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Finkelstein on Joan Peters’s legacy (and Dershowitz’s legal troubles)

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Joan Peters, the author of the book From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict over Palestine, died on January 5th, at 78. As David Samel wrote following her death,”The bizarre chapter of Joan Peters’s contribution to the Middle East debate does not end with her death. Her arguments, both those she adopted from others and those she formulated herself, still constitute a huge portion of the go-to hasbara repertoire.” I interviewed Norman Finkelstein and asked him to reflect on her work and legacy, as he played a central role in debunking much of her work as described in his book Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict.

Adam Horowitz: Could you start by saying a bit about how From Time Immemorial was received?

Norman Finkelstein: First of all the important primary factor is the context. Israel in 1982 took its first major public relations hit since the 1967 war. It was a public relations disaster for Israel. One of the reasons being I think, as Robert Fisk pointed out in Pity the Nation he said unlike all other Arab states Lebanon did not control the press and so mainstream reporters were able at that time to roam freely throughout Lebanon. Mainstream reporters, I should say who had credibility, were able to roam  freely through Lebanon during the Israeli attack, and what they were reporting was quiet horrifying. It’s forgotten now but even against the Israeli attacks in recent years on Lebanon, on Gaza, they all pale in comparison to what Israel did in Lebanon in 1982. The usual figures are between sixteen and twenty thousand Lebanese and Palestinians, overwhelmingly civilians, were killed during the Israeli attack. All the Lebanese killed in 2006 plus the three massacres in Gaza that doesn’t even come to half of the figure that happened in Lebanon.

So now you had credible reportage of what Israel was doing and it was a major public relations setback for Israel. You could say the first layer of Jewish support for Israel, the first layer, peeled away and that was the layer of what you would call the Old Left, mainly those were identified with the Soviet Union and therefore identified with Israel because the Soviets supported the creation of the state of Israel in ’48 and also because a lot of the signature institutions of Israel in that era were of a socialist leftist orientation, most famously the kibbutzim.

And so before 1982 the pro-Soviet, pro-Communist Old Left even those who were disaffected from the Soviet Union which still fell within the umbrella of the Old Left, they were still pretty much pro-Israel, there were just really a tiny handful of exceptions. The best known being of course Professor Chomsky. There was also Maxime Robinson in France, but in general the support was totally for Israel, overwhelmingly for Israel.

And so the first layer of support was peeled off, peeled away, but overall Israel took a public relations hit. There were the usual characters, and the usual liars, people like Martin Peretz who went on the Israeli army tour of Lebanon and famously said at the time that everything you have read in the newspapers and heard in the media about what happened in Lebanon just didn’t happen, it didn’t happen.

As Professor Chomsky replied in The Fateful Triangle, his account of the Lebanon war within the broader context, that’s just a very unusual claim. You don’t usually make the claim that the other side has just made everything up whole cloth. You usually said they left out context, or they were selective, but to say that it didn’t happen, as in 16 to 20 thousand people weren’t killed, that’s an unusual claim. And of course it was an absurd claim, it did happen. And so the basic purpose of From Time Immemorial was to re-establish Israel’s image in the West.

And when did it come out in relation to the war?

It came out in 1984.

Okay, two years later.

Right, where you are still feeling the repercussions of the Lebanon war. And the Lebanon war was not so quickly forgotten, as I’m sure you know. First of all it lasted three and a half months, and second of all it climaxed in Sabra and Shatilla. So it left its imprint on the public consciousness and they needed something to rally the stalwarts behind the cause again because people were shook up by Lebanon especially those who had been reared on the Exodus version of Israeli history. It all came as a kind of shock.

As I said it was the first public relations hit Israel has taken since 1967 because after ‘67, the next major interaction was, it came to be called, the Yom Kippur War where Israelis were seen as being on the defensive because they were “attacked.”

So straight through till ’82 Israel’s image was like teflon in the West. And so it was big setback and they needed something to rally the stalwarts around the cause. From Time Immemorial fit the bill because its essential message was the Palestinians have no legitimate claim whatsoever because the heart of their claim is false, they don’t even exist.

This was an old theme. For example, right now I am reading through the foreign relations of the U.S. volumes on the Carter years 1977 through ’80. They are voluminous they run to 3,000 pages. But as you know during that period that’s when the transition occurred between the Labor party which was ejected from office in 1977 and the Likud for the first time takes power. The main advisor to Menachem Begin who won the election in ’77 was a guy named Shmuel Katz, he used to come on the periodic diplomatic trips to the White House because they were trying to figure out how to end the conflict in the Carter years. He would come along as basically the court historian, or the court propagandist, and if you read the transcripts, and I can actually send you the quotes, he says to Carter you have to understand there are no Palestinians. Palestine was empty and Jews came and made the desert a home then all these Arabs came and they surreptitiously entered Palestine, exploited the economic opportunities that the Jews created and then pretended to be indigenous to the land.

Then he goes on to say exactly as Joan Peters says, the reason only 150,000 Palestinians remained in Israel after the 1948 war was because they were the true peasants, they were truly indigenous to Palestine and the rest were just recent immigrants. That’s why they fled without any incentive, let alone any military force, by the Israelis.

So the thesis itself was old, what made Joan Peters novel was two things. Number one that she pretended to prove her thesis with serious scholarship. She used to like to boast, “my book has 1837 footnotes,” so it wasn’t sort of a propaganda pamphlet or didn’t appear to be. It had a scholarly apparatus. The second thing which was of equal moment was it wasn’t churned out by a partisan political operation, it was Harper & Row which was a very big publishing house back then and it had all of these scholarly endorsements and an impressive array of people had lent their names to it. And at least among them, leaving apart the big names – the Saul Bellows, the Elie Wiesels and so forth – you had this guy Philip Hauser from the University of Chicago who headed the populations studies program. There was a letter from him incorporated as an appendix to the book saying her demographics and findings were accurate.

So, you had the combination of a high-power publishing house, high-power intellectuals and just a vast scholarly apparatus. So suddenly, as they say, this age old Zionist legend suddenly had legs and it took off. It was a huge best seller back then and it received all of these glowing reviews.

In your book you say the glowing reviews were primarily in the United States. That once it reached Europe, and even in Israel, it was seen for what it was.

We have to be a little bit careful about that because here the devil really is in the details, actually it’s usually in the details, the British reviews came out much later than the American reviews because the British edition didn’t come out until, maybe my memory could be wrong, around six months later. By that time I had my findings and Professor Chomsky had his connections and so we sent the findings to the key people who were going to review it in the UK. For example Ian and David Gilmour who reviewed it in the London Review of Books. If you read their review it basically took everything I said because they were primed.

They were actually quite hilarious reviews. I quote one, I think in Image and Reality, from the British publication Time Out which described it as the size and weight of a dried cowpat. They treated it with contempt, but partly because some of them were primed. There were others of course who knew the truth, but they didn’t know the truth, I don’t think, in the detail. What I did was I demonstrated not just that as a broad tableau the book is false, I demonstrated that the evidence was fake, which is a different thing. The numbers were faked, the reports she used, the annual British reports to the League of Nations when they had the mandate over Palestine, and these reports they were all faked and they were doctored by Peters. One example that stood out was she took one paragraph from the Hope Simpson report and she mangled it 19 times. It was a real feat what she had done.

And is that the report that Alan Dershowitz then just took whole cloth?

No what Dershowitz did is different. As I said this was an old Zionist thesis and she reproduced all the standard Zionist representations of accounts of Americans and British who visited the holy land in the 19th century. They are travel accounts and as you can imagine you are coming from London and you are going to Palestine, Palestine looks empty. That’s not surprising. You’ve been to the occupied territories and even now if you are traveling on roads to the West Bank, most of it looks empty and this is now, the population in the West bank is about two million. Back then the population in the whole of Palestine — meaning the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and Jordan, the whole of Palestine — the population was about 300,000. So of course it’s going to look empty. And so all of these accounts were then used by the Zionist movement and then by Peters who reproduced the accounts. But she wasn’t the first. As I said ironically she plagiarized another person, a guy named Ernst Frankenstein, she plagiarized him because it was just standard Zionist propaganda.

What Dershowitz then did was to proceed and copy her stuff. Frank Menetrez is a very brilliant scholar, a PhD and a LLD from UCLA, graduated first this class, editor of the law review and currently up for a federal judgeship. His definitive expose of the Dershowitz plagiarism is an Appendix to my book Beyond Chutzpah in the paperback version. I asked him if I could reproduce it. It’s about forty pages it’s very detailed and he shows that what he did was he copied Peters, who copied other Zionist tracts, it was just standard.

In Image and Reality you end your chapter on From Time Immemorial saying that, despite it all, the book still clings to life. You quote Netanyahu basically repeating her argument as a scholarly fact. Reflecting now on the book, and her life, all these years later, do you see this book living on?

It’s a totally different picture now because there is just a lot more now known about the conflict. American Jews tend to be very educated, I think 98% of American Jews have a college degree. So you go to college you take these courses and it’s a totally different picture. On the other hand, it’s not a totally different picture in Israel. I think quite the contrary. I think Israel has now gone more in the direction of Joan Peters than back in the 1980s. You know, people like Netanyahu and everything he represents.

And remember there is a large Russian immigrant population who haven’t a clue what happened before they came. So they hear people like Avigdor Lieberman saying the land was empty, and now they just want to kill us, and they believe all that stuff. But the American Jews don’t believe that stuff. They have gone to school, they read in college. They’ll read Benny Morris, or they’ll read Avi Shlaim’s standard histories, and they will also read that the Joan Peters thing was a hoax. So even though it carries in the lunatic fringes of American Jewish life, the Joan Peters stuff carries no weight.

I would say a good 80% of American Jews recognize, at this point, Palestinians have legitimate grievance. Now how legitimate, and that’s the trump Israel writes, now there is an argument but they recognize there is a legitimate grievance there. The whole point of From Time Immemorial was to prove that Palestinians had no legitimate grievance because their actual existence was a myth. So that’s…

That lives on more now in Israel.

I think it’s actually more pervasive now because of these few immigrants populations which know nothing of the past history except the propaganda.

There was this quote I found when Peters visited the settler community in Hebron in 2010 and one of the people she met was Baruch Marzel who is a leader of some the worst right-wing settlers there. He told her he was a huge fan and he studied her book cover to cover.

Yeah, I am sure the settlers believe it all. They do because they think they are like the American west, they think they are conquering the wilderness. That’s how they can see themselves and no amount of facts are going to deflate them because, it’s what you might call, to use a phrase of Professor Chomsky’s, it’s a necessary illusion.

If you actually accepted the fact that there were people living there then you would have to acknowledge what you are doing is wrong. So it’s a necessary illusion to believe the place was empty before you came with your settlers. As I said like the American west and the setters completely believe it.


Following our interview I asked Finkelstein if he cared to comment on the lawsuit accusing Alan Dershowitz of sexually abusing a minor. He responded by email:

I prefer not to comment directly on the serious allegations being leveled against Alan Dershowitz.

It appears that everyone will have their day in court, which is as it should be.

However, I would want to express an opinion on the letter signed by 38 Harvard Law School professors (including “radical” Critical Legal Studies professor Roberto Unger and liberal tribune Laurence Tribe) in defense of Dershowitz.

They describe him as “courageous” and “outspoken” in “defending the despised, and attacking the views of important people.”

The journalist Jack Newfield memorably described former New York City Mayor Edward Koch as a “toady to the powerful and a bully to the powerless.”

If you multiply this description a thousand fold, you might begin to approach the real-life Alan Dershowitz.

It is break-taking to read the Harvard statement in the context of a sexual slavery case pitting vulnerable minors against billionaires, celebrities and royalty.

