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Finkelstein on God and Dershowitz


Two weeks ago the scholar Norman Finkelstein held an expert’s forum on Reddit about the Israeli election and related matters. SputtleTuts asked him:

Do you have any opinion/observations on the recent sex-slave allegations against Alan Dershowitz?


It’s caused me to doubt my atheism.

The back story, for those who do not know it, is that the two commentators engaged in a bitter dispute ten years ago over Dershowitz’s sourcing for his book, The Case for Israel. Dershowitz sought to have the University of California Press censor Finkelstein’s book on the matter. Then in 2007 Dershowitz interceded at DePaul University, where Finkelstein was on tenure track, to argue that he should be denied tenure. Finkelstein lost his job at the school.

Finkelstein’s latest book is, Method and Madness: The Hidden Story of Israel’s Assaults on Gaza.

Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss

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59 Responses

  1. DaveS on April 6, 2015, 12:58 pm

    Laugh of the day! Thanks Norman

  2. just on April 6, 2015, 1:12 pm

    “It’s caused me to doubt my atheism”~ lololol!

    Norman Finkelstein~ a treasure for all time!

    I feel really sorry for all the students who never got the privilege of having this man as their Professor. I feel even more sorry that Dershowitz had access to young people who revered him, and that he is still ” professor emeritus” @ Harvard.

    Thanks Phil and Annie.

  3. HarryLaw on April 6, 2015, 1:37 pm

    “She’s going to jail,” a pair of partygoers at the Midtown shindig say Dershowitz predicted, before he added, “Now she’s put herself on the record under oath.” Meaning Virginia Roberts. Dershowitz quote.. I will try, by every fair and legal means, to get my client off–without regard to the consequences.” In his memoir The Best Defense, Dershowitz noted that “almost all of my clients have been guilty.” I hope that’s true in his case.

    • annie on April 6, 2015, 1:48 pm

      harry, and dersh could also place his allegations — denials — in a deposition but he’s thus far refused to do so. so what does that tell you? ;)

    • ckg on April 7, 2015, 11:10 am

      Harry–The law site Above The Law has an piece today providing the latest on the case: Does Alan Dershowitz have a proof problem?

      • DaveS on April 7, 2015, 11:24 am

        Thank you ckg for that link. She makes some great points regarding Dersh putting himself in hot water by initially promising to produce documents that clear his name and explicitly suggesting that the other lawyers could have easily fact-checked themselves and should have known their client was lying. His unequivocal assertions to that effect were obviously implausible at the time – how could one check travel records to determine that he and she did not have sex on an island he admittedly visited? – and now they may be coming back to haunt him in his effort to win in court.

      • annie on April 7, 2015, 11:45 am

        ckg, timing coincidence. one of our readers sent me that link this morning and i’ve been checking out the latest response embed. it’s fascinating. check this out:

        dersh waited 34 days (that’s a long time) to issue a supplement to the court (not his original response), but it offered nothing other than she’s “lying” (read “exhibit 1” at link) .

        “Four days after all of the pleading were filed on Dershowitz’s motion to intervene, the current victims filed an unrelated pleading. Specifically, on February 6, 2015, the victims filed a reply in support of a motion for Rule 21 joinder in the action (DE 310). That pleading included as an attachment an affidavit from Jane Doe No. 3 (DE 310-1). About five weeks later, Dershowitz filed the pending motion to file a supplement his previously-filed reply. He attached a proposed supplemental pleading attacking Jane Doe’s affidavit (DE 317-1).

        Dershowitz offers no reason why he waited a full 34 days to supplement his pleading. And his supplement does not cite a single case or argue a single proposition supporting the motion to intervene – but rather simply assaults Jane Doe No. 3. Dershowitz has not shown good cause for filing a supplemental pleading and his motion should be denied. ”

        scroll, in the 3/24 requests for docs and two of the responses

        “7. Copies of any and all documents evidencing the presence of “members of Mr. Epstein’s legal team”, as described in paragraph 5 of the sworn Declaration of Alan M. Dershowitz.

