear.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I made it very clear I said afterward a material willful . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I don't want afterwards. Professor Dershowitz it's on tape. We just saw it. We're not talking about a spelling mistake. We're not talking about a minor . . .

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: All right. Let's talk about . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Serious material. Let's start. Number one, I'm going to first deal with just concrete facts which are not particularly controversial, which can easily be confirmed. On page 80 of your book you write, according to Benny Morris between . . .

AMY GOODMAN: Benny Morris is an Israeli historian.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I have a copy of his book here, which I'll hold up. 2,000 to 3,000 Palestinians were made refugees during the second stage of the flight. Here is the book. Page 256, do you read what the sentence says.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Let me read you what I say, in some areas Arab . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Please don't read the whole paragraph.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Let me put in the context. Chomsky says that Morris does not believe that any Arab leaders told the Palestinians to leave. I say, in some areas I quote from Morris, in some areas Arab commanders ordered . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: I'm not pursuing that.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: . . . to clear the ground for military purposes to prevent surrender. More than half dozen villages, et cetera, were abandoned during these months as result of such orders. Elsewhere in east Jerusalem in many villages, the Arab commanders ordered women, old people and children to be sent away out of harm's way. Indeed psychological preparation for the removal of the dependents had begin in 1947-48 and Arab League periodically endorsed such a move. And I say therefore, Chomsky is simply wrong when he says that there's no evidence, he says again in another point, nobody today believes that any of the refugees were told to leave. I dispute that by quoting Morris himself.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: You seem to have obsession with Mr. Chomsky but he's not here. I'm here. Let's look at . . .

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I was surprised . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Let's be serious.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: I agree with you.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Read the next sentence. Morris estimates in your book I have right in front of me. Next sentence.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: That between 2,000 and 3,000 Arabs fled their homes.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Can you please what Mr. Morris wrote.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: You're talking about . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Please read what he wrote.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: If I have the whole book I will find for you if you want to take time. Norm Finkelstein if you want the . . .

AMY GOODMAN: I'm looking at page 256 of Morris book.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Phase two now same one as you. You're talking about . . .

AMY GOODMAN: About 2,000 to 3,000 Arabs fled their homes.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: The difference between 2,000 and 3,000 and 200,000 and 300,000. You could check this many times, Mr. Dershowitz. But you are really going to have to pay the $10,000. I hope you allow me to earmark it for Jenin.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ: We're talking about a variety of . . .

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: It is not the O.J. trial. This is not the O.J. trial. We're not going to play a game.

AMY GOODMAN: Is your point that you're citing that Norm Finkelstein is in Alan Dershowitz's book he says 2,000 to 3,000.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: It's 200,000 to 300,000.

Additional evidence, Norman Finkelstein, September 2003.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Israel
KEYWORDS: bookreview; caseforisrael; dershowitz; finkelstein; israel
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first 1-5051-98 next last
Posted for the pure entertainment value. Sorry for the length.
1 posted on 09/28/2003 6:08:12 PM PDT by JohnSmithee
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To: JohnSmithee
Norman Finkelstein is the world's first Jewish Adolf Hitler lover. Take it as you like it.
2 posted on 09/28/2003 6:10:28 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: JohnSmithee
The ice beneath Finkelstein is quite thin. Of course, below that ice burn the fires of hell, so pick your poison....
3 posted on 09/28/2003 6:13:01 PM PDT by Petronski (Pummeluh pummeluh pummeluh)
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To: JohnSmithee
Well, it might be funny if it didn't involve blowing up children.
4 posted on 09/28/2003 6:23:58 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: JohnSmithee
I know nothing about Finklestein, but sure like having someone stick it to the big mouth Dershowitz.
5 posted on 09/28/2003 6:24:11 PM PDT by Loyal Buckeye
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To: Cicero
"Well, it might be funny if it didn't involve blowing up children."

Yes, unfortunately this is a serious subject.
6 posted on 09/28/2003 6:26:09 PM PDT by JohnSmithee
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To: goldstategop

Norman G. Finkelstein received his doctorate from the Department of Politics, Princeton University, for a thesis on the theory of Zionism. He is the author of four books: Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (Verso, 1995), The Rise and Fall of Palestine (University of Minnesota, 1996), with Ruth Bettina Birn, A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth (Henry Holt,1998) and The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (Verso, 2000). His writings have appeared in prestigous journals such as the London Review of Books, Index on Censorship, Journal of Palestine Studies, New Left Review, Middle East Report, Christian Science Monitor and Al Ahram Weekly. Currently he teaches political science at DePaul University in Chicago.

Norman Finkelstein was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1953. He is the son of Maryla Husyt Finkelstein, survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, Maidanek concentration camp, and Zacharias Finkelstein, survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, Auschwitz concentration camp. He dedicated his first book to his parents in which he wrote: "May I never forgive or forget what was done to them." His brothers Richard and Henry Finkelstein would like all visitors to this web site to know that the surviving family fully supports Norman's efforts to maintain the integrity of the history of the Nazi holocaust. May we never forgive or forget what was done.
7 posted on 09/28/2003 6:26:28 PM PDT by Pharmboy (Dems lie 'cause they have to...)
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To: JohnSmithee
He exposed the fraud that dershnowits is. Thanks for posting.
8 posted on 09/28/2003 6:28:14 PM PDT by Pharmboy (Dems lie 'cause they have to...)
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To: JohnSmithee
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Please don't read the whole paragraph.

Mm hmm.

9 posted on 09/28/2003 6:49:08 PM PDT by wizardoz
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To: JohnSmithee
Finklestein took Dershowitz apart. I wonder if Dershowitz will pay the bet.
10 posted on 09/28/2003 7:00:51 PM PDT by xJones
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To: Pharmboy
He exposed the fraud that dershnowits is.

Dershowitz has been trending towards the right, whereas Finkelstein is a thorough-going leftist. This is not because of his oppostion to more and more holocaust reparations, which is, in one form or another, a common opinion among Jews, but rather because of just about everything else Finkelstein writes.

I haven't read Dershowitz's new book, but if it is true, as Finkilstein says, that it follows Joan Peters' way of thinking, few on FR will have much reason to object.