Of particular relevance to your website, no single person in the U.S. was more responsible than Dershowitz for whitewashing Israel’s brutal torture of Palestinian detainees.  When Israel’s torture first came under public scrutiny, Dershowitz wrote (with attorney Monroe Freedman) in the New York Times, “Allegations of systematic torture and allegations of systematic violations of human rights by Israel must be viewed with more than a little skepticism.”

Dershowitz repeated his egregious apologetics during the first intifada (beginning 1987) when, according to B’Tselem, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Israel was “systematically” torturing Palestinian detainees, deploying methods similar to those recently recounted in the Senate Report on Torture, but on a vastly greater scale.  The Torture Report documents 39-44 cases of CIA use of torture, whereas HRW estimated that during the first intifada alone, Israel tortured and ill-treated “tens of thousands” of Palestinian detainees.

Indeed, Dershowitz misrepresented Israeli torture practices in testimony sworn to under oath in a U.S. extradition hearing of a Palestinian resident, Mahmoud el-Abed Ahmad, fearing torture in Israel.   For example, he said that Israel’s “toughest methodology for eliciting statements” from Palestinian detainees “is to frighten the person being interrogated into believing that the situation is actually going to be worse than it would become.”  Israel was at most guilty, according to Dershowitz, of “occasional pushing and shoving…physical touching.”   (I go through the sordid record in detail in my book Beyond Chutzpah.)

Is this what the Harvard Law School professors had in mind when they praised Dershowitz’s “courageous” and “outspoken” defense of “the despised”?

Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Executive Editor of

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130 Responses

  1. Scott on January 28, 2015, 9:55 am

    Thanks for doing this Adam. I’m a big admirer of Norman F. I wonder if he has thoughts on something broadly hinted at in David Samel’s piece, that she did not write, could not have written, that book–for which the interview she gave, linked to in Samel’s piece, is rather persuasive evidence.

  2. just on January 28, 2015, 10:00 am

    Many thanks for this important and prescient interview, Adam and Norman. Just now as Israel is bombing/attacking Lebanon and Syria~ again.

    The good professor and his work is vindicated every day. Thank you for remembering Lebanon 1982, as well as all of the other horrors visited upon the indigenous people of the region.

  3. ASBizar on January 28, 2015, 10:46 am

    Thanks Adam. Despite the smearing campaign of some Palestinian supporters against Norman, he is one of the most intelligent and hard-working Palestinian supporters. I really salute his life-long efforts for Palestine.

  4. CloakAndDagger on January 28, 2015, 10:58 am

    As the paris event fades from the front pages, the dershbag is returning, as the story that won’t go away:

    From Rania Khalek (a good list of examples):
    There are two groups of people Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has spent his career resolutely defending. The first is Israeli war criminals. And the second is accused and convicted rapists.

    From the Harvard Crimson:
    In the latest development in an ongoing legal dispute, a woman who previously accused
    Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan M. Dershowitz of inappropriately having sexual relations with her when she was a minor has signed a sworn affidavit reaffirming her earlier allegations.

    On ABC 10 in Florida:

    From ABC news:
    Lawyers for Billionaire Sex Offender Linked to Prince Andrew Scandal Ask Judge to Keep Documents Sealed

    And disgustingly (but predictably):
    Alan Dershowitz gets support of Harvard professors

    And now for facts:
    Just released flight records show Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has been flying with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein on the financier’s private jet dubbed the ‘Lolita Express’ since as early as 1997, despite public statements that they were only acquaintances.

    The high-profile lawyer has been distancing himself from Epstein ever since a young woman named Virginia Roberts filed a lawsuit claiming she was recruited to work as a ‘sex slave’ for Epstein when she was just 15, naming both Dershowitz and Prince Andrew as two of her molesters.
    The flight records, obtained by Gawker, also show former President Bill Clinton rode on Epstein’s jet at least 11 times, and often with two of Epstein’s female associates believed to have provided the dozens of underage girls to their boss and his well-connected friends.
    On Thursday, Dershowitz appeared on the Today show to emphatically deny claims he had sex with then-underage Roberts, saying she was ‘making the whole thing up’.

    ‘I was never in the presence of a single underage woman,’ he said. ‘I never saw [Epstein] doing anything improper. I was not a witness. I was not a participant. And I will prove it.’
    On Wednesday, Roberts lodged fresh documents in Florida detailing the alleged abuse she suffered at the Duke of York’s hands, including how she had an orgy with him and eight other young girls.

    • bilal a on January 28, 2015, 11:57 am

      who financed the epstein sex slave / blackmail enterprise? how does a stock broker become a billionaire in five plus years? Any mainstream investigative journalism on this?

      Raised in a tough Brooklyn neighbourhood, Epstein was working as a maths teacher at a Manhattan private school when, the legend goes, the father of one of his students put him in touch with a partner at the global investment bank Bear Stearns.

      That was 1976. Within six years Epstein had risen through the ranks, working as a trader, before striking out on his own and convincing some of America’s wealthiest plutocrats to let him manage their portfolios.

      Profiting from the 1980s boom, Epstein quickly amassed his own fortune. Often referred to as a billionaire, Epstein’s true net worth remains unknown – in part because much of his wealth is concealed, according to Forbes, in a financial entity in the US Virgin Islands, a tax shelter where he owns his own private island.

      • CloakAndDagger on January 28, 2015, 1:04 pm

        @ bilal a

        Excellent point.

      • Taxi on January 28, 2015, 2:56 pm

        “who financed the epstein sex slave / blackmail enterprise?”

        That’s an easy one. Powerful men, underage girls, hidden cameras, orgies – Kachching!

      • lysias on January 28, 2015, 3:18 pm

        Now that the former cabinet minister in Thatcher’s government Leon Brittan has died, he is being named in the British press in connection with the accusations that he was a pedophile. Anger as Brittan is branded a multiple child rapist only days after his death: Senior peer says claims are ‘wholly unjustified’ and ‘based on no evidence’ .

      • Keith on January 28, 2015, 6:28 pm

        BILAL A – “who financed the epstein sex slave / blackmail enterprise? how does a stock broker become a billionaire in five plus years?”

        Well now, that is a critical question,isn’t it? I have always suspected, but cannot prove, that many of these hyper successful “entrepeneurs” have been helped by, and have become agents of, the intelligence services and the deep state. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg both went to Harvard, hardly a computer software powerhouse, yet the prime CIA recruiting depot, and wound up software billionaires. With a little help from their friends? With strings attached? Ah, privatization! Google has intense linkages with both the State Department and the Council on Foreign Relations. Who is on top of the organizational chart is anybody’s guess. Epstein? If there isn’t a Mossad and/or CIA linkage, I would be surprised. Our system is incredibly corrupt, markets routinely manipulated. Why anyone believes in the myth of individuals without powerful connections zooming to the top on “merit” is beyond me.

      • Keith on January 28, 2015, 6:38 pm

        As an aside, historians classify periods of human history based upon the prevailing historical determinant- the bronze age, the iron age, etc. Honest future historians will undoubtedly refer to our period as the bullshit age.

      • JWalters on January 28, 2015, 8:43 pm

        “how does a stock broker become a billionaire in five plus years?”

        One way is to be set up by ultra-wealthy interests for some ulterior service, such as funneling large amounts of illicit money. A true story of this sort is told well in Scorsese’s film “Casino”. It made me wonder also about Sheldon Adelson.

      • DaveS on January 28, 2015, 8:56 pm

        Interesting question, bilal. A decade ago, before the sex scandal broke, someone tried to answer it – Vicky Ward in Vanity Fair She has recently been on TV saying a) she doesn’t know why so many people consider Epstein such a genius, as he seemed quite average to her; b) the creep hit on her, having an assistant call to tell her she is attractive, when she was being very professional and was pregnant with twins; and c) most importantly, she learned of his sexual tastes when a mother and two teenage daughters tearfully told their story to her. However, her editor told her not to put it in the article.

        All that being said, I think the mysterious question of his rise to fame and fortune and his sexual appetites are two unrelated issues. I think he was mostly bankrolled by some wealthy people – Leslie Wexner and others? – and that once he had unlimited funds, he indulged his pre-existing taste for teenagers.

  5. David Doppler on January 28, 2015, 11:10 am

    Thank you, Adam & Norman. The insights about what the Israelis and especially the Settlers believe are very helpful, sparking curiosity about how that can be changed over time.

    Which in turn reminds me of S.C. Gwynne’s book, Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, and especially the end of Chapter 13, where the differing impacts of the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 on public opinion are described:

    “As the [horrific] details became known, a wave of revulsion swept through he corridors of power and influence in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. The . . . Massacre would have an enormous and lasting effect on the Indian policy that was made in those places. It is interesting to note, though, that such gut-churning shame and disgust was largely confined to the east. . . . [I[t was clear from the reaction on the raw frontier that it was long past the time when it had become morally justifiable to kill Indian women and children.”

    The immediacy of the perceived threat from hostile indigenous neighbors changes the somatic state of the settler community, to one of kill or be killed.

    There are many differences between then and now, here and there, yet there are parallels to be drawn by both sides. I would just note three. First, by the time this Massacre stimulated policy-changing revulsion in Washington, the borders of the continental US were set and the Comanches were the last, if fiercest, remnant of indigenous defiance, completely encircled. If Israel thinks history can repeat itself in the MIddle East, with the entire Arab/Islamic people and land playing the role of the Native Americans in North America, they’re at about the point of Plymouth Rock, and their enemies are not just emerging from the stone age, nor likely to be decimated by new diseases.

    Second, colonialism was near its peak then, and is now dead.

    Third, Israel is relying on the US and its military might to defeat its much larger “enemy,” but the US has already been misled into four unsuccessful land wars on the Asian continent, and isn’t going to be stirred emotionally into what it would take to do to Asia what it did to its own North America, nor is there a substitute population to “take over” afterwards, and the evils of occupation are part of why colonialism is dead.

    So the problem the world has is a settler community in Israel and Palestine possessed by an irrational but palpable fear which their leaders are exploiting to drive continuously toward larger and larger crises. This would be a small problem, except for the outsized influence that settler community has in the US and especially certain policy-making functions in Washington and media organs in New York and Los Angeles.

    What would cure that settler mentality? Mandela would advise, we must not only release the Palestinians from their oppression, but the Israelis from their fear.

    It would be good if we had a leader in Obama willing to speak plainly and act decisively, because an intervention is clearly required, right now in this Israeli election. Yet he does not appear to have it in him to execute on his ideas. The bully Netanyahu clearly needs a bold punch in the nose, because allowing him to continue to escalate is otherwise going to end in bunker mode.

  6. DaveS on January 28, 2015, 12:32 pm

    Finkelstein does a great job reminding us of how destructive Israel’s 1982 invasion of Israel was, dwarfing the more recent horrifying attacks on Gaza and Lebanon. The FTI project may well have begun in response to the negative reaction to that war, but as I recall, Israel was getting plenty of defense already. The notion that Israel’s invasion was only in response to relentless rocket attacks by Palestinians from Lebanon already was firmly cemented in place weeks after the invasion had begun, with massive amnesia about the total absence of any such attacks for 11 months previously. In fact, many people today still remember these fictitious attacks – even Jimmy Carter in his 2006 book. We also hear about the thousands of rocket attacks from Lebanon that followed Israel’s 2000 withdrawal – another false claim. Still, there may have been significant concern over PR that prompted Peters or whoever to embark on this project.

    One difference between 1982 and the last decade is that I recall little or no claim back then that the terrorists were hiding behind civilians. Perhaps Israel did not believe that it had to resort to such excuse, which has recently proven to be extremely effective in my view.

