Sunday, May 27, 2007

Debate With Alan Dershowitz

As many people who read this know, Alan Dershowitz, public apologist for Israeli war crimes and Harvard University Law Professor, has been attempting to derail DePaul professor Norman Finkelstein's bid for tenure. Finkelstein is an excellent scholar and teacher who has come under intense pressure because of his criticism of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The following is an exchange I had with Dershowitz via email. I barely touched it, leaving all the typos in. Please e-mail me and let me know who you think won.

The article that sparked the exchange:

-----Original Message-----

From: Matt Muchowski

Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 14:13:23,
Subject: Finkelstein's tenure

Alan, my name is Matt Muchowski. I just read your article in the New

First of all, lets be clear that Finkelstein does not accuse ALL Jews
of fabricating their victimhood, but he documents how certain
organizations take advantage of that history to get reparations
money, which often doesn't even go to the actual survivors of the Holocaust.

As one of the DePaul alumni who has been organizing with the
Finkelstein support committee, let me assure you that Finkelstein has
had no involvement in our meetings, the petitions supporting