11 posted on 09/28/2003 7:02:54 PM PDT by Steve Eisenberg
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To: JohnSmithee
Mas mucho thanks for posting. I once got an e-mail from Finklestein where he swore a few times and called me a nazi.
12 posted on 09/28/2003 7:05:26 PM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: JohnSmithee
I don't have a dog in this fight but I definitely am tired of the ubiquitous Dershowitz. The enemy of my enemy....
13 posted on 09/28/2003 7:10:14 PM PDT by thegreatbeast (Quid lucrum istic mihi est?)
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To: xJones
Finklestein took Dershowitz apart.

Uh, the way I read it the interviewer took Finkelstein apart, confirming the figure of 2,000-3,000 Palestinian Arabs allegedly expelled by Jewish forces during the Israeli War of Independence because those Arabs lived in sensitive military areas (right near the runways of the main airport). By contrast, 200,000-300,000 Arabs left because they didn't want to live in a Jewish-majority state. Of course, there was a parallel movement of Jews from the Arab-majority areas into the Jewish-majority areas, and few of those Jews moved for any other reason than fear of massacres. This is the story which Finkelstein tried to take apart by quoting Benny Morris, another fellow who, like Finkelstein, is an anti-Zionist Jew.

Further confusing the debate is that fact that Morris, like Dershowitz, has been moving rightward and no longer endorses the 2,000-3,000 figure, much less Finkelstein's 200,000-300,000. How could this confused mess possibly be construed as one in which Deshowitz was taken apart?

14 posted on 09/28/2003 7:18:16 PM PDT by Steve Eisenberg
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To: JohnSmithee
" The Israeli Supreme Court had banned the kind of rough interrogation techniques that are now being employed by the United States in Guantanamo Bay"

I'm a big supporter of Israel, and I thought "The Case.." was pretty good, But he's pushing my hot buttons with his Gitmo ignorance + anti-US prejudice, this guy is urinating on his potential friends.

Doesn't he have an obligation to tell us in detail about this "rough treatment" he's talking about?

15 posted on 09/28/2003 7:24:41 PM PDT by cookcounty
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To: JohnSmithee
A famous former freeper, my dear friend Memphis Belle, showed me Finkelstein's beneath contempt, loathsome, personal attack on Christopher Hitchens, complete with full frontal nastiness...the kind of scathing, personal attack the left holds in reserve for one of their own who dares denounce groupthink on any subject.

But you're so right. Finkelstein going after Dershowitz IS the max! Even more entertaining is reading (with delight) how obvious it is when Dershowitz is caught like a deer in the headlights, how he bobs and weaves, interrupts, tries to block out by speaking over, evades, tries to change the subject.

For entertainment, read Finkelstein

For enlightenment, read

16 posted on 09/28/2003 7:25:22 PM PDT by YaYa123 (@Fink & Dersh =Two Skunks In A Stinking
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To: thegreatbeast
I don't have a dog in this fight but I definitely am tired of the ubiquitous Dershowitz. The enemy of my enemy....

Dershowitz doesn't see it this way. For example, he is Harvard faculty advisor for the Chabad Orthodox Jewish students group, and Chabad is solidly Republican. Look, if Dershowitz ever ran for office, I'd probably be all with everyone else here in called him a RINO. However, once you see someone making gestures in our way, and that person isn't trying to take us over Arnold-style, I think it is time for the big tent.

17 posted on 09/28/2003 7:26:26 PM PDT by Steve Eisenberg
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To: cookcounty
I'm a big supporter of Israel, and I thought "The Case.." was pretty good, But he's pushing my hot buttons with his Gitmo ignorance + anti-US prejudice, this guy is urinating on his potential friends.

Doesn't he have an obligation to tell us in detail about this "rough treatment" he's talking about

Agreed. Dershowitz is guessing, and probably guessing wrong.

18 posted on 09/28/2003 7:37:45 PM PDT by Steve Eisenberg
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To: Steve Eisenberg
Yep...and Michael Medved thought his book was great.
19 posted on 09/28/2003 7:38:38 PM PDT by goodnesswins (Looking for a Shrugged Atlas.)
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To: cookcounty
I'm not watching much T.V. recently, but didn't Dersh sort of disappear from the airways after he, post 9/11, endorsed torture in interrogation of terror suspects?
20 posted on 09/28/2003 7:47:52 PM PDT by gusopol3
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To: Steve Eisenberg
This interview had a lot of background infighting that the average American doesn't know about. Re-reading it, near the start Finkelstein was hinting at plagarism and Dershowitz was hinting at a libel lawsuit. And then at the end:

MY GOODMAN: I'm looking at page 256 of Morris book.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Phase two now same one as you. You're talking about . . .

AMY GOODMAN: About 2,000 to 3,000 Arabs fled their homes.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: The difference between 2,000 and 3,000 and 200,000 and 300,000. You could check this many times, Mr. Dershowitz. But you are really going to have to pay the $10,000. I hope you allow me to earmark it for Jenin.

I misread the ending the first time around, I guess. Dershowitz had quoted Morris's book correctly and Finklestein still insisted that was inaccurate, after the quote on Page 256 of Morris's book was read by the interviewer, or whatever....

It is an important point to Israelis that they weren't chasing hordes of Palestinians out of the newly declared state in 1948 as has been accused by Arabs, while it can be easily proven that Arabs chased hundreds of thousands of Jews out of their countries during that time. For once I'm on Dershowitz's side, although he did come across as a windbag during most of the interview.

21 posted on 09/28/2003 8:38:51 PM PDT by xJones
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To: xJones
Somehow on my Dish TV somer new channels have popped up ---one is FSTV. It is pure lefty,communist propaganda. They show hours and hours of pro-palastenian video,labor union groups in south amercian countries, and GLBT "NEWS". I saw this interview the other night and I have to say this guy who was to be discussing the book of Dersowitz did nothing but go on a diaribe aganist the book but never discussed one of its thesis. I thought he was a kook. He spoke in a monotone voice and had the facial expressions of a wax mask. I actually felt sorry for Dersowitz for once.
22 posted on 09/28/2003 10:55:31 PM PDT by therut
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To: Steve Eisenberg
Dershowitz a republican? Or anything approaching one? Are you out of your mind? Time to put the plug in the jug or stop smokin' that wacky tabacky!
23 posted on 09/28/2003 11:07:04 PM PDT by thegreatbeast (Quid lucrum istic mihi est?)
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To: Steve Eisenberg
....Finkelstein is a thorough-going leftist. This is not because of his oppostion to more and more holocaust reparations, which is, in one form or another, a common opinion among Jews, but rather because of just about everything else Finkelstein writes.