    I disagree with Finkelstein’s estimation that 80% of American Jews recognize that Palestinians have a legitimate grievance. While I have no poll numbers to cite, my personal experience leads me to believe the number is far lower, though probably on the increase for reasons he suggests.

    • tokyobk on January 28, 2015, 7:27 pm

      As he phrased it I think he is right.

      I say that based on conversing with hundreds of Jews from far right to far left on the issue, but as for polls, last November one showed that close to 78% of American Jews support a 2 state solution which in essence admits the primary Palestinian grievance of being stateless.

      The number of Jewish Americans who will say Palestinians have -no- legitimate grievance, or use disdainful terms implying self-invention such as “fakestinian” or “Paliwood” is imo 20% or less.

      Within that majority you certainly will find a lot of parsing, minimising of the “its complicated or “rough neighbourhood” variety but that is different than outright denial of legitimate grievances.

      Again, I think Norman knew exactly what he was saying in his typical precision.

      • DaveS on January 28, 2015, 9:03 pm

        I did not think of it in terms of occupation, tokyobk. I thought of it in terms of recognizing that Palestinians were disadvantaged by the Zionist enterprise of creating a Jewish State where they lived. That seems to be such a no-brainer, but many (Jewish) people who will clearly see that Native Americans and Maoris and Aborigines and South Africans etc. were harmed by European invaders controlling their lives (and deaths) just can’t see it for Palestinians. As for heavy majority favoring a two state solution, most still blame the Palestinians for their refusal to accept Israeli offers. If you are right about what NF was thinking, good for you, but I would strongly disagree with the way he put it.

      • tokyobk on January 28, 2015, 10:46 pm

        Right, deep empathy; understanding the “we didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us” (from Malcolm X on black American history) aspect of the founding of the Jewish State. Definitely not near 80%.

        I think, NF was limiting it to what he said, “legitimate grievances” in the current situation.

    • jimby on January 29, 2015, 12:25 pm

      @ David Samel: I was following the invasion in 1982. In those days the Christian Science Monitor had a substantial foreign desk and Robert Fisk was there as well and writing about what was really going on. It was an eye opener or rather more of a solidifying of my opinions of Israel. The bombing of downtown Beirut was bestial. The US had a battleship, maybe it was the Missouri lobbing shells into villages from the ocean. The US and France had guaranteed the safety of the Shatila and Sabra camps and then left after the marine barracks where blown up, then that PIG Sharon, may he rot in hell, turned the camps over to the phalangistas. Robert Fisk was on the spot, he lived nearby and documented Israels attempt to bulldoze over the massacre. It was a full blown exposure of Israel’s true nature and nothing has changed except the foulness is more exposed today. I admit I was more aware than the average bear in those days being familiar with some nasty truths like Deir Yassin and the King David Hotel perpetrated by Menachem Begin.

      • Walid on January 29, 2015, 2:33 pm

        It was the New Jersey, jimby, not the Missouri.

      • bintbiba on January 29, 2015, 3:54 pm

        jimby , I was there too in ’82. The new Jersey gave us a taste of what it feels like to have those massive bombs propelled from under the water …the buildings shook like a force 12 earthquake was happening.

  7. Brewer on January 28, 2015, 2:31 pm

    How I love this man Finklestein whose name (to a South Seas islander) sounds like the beginning of a Jewish joke. A modern day St George striding across a devastated, perverted intellectual landscape armed only with his massive sword edged with truth and reason leaving the severed limbs of the dragon in his wake and unmindful of his own wounds.
    I hope he knows how influential he has been, that justice has a legion of supporters half a World away thanks to his courage.

    Finklestein’s fierce devotion to staying “on point”, evidenced in the addendum is an example for us all.

  8. eGuard on January 28, 2015, 3:14 pm

    Another good great decomposition of Dershowitz. Note that Jane Doe #3 also said: “I won’t be bullied”.

    From the foreword of Fateful Triangle, by Edward Said: “It is Chomsky’s contention that the liberal intelligentsia (…, Alan Dershowitz, …) and even segments of the organized Left are more culpable, more given to lying, than conservatives.

    (from the book: Dershowitz had a “personal conviction”, as Israeli secret police had told him, that poet El-Asmar was a “terrorist ‘commander'” and so was rightfully in jail for 15 months).

  9. Bornajoo on January 28, 2015, 3:29 pm

    Thank you Adam and Norman Finkelstein.

    Norman Finkelstein is a hero. Not only is he an amazing scholar but he’s a truth teller and a man of real conviction. He has never wavered from his path, even to the detriment of his own career. His contributions to justice for the Palestinians are immense. I speak for many I know when I say he is a truly appreciated person who has inspired so many of us.

    My brother volunteered for the Israeli army in 1981 and found himself in lebanon in 1982. He said the killing was just like “target practice”, anything that moved, anyone and everyone. One big huge gigantic war crime which culminated with the slaughter at Sabra and Shatila. And nobody was ever prosecuted

    I very much hope that Dershbag spends many, many days in court, in the dock, where he belongs

    • bintbiba on January 28, 2015, 5:53 pm

      Norman Finkestein is truly a hero to all the Palestinians , whether some disagree with him or not. He voices an opinion and the sky falls?!!

      Bornajoo , you said in a few words what it would take me a hundred more to express, And to say how much I admire, respect and feel gratitude for all his sacrifices, i may seem to be fawning ….suffice it to say …. which could even smack of insincerity !!

  10. tree on January 28, 2015, 3:41 pm

    Great report, Alex. Giving way to my inner Roha, let me point out three proof-reading nit-picks: 1) Its Maxime RoDinson, not RoBinson, 2) “break-taking” should be “breath-taking” , and
    3) you left out the word “did” in “No what Dershowitz is different”.

    Also, I agree with David Samel that the 80% number sounds too high. The myth is too comforting and appeals to feelings of moral and intellectual superiority, and thus is still embraced by many despite the illegitimacy of it.

    • MRW on January 28, 2015, 5:07 pm

      my inner RoHa . . . . ;-)

      • bintbiba on January 28, 2015, 5:57 pm

        : ))

    • DaveS on January 28, 2015, 8:44 pm

      Nitpicking is a dangerous business, tree. What goes around comes around. Whom did you praise for the article? Alex? ;-)

      • tree on January 28, 2015, 11:32 pm

        Oops. So sorry, ADAM. Oh well, live by the nit, die by the nit. (But your “nitpick” was probably more important than mine, David. Thanks.)

    • RoHa on January 29, 2015, 11:21 pm

      “Giving way to my inner Roha”

      That’s RoHa. And you always should.

  11. MRW on January 28, 2015, 5:09 pm

    Good interview, Adam.

  12. just on January 28, 2015, 9:06 pm

    Is Dershowitz advising the PM along with Shimron?

    “Netanyahu asked to respond to years-old allegations of improper travel funding

    State Comptroller Joseph Shapira submits his report on alleged funding irregularities in trips the prime minister took in 2006, a case popularly known as the ‘Bibi-tours’ affair.

    Netanyahu responded to the petition yesterday through his lawyer David Shimron. Netanyahu did not attach a statement to his response, nor did he address any of the allegations that were the subject of the investigation.

    Rosenthal criticized Netanyahu’s decision not to back his statements with an affidavit or to address the allegations against him.

    “It would behoove the prime minister to stop hiding behind his attorney and give the High Court justices a full affidavit on who funded those trips. How can it be that the same trips were funded twice by different organizations; why didn’t he seek the approval of the Knesset Ethics Committee for some of the trips; and how can it be that an elected official gets businessmen with interests to fund his trips,” Rosenthal said.”

  13. jayn0t on January 28, 2015, 10:29 pm

    Finkelstein makes one big mistake. “It is breath-taking to read the Harvard statement in the context of a sexual slavery case pitting vulnerable minors against billionaires, celebrities and royalty”. He’s allowing his understandable dislike of Dershowitz to get the better of him. There is no connection between Dershowitz’s support for torture and ethnic cleansing, and the allegations against him of sex with a minor. Dershowitz uses p.c. language to defend Israel. Finkelstein is using p.c. language (‘vulnerable’, ‘billionaires’) to attack Dershowitz in an unrelated context. It doesn’t matter how vulnerable his accuser is. It doesn’t matter how rich he is. The allegations are either true, or false. The default presumption is they are false.

    • annie on January 28, 2015, 11:24 pm

      There is no connection between Dershowitz’s support for torture and ethnic cleansing, and the allegations against him of sex with a minor.

      that might have been true had it not been for the harvard statement in the context of sexual slavery. the statement , according to finkelstein describe him as “courageous” and “outspoken” in “defending the despised, and attacking the views of important people.”.

      once one uses dershowitz’s own history as a rational to support him in his defense against sexual allegations, then it becomes the responsibility of those defenders to produce history that pertains to that defense. the claim in the harvard statement is that dershowitz defends the “despised,” and that he attacks the views of “important people”.

      therefore finkelstein’s argument is to show, using dershowitz’s own history, how he does the opposite, that he defends those in power and bullies the powerless. and the example he used was Dershowitz’s whitewashing Israel’s brutal torture of Palestinian detainees.

      it becomes fair game because of the harvard statement.

      furthermore, norm could likely have given many examples if challenged for he made the claim If you multiply this description [Newfield’s] a thousand fold, you might begin to approach the real-life Alan Dershowitz. but none of those necessarily need be connected to sex with a minor if what one is contradicting is the claim dersh defends the despised and attacks the powerful people.

      i thought it was an excellent example myself.

      • jayn0t on January 29, 2015, 12:43 am

        Brilliant, Annie. You should be a lawyer – and I mean that as a compliment, because legal reasoning is one of the few examples of the use of logic in the way this country is run.

      • annie on January 29, 2015, 1:35 am

        thanks jay. i’ve heard that before (about becoming a lawyer), especially in my youth.

      • DaBakr on January 29, 2015, 11:08 pm

        don’t know about a lawyer but you could definitely debate the devil and win .

      • Mooser on January 30, 2015, 4:44 pm

        “thanks jay. i’ve heard that before (about becoming a lawyer), especially in my youth.”

        Nelle Harper Lee started out to be a lawyer, like her sister, Alice, but ended up writing “To Kill a Mockingbird”. So there’s that.

      • Mooser on February 3, 2015, 11:29 am

        Actually as I remember it, “To Set a Watchman” was the provisional title of the novel which became “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

  14. RobertB on January 28, 2015, 11:13 pm

    Shimon Peres, apologize for Israel’s enablement of the Rwandan and Serbian genocides

    By Yair Auron | Jan. 26, 2015 |

    “Yet you and Rabin sinned in all your actions concerning the acts of genocide that were perpetrated in Rwanda and Serbia.

    You approved the transfer of arms from the State of Israel – and not only through arms dealers – to Rwanda, and the Serbia of Slobodan Miloševic and the Serbian forces while the genocide was in progress.

    The whole world knew about it in real time, and both of you also definitely knew.

    Attorney Itai Mack and I have been working to uncover the facts about the arms deals that were carried out while the genocide was in progress, and when the United Nations had imposed an embargo on such sales.

    It is clear that what the State of Israel did is nothing less than participation in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Rabin and you led this policy. In the early 1990s, you refused to condemn the crimes of Miloševic, who led the first genocide in Europe after the Holocaust. The government you led did not utter even the weakest of condemnations against the Serbs.

    The massacre in the Sarajevo market in February 1994 – in which 69 people were killed and hundreds injured while they were waiting in line, taking advantage of the hours during which the curfew was lifted – shocked the world.