        RESPONSE: Defendant objects to this Document Request as overly broad because Jane Doe #3 alleges in the filing titled “Jane Doe #3 and Jane Doe #4’s Motion Pursuant to Rule 21 For Joinder In Action” (Doc. No. 279) (the “Joinder Motion”) in the civil action captioned Jane Doe #1, et al. v. United States, Case No. 08-80736 (S.D. Fla.) (the “Federal Action”) that she was “kept as [Jeffrey Epstein’s] sex slave from about 1999 through 2002.” Jane Doe #3 further alleges in the Joinder Motion that she “escape[d]” from Mr. Epstein and moved to Australia in 2002. Paragraph 5 of the sworn Declaration of Alan M. Dershowitz refers to plane travel by members of Mr. Epstein’s legal team after 2002 and therefore Defendant further objects because this Document Request does not seek documents relevant to this action or documents reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.”

        9. Copies of any and all “absolute proof’ as described in paragraph 8 of the sworn Declaration of Alan M. Dershowitz. 5 Case 9:08-cv-80736-KAM Document 319-1 Entered on FLSD Docket 03/24/2015 Page 20 of 34

        RESPONSE: Defendant objects to this Document Request to the extent that Plaintiffs seek to alter or shift any burdens of proof as a matter of law in this action. Subject to and without waiving the foregoing specific objections and General Objections, Defendant responds that he will produce all responsive, non-privileged documents currently in his possession, custody or control.

    • The Hasbara Buster on April 7, 2015, 9:37 pm

      Dershowitz is a douchebag whether he’s also a paedophile or not. His serial lying re I/P has caused too much harm. He should go down in history as an extreme case of a dishonest person.

  4. Bornajoo on April 6, 2015, 1:59 pm

    “It’s caused me to doubt my atheism”

    Brilliant! Thank you Norman Finkelstein. Great quote from a great man

    Fully agree with your comment Just!

    Thanks for this Phil and Annie.

  5. Kay24 on April 6, 2015, 2:06 pm

    What a funny response. Norm Finkelstein has a brilliant mind, and I have heard him speak, and was very impressed with his grasp of the Palestinian situation, and this was just after the massacre in Gaza last year. He made excellent points.

    Dershowitz was a very arrogant man but apparently with a lot of dirty secrets.

    Menendez is yet another staunch supporter of Israel, who has been found to be morally bankrupt. It must be in that koolaid.

    • just on April 6, 2015, 2:13 pm

      Funny you should mention Menendez:

      “This week’s indictment of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez on corruption charges is “questionable” and will likely result in an acquittal, says Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who weighed in on the Menendez case during an appearance Friday on “America’s Forum” on Newsmax TV. …

      “Remember that in order to be convicted of a federal crime, you can’t just receive gifts,” Dershowitz said. “Friends give friends gifts. And you can’t just do favors for friends. Friends do favors for friends. There has to be an explicit agreement that in exchange for an airplane ride or hotel room, I will get you something that you are otherwise not entitled to.

      “Remember, political contributions are protected by the First Amendment, and also the check-and-balance function of Congress is protected under the speech and debate clause. This is going to be a very hard case for the feds to win, especially on the issue of a bribery and exchange of gifts.”

      The government might have an easier time getting Menendez for failing to report the gifts, a much less serious offense, he added.

      “This sounds to me more like business as usual and selective prosecution and exercise of discretion to go after somebody who’s been a thorn in the side of this particular administration on Cuba, on Iran, on some of the other issues as well,” said Dershowitz.”

      We know all about your “friends”, Alan. Sounds like he’s mounting his own defense… ahem.

      • Kay24 on April 6, 2015, 2:24 pm

        Yes, don’t we? With friends like their’s America certainly don’t need enemies.

        Dirty Dersh standing up for Melgen’s man, Menendez. Heh.