I haven't come across Finkelstein's leftist writings. Could you cite an example?

24 posted on 09/28/2003 11:42:41 PM PDT by St.Chuck
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To: St.Chuck
Here might be a good place to start;
25 posted on 09/29/2003 12:17:03 AM PDT by FormerlyAnotherLurker
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To: JohnSmithee
This Finkelstein guy is obviously traumatized by experiences of his parents beyond repair. Let the excretions of his tortured soul serve as evidence of the true Evil that was the Holocaust.

26 posted on 09/29/2003 1:47:24 AM PDT by eclectic
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Yehuda; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; ...
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
27 posted on 09/29/2003 7:22:36 AM PDT by SJackson
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To: therut
Free Speech TV
FSTV (Free Speech TV) is a full time satellite channel on the Dish Network (channel
9415) and a part-time cable network that brings you the best of progressive ...
Description: A part-time cable network bringing the best of progressive television to nearly seven million homes...
Category: Arts > Television > Networks - 7k - Cached - Similar pages

28 posted on 09/29/2003 7:47:22 AM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: dennisw
I once got an e-mail from Finklestein where he swore a few times and called me a nazi.

Two points
1 A man is known be the enemies he has.(CONGRATULATIONS)
2 Swearing and name calling is what passes for debate on the left.
(and unfortunately for some folks here)
29 posted on 09/29/2003 7:49:06 AM PDT by Valin (If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?)
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To: Valin
All I wrote him was: A polite question and mentioned I was Jewish. I wish I had saved it!
30 posted on 09/29/2003 7:51:52 AM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: Steve Eisenberg; xJones; Valin
Norm Finklestein was a worthy challenger especially as far as debating technique. He was getting to Dershowitz. But the debate proved nothing one way or the other for me
31 posted on 09/29/2003 7:55:13 AM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: dennisw
He sounds like a classy guy.
Dershowitz was on Dennis Prager last week and as I recall it was pretty good. There are those on the left that do have 'some' moral clarity on 'some' issues, Nat Hentoff on Abortion and the slave trade comes to mind.
32 posted on 09/29/2003 7:58:30 AM PDT by Valin (If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?)
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To: dennisw
So dennisw, this is where it is on the Left. To be a good Leftist, you simply have to be pro-Palestinian. Very intellectual, you know. When Alan Dershowitz, prominent Harvard Square coffe-shop proprietor, finally realized this, it probably unhinged his already reeling mind.

"My God," he's saying. "What am I going to do now, become a Neo Con?!"

33 posted on 09/29/2003 8:02:22 AM PDT by Kenny Bunk
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To: Kenny Bunk
So dennisw, this is where it is on the Left. To be a good Leftist, you simply have to be pro-Palestinian. Very intellectual, you know. When Alan Dershowitz, prominent Harvard Square coffe-shop proprietor, finally realized this, it probably unhinged his already reeling mind.

Alan Dershowitz is a very mixed bag. I have disliked him for years for his support of Bill Clinton during impeachment and his devil's work for OJ Simpson. Many years ago Dershowitz wrote a very nice book called Chutzpah

34 posted on 09/29/2003 8:12:35 AM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: Kenny Bunk
These days Alan Dershowitz is redeeming himself with his new book. "The Case for Israel". Go forth my son and sin no more.
35 posted on 09/29/2003 8:13:54 AM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: thegreatbeast
This an excerpt from his book: "WHY TERRORISM WORKS: Understanding the threat, responding to the challenge".  I bought it and read. And while I have some disagreements with some of the stuff there, it's entirely irrelevant to the main focus of the book: the root cause of the terrorism is its success, and that 9/11 forever changed the balance of forces. To act like nothing really happened is naive. We need to be careful to maintain the liberties of our free society, but actions need to be taken to make it more difficult for terrorists to exploit these freedoms.

If all you know about Dershowitz is his previous ACLU cases, its time to re-examine. He did.

Sorry in-advance for the long post.


Jewish World Review Sept. 10, 2003 / 13 Elul , 5763

Why terrorism works

By Alan Dershowitz

An examination of the root causes of terrorism, why madmen continue to perpetrate it, and, most importantly, what can be done to curtail it once and for all. | Although state-sponsored global terrorism is a relatively new phenomenon, and is in some ways quite different from other evils previously confronted, it is still subject to the basic rules of human nature and experience that teach us how to reduce the frequency and severity of harmful conduct. This chapter sets out some fundamental rules of deterring crime in general and then shows how these rules relate to terrorism in particular. The next chapter shows how the international community, and especially the United Nations and our European allies, have refused to follow these obvious rules since at least 1968, and in fact have deliberately violated them, thereby encouraging increased resort to terrorism, both in frequency and in severity.