  15. ToivoS on January 29, 2015, 12:58 am

    I am happy to see so many positive comments here about Finklestein. He deserves our respect. It has been unfortunate to see him get in this dispute with the BDS movement. I think it is incorrect to say that he has been smeared. It is a real political dispute. Norman has basically been asking the BDS organization to purge those members that have failed to recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli state. BDS is being led by Palestinians and many of them are not yet ready to accept Israel, especially since Israel is not ready to accept Palestine.

    Whatever I might think about one or two states in Palestine is not important, that will have to be resolved between the Palestinians and Israelis. In the meantime, any Palestinian resistance movement will have to consist of those two factions. It is not up to me nor Norman to insist on the Palestinians political position. The BDS movement has not taken a stance on this issue and is willing to remain neutral.

    • annie on January 29, 2015, 1:21 am

      has basically been asking

      what does “basically” mean in this context? that fundamentally norm seeks the movement to be purged of certain people?

      The BDS movement has not taken a stance on this issue and is willing to remain neutral.

      what about people who are neutral? are you willing to deny their existence?

      • jon s on January 29, 2015, 1:54 am

        How can you be neutral on something as fundamental as your ultimate goal?

        I generally don’t get on the train if I don’t know the destination.

      • annie on January 29, 2015, 2:44 am

        well, if ones ultimate goal is equality and justice then maybe some people are willing to be flexible about whether that takes place in one state or two.

        there are millions of people who support bds but that doesn’t mean they all agree on everything. i’ve found that people, in making decisions, are frequently impacted by not just their personal preferences, but by what they believe to be true or by what they think are attainable goals. and that is likely to be a wide range of opinions for millions of people.

        now, about that train. some people don’t have the luxury of choosing whether or not to get on that train. if you have a cliff on one side that kept eroding one foot every hour and on the other side was train tracks and a wall on the other side, and every 24 hours a train came by and you didn’t know where that train was going….do you think you might eventually get on the train?

        in the case of palestinians i think an argument could be made that either option, one state or two would be preferable to the current situation. and for me, well… i don’t sweat bullets over the idea of one state. but i don’t think it really matters at this juncture because either way, one state or two, pressuring israel with boycott divestment and sanctions is the best way to approach the issue of equal rights.

      • seafoid on January 29, 2015, 3:19 am

        “I generally don’t get on the train if I don’t know the destination”-

        Your train is headed for sociocide in Gaza, Jon. I wouldn’t travel with you
        wrong way on a one way track

        there are over 6.5 million LOST JEWS in Israel.

      • ToivoS on January 29, 2015, 4:21 am

        annie at January 29, 2015, 1:21 am

        When I said “basically” calling for a purge of those Palestinians that do not recognize Israel that is essentially what Norm is requesting. The BDS movement is being led by Palestinians that support justice. They include those who support two states and those that do not. By definition, those who support two states accept the state of Israel. There are others that do not. The BDS movement has agreed to work for justice for the Palestinians and they have clearly not taken stand on the one or two state solution. This is a political coalition consisting of people with different goals.

        Norm is insisting that the BDS movement can not remain “agnostic” on the acceptance of the state of Israel. Should his demand be met it would immediately result in a split in that movement. When I say purge what I mean is that he finds it unacceptable to work with those that advocate a single state and he will not work with them. Is he asking that any Palestinian he is willing to work with should recognize the state of Israel? Sounds like it to me.

        I am assuming that the BDS movement is being led by Palestinians and feel it is not up to me what I personally would find acceptable. I am very sympathetic with those Palestinians who are unwilling to recognize the state of Israel that is unwilling to recognize them. Perhaps if Israel was willing to recognize a West Bank state then this situation might change. But as all of us know, the ruling government of Israel is led by a party that has written into its charter that they will never recognize a Palestinian state.

        In any case, I am happy to see that many people here are fond of Norm and recognize his strengths even if politically he is incredibly naive.

      • annie on January 29, 2015, 6:23 am

        tovio, honestly, to me, it sounds like you’re all over the map. so much so it’s hard to know where to begin. so, to begin with, as far as i have heard, “basically” norm is neither “requesting” or “insisting” anything of the bds movement and i find this “purge” rhetorical tool (suggesting you are paraphrasing some request of his) not helpful in the least. “basically” or “essentially” or whatever, he is not tasking anyone, he is stating his views (accusations) as he sees them. as i have stated many times here, and defended, i am a huge fan of norm. i adore him and i really don’t see anything that would change that. and, i do disagree with him in certain areas.

        I … feel it is not up to me what I personally would find acceptable.

        yeah, you are not the only one. that doesn’t make either of us “neutral” tho, what it does mean is that it is not up to us and ultimately whether we support 1 or 2 states is, as you stated earlier “not important”. it’s also somewhat out of our control. so why is it on your front burner at a time like this? because for me it is not. maybe it is for norm, or jon who claims 1 or 2 states is as “fundamental as your ultimate goal”. but as i stated before it is not my fundamental goal.

        i can’t speak for norm and wouldn’t dare, but my hunch is he sees, what is for him, right before his eyes. but that is not what is before my eyes.

        By definition, those who support two states accept the state of Israel. There are others that do not. The BDS movement has agreed to work for justice for the Palestinians and they have clearly not taken stand on the one or two state solution. This is a political coalition consisting of people with different goals.

        no, they do not have different goals. they are people who share the same goal; freedom, equality and justice for palestinians. it takes a certain kind of mind, when focusing on this issue, to prioritize the acceptance of the state of israel first in their concern and framing. i rarely think about it because i don’t think right now it is that important.

        as you yourself say ” if Israel was willing to recognize a West Bank state then this situation might change. But as all of us know, the ruling government of Israel is led by a party that has written into its charter that they will never recognize a Palestinian state.”

        right, so under the circumstance if israel is unwilling to ever recognize a palestinian state, what difference could it possible make if palestinians recognize israel? there is a standoff here. so, in that regard it makes perfect sense to not dwell on 1 or 2 states, let things unfold and keep your eye on the prize. and the prize is equality and justice. NOT recognizing israel. i swear you could recognize israel til the cows come home and it wouldn’t matter to those who will “never recognize a Palestinian state.”

        In the meantime, any Palestinian resistance movement will have to consist of those two factions.

        yeah, and you forgot to mention that israeli society will have to consist of multiple factions, so what? are you demanding they come together in agreement prior to any resolution?

        The BDS movement has not taken a stance on this issue and is willing to remain neutral.

        not taking a position is smart. there is no reason to divide, what is essentially a civil rights movement, into a decision making body regarding 1 or 2 states. it’s diversionary and unnecessary at this time. people and governments are going to do what they do. the UN will do what it does. the wheels of justice will turn and people who support bds will have very diverse opinions as the movement grows, and it will grow. the more pressure that comes to bear on israel via bds, the more they may see the advantage of relenting, or not.

        it reminds me or baking a birthday cake. when mixing the ingredients i realize i have no butter, salt, sugar or flour in the house…but my siblings are arguing (screaming on fact) whether to bake the cake on 275 for 60 min or 350 for 45 min. at this point i really do not care. does that make me neutral about the cake? no, in fact i am starving, it just means i could care less what temperature it’s baked at as long as it includes the main ingredients.

      • just on January 29, 2015, 8:19 am

        Annie~ your train and birthday cake analogies are sheer brilliance.

        (I am so grateful to ‘know’ you!)

      • Rusty Pipes on January 29, 2015, 9:36 pm

        Annie, have you seen Finkelstein’s latest excoriation of the BDS movement in this recent interview? That and some following sniping with the Angry Arab gives more context to what ToivoS is talking about. Finkelstein has been dismissive of the BDS movement (and he does stress “movement”, not “BDS” per se) for several years. Some of those differences which the interview reflects:

        1) Personality differences: Abunimah and Finkelstein can’t stand each other. It takes a strong character and a thick skin to stand up to the Israel Lobby for as long as both Finkelstein and Abunimah have. That doesn’t mean that they will necessarily get along.

        2) Both Barghouti and Abunimah, the most prominent Palestinian spokespeople for BDS to an American audience, favor a 1SS. (Barghouti has clarified over and over that while he personally favors a 1SS, the BDS movement does not take a unified position on the issue).

        3) Neither Finkelstein, Abunimah nor Barghouti is an international lawyer. It would be much more relevant to consult George Bisharat, Diana Butto, Noura Erekat, or Richard Falk about 1SS vs. 2SS, whether Israel is a legitimate member of the UN or whether Abbas has standing to pursue legal remedies through the UN or the ICC, than either Finkelstein or Abunimah.

        4) However, the most irrelevant opinion of all is that of an international liar, a professional apologist for Israel.

      • seafoid on January 29, 2015, 10:21 pm


        The Fink/abunimah thing is typical of opposition groups fighting a monolith with adherents who swear blind obedience.
        Everyone within Zionism is on message, even if the message is bullshit.
        Opposition discipline is much harder.

        See the Spanish civil war for example.

      • ToivoS on January 30, 2015, 4:50 am

        Annie at January 29, 2015, 6:23 am

        Thank-you for your reply. There is really not much in your comments that I disagree with. I think we both hold Norm is very high esteem. I was happy to see this thread with so many people giving him so much support. My first comment was in response to someone who suggested that Norm had been “smeared” by BDS advocates. I haven’t seen that. Norm has taken a very clear stand against the BDS movement (as opposed to bds) because, to the extent there is a central organization, they have not recognized the legitimacy of the the state of Israel. It is only natural that people will argue against his position. That is not a smear.

        I hope I am not all over the map on this. We are talking about politics in the best sense of that term. Norm, perhaps not unfortunately, is politically naive.

    • Walid on January 29, 2015, 2:22 am

      “The BDS movement has not taken a stance on this issue and is willing to remain neutral.”

      There’s no such thing as being neutral; it’s trying to be all things to all people and busying itself on little fish settlements while letting big fish Israel off the hook. Finkelstein wasn’t all that wrong about the “cult” thing. Taking the fizz out of SodaStream would not make the settlements vanish, but boycotting Israel would, but this is not in BDS’ league. Finkelstein is not asking the movement to purge itself of those wishing the destruction of Israel as much as he is asking it to get honest about its aspirations.

      • seafoid on January 29, 2015, 3:20 am

        There is more than one way to skin a cat, Walid.

      • Walid on January 29, 2015, 5:04 am

        I agree, seafoid, but the current way is limp. Settlements are expanding and BDS is not stopping or removing them, so where’s the victory? Leviev gets picketted in NYC, but he turns around and opens a store in Dubai and continues building in Bi’lin. Veolia gets chased off the Jerusalem tram, but still continues dumping the waste of 20 settlements on a Jericho area landfill and getting huge contracts for desalination plants in Saudia. BDS needs to drop the insignificant settlements stuff and go after Israel, if it can.

      • seafoid on January 29, 2015, 7:41 am

        The settlements are a trap, Walid.

        If there was a Palestinian strategist who could convince the Israelis to dumb down their education system, coarsen their society, mis allocate over $100bn over 40 years and turn the society into an international pariah she would be hailed as Salah a din v2.0

        Zionism will fall over all by itself.
        BDS is about sniping away at the edges like the French Resistance.

  16. seafoid on January 29, 2015, 2:26 am

    “For example, right now I am reading through the foreign relations of the U.S. volumes on the Carter years 1977 through ’80. They are voluminous they run to 3,000 pages. But as you know during that period that’s when the transition occurred between the Labor party which was ejected from office in 1977 and the Likud for the first time takes power”

    Finkelstein is so interesting. He knows about empires and how they rise and fall. He doesn’t buy the hasbara that Israel is permanent, get over it and tough titty to the Palestinians who LOST.

    He wants to understand the drivers of the current mess and explore what might happen when the memes break down further.