      • Sycamores on April 6, 2015, 2:35 pm

        Hi Just,

        We know all about your “friends”, Alan. Sounds like he’s mounting his own defense… ahem.

        ahem +1

      • annie on April 6, 2015, 3:27 pm

        “business as usual”?

        ha! his ‘friend’ got a 21mil check from the feds due to the legislation he sponsored or pushed thru or something. that’s hardly business as usual.

    • annie on April 6, 2015, 3:24 pm

      I have heard him speak, and was very impressed

      kay, heard him speak, traveled with him, and logged hundreds of hours watching his presentations on video, i’m a die hard fan for sure. even if he does think i’m part of a cult. i can also be in the cult of norm can’t i? (joke) i totally looove his SOH. and his smile and warmth. he’s a spectacular human being, even with his one flaw.

      • annie on April 6, 2015, 3:30 pm

        oh, i’ve read some of his (great) books too. forgot to mention.

      • Kay24 on April 6, 2015, 5:59 pm

        It must have been a great experience, Annie. To learn how he thinks, and to relate to what he says, must have been very interesting for you. These are great minds that are unfortunately the only ones who speak out strongly and boldly for the Palestinians and challenge their occupier.

      • The Hasbara Buster on April 7, 2015, 9:40 pm

        He seems to be quite good looking in that picture. Yet I’ve never heard of a Finkelstein girlfriend/boyfriend. So tell us Annie, what’s this guy’s sentimental situation?

      • annie on April 7, 2015, 9:49 pm

        hmm, well, he’s a controversial person and i can only speak for myself, but personally i especially like sentimental people. and as i already mentioned i love his SOH, his smile and warmth and think he’s a spectacular person. so i would say yes, for sure i think he’s sentimental.

        plus, he’s fun to be around.

      • CigarGod on April 7, 2015, 10:07 pm

        He has a wife.

      • just on April 7, 2015, 9:56 pm

        THB~ from the Reddit link:

        What’s your personal life like? Do you have a significant other? What are your hobbies? Favorite alcoholic drink? Ever tried pot, even just back in the day?
        Got an opinion on the Tibetan independence movement?

        “Personal life”– I’m checking my dictionary. Is it an idiom?”


      • annie on April 7, 2015, 10:41 pm

        check out this great video Chomsky on Finkelstein and Dershowitz:

      • just on April 7, 2015, 11:02 pm

        It’s a beaut, Annie!


      • annie on April 8, 2015, 12:02 am

        ;) yeah! i agree completely.

  6. amigo on April 6, 2015, 3:07 pm

    My hope is that if he is guilty , that he be found so before he dies.We do not want a Jimmy Saville outcome who never answered for his crimes while still alive.

    I want dershowitz to suffer his well deserved fall from grace and gain the disgust he has truly earned.That should put an end to the good Professor,s doubt.

    • annie on April 6, 2015, 3:21 pm

      personally, i’d be satisfied with dersh going down in history as a bloviating liar, plagiarist and pedophile. it wouldn’t matter to me if his pedophilia was revealed via video or photo documentation after his untimely death. i wouldn’t need to hear him try to squirm out of it.

      • CigarGod on April 7, 2015, 8:27 am

        Personally, I think we should build statues of criminals. Instead…we tear them down. I think it’s as valuable to take a walk in the park with our kids and tell them about the horrors inflicted by criminals…as it is to build ststues and myths of cherry trees and silver dollar throwing.

      • just on April 7, 2015, 8:37 am

        A truly grand idea, CG. Of course, lots of space would be needed for the displays. I guess it could be a National Parks project.

        On a related note, and replete with irony:

        “Busted: Edward Snowden statue prompts cover-up at Brooklyn park
        Park rangers throw tarpaulin over bust of NSA whistleblower before removing it, after installation by artists ‘to laud those who protect the ideals they fought for’”

      • CigarGod on April 7, 2015, 8:38 am

        There are others like us out there…

      • Walid on April 7, 2015, 8:59 am

        “Personally, I think we should build statues of criminals. ” (Cigar God)

        Sounds like a strange request you have there, CG, but this is actually happening in the world’s second most populated country. In fact, Netanyahu’s’s pal the fascist prime minister of India is authorizing busts and statues to be erected in India’s public places to honor the conspirators and actual assassins of Gandhi, believed to be bad news for India by Modi.