For thousands of years, human societies have sought to reduce the frequency and severity of such harms as murder, robbery, and rape. Various techniques for dealing with such crimes have evolved over time. Broadly defined, these techniques have had much in common across societies and over time. They may be outlined in the following familiar terms.
The first technique is to ensure that the potential criminal understands that he has far more to lose than to gain from committing the crime. This serves to disincentivize the act, or deter the actor, by sending a clear and unequivocal message: not only will you not benefit from the act, but if you are caught doing it you will be severely disadvantaged. (A disincentive seeks to eliminate the benefit seen as an incentive by the offenders. A deterrent seeks to impose a negative cost on them and their cause.) A useful example of this mechanism is the treble or punitive damage remedy, which disgorges all gains from the person who secured them improperly and imposes a punitive fine.
The second technique is to incapacitate those who would carry out the actions by imprisoning them, killing them, keeping them away from the places they wish to target, or otherwise making it impossible for them to be in a position to undertake the undesirable actions. A useful metaphor for incapacitation is the zoo, where wild animals are kept behind bars. We are not seeking to change the animal's propensities but are simply erecting an impermeable barrier between it and us.
A third technique is to persuade the actor not to undertake the action, by rehabilitating, reeducating, or shaming him, convincing him that the action is wrong. A good example of this mechanism is requiring drunken drivers to attend classes or enter programs designed to influence behavior.
Another traditional technique is proactive prevention. The word "prevention" carries broad implications, including eliminating or reducing the causes of crime, such as poverty. I am using "prevention" in the more specific sense of gathering intelligence about plans or impending crimes. Secret service agencies throughout the world plant spies in terrorist organizations to gather such information. They also bribe or extort actual members of these organizations to serve as double agents. Sometimes they engage in scams or stings calculated to get the criminals to commit the crimes under controlled situations (such as selling drugs to an undercover agent, or hiring a hit man who turns out to be a government agent). Intelligence agencies also gather information by means of high technology, such as satellite photography, electronic intercepts, and the like. A useful metaphor for this mechanism is building a trap for a wolf that is eating a farmer's sheep and baiting it with a dead animal.
There are clearly overlaps among these methods. The death penalty, for example, incapacitates and punishes the specific offender (this is called "specific deterrence") while also, it is hoped, deterring other potential offenders (this is called "general deterrence"). The age-old rule disallowing a murderer to inherit money from his victim disincentivizes killing for those who would do it in order to inherit more quickly. Imprisonment incapacitates (at least during the period of confinement, and at least against those on the other side of the bars) while also deterring both the offender and others. Even the mandatory class or program deters as well as rehabilitates (and may even incapacitate at least during time the person is in the program). Sometimes these mechanisms conflict with one another. Although imprisonment incapacitates during the period of confinement, it may increase the likelihood of recidivism among some inmates by exposing them to a criminal culture, even as it decreases that likelihood among others by demonstrating the horrors of prison. Paying double agents may help prevent some crime, but it may also promote others at the same time.  
The goal of removing all positive incentives (disincentivizing) while also imposing negative consequences (deterring) is to send the following powerful message to any person or group contemplating the commission of a harmful act: you, your group, your family, and everything you hold dear will be considerably worse off if you commit the prohibited act than if you forbear from committing it. That was the intent of the following statement made by President Bush on April 4, 2002: "I call on the Palestinian people, the Palestinian Authority and our friends in the Arab world to join us in delivering a clear message to terrorists. Blowing yourself up does not help the Palestinian cause. To the contrary, suicide bombing missions could well blow up the best and only hope for a Palestinian state." Anything that mutes this message, or undercuts it, diminishes the impact of this age-old technique for reducing the frequency and severity of harmful conduct. For example, if a bank robber's family (or the cause he was robbing for) were allowed to keep the proceeds of the robbery, the deterrent message would be decidedly mixed, even if the robber himself is caught and imprisoned.
The major difference between the disincentive-deterrent approach, on the one hand, and the incapacitation approach on the other is that deterrence relies on a rational calculus-a cost-benefit analysis-by those contemplating the harmful act. Incapacitation relies exclusively on the physical impossibility of certain acts being carried out by people who are confined, exiled, or killed. Again, think of a zoo as incapacitating the wild animals, and think of an animal trainer who threatens the whip and promises the food as more akin to the disincentive-deterrent model. Or think of the hospital for the criminally insane as incapacitating a dangerous person who cannot be deterred by the threat of future punishment, while at the same time trying to reduce his propensity toward violence by treating his aggressive mental condition.
In addition to these techniques of harm reduction, all of which focus directly on the behavior in question, there are also some "softer" approaches that tend to be oriented more toward the longer term and have a more subtle impact on the harmful conduct. This kind of approach includes such efforts as education, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, religious indoctrination, and so on.
In the next chapter I will focus on how the international community not only failed to disincentivize terrorism but went so far as to incentivize it, by rewarding it rather than punishing it. In subsequent chapters, I will discuss the other techniques.

The theory of deterrence-reducing the frequency of an undesirable action by threatening and inflicting pain on those contemplating the action-operates along a continuum. At one end of the continuum is the calculating state. The conventional theory of nuclear deterrence, for example, hypothesizes a state, whose actions are rationally determined by self-interest, acting so as to maximize this self-interest and to minimize negative consequences. The theory depends largely upon actors making calculations and counter-calculations based on each other's contemplated actions and reactions. Near the other end of the continuum are largely futile attempts to deter impulsive actions by irrational actors. These actions may be caused by such factors as passion, impulse, and mental illness. For the most part even the most passionate, impulsive, and mentally ill actors are capable of being deterred from taking some actions, under some circumstances, at some points in time, but the impact of long-delayed punishment is likely to be minimal. At a point even farther along this continuum are suicidal actors, although whether they can ever be deterred is a question that is rarely considered in deterrence theory. We shall return to this complex matter later.


  This essay is excerpted from Prof. Dershowitz's "WHY TERRORISM WORKS: Understanding the threat, responding to the challenge". To purchase this must-read book, please click HERE. Sales help fund JWR.

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Between the extremes of this continuum lies a wide range of actors and actions that are more or less subject to deterrence, based on a wide variety of factors. In the context of the kind of terrorism I am focusing on in this book, there is also a long continuum whose terminal points parallel those on the more conventional continuum. Some terrorists are exquisite calculators and will engage in terrorism only if the benefits (as defined by them) outweigh the costs (also as defined by them). As George Habash, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, told a reporter:

The main point is to select targets where success is 100% assured. To harass, to upset, to work on the nerves through unexpected small damages. . . . This is a thinking man's game. Especially when one is as poor as the Popular Front is. It would be silly for us to even think of waging a regular war; imperialism is too powerful and Israel is too strong. The only way to destroy them is to give a little blow here, a little blow there; to advance step by step, inch by inch, for years, for decades, with determination, doggedness, patience. And we will continue our present strategy. It's a smart one, you see.