    In the MBTI system of personality classification, people like him are intuitives. They read between the lines and look for meanings in all things. Focus on implications and inferences, value imagination

    Hasbara bots are sensors. They can only deal with info they already have. They trust whatever can be measured or documented and focus on what is real or concrete. They focus on RULES. In Israel’s case what counts are JEWISH RULES.

    It’s a gladiatorial psychological combat between 2 different ways of thinking with the biggest unknown being how American Jews, especially the younger ones, will deal with the ongoing poison emanating from Eretz Israel Hashlemah. The fact that they read is one of the biggest risk factors for Zionism.

    • W.Jones on January 30, 2015, 9:33 am


      About Finkelstein. I think he may have inside knowledge. Perhaps a few months before the Arab Spring, he predicted that the US would launch a new, large scale campaign to take over the Arab world. Up to that point, “regime change” efforts had been devoted to invading Iraq and Afghanistan, with perhaps some “color revolution” in Iran.

      However, Finkelstein said about the new campaign he predicted: It will start in Tunisia. He didn’t give more of an explanation, and I remember thinking that it was strange, because Tunisia wasn’t in conflict with the US like Iraq was. It didn’t make sense to me that Tunisia would be targeted. But then a few months later (perhaps just a month), the “Spring” started in Tunisia. I wish that I could find where Finkelstein said this, but haven’t been able to retrace it.

  17. Bornajoo on January 29, 2015, 8:34 am

    “Annie~ your train and birthday cake analogies are sheer brilliance.”

    Well said Just. +1!

    Thanks so much Annie. Great analogies. Excellent

  18. Misterioso on January 29, 2015, 1:02 pm

    This superb article contains an error.

    I am referring to the sentence, “There was also Maxime Robinson in France, …”

    His correct name is Maxime Rodinson. He was an eminent French scholar at the Sorbonne, who among other important scholarly accomplishments relevant to the Israel-Palestinian/Arab conflict, wrote “Israel and The Arabs,” (Pelican, 1968) and “Israel, A Colonial-Settler State?,” (A Pathfinder Book, Anchor Foundation/New York, 1973)

  19. Robert in Israel on January 29, 2015, 6:13 pm

    Joan Peters’ book was correct in all of its major assertions. Any honest look at the demographics, written descriptions, and photographic record will return one verdict: that Palestine began the 19th century as a vastly underpopulated and desolate land, that over the course of the 19th century European and later Jewish building projects brought significant change, that the majority of Arabs who lived there at the end of that century arrived during it, and that by the 1830’s, Jerusalem, Safed, and Tiberias were predominantly Jewish cities. Those were Peter’s main claims, and while she could have marshaled more and better evidence, the bottom line is that she was right. That is her legacy and contribution to the discussion of the relative merits of Jewish nationalism vs. those of Palestinian nationalism.

    • Teapot on January 29, 2015, 10:22 pm

      Those were Peter’s main claims, and while she could have marshaled more and better evidence, the bottom line is that she was right.

      Well, in that case…

      Australia doesn’t really exist. I know that because when my brother supposedly went there last month, he didn’t bring back any souvenirs and had conveniently forgotten to take any pictures.

      This is my main claim, and while I could marshal more and better evidence (except that I can’t…), the bottom line is that I am right.

      • RoHa on January 29, 2015, 11:06 pm

        “Australia doesn’t really exist”


      • Mooser on January 30, 2015, 5:28 pm


        Hang on, digger, and we’ll find you someplace to doss. Sorry about pulling the map out from under you.

    • ToivoS on January 30, 2015, 5:54 am

      Sorry, Robert from Israel, those claims by Joan Peters have been totally demolished. The increase in the population of the Palestinians during the 19th century was was do to a major decline in infant mortality. She has been shown as a fraud.

      Isn’t it sad, Robert from Israel, that your whole world view is based on demonstrable lies? Can you survive or be willing to live with your self if you recognized the truth?

      • Robert in Israel on January 30, 2015, 10:02 am

        “Demonstrable” doesn’t mean repeating something X amount of times. It means you have solid evidence. If you have the courage, do the research yourself. Look at original photos, and look at what travelers reported seeing then. Not as presented by biased historians, but in the original. It does take time, but the results are well worth the effort. I began doing that kind of original research back in the 80’s, and that’s why I believe what I believe, not because of the Peterses and Finkelsteins or anyone else.

      • Donald on January 30, 2015, 2:05 pm

        Gosh, Robert, it is such a shame that according to you evidence exists proving that Peters was right and yet nobody is writing a book in English to back this up. I suppose no one would be interested in funding or publishing such a project. Perhaps if you write enough blog comments you can turn the tide.

      • Mooser on January 30, 2015, 4:54 pm

        “Look at original photos, and look at what travelers reported seeing then. Not as presented by biased historians, but in the original.”

        And always, “Robert in Israel”, take on a hectoring, arrogant tone, make all kinds of unsupported assertions, and generally act like you don’t abide any questioning.

        Yup, I said before, I’ll say it again, “Robert in Israel” is a priceless ass.

      • Robert in Israel on February 1, 2015, 3:06 am

        I think I’ll make like Finkelstein and quote you on my future resumes:

        “Priceless…” – Mooser

      • Mooser on February 2, 2015, 11:53 am

        “I think I’ll make like Finkelstein…”

        Oh my, you are quite a piece of work.

        To what are you referring? I’ve never seen Finklestein’s words attacking, colonizing and occupying any territory outside of their own.

      • annie on February 2, 2015, 6:15 pm

        i think robert is just spamming the site.

      • Bornajoo on February 2, 2015, 6:37 pm

        Annie, I’ve been emailing his comments all over the place. I’ve never had such positive and instant reaction before from people who normally sit on the fence. Robert is revealing it all, from the inside, what he really thinks and believes and it’s refreshing to be able to show that to others who maybe didn’t want to really believe what these zionists are really all about.

        I’ve also noticed that the other zionist commentators have been conspicuous by their absence when Robert is out there revealing the true agenda. I’m sure they all think the same as him but are not as honest as Robert and do their best to sound reasonable. Strange how they don’t rally around him

        Unless they would like to correct my assumption of course?

      • Robert in Israel on February 3, 2015, 4:40 am

        Bornajoo, you’re looking for conspiracies where there are none. The reason the few Zionists I’ve seen on these boards aren’t rallying around me is probably the same one why I don’t rally around them: I don’t even have time for what I’m doing here, much less to start getting into others’ dialogues. And I probably haven’t seen some of the other Zionists because I only get notified of responses to my posts. That’s just the nature of these boards.

      • Robert in Israel on February 3, 2015, 4:37 am

        Annie, I didn’t think you were the type to get into ad hominem attacks. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, especially since I don’t get what exactly you’re criticizing. I thought “spamming” meant when people visit message boards just to advertise merchandise. Is there another meaning I’m not aware of?

    • andrew r on January 30, 2015, 6:09 pm

      Robert in Occupied Palestine, I think we’re past the point where researching the demographics of 19th century Palestine is going to matter. The real battleground is placing responsibility for the conflict as we know it today, and that falls squarely on the Zionist movement. They conspired to create a political state where settler immigrants would be the majority on land that was already inhabited and cultivated. Even if we reached a consensus on the population growth of 19th century Palestine, you’d still probably argue there was enough room for a Jewish state in part of the country.

      Therein lies the rub: By the time Hoveivei Zion, JCA and WZO settlement activity got underway, very little arable land was not in use (Mainly along the coast north of Jaffa and the Jezreel valley). Ruppin admitted in 1928 it would be difficult to settle new immigrants in Palestine without a mass dispossession:

      Ruppin claimed that there were deep and manifest conflicts of interests between Arabs and Jews, conflicts which would worsen as the Zionists gained more control of the land: “Land is the essential condition for putting down economic roots in Palestine […] wherever we purchase land and settle people on it – its current workers [the Arabs] must of necessity be removed, whether they be owners or tenants […] in future it will be much harder to purchase land, because sparsely settled land is no longer available – what is left is land settled with considerable density” (ibid.). 283 Ruppin to Kohn [30 May. 1928] in: (Bein 1968, III, 149-150).

      So while Israel apologists argue the Arabs started the conflict by opposing immigration, many Zionist figures back then were saying behind closed doors the presence of the fellahin was an obstacle.

      Herzl, Ruppin and Weizmann even came up with plans that were aborted. Both Herzl and Ruppin’s plans were almost identical and formed when Palestine was still under the Turkish, to buy land in present-day Syria and pay off fellahin evicted by land purchases to move there. In 1939 Weizmann proposed evicting the Palestinian Druze of the Galilee to Jabal Druze (Syria).

      I think we’re better off dwelling on these details than getting caught up in a pissing contest over who was immigrating to Palestine in the 1800’s or who attacked first.

      Ruppin cite: (p. 375, 379)

      Herzl’s JOLC plan:

      More quotes (Also Weizmann plan mentioned above):

      Background on settlement activity in 1800’s Palestine

      • Robert in Israel on February 1, 2015, 4:02 am

        Andrew, first a compliment. Your response is one of the few I’ve received (Annie comes to mind, as well) that presents a cogent argument, uses sources, and resists ad hominem attacks. Hat tip. It’s too bad that Mondoweiss has become a magnet for flamers. I avoid extreme rightwing Zionist websites for the exact same reason. I’d quit posting here, but there are writers like you who present material worth considering.

        The Ruppin quotes, which I’ve read before, are definitely strong for the Palestinian case. The reason I reject what he wrote is that it proved either spurious or was even incorrect at the time. Take for example his claim (elsewhere in his writings) that there were no Arabs who were open to Zionism. But the Feisal-Weizmann Agreement of 1919 was just one of several counter-examples (

        His claim that you quoted about the arable land being used up was and remains ridiculous. Even today there is tremendous new agricultural potential. And not just due to modern technology. As even Finkelstein noted in his demographic research to counter Peters, the Arab population exploded wherever Jews settled. This was both because of the ecomonic opportunity (along with a lack of kicking Arabs out), as well as because agriculture proved far less economic than industry and commerce. IOW, his claim that “Land is the essential condition for putting down economic roots in Palestine” was completely off base. In fact, the kibbutzim lost money for decades until they mercifully agreed to move to a more capitalist and non-agrarian model. Ironically, Israel has made the most agriculturally-related profits not from produce, but from agricultural tech that it exports, such as drip-irrigation equipment, sand-based growing methods, breeding methods, etc.

        Also bear in mind when reading Ruppin’s writings that he started off as an extreme leftist, being a founder of Brit Shalom, but left the movement after the murderous Arab riots of August 1929. His writings thereafter have a different tone.

        In any case, you also raised a very good point about the relevance of who lived where when. After all, everyone now agrees that there are 6-7 million Jews living on the land now, and that it is highly cultivated, and yet I haven’t seen Palestinian writings stating that they must give up their claims to pre-1967 Israel because it would be immoral to have to drive out the Jews. Likewise, Zionists like myself would not give up our basic claim to the Land just because it was even more occupied than it was in the 19th and first half of the 20th century. Ditto for the current situation in the Territories. Nevertheless, I do think it strengthens the moral case for Zionism to demonstrate that it did not displace — rightfully or wrongfully — a well-established nation, and to that extent I do place some weight on examining what the demographics were. That is precisely why when I was in college I got so interested, because I heard Palestinian panel speakers claiming that the land was teeming with Arabs before the Jews drove them out starting in the 1890’s. That claim proved utterly false upon my examining photos and journals from the period.

      • Mooser on February 2, 2015, 7:34 pm

        “That is precisely why when I was in college I got so interested, because I heard Palestinian panel speakers claiming that the land was teeming with Arabs before the Jews drove them out starting in the 1890’s. That claim proved utterly false upon my examining photos and journals from the period. “

        Werll, if that ain’t dispositive proof, I don’t know what is.