        Spooky how you, CG, think like Modi.

      • CigarGod on April 7, 2015, 9:28 am

        Oh dear, Walid.
        Law of unintended consequences in play?
        How about if we pipe in scary music, war lighting…and the agonized sounds of their victims? Surely, tourists would find nothing to idolize. Maybe if we use video of laser guided bombs going down chimneys in Iraq? Who would cheer that?

      • Walid on April 7, 2015, 11:31 am

        I was pulling your leg, CG, nothing spooky about you, but the bit about Modi and the statues is true.

      • CigarGod on April 7, 2015, 11:47 am

        Clint just called and told me “A man’s gotta know his limitations.”
        I guess I’ll spend the rest of the day in reflection.

    • pabelmont on April 6, 2015, 9:25 pm

      Annie: Take care. I detest the Dersh but I don’t think anyone is guilty just because they are accused. We live in a complex world. OTOH Finkelstein has “found him out” on various things and he’s gone entirely unpunished for that stuff — plagiarism. I think that much is well demonstrated and Harvard does nothing. Neither has he been disbarred that I’m aware of. Plagiarism and lying about it are serious moral lapses in the view of many court disciplinary committees.

      Harvard also does not sell its oil and coal stocks or its BDS-detested stocks. Guess whose camp Harvard is in! (I still like my Harvard AM ‘cos its in, ahem, Latin.)

      • eGuard on April 7, 2015, 3:35 am

        plagiarism … and Harvard does nothing.

        Harvard Dean Elena Kagan covered him and got the top job. Dersh, was that just a gift as friends do exchange or was it an agreement?

  7. just on April 6, 2015, 5:59 pm

    That entire Reddit forum was so illuminating.

    Finkelstein is unique, ever so clever, and fascinating.

    Thanks so much for linking it here.

  8. just on April 6, 2015, 6:35 pm

    Norman Finkelstein (from the Reddit link):

    “It used to be the case that to convey the horrors of the occupation, it was necessary to make historical analogies. But at this point, the Palestinian case can stand on its own. Do we really need to invoke the Nazi holocaust or South African apartheid to illuminate the horrors of israel’s periodic massacres in Gaza?”

    It’s an appropriate segue to this video from Gaza via Belal Dabour, MD:

  9. just on April 6, 2015, 6:42 pm

    Found via Max B’s twitter:

    “Goliath: Life and Loathing In Greater Israel Princeton University Panel Discussion

    On April 1st, 2015, Princeton Theological Seminary and Princeton University students hosted a panel discussion featuring author and journalist Max Blumenthal, former New York Times Middle East correspondent Chris Hedges, and Israeli activist Ronnie Barkan. Princeton Theological Seminary professor, Dr. Mark Lewis Taylor moderated the discussion, the theme and title of which are taken from Blumenthal’s book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.

    The event was sponsored by Princeton Theological Seminary’s Seminarians for Peace and Justice in the Holy Land, the Association of Charismatic Theological Students (ACTS), the Student Government Association, the Religion and Society department, and the Office of Multicultural Relations, as well as Princeton University’s Committee on Palestine.”

    • Kay24 on April 6, 2015, 7:42 pm

      Thank you so much for linking this Just. I am sure MDW members here will enjoy listening to 3 great speakers. I am going to listen to this again in case I missed something during the event.

      • just on April 6, 2015, 8:31 pm

        I’ve been waiting for it. ;-) (maybe I saw you during the Q&A~ the first gentleman’s conversation with Max is brutal to listen to)

        It’s awesome and so worth the time.

        If only I could entice more people to sit still and watch it!