To the extent that terrorism is "an entirely rational choice" and "a calculated move in a political game"-as some have concluded-it should be subject to the usual rules of deterrence theory. As I will show later, however, not all terrorism is the same, and some may be subject to somewhat different calculations. The benefits contemplated by some terrorists may vary, both in kind and in degree, from those contemplated by the more conventional criminal or by other terrorists. Moreover, the costs may also be defined and calibrated differently. The 1972 terrorist attacks against the Israeli Olympic team in Munich, for example, might be considered an absolute failure according to conventional standards of success. The demands of the terrorists were rejected, and nearly all of the terrorists were killed, either on the spot or thereafter. In the short term, world opinion quickly turned against the terrorists and those who sponsored them. But, as I will show, in the intermediate and long term, the world's reaction to the Munich massacre served the interests of the terrorists to such an extraordinary degree that it encouraged many future acts of terrorism, both by Palestinians and by other aggrieved groups incentivized by the success of this apparent "failure."



The kind of terrorism we are talking about is different in many respects from other crimes such as murder, rape, and robbery. The difference is that terrorism is generally more calculated, more premeditated, and more goal-oriented than impulsive crimes or crimes of passion. Criminal justice expert Philip Heymann has observed:

As a crime, terrorism is different. Most crimes are the product of greed, anger, jealousy, or the desire for domination, respect, or position in a group, and not of any desire to "improve" the state of the world or of a particular nation. Most crimes do not involve-as part of the plan for accomplishing their objectives-trying to change the occupants of government positions, their actions, or the basic structures and ideology of a nation. Some would argue that violence carried out for political purposes is more altruistic; others would vigorously deny that. But all would agree that political violence is different from ordinary crime, in that it is planned to force changes in government actions, people, structure, or even ideology as a means to whatever ends the perpetrators are seeking with whatever motivations drive them towards those ends. It is in that sense that the U.S. State Department definition says that the violence is usually "perpetrated for political reasons."

Terrorism-at least of the kind described by Heymann-is thus more, not less, subject to disincentive and deterrence techniques than most ordinary crimes. To be sure, some acts of terrorism are revenge-driven and impulsive, but most are carefully calculated to achieve a goal. Sometimes the goal will be specific and immediate, while other times it may be more general, long term, and apocalyptic. But whatever the object, if it becomes clear that it will be dis-served by terrorism-that the cause will be worse off-then it will be only a matter of time until co-supporters of the cause turn against those who resort to terrorism. Without widespread support from within the cause they are seeking to promote, terrorists cannot long thrive. Certainly if there is widespread opposition to terrorism within the cause, it will soon dry up.

When we look at terrorism simply as a technique whose frequency and ferocity we seek to diminish-without necessarily making any moral judgments about particular terrorists or causes-certain conclusions seem beyond dispute. The first is that those who employ terrorism should always be worse off-by their own criteria-for having employed it than if they had not employed it. President Bush's rhetoric, that terrorist crimes "only hurt their cause," must become reality.

Not only must terrorism never be rewarded, the cause of those who employ it must be made-and must be seen to be made-worse off as a result of the terrorism than it would have been without it. The way calculating terrorists define and calibrate the cost and benefits may be different from the way common criminals decide whether to rob, cheat, or bully, but society's response must be based on similar considerations. Those who employ terrorism have their own criteria for evaluating success and failure, and in implementing the immutable principle that those who employ terrorism must be worse off for having resorted to this tactic, we must make them worse off by their own criteria. It will not always be possible to do this. If the terrorists' criteria for success is massive publicity, for example, it will be difficult for a democracy to control the amount of publicity a terrorist act generates. (Totalitarian regimes, such as China and the former Soviet Union, have enforced a blanket policy of disallowing media reports of terrorist acts, precisely to deny the terrorists what they want.) But publicity is generally not an end in itself. It is a means toward furthering the terrorists' cause. (Garnering publicity is generally part of the initial phase in a multiphased process for achieving substantive goals.) The end of achieving these ultimate goals can be controlled, at least to some degree, by those determined to disincentivize or deter terrorism.



The current mantra of those opposed to a military response to terrorism is a plea to try to understand and eliminate the root causes of terrorism. There are several reasons why this is exactly the wrong approach.

The reason terrorism works-and will persist unless there are significant changes in the responses to it-is precisely because its perpetrators believe that by murdering innocent civilians they will succeed in attracting the attention of the world to their perceived grievances and their demand that the world "understand them" and "eliminate their root causes." To submit to this demand is to send the following counterproductive message to those with perceived grievances: if you resort to terrorism, we will try harder to understand your grievances and respond to them than we would have if you employed less violent methods. This is precisely the criterion for success established by the terrorist themselves. Listen to the words of Zehdi Labib Terzi, the Palestine Liberation Organization's chief observer at the United Nations: "The first several hijackings aroused the consciousness of the world and awakened the media and the world opinion much more-and more effectively-than twenty years of pleading at the United Nations." If this is true-and the Palestinians surely believe it is-then it should come as no surprise that hijackings and other forms of terrorism increased dramatically after the Palestinians were rewarded for their initial terrorism by increased world attention to its "root causes"-attention that quickly resulted in their leader being welcomed by the U.N. General Assembly, their organization being granted observer status at the United Nations, and their "government" being recognized by dozens of nations.


We must take precisely the opposite approach to terrorism. We must commit ourselves never to try to understand or eliminate its alleged root causes, but rather to place it beyond the pale of dialogue and negotiation. Our message must be this: even if you have legitimate grievances, if you resort to terrorism as a means toward eliminating them we will simply not listen to you, we will not try to understand you, and we will certainly never change any of our policies toward you. Instead, we will hunt you down and destroy your capacity to engage in terror. Any other approach will encourage the use of terrorism as a means toward achieving ends-whether those ends are legitimate, illegitimate, or anything in between.