      • Robert in Israel on February 3, 2015, 4:58 am

        Correct, you actually don’t know what dispositive proof is. A dispositive proof means one that cannot be refuted. I suppose I should just end this here and thank you for the supreme compliment, but intellectual honesty forbids me that option. You clearly meant “proof from an absence of evidence”. The Wikipedia article about this and its big brother, “evidence of absence”, is actually quite good:

        If you’ve read it, you now know that demonstrating evidence of absence is completely legitimate, provided the evidence is convincing, or to use another term, dispositive.

        I argue that an exhaustive review of photos and journals from the 19th century does in fact constitute a legitimate way to judge certain specific claims, both pro-Zionist and pro-Palestinian, such as whether a particular village existed, was populated, and how large it was. Also the condition of the land in general. Journals are less reliable for this for a number of reasons, but taken together add to the body of evidence. They also have the advantage of describing Jewish-Arab relations, which is another aspect of the conflict and the relevant propaganda on both sides.

      • Zofia on February 2, 2015, 9:33 pm

        So… that was a poor research:)You do know the premise of those photos, journals from that period right? Their basic themes and goals? You see the differences between various Western photos and local ones?(depends what material did you have). The same is with journals…. Additionally you have to know how to study those materials, and place them in historical context, their tasks and so on. It also depends what material did you have, etc…It is hard to use them without other materials like statistics, censuses, anthropological and historical studies… you can’t just base on photos and journals solely to make an argument for sth… no scholar does that!
        Image of the “Holy Land” [produced by Western photographers, travellers, etc.] ignored the real lives of the residents, at most, they were the embodiment of biblical characters, which can be seen live in modern times. Often deliberately ppl took pictures or wrote only about landscapes or a few ppl who embodied biblical figures.

        Professional research on the subject:
        1.K. Whitelam, The Land and the Book: Biblical Studies and Imaginative Geographies of Palestine, “Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds” 2008, vol. 4 no. 1
        2.S.S. Rogers, Inventing the Holy Land American Protestant Pilgrimage to Palestine, 1865–1941, Lexington Books,New York 2011
        3.A. Merli, A New Art in an Ancient Land: Palestine through the lens of early European photographers, “The Jerusalem Quarterly”, issue 50, 2012
        4.L. Wheatley-Irving, Holy Land Photographs and Their Worlds Francis Bedford and the ‘Tour in the East’, “The Jerusalem Quarterly”, issue 31, 2007
        5.N. Hasson, The finest photographs of early 20th century Palestine, shuttered in controversy, “Haaretz”
        6.B. Kline, Hey, there were people here!, “The Jerusalem Post” [online]
        7.B. al-Hajj, Khalil Raad- Jerusalem Photographer, “The Jerusalem Quarterly”, issue 11-12, 2001
        8.S. Tamari, The War Photograhy of Khalil Raad: ottoman Modernity and the Biblical Gaze, “The Jerusalem Quarterly” issue 52, 2013
        9.I. Nassar, Early Local Photography in Palestine: The Legacy of Karimeh Abbud, “The Jerusalem Quarterly”, issue 46, 2011
        10.N. Gertz, G. Khleifi, Palestinian Cinema
        And BTW about earlier posts- you clearly aren’t a linguist since you didn’t even understood the texts written by linguists themselves- I only quoted them- (those are basic books actually…) heh you didn’t read them properly not to mention understand (you mixed terms!!!)… but other ppl might… so it is good those quotes are mentioned here….sb might go and read the whole books:)

        Some basic info for you:
        1.Hebrew and Zionism: A Discourse Analytic Cultural Study, by Ron Kuzar(again)
        2.Babel in Zion: Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920-1948, by Liora R. Halperin
        3.Defining Neighbors: Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter, by Jonathan Marc Gribetz

        Your problem is that you use religious chronology [ideas, etc] (like Arabs and Arabic came to that region only in VII with Islam, same thing with Jews-Hebrew-Judaism… but, researchers around the world show different historic processes, etc.) and as you write you think there are “natural identities”… that is something NO SCHOLAR could ever write since that is not true whatsoever (you are not a scholar, are you?) I gave you even basic titles about identity, etc… that is why you couldn’t even understood the texts about languages and their history…

        oh, for 1929 you really need to read: Hillel Cohen’s book, 1929: Year Zero of the Jewish-Arab Conflict (Keter, 2013) [or British archives from that time…]- he deals with basic myths about it

        About late Ottoman Palestine you NEED to read:
        1.J. Bussow, Hamidian Palestine: Politics and Society in the District of Jerusalem 1872-1908, Brill, Leiden 2011
        2.Jerusalem: From the Ottomans to the British, by Roberto Mazza
        3.B. Abu-Manneh, The Rise of the Sanjak of Jerusalem in the Late Nineteenth Century, [in:] The Israel/Palestine Question,ed. I. Pappe, Routledge, London 4.B. Doumani, Rediscovering Palestine. Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900, University of California Press, Berkeley
        5.A. Manna, Ottoman Period, Late, [w:] Encyclopedia of the Palestinians…
        6.M. Campos, Ottoman Brothers: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Early Twentieth-Century Palestine, Stanford University Press, Stanford 2011
        7.Y. Ben-Bassat, E. Ginios, Late Ottoman Palestine: The Period of Young Turk Rule, I.B. Tauris, London 2011
        8.S. Tamari, Year of the Locust. A Soldier’s Diary and the Erasure of Palestine’s Ottoman Past, University of California Press, Berkely 2011
        9.S. Tamari, Mountain Against the Sea
        10.L Fishman, The 1911 Haram Al-Sharif Incident: Palestinian Notables Versus The Ottoman Administration, “Journal of Palestine Studies”, vol. XXXIV no.3, 2005
        11.Ben-Bassat, Yuval. “Rural Reactions to Zionist Activity in Palestine before and after the Young-Turk Revolution of 1908 as Reflected in Petitions to Istanbul
        12.Ben-Bassat, Yuval. “Mass Petitions as a Way to Evaluate ‘Public Opinion’ in the Late Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Empire? The Case of Internal Strife among Gaza’s Elite,” Turkish Historical Review, 4 (2013)
        13.Ben-Bassat, Yuval- Petitioning the Sultan: Protests and Justice in Late Ottoman Palestine
        Yuval Ben-Bassat examines the petitions, including many previously unpublished ones, sent during the last decades of the Empire to the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II. The petitions enable Ben-Bassat to explore Palestine’s history in this formative period from a unique perspective, providing first-hand accounts of the dilemmas, struggles, acts, concerns, schisms and transformations Palestinian society experienced. Petitioning the Sultan will be of great interest to a broad audience of specialists studying the history of the Middle East, the Ottoman Empire, and Palestine’s late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century world.

      • Robert in Israel on February 3, 2015, 12:40 pm

        Zofia, I completely agree that even photos can be misleading. All evidence has to be considered carefully, and obviously I believe I am as careful and objective as possible when examining evidence — probably everyone thinks that, don’t they?

        However, I disagreed with your statement that “you can’t just base on photos and journals solely to make an argument for sth… no scholar does that!” Wasn’t sure what “sth” was, but your position is clear. Ironically, you cited several sources that did just that, either looking just at photos or else some other singular database. And I would say that the scholars you cited were justified. There is no problem in looking at a set of particular evidence and drawing conclusions, so long as the conclusions are supported by the evidence even in the light of its limitations.

        BTW, I appreciate the links you posted, and there are some sources that I’d love to look at thoroughly when I have time and access (some are by subscription). I’m especially intrigued by the book on petitions to the Sultan. I think that could have some good material both for understanding the conditions in the last quarter of the 19th century in Palestine, but also for personal genealogy. So thanks!

      • straightline on February 3, 2015, 12:31 am

        Once again Zofia you have provided me with reading matter – I’m currently wading through “The Mythical Past”. I am not going to be able to keep up. Thanks for your wonderful and deep knowledge. Very impressive.

      • Mooser on February 3, 2015, 11:38 am

        Thanks, Zofia.

        “Robert in Israel” is a perfect example of the ideas and concepts and sources which Zionists believe are sufficient to make their case. The interminable examples of the depth of Zionist reasoning, and the things Zionists believe are good arguments, and good ways of arguing, should be very encouraging to all who believe in an accounting for them.
        And ye Gods and little fishes, what a bunch of partatshnek it all is.

      • seafoid on February 3, 2015, 12:26 pm

        “The depth of Zionist reasoning”

        Have you studied nanometrics for long, Mooser?

      • MHughes976 on February 3, 2015, 5:35 pm

        I agree that we are beyond the point where population figures for the 1800s could form the premise of a relevant moral argument. I don’t even think we ever reached that point. In any event, opposing immigration is something people are allowed to do without consequent loss of political rights.

      • Robert in Israel on February 4, 2015, 2:55 am

        Precisely! Therefore, the Jews had the right to oppose the colonization of their land without loss of political rights. That we were too weak for so long to physically oppose our occupiers does not detract from our right to restore our sovereignty.

        BTW, the relevance of the 19th-century population figures is two-fold. First, the claim that the restoration of Jewish sovereignty came at the expense of the local population becomes patently false. The Arab population grew mostly around the growing Jewish population palpably demonstrates how Zionism in practice not only didn’t drive out the fellahin, but actually increased their numbers. Second, those population figures prove that this was much more do to immigration than to the birth rate.

        A specific upshot of the 19th-century population figures is that Jerusalem was majority Jewish before the advent of Zionism. Therefore, anyone who says that the existing majority before Zionism had a right to sovereignty must minimally support Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem, even without considering the longer historical claims of Zionism.

      • andrew r on February 6, 2015, 7:21 pm

        I’m going to do the really fun thing: A blow-by-blow response.

        Take for example his claim (elsewhere in his writings) that there were no Arabs who were open to Zionism. But the Feisal-Weizmann Agreement of 1919 was just one of several counter-examples (link to

        For all intents and purposes, Ruppin was correct on that much. The only Arabs willing to collaborate with or tolerate Zionism were those already in bed with the British. There was a rebellion against the British Mandate which required 20,000 extra soldiers and air power to put down.

        Also bear in mind when reading Ruppin’s writings that he started off as an extreme leftist, being a founder of Brit Shalom, but left the movement after the murderous Arab riots of August 1929. His writings thereafter have a different tone.

        He went from proposing a “parallel Arab colonization” through buying extra land in Syria for fellahin they evicted to “I believe in the transfer of whole villages”. Different tone, maybe. Different agenda, no.

        I haven’t seen Palestinian writings stating that they must give up their claims to pre-1967 Israel because it would be immoral to have to drive out the Jews.

        And I haven’t seen any Zionist leader from before 1948 remarking they would give up on creating a Jewish state if it meant dispossessing the Palestinians. There are plenty of quotes about population removal and justifying the previous evictions of the peasants, some bandied about in the material I linked above. (Ruppin cite p. 201, Shafir p. 86)

        Precisely! Therefore, the Jews had the right to oppose the colonization of their land without loss of political rights. That we were too weak for so long to physically oppose our occupiers does not detract from our right to restore our sovereignty.

        Remarks like this make your claims that no one had to be dispossessed for a Jewish state rather doubtful in their sincereity. Right here you are casting the farmers and workers, themselves eking out a precarious existence, in an adversarial light. Many of the immigrants to Palestine in the 19th century were refugees from other conflicts in the Ottoman Empire (e.g. the Crimean War). They were citizens of the Ottoman state and it’s absurd to portray them as colonialists. And they had more of a right to settle in Palestine than European nationals who usually refused to take Ottoman citizenship (A legal requirement for permanent residence in the Empire).