      • just on April 6, 2015, 9:42 pm

        btw, via Max B.:

        “This Wednesday, I’ll join Cornel West, Larry Hamm, Molly Greene & Robert Tignor at Princeton in support of divestment”

      • annie on April 7, 2015, 12:22 am

        i just took the time, just an incredible video/discussion. fantastic. especially the q&a. thanks so much for linking just, really.

      • Kay24 on April 7, 2015, 6:49 am

        Thanks again Just. I may just as well go for the discussion this Wednesday too, that panel, with Max B. and Cornel West will be very interesting as well.

  10. chuckcarlos on April 6, 2015, 7:03 pm

    finkelstein is a noted anti-semite and nazi lover

    certified as such and declared inviolate by the ADL and Simon Wiesenthal

    and that’s good enuf for me!

    • Mooser on April 6, 2015, 9:06 pm

      “declared inviolate by the ADL and Simon Wiesenthal

      Chuck, as long as you keep on thinking Finklestein is “inviolate”, you’ll be fine. By the way, he looks good in other shades, too. Some people say he looks bluish.

    • MRW on April 6, 2015, 11:24 pm

      finkelstein is a noted anti-semite and nazi lover

      Unlike soooo many who claim to be holocaust survivors or children of holocaust survivors, Finkelstein actually is.

      [Finkelstein’s] mother, Maryla Husyt Finkelstein, grew up in Warsaw, Poland, survived the Warsaw Ghetto, the Majdanek concentration camp, and two slave labor camps. Her first husband died in the war.

      She considered the day of her liberation as the most horrible day of her life, as she realized that she was alone, her parents and siblings gone.

      Norman’s father, Zacharias Finkelstein, was a survivor of both the Warsaw Ghetto and the Auschwitz concentration camp.

      The Simon Wiesenthal Center?

      Spare me. That looking-for-donation dollars Center from the dangerous-to-Jews-location Los Angeles fights such dangers as this: “Simon Wiesenthal Center Slams State-Funded Russia Today Television for Anti-Semitic Program; Demands Apology (VIDEO)”
      Finkelstein at 3:44 min

      The stand alone youtube:

      You gotta’ watch it.

    • amigo on April 7, 2015, 12:44 pm

      “chuck carlos”.

      No problem carlos.When do you wish to be chucked.

      • Mooser on April 7, 2015, 2:17 pm

        “No problem carlos.”

        If Chuck wants to say Finklestein is “inviolate”, I can’t say him nay. I agree with Chuck, he has no right to violate Finklestein.

    • Keith on April 7, 2015, 5:20 pm

      CHUCKCARLOS- “and that’s good enuf for me!”

      It would appear that your attempt at sarcasm was less than obvious to some of your fellow commenters. That is always a risk, you know.

  11. a blah chick on April 7, 2015, 10:19 am

    Anyone know if he’s got a favorite watering hole? Cuz wouldn’t it be cool for some local Mondoites to go there and when he walks in yell “Norm!”

  12. lysias on April 7, 2015, 2:27 pm
    • ckg on April 7, 2015, 2:53 pm

      Neverthless, Judge “Marra made no ruling or statement about the veracity of Roberts’s allegations” and “noted that Roberts may yet appear as a witness when the long-running case finally goes to trial.”

      Thanks for the link, lysias.

  13. Citizen on April 7, 2015, 4:06 pm

    Dershowitz, Epstein, Kagen, Wiesenthal ruin Jewish good name, Finkelstein, Chomsky, Weiss elevate Jewish good name–What does Harvard do?

  14. Palikari on April 7, 2015, 8:26 pm

    I don’t get what’s so funny about this.

  15. just on April 8, 2015, 6:10 pm

    I’m following Max B.’s tweets on the Princeton divestment discussion/lecture and came upon this gem:

    “Cornel West: “So far, Jabotinsky has triumphed over Princeton’s Albert Einstein.” #PrincetonDivests”

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