Nor is there any single substantive root cause of all, or even most, terrorism. If there were-if poverty, for example, were the root cause of all terrorism-then by fixing that problem we could address the root cause of specific terrorist groups without encouraging others. But the reality is that the "root causes" of terrorism are as varied as human nature. Every single "root cause" associated with terrorism has existed for centuries, and the vast majority of groups with equivalent or more compelling causes-and with far greater poverty and disadvantage-have never resorted to terrorism. There has never even been a direct correlation-to say nothing of causation-between the degrees of injustice experienced by a given group and the willingness of that group to resort to terrorism. The search for "root causes" smacks more of after-the-fact political justification than inductive scientific inquiry. The variables that distinguish aggrieved groups willing to target innocent civilians from equally situated groups unwilling to murder children have far less to do with the legitimacy of their causes or the suffering of their people than with religious, cultural, political, and ethical differences. They also relate to universalism versus parochialism and especially to the value placed on human life. To focus on such factors as poverty, illiteracy, disenfranchisement, and others all too common around our imperfect world is to fail to explain why so many groups with far greater grievances and disabilities have never resorted to terrorism.

Instead, the focus must be on the reality that using an act of terrorism as the occasion for addressing the root causes of that act only encourages other groups to resort to terrorism in order to have their root causes advanced on the international agenda. Put another way, the "root cause" of terrorism that must be eliminated is its success.

It may well be true that desperation contributes to the willingness of individuals to become suicide bombers, but it is the success of this tactic that incentivizes those who recruit and send the suicide bombers on their lethal missions. It is crucial to distinguish between the motivations of the bombers themselves and those of the leaders who decide to employ the technique of terrorism to achieve political and diplomatic goals. It would seem to follow from this reality that an act of terrorism should never be the occasion for addressing the substantive root causes of terrorism. The unequivocal message to all terrorists should be that the only response to acts of terrorism will be to make certain that it never succeeds, to inflict severe punishment on the terrorists, and to interdict their future terrorist acts by incapacitating them and undertaking effective proactive preventive measures. Just as we don't address the root causes of a bad marriage that may have led a man to murder his wife-we hunt down the murderer and punish him-so too we shouldn't consider the root causes that may have motivated the violence of the terrorists. We must hunt them down and punish and incapacitate them, without regard for the possible substantive justice of their cause. That is the only way to send the message that no cause-no end-justifies resort to the unacceptable means of terrorism. If we deviate from this principle, we become complicit in encouraging further terrorism.


This tough approach toward terrorism does not mean that root causes should never be addressed. If the cause is just, it should be considered-in the order of its justness compared with that of other causes, discounted by the penalty that must be imposed for resorting to terrorism. Again an analogy to ordinary crimes: we recognize that poverty and unemployment may contribute to the causes of street violence-that they are among its root causes. But we don't use the occasion of a drug-related murder to address these root causes. Instead, we punish the murderer and redouble our efforts to deter and interdict future murders. At the same time, we continue to try to address poverty and unemployment, because that is the right thing to do, even in the absence of drug-related murders. There are many just causes throughout the world. Those who advocate or resort to terrorism should be moved backward-not forward-on the list of just causes warranting consideration by the international community.

This is especially so if the terrorists are representative of the cause, rather than peripheral to it. An act of terrorism should be the occasion only for punishment and incapacitation, not for negotiation and consideration of root causes. The message must be that nothing will be gained by terrorism, and much will be lost. The cause will be set back, not furthered, by resort to terrorism. Here an analogy to child rearing is useful. Suppose you have two children, each of whom has an equally legitimate grievance. One of them discusses it rationally with you, while the other one hits you over the head with a stick. The latter will surely get your attention, but only a terrible parent would give preference to the grievance of the violent child over that of the peaceful one. To do that would be encouraging further violence by both children. (A concerned parent might pay more attention to the violent child, because his violence may reflect pathology, but the concern would not take the form of giving in to his demands.)

This would seem an obvious and simple first principle in dealing with terrorism (as it is in dealing with other crimes). But, as we shall see in the next chapter, the international community has responded in precisely the opposite manner. Terrorism has generally moved its cause forward rather than backward. And it continues to do so-even after September 11. The more horrible the nature of the terrorism, the greater has been the forward movement. Terrorists-especially terrorist leaders-have been honored rather than punished. Indeed, at least three terrorist leaders have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Some have received honorary degrees from leading universities. Several have been made heads of state or government. Some have been embraced by religious leaders. The message has been clear: if you believe your cause is sufficiently just to resort to terrorism, you must be right. The very decision to resort to terrorism is seen as a confirmation of the justness of the cause. The more horrible the nature of your terrorism, the more just your cause must be. Terrorism leapfrogs its cause over other equally or more just causes whose advocates have not resorted to terrorism.12 It's no wonder, therefore, that some aggrieved groups employ it as a first, rather than a last, resort.

There is also another reason why terrorism advances its cause. Terrorism frightens us into seeking quick solutions. If we give in to the demands of the terrorists, maybe they will stop using terrorism.

The combination of these reasons - some moral, others pragmatic - understandably inclines decent and thoughtful people to opt for an approach that advances the cause of terrorists, by giving in to their demands and advancing consideration of their root causes over the root causes of other groups. The long-term effects of this approach have been to legitimate terrorism as a means of achieving certain ends and to encourage other groups to resort to it. The recent history of terrorism demonstrates that this is how we have responded to it, and how terrorists have responded to this approach. This history of advancing the causes of terrorists, honoring their leaders and giving in to their demands-rather than punishing and repressing them, while at the same time moving their cause backward on the international agenda-has been an important contributing factor in the recent proliferation of international terrorism. This paradox-that by addressing the root causes of one group of terrorists we encourage others to resort to terrorism-should become an important foundation for any policy designed to reduce the frequency and severity of terrorism.



One major difference between ordinary crime and terrorism-and therefore in a society's approach to preventing or reducing the incidences of either-is that religiously motivated terrorists are often willing, sometimes even eager, to give up their lives in the interests of their holy cause. In this situation, the usual deterrent strategy of threatening death to the perpetrator will not work. Indeed, for those who desire a martyr's death, the threat may provide something of an incentive, especially if it is coupled with the promise of reward for the martyr's family or cause.

But a desire for martyrdom need not eliminate all possibilities of deterring the act by threatening severe punishment. It merely requires that the severe punishment be directed against someone, or something, other than the potential martyr himself-such as his cause, or those who harbor him. In theory, the punishment could also be directed against his family, but such a strategy would raise daunting questions of morality and fairness.