        The Arab population grew mostly around the growing Jewish population palpably demonstrates how Zionism in practice not only didn’t drive out the fellahin, but actually increased their numbers. Second, those population figures prove that this was much more do to immigration than to the birth rate.

        This in particular is a myth that can’t be buried deep enough. One of these days I might skim through From Time Immemorial just to see how Peters could fill up a 600 page book and yet miss this important fact:

        “According to official estimates, the population of Palestine grew from 750,000 at the census of 1922 to 1,765,000 at the end of 1944. In this period the Jewish part of the population rose from 84,000 to 554,000, and from 13 to 31 percent of the whole. Three-fourths of this expansion of the Jewish community was accounted for by immigration. Meanwhile the Arabs, though their proportion of the total population was falling, had increased by an even greater number-the Moslems alone from 589,000 to 1,061,000.* Of this Moslem growth by 472,000, only 19,000 was accounted for by immigration. The expansion of the Arab community by natural increase has been in fact one of the most striking features of Palestine’s social history under the Mandate.”

  20. Pixel on January 29, 2015, 8:27 pm

    GREAT piece!

    Thanks to both interview-er and interview-ee.

  21. M. Kalundi on January 30, 2015, 8:56 am

    Fantastic interview.

    Annie Robbins your argument in favour of joining forces now and sorting out the details later is reasonable but when you get the ingredients (attain political power) you will still have to make the decision “whether to bake the cake on 275 for 60 min or 350 for 45 min” – right?.

    What I have seen in resistance movements that have ousted dictators like Uganda in 1979 and 1986, and opposition movements that have had to forge alliances to achieve regime change (like Kenya’s Orange coalition) is that once they attain power/leadership, the alliances begin to disintegrate. Leaving a lot of important issues unresolved is like saying “Tear along the dotted lines.”

    It also creates room for political rent-seeking with leaders crossing from one polar position to another, often for gain.

  22. NickJOCW on January 30, 2015, 9:17 am

    As far as I am aware BDS has nothing to do with either one or two states, rather it calls for the ending of Israel’s: occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall. Once that is accepted it would, surely, be entirely up to the parties what degree of compromise or mutual cooperation they chose to pursue.

  23. CloakAndDagger on January 30, 2015, 1:57 pm

    The Lobby runs swiftly to close ranks:

    Battling Jewish Titans Alan Dershowitz and Ronn Torossian Kiss and Make Up

    Just in time for Shabbos, the super lawyer Alan Dershowitz and the PR big Ronn Torossian have issued a joint statement that puts their differences—differences that had played out on the virtual pages of the Observer—behind them.

  24. CloakAndDagger on January 30, 2015, 2:01 pm

    And the attention moves from the dershbag to include Ken Starr:

    Conservative Scold Ken Starr Got a Billionaire Pedophile Off

    Still, there are plenty who will wonder how the self-proclaimed Boy Scout managed to go to bat to get a sex fiend off. “Many lawyers would say that they pass no moral judgment on their clients, but I’m not sure that Kenneth Starr can plausibly offer that excuse,” said Joe Conason, editor in Chief of the National Memo, who co-wrote the book The Hunting of the President. “As for why Starr would represent Jeffrey Epstein, you will have to ask him—certainly not because he thought it would improve his reputation. Then again, perhaps he assumed nobody would find out.”

  25. CloakAndDagger on January 30, 2015, 2:08 pm

    The Monica Lewinsky moment may be approaching:


    Judge Kenneth Marra, of the Southern District of Florida, wrote earlier this month that “public policy favors judicial records being open to the public,” ordering Epstein to show “extraordinary circumstances or particularized needs” that would justify keeping the records sealed, according to Reuters.

    Marra ruled that the government did have an “obligation to inform Epstein’s victims about the deal,” ABC reported, “but [Marra] has reserved judgement about whether the government failed to meet its obligations until a more complete factual record is developed.” He has, however, indicated that if he does decide that the victims’ rights were violated by the plea agreement, he would consider rescinding Epstein’s original deal.

  26. CloakAndDagger on January 30, 2015, 2:13 pm

    Meet the Lawyer Who’s Giving Dershowitz Hell

    How strong is this case? Do you think you can void Epstein’s plea agreement with the feds?

    We always look for cases with strong claims that have wide ranging impact. We feel we have a strong case against the government for violating the rights of victims. We’re not commenting on the details of the case; we prefer to speak through our court pleadings.

    You sound like a serious lawyer but you have to admit that this case has become a soap opera.

    Brad and I are two lawyers who want to vindicate our clients. Other things happen that are not part of our plan. My point is that this is not a unique case for us. No one is surprised that I’m involved in a Crime Victims’ Rights Act case—that’s what I do.

  27. CloakAndDagger on January 30, 2015, 2:20 pm

    This is an earlier article where they interviewed the dershbag:

    Prof. Dershowitz, Tell Me How You Really Feel

    The suit says that Jane Doe No. 3 was forced to have sex with you, Prince Andrew and “many other powerful men,” including unnamed politicians, foreign presidents and world leaders. Why were you and the Prince singled out by name?

    They want to void the plea agreement and needed to find a lawyer who knew Epstein before [the indictment], and had been on his island, his home in New Mexico, Palm Beach. I fit the bill. It was lawyer profiling.

    And the Prince?

    They claimed that Prince Andrew was using his influence to get Epstein a better deal with the government. What’s more laughable than suggesting that the U.S. Attorney would listen to the Prince to go easy on Epstein!

    Why bother responding if you think the allegations are so outrageous? Why not just let the facts come out during the legal process?

    I have to respond to everything. That’s the way I am. Imagine having an unblemished personal life then reading graffiti scrawled on the bathroom door that gets picked up in every paper based on the assertions of a woman who’s a serial liar.

    This is the interesting part from that interview (emphasis mine):

    Seems risky to bring a lawsuit for just ideological differences.

    No one can understand Cassell’s motive. Either he will be disbarred or I will be. And if I knowingly had sex with a sex slave then I would deserve disbarment.


    • RoHa on January 30, 2015, 7:47 pm


      Does he want to suggest that he had sex with her but didn’t know she was a sex slave, or that he knew she was a sex slave, but he didn’t know he had sex with her?

      • CloakAndDagger on January 30, 2015, 9:25 pm

        Yes, sounded very Clintonesque to me.

      • RoHa on January 30, 2015, 10:05 pm

        That second alternative – “he didn’t know he had sex with her” – raises some interesting possibilities.

        1. He knows he had sex with someone, but he didn’t know it was with her, because either (a) she had a bag over her head, or (b) he (rather than, as we would expect, she ) was the one who kept his eyes closed the whole time.

        2. He knows he did something, but he didn’t know that constituted sex.

        3. He had sex with her, but he didn’t know he was doing it because he was concentrating on Finkelstein’s latest book.

        Any other suggestions?

      • Mooser on January 31, 2015, 12:21 pm

        “3. He had sex with her, but he didn’t know he was doing it because he”

        ‘Well, you see, it was a party,’ says Dersh, ‘and I accidentally picked up her drink, and when the rufies got to me, I was in lala-land the rest of the evening. I might have had sex with a box turtle, for all I know. Why do women take those things, I’ll never understand it!’

      • CloakAndDagger on January 31, 2015, 8:30 pm

        @Roha, @Mooser

        You guys are funny! I just sprayed coffee all over my laptop!

        I am going to go with: 2) He knows he did something, but he didn’t know that constituted sex.

        That would be consistent with my remark about it sounding Clintonesque (oral sex not being sex).

    • eGuard on February 5, 2015, 8:08 pm

      Don’t get distracted. The problem is not whether she was a “slave”. Nor “knowingly”. Nor whether the woman is a “serial liar”. She was under age, Alan.

    • CloakAndDagger on February 7, 2015, 2:34 pm

      Tawdry sex case really isn’t about sex any more

      Most of the hoopla is about the sex allegations. But that’s not what this case really is about any more. It’s not about corrupting children; it’s about corrupting the state and federal legal systems.

      This time it isn’t a case of he-said, she said. It’s a case of she-said, and representatives of the legal systems are trying hard as hell NOT to say.

      Jane Doe No. 3 and some other Epstein victims want to know how Epstein evaded federal prosecution. The answer, or part of it, apparently is to be found in documents that detail how the feds arrived at their non-prosecution agreement with Epstein. With that agreement in place, the billionaire pedophile took the much easier state rap, which included ample time off from his prison cell for weekends and business meetings.

  28. CloakAndDagger on January 31, 2015, 8:34 pm

    Meanwhile, the dershbag hasn’t forgotten his first love:

    Watch Dershowitz Dispel Myth that Settlements Are Main Barrier to Peace

    Is Israel’s policy of building civilian communities in the West Bank the reason there’s no peace agreement with the Palestinians? Or would there still be no peace even if Israel removed all of its settlements and evicted Israeli settlers, as it did in Gaza in 2005? Renowned Harvard professor and legal scholar Alan Dershowitz explains.

    Dershowitz is a staunch supporter of Israel and expert in Middle East relations. He said in a previous Prager video: “The latest strategy employed by those who wish to strangle Israel is called BDS. It may sound harmless, but do not be fooled. It stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and not only is it poisonous for Israel, but for the world as well.

  29. CloakAndDagger on February 8, 2015, 12:44 pm

    The dershbag’s lies keep unravelling as he walks back statement after statement:

    “In fact, the only massage Prof. Dershowitz ever received at any of Epstein’s homes was from a professional massage therapist who was in her 30’s or 40s,” the new filing says.

    Getting a massage in Epstein’s home while claiming his relationship was only professional.

    Meanwhile, the glaring issue in this case continues to be the unprecedented plea agreement that the dershbag’s team pulled off that gives him immunity from prosecution on this case. They have been desperately trying to keep the lid on this from the public, but it won’t keep for long:

    “Public policy favors judicial records being open to the public,” Marra wrote in an order posted here. “In order for the Court to take action inconsistent with that policy, a party seeking to seal a judicial record must provide adequate justification overcoming the presumption that filings in civil cases be public.”

    Lawyers for the alleged victims in the case now say they oppose the secrecy. “If Epstein’s protective order is entered, much of the litigation will essentially have to be carried on in secret, as the victims will file correspondence under seal, and then the Government or putative intervenors (i.e., Epstein, Dershowitz, or others) will file responding correspondence under seal,” attorneys Brad Edwards and Paul Cassell wrote in a court pleading last week (posted here).

    A ruling on the secrecy issue is expected shortly.

    Stay tuned, folks. This story is not going away.

    • annie on February 8, 2015, 12:52 pm

      oh thank you with keeping us abreast of this story.

      • CloakAndDagger on February 8, 2015, 1:00 pm

        @ annie

        ☺ Heh – keeps me occupied on this rainy Sunday morning!

  30. CloakAndDagger on February 8, 2015, 1:16 pm

    More on the unusual immunity agreement:

    When it comes to South Florida sex offenders with a penchant for minors, the federal government usually drives a hard bargain.

    For instance: Brian Martens, a Palm Beach County man who had nude photos of children on his computer and cut a deal to serve 10 years in federal prison. Or Eric Beasley, 25, a former biology teacher from Broward who expects a 20-year federal sentence after recently pleading guilty to repeat sexual encounters with a 14-year-old student.

    Or James “Red” Mozie, who specialized in recruiting underage teen girls for his Oakland Park brothel known as “The Boom Boom Room.” Federal prosecutors recommended life in prison after a jury convicted him in 2011, precisely what a judge handed down as Mozie’s sentence.

    But when it came to wealthy, well-connected Palm Beach financier Jeffrey Epstein, the feds went all soft.


    The case hasn’t gone quietly into the past.

    Epstein, 62, has settled numerous civil suits with alleged victims, but now some want more than money.

  31. CloakAndDagger on February 8, 2015, 1:22 pm

    And Harvard’s name will sully in the process (as well it should for supporting the dershbag all these years, and even now).

    Financier Epstein accused in sex case gets cold shoulder from some charities, questions from others

    The recipient of one of the largest donations from Epstein has been Harvard, to which Epstein pledged US$30 million in 2003, according to news reports at the time. By 2006, when charges against Epstein were made public in Florida, he had fulfilled at least US$6.5 million of that pledge, the reports said. Harvard’s then president said he would not return the money because it was doing good for science.

    Harvard declined to comment to Reuters, citing donor privacy.

  32. CloakAndDagger on February 8, 2015, 1:32 pm

    Birds of a feather…
    (emphasis mine).

    Rutgers Professor Defends Billionaire Pedophile: 14-Year-Old Prostitution Isn’t ‘So Heinous’

    A Reuters exclusive published Monday explores the conundrum faced by nonprofits that have received money from Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire financier arrested and convicted for child prostitution.

    But buried in the report is an insane statement from a Rutgers professor saying that he didn’t think he should return the money… because he didn’t think Epstein did anything all that bad. (RELATED: The Billionaire Sex Offender Double Standard)

    Professor Robert Trivers told Reuters that Epstein was “a person of integrity who should be given credit for serving time in prison” and for settling civil lawsuits brought by underage girls. ”Did he get an easy deal? Did he buy himself a light sentence?” Trivers asks. “Well, yes, probably, compared to what you or I would get, but he did get locked up.”

    But more to the point, Trivers didn’t see what the fuss was all about, since girls mature earlier nowadays. ”By the time they’re 14 or 15, they’re like grown women were 60 years ago, so I don’t see these acts as so heinous.” (RELATED: Will The Jeffrey Epstein Pedophile Case Snare Clinton?)

    To clarify, Epstein is not simply accused of having sex with young girls for money, the crime for which he served barely a year in prison. He was also accused of pimping out the underage girls to rich celebrities, owning a sex slave and using his girls to “obtain potential blackmail information” from powerful political figures.

  33. CloakAndDagger on February 8, 2015, 1:50 pm

    The net catches more sharks:

    It’s only the start of February, but this is already looking like a big year for the intersection of legal academia and illicit sex. First, there’s the sensationalistic allegation that Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz had sex with a minor. Now, John Attanasio, who served as dean of SMU’s Dedman School of Law for 15 years until 2013, has been arrested for prostitution.
    It sounds like your standard charge, except one salient point seems fuzzy: Was Attanasio soliciting sex from a prostitute or was he offering his services?

    Academia is certainly not what it used to be – a revered institution.–More-News?mcode=1202616610377&curindex=0&slreturn=20150108134511

  34. CloakAndDagger on February 8, 2015, 2:47 pm

    Inching closer to the Monica Lewinsky Blue Dress Moment…

    The woman at the centre of the Prince Andrew ‘sex slave’ scandal has told a US court that she believes the FBI has videos of her having sex with Jeffrey Epstein and his ‘powerful friends’ while she was underage.
    In her latest court filing, submitted to a Florida court on Friday, Miss Roberts stated US authorities were holding back damning evidence of activities that she was made to engage in while working as Epstein’s ‘sex slave’.
    Swearing under oath, Miss Roberts said she knew that ‘Epstein maintained videos in some rooms’ where she had ‘sex with other powerful people’.
    She added that she believed that those videos could be used as blackmail.

    • Ellen on February 8, 2015, 4:05 pm

      This is an interesting update. IF the FBI has such videos, they will not surface.

      There was a time when I believed law enforcement, courts and federal agencies worked according to “the law of the land” and for all. But sadly that is not so. The FBI, for example, reports to and is funded by some very powerful interests. They will not make enemies in high places only to lose funding and have careers ruined.

      The Dershbags and Princes of the world will be protected by those who also have lots at risk if they go down .

      There is a reason Epstein was protected by the government and why those damning videos (assuming they exist) are under lock or already destroyed.

      I hope to be wrong, but experience tells me otherwise.

      Thanks for the updates.

      • CloakAndDagger on February 8, 2015, 4:21 pm

        @ Ellen

        An earlier report had stated that videos and computer files were seized from Epstein’s mansion when he was arrested. We were not made privy to what was revealed in them, however, if the secret dealings and correspondence from that trial are unsealed, as it looks like it may be, then these could come out in discovery, since the government is being sued as well.

        Yes, they could still make the videos disappear, but I am hoping that enough people know about them in the FBI that such a move would be too risky.

  35. eGuard on February 9, 2015, 5:57 am

    Should not forget that then Harvard Dean Elena Kagan whitewashed the plagiarism. And then went on to the Supreme Court.

  36. CloakAndDagger on February 9, 2015, 10:25 am

    A little more color on the above from the International Business times:

    The latest revelations come a week after Epstein hit out at ‘outlandish attacks’ by the ‘gossip media’ over the case. The former financier was jailed for 18 months in 2008 for soliciting paid sex with minors under a secret deal which saw more serious federal charges dropped. Court documents filed in Florida and obtained by the Sunday Times allege that Epstein used his “significant social and political connections” to secure the secret deal.

    According to the documents, the Duke and former US president Bill Clinton helped Epstein obtain a more favourable deal.

    Until now, all mentions of Bill Clinton were his incidental presence on flights on the Lolita Express. This is the first that I have seen him accused of being involved in the immunity deal. If this can be proved, Hillary is toast.

  37. CloakAndDagger on February 9, 2015, 10:43 am

    Ken Starr is in the spotlight due to this case. There is a form for action at the bottom of this article.

    Famed educator and legal scholar Ken Starr led a forum last week at the National Press Club to inspire faith-based instruction — and then was asked to describe why he had helped billionaire Jeffrey Epstein avoid serious prison time in 2008 on allegations Epstein had molested dozens of underage girls, including one at center in the photo above.

    The president and chancellor of Baylor University, responding to a question after the close of a forum he led Feb. 4 on “The Calling of Faith-based Universities,” told me he was “very happy” to help serve a client of his former law firm, Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis. Starr is a former federal judge and U.S. solicitor general.

    Thus, as so often the case in public life in the nation’s capital, a stark contrast arose between high-minded rhetoric and subservience to the wealthy.

    Today’s column examines how the globe-trotting Epstein, 62, obtained a sweetheart plea bargain in 2008 thanks to lawyers on a legal dream team that included Alan Dershowitz, Roy Black, Jay Lefkowitz, Gerald Lefcourt, and Martin Weinberg.

    Starr played a key role in arranging lenient treatment for Epstein, whose federal-state prosecution a decade ago occurred concurrently under the administrations of President George W. Bush and his brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush (1999-2007) and Jeb Bush’s successor Charlie Crist(2007-2011), who had been state attorney general during the beginning of the Epstein case.

  38. CloakAndDagger on February 9, 2015, 10:53 am

    Now other co-conspirators are threatening lawsuits:

    Ms Roberts also made allegations against international model scout Jean-Luc Brunel, whom she said she was forced to watch engage in “sexual acts with dozens of underage girls”.
    She claimed he offered girls modelling jobs In her latest court submission, and added: “Many of the girls came from poor countries or impoverished backgrounds, and he lured them in with a promise of making good money.”

    Mr Brunel is a friend of Mr Epstein and founder of MC2 Model Management, which has offices in New York, Miami and Tel Aviv.
    In the past he has claimed credit for launching the careers of models such as Sharon Stone, Christy Turlington and Jerry Hall.
    He is also thought visited Mr Epstein in jail 67 times, prison records disclose, and appears frequently in flight logs belonging to Mr Epstein’s private jet.
    Mr Brunel said in a statement on Friday: “I have decided to bring judicial proceedings in France and in the United States against allegations which cause considerable damage to me personally and to my models agencies.”
    Ms Roberts said she believed the video evidence could be being withheld for future use as blackmail.
    And she detailed interactions with FBI staff she believed indicated she was the victim of a ‘cover up’ orchestrated by friends of Mr Epstein.

  39. CloakAndDagger on February 9, 2015, 11:09 am

    I don’t believe that I had linked to this 40-page docket before:


  40. CloakAndDagger on February 9, 2015, 11:21 am

    More on Bill Clinton’s association with Epstein:

    Pedophile Pleaded The Fifth When Asked If He Was Friends With Bill Clinton

    Court documents (p. 34) reviewed by The Daily Caller reveal that Epstein took the Fifth to avoid self-incrimination in a deposition when directly asked, “Do you know former President Clinton personally?” Epstein made the plea in a 2010-2011 civil case between Epstein and Florida lawyer Brad Edwards, who sued Epstein on behalf of some of Epstein’s alleged victims.

    Epstein was convicted in 2008 in Florida for soliciting underage teenage prostitutes. Epstein was represented by attorney Alan Dershowitz and others. He subsequently served 13 months in prison. Clinton reportedly flew to Africa on Epstein’s plane with actors Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker in September 2002, but court documents from the Edwards case make clear that Clinton flew with Epstein on numerous occasions, according to flight logs.

    Epstein’s plea blocked Clinton from being called to testify in the 2010-2011 civil case. Epstein similarly pleaded the Fifth when asked if he socialized with underage girls in the company of former Democratic New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, Donald Trump, magician David Copperfield, and attorney Alan Dershowitz.

    Edwards had reason to believe that Clinton’s testimony would be vital to the case.

  41. CloakAndDagger on February 10, 2015, 10:54 am

    As this thread is no longer active* on the frontpage of MW, I want to place one last link here in the records for future reference:

    Here Is Pedophile Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book

    Actual copy of Epstein’s black book with several names redacted.

    *Of course the story itself is far from dead, and I am sure this topic will resurface on the MW pages again in the very near future as decisions are handed out about public access to the documents surrounding the NPA.

    • lysias on February 10, 2015, 3:49 pm

      Moralist Ken Starr Explains His Help For Billionaire Pervert Jeffrey Epstein:

      At the end of the last week’s event at the Press Club featuring the three university presidents describing the importance training young people to navigate tough ethical issues, I discovered an old friend was among the attendees. We decided to approach the forum moderator, Starr.

      As Starr gathered up his lecture notes and prepared to leave, I took the lead in thanking the speaker for an enlightening discussion. He smiled in friendly fashion. What follows are my notes reconstructing the conversation immediately afterward.

      “But since it is the Press Club,” I continued, “I hope you don’t mind if I ask a question.”

      “Fire away!” he responded cheerfully. The Duke Law School graduate, a former law clerk to the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger from 1975 to 1977, has argued 36 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including 25 during his service as solicitor general from 1989 to 1993. So, he has every reason to be confident in handling any question.

      “In view of the topic of tonight’s discussion,” I said, “isn’t it incongruous that you chose to represent Jeffrey Epstein?”

      “I don’t think I want to answer that. This involves the attorney-client privilege.”

      “I appreciate that because I’m a lawyer also. But I’m not asking for any privileged secrets. And I understand that everyone’s entitled to a lawyer. But why you?”

      He paused a moment, and responded with slightly more formality, “I was very happy to respond to the needs of a client of the firm.”

      We thanked him for his time and moved on.

      In a post-mortem outside, my colleague told me, “Well, you got your answer. It’s about the money, isn’t it?”

    • CloakAndDagger on February 12, 2015, 7:14 pm

      This is key from your link:

      Epstein’s legal team has managed to consistently short circuit judges from the decision-making process, not leaving anything to chance in insulating Epstein from justice

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