There would be various steps, at least in theory, that could be taken to deter many suicide terrorists, if one were prepared to act amorally. Punishment of kin or friends is one obvious tactic that has been successfully used by tyrannical regimes throughout history. Putting aside these extreme tactics, there are entirely moral ways of deterring suicide actors as well. These tactics require that we think beyond the individual suicide terrorist, who probably cannot be effectively deterred by means acceptable to a moral society, and that we understand that the vast majority of individual suicide terrorists do not act on their own. They are part of complex organizational structures. They are sent to engage in their suicide terrorism by the organizations that have recruited them, persuaded them to become martyrs, promised them and their families rewards (in this world or the next), and selected the target, time, and place for the terrorist act. Often, their terrorism has widespread support within the cause, manifested through financial contributions, logistical assistance, and harboring. Few, if any, suicide bombers act on their own as a result of uncontrollable rage. They may volunteer to act because of rage, but the decision to send them is almost always calculated by others. The question therefore is not whether the individual suicide terrorist can be deterred from suicide terrorism. The questions that must be asked are whether the organization can be deterred from sending him on a suicide mission, and whether the supporters can be deterred from rendering needed assistance. The answer to the first question is generally going to be yes-if we can figure out effective threats and carry them out with sufficient public demonstration that terrorism does not benefit, and indeed harms, the organizations that opt for it, and the causes they represent. The answer to the second question can also be yes, if we are prepared to punish those who assist terrorism through material and other support.

When the terrorist organization is believed to be state sponsored or supported-as it often is-the deterrent threat can be directed against the state. This will not always be easy, for several reasons: state sponsorship or support is often a matter of degree, the evidence supporting the belief is often difficult to secure, and other factors-diplomatic, legal, economic-will sometimes militate against strong action.



Any attempt to understand the dynamics of terrorism, and to seek to minimize its future threats, requires us to distinguish between terrorism before September 11, 2001, and terrorism after the cataclysmic events of that date and the international reaction to them. Before September 11, terrorism worked-not in every case and not for every group, but often enough to be seen as a successful tactic for bringing about considerable change. It worked for the Jews in British-controlled Palestine. It has been working, to some degree, for the Irish in British-controlled Northern Ireland. It has been working for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. It has not worked for the Armenians, the Kurds, and some other groups. (In Chapter 2 we will explore the reasons why terrorism works for some groups and not for others.) It is the nature of terrorism that its successes are far more important than its failures, because they are more visible and thus more influential in encouraging further terrorism. And some of the successes of terrorism before September 11 were dramatic and observed throughout the world.

Before September 11, terrorism worked because those who sponsored it too often benefited from the terrorist acts. The sponsors were rewarded because the dramatic nature of the acts got our attention and brought their perceived grievances to the forefront of public consciousness.

This attention caused many decent people-religious leaders, academics, politicians, ordinary citizens-to seek to gain a better understanding of terrorists' grievances and to address the root causes of the terrorism. The very brutality and desperation of the acts led many in the international community to believe that the terrorists represented "a cause that could no longer justifiably be denied." Because their grievances and causes were addressed in response to terrorism, other groups with perceived grievances saw the benefits of terrorism and were more likely to resort to it, rather than to opt for other less visible and hence less successful mechanisms of change. Success begets repetition and imitation. (We will also see, in Chapter 2, that terrorism works because the short-term self-interest of some countries inclines them to make self-serving deals with terrorists that set back what should be a universal and coordinated attack on terrorism. This variation on the "prisoner's dilemma" encourages terrorists to believe they can always extort benefits from some countries, especially, it seems from experience, France, Germany, and Italy.)

This, then, is the first paradox of dealing with terrorism: Terrorism does, of course, have substantive root causes. Every act of violence, criminality, and evil has root causes. By addressing and fixing the root causes of a particular terrorist group, we may sometimes-though not always, as we shall see-reduce or eliminate the specific terrorist threat of that group (and those who share its goals). But in doing so, we encourage other potential terrorists to resort to this unacceptable means of having their root causes addressed and fixed.

There is, however, another paradox of dealing with terrorism, which may point in the opposite direction. The more brutal and repressive we are toward the terrorists, the more we make them martyrs to be emulated by other potential terrorists. Punishing rather than honoring terrorists and moving their claims backward rather than forward may contribute to the breeding of new terrorists willing to sacrifice their lives to the cause. If both of these paradoxes are equally true, then it would seem to follow that neither of the obvious approaches to dealing with terrorism will work, at least not without at the same time encouraging new terrorism and breeding new terrorists.

Actually, this conclusion is false, as we shall see, because paradox I is far more powerful than paradox II. Paradox I is far more powerful because it influences the conduct of leaders of the cause and it affects the ultimate goals of the cause. Paradox II, on the other hand, influences only the followers and may make them more susceptible to the calls of the leaders for martyrdom volunteers. In this kind of "organized terrorism," leaders are far more important than followers, because such terrorism is more authoritarian than democratic. It is a top-down, not a bottom-up, phenomenon. Individual martyrs in search of a leader can be dangerous, but far less so than charismatic leaders capable of persuading followers to risk or forfeit their lives.


36 posted on 09/29/2003 8:13:57 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik
Alan Dershowitz is the man Freepers love to hate. And with many a good reason. However I believe he has turned a corner with his terrorism book and his latest, which supports Israel. Jihadist Muslims and leftists have a new enemy.

I'll bet Dersh has been deeply scored by many of his lefty admirers.
37 posted on 09/29/2003 8:19:59 AM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: Loyal Buckeye
I know nothing about Finklestein, but sure like having someone stick it to the big mouth Dershowitz.

Finkelstein is an Arab-rump-sucking leftist and Dershowitz is a fairly recent neocon. I agree Dershowitz is an obnoxious loudmouth but in this instance he is the righteous one.

38 posted on 09/29/2003 8:25:54 AM PDT by Alouette (Neo-con Zionist Media Operative)
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To: Steve Eisenberg
Dershowitz doesn't see it this way. For example, he is Harvard faculty advisor for the Chabad Orthodox Jewish students group, and Chabad is solidly Republican.

The only thing conservative about Dershowitz is his support for Israel. Just because he displays a hypocritical ethnic solidarity with his fellow Jews does not excuse his disgusting liberal politics in every other sphere. I'm glad to see Finklestein take apart that self-serving egotitical blowhard for plagerizing Joan Peter's discredited book.

39 posted on 09/29/2003 8:26:39 AM PDT by zacyak
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To: Kenny Bunk
So dennisw, this is where it is on the Left. To be a good Leftist, you simply have to be pro-Palestinian. Very intellectual, you know. When Alan Dershowitz, prominent Harvard Square coffe-shop proprietor, finally realized this, it probably unhinged his already reeling mind.

"My God," he's saying. "What am I going to do now, become a Neo Con?!"

I must say from reading this and other posts of yours that you have a gift for getting to the heart of things. You do hit the bullseye. :)

40 posted on 09/29/2003 8:30:28 AM PDT by xJones
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To: zacyak
Dershowitz has no need to explain himself to the likes of you. He supports Israel with his towering intellect. I have no problems with this. Only you do as he punchs holes in the pro-Paleostinian, pro-Muslim case
41 posted on 09/29/2003 8:44:01 AM PDT by dennisw (G_d is at war with Amalek for all generations)
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To: dennisw
He is a civil libertarian, as he calls himself. I'd say he more like a classical liberal while his previous co-travelers keep moving further to the left.

His problem is to be consistent in his logic. I can respect people who I disagree with when they have different political views, but are consistent in their logic. Dershovitz demonstrated a number of times that the Leftists don't apply to Israel the same set of standards they are applying to everybody else. (for that matter Pat Buchanan, Charley Reese, Joe Sobran and in less degree, but still regretfully my local talk-show man Ron Smith: their logic stops at the doorsteps of Israel).

42 posted on 09/29/2003 8:44:11 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: zacyak
Joan Peter's discredited book.

Who "discredited" Joan Peters' book? Finkelstein. How did he "discredit" it? He said so. Did he actually disprove any of her facts? Not one.

43 posted on 09/29/2003 9:05:57 AM PDT by Alouette (Neocon Zionist Media Operative)
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To: dennisw

Did you intentionally spell it like that, or was it just a freudian slip? ;)

Over the years, Dershowitz has gone out of his way in advocating the removal of any manifestation of Christianity in the public arena citing the separation of Church and State, as well as attacking the conservative establishment in numerous other ways under the guise of civil rights. When he discovered his leftist buddies were no longer enamored of Israel, he started playing a different tune. This hypocritical, unprincipled showboat deserves nothing but derision as far as I am concerned.

44 posted on 09/29/2003 9:15:25 AM PDT by zacyak
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To: Alouette
Serious scholars (both in this country and Israel) have described her book as overtly partisan with a tendentious neglect of any historiography that shows a favorable interpretation of the Palestinian position.

To mention only a few of the reviews, Walter Reich in The Atlantic (July 1984), Ronald Sanders in The New Republic (April 23, 1984), Bernard Gwertzman in The New York Times (May 12, 1984), and Daniel Pipes in Commentary (July 1984) were among the more favorable. Alexander Cockburn and Edward Said in The Nation (October 13, 1984 and October 19, 1985), Norman G. Finkelstein in In These Times (September 5–11, 1984), Bill Farrell in the Journal of Palestine Studies (Fall 1984), and Ian and David Gilmour in The London Review of Books (February 7, 1985) have been critical of Peters's book. [2] See, for example, Bernard Lewis's The Jews of Islam (Princeton University Press); reviewed by Norman Stillman in The New York Review (October 25, 1984). [3] She should also consult the evidence in Tom Segev's 1949 — The First Israelis, published in Israel in 1984 and to be published in the US by Macmillan in 1986. It was reviewed by Avishai Margalit in The New York Review (September 26, 1985). [4] See, for example, the articles cited above by Farrell and the Gilmours. [5] Ketavim le-Toldot Hibbat Zion, Vol. I (Odessa, 1919) and Vol. II (Tel Aviv, 1925). These were republished by the Institute for Zionist Research at Tel Aviv University: Vol. I, 1980–1981; Vol II, 1984–1985.

45 posted on 09/29/2003 9:34:52 AM PDT by zacyak
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To: zacyak
Ronald Sanders in The New Republic (April 23, 1984), Bernard Gwertzman in The New York Times (May 12, 1984), and Daniel Pipes in Commentary (July 1984) were among the more favorable. Alexander Cockburn and Edward Said in The Nation (October 13, 1984 and October 19, 1985), Norman G. Finkelstein in In These Times (September 5–11, 1984), Bill Farrell in the Journal of Palestine Studies (Fall 1984), and Ian and David Gilmour in The London Review of Books (February 7, 1985) have been critical of Peters's book.


46 posted on 09/29/2003 9:37:24 AM PDT by Alouette (Neocon Zionist Media Operative)
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To: Alouette

Is that your best attempt at a refutation? BTW, I'm no fan of either the Arabs or their culture; my interest in that dispute extends only as far as the U.S has been forced into being involved with it.

47 posted on 09/29/2003 9:43:46 AM PDT by zacyak
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To: goldstategop
Alan Dersowitz is an clintoon loving liberal. If what you say about Finkelstein is true, I can't stomach either one. Maybe we should give them both guns and let them kill each other.
48 posted on 09/29/2003 9:55:41 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: Steve Eisenberg
Dershowitz has been trending towards the right,

Only on matters concerning Israel. He spent the entire 90's covering up for and apologizing for the clintoons and to this day I'll bet that he STILL supports hitlery.

49 posted on 09/29/2003 9:58:23 AM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: zacyak
Alexander Cockburn and Edward Said in The Nation (October 13, 1984 and October 19, 1985)

Oh, there's a pair of honest, objective reviewers. NOT.

Obviously you do have an ax to grind which you attempt to disguise behind this lame "no foreign aid" excuse. It's only Israel you have a problem with sending foreign aid to, you never complain independently about foreign aid to Egypt or any other third world Islamic tyranny.

50 posted on 09/29/2003 10:15:12 AM PDT by Alouette (Neocon Zionist Media Operative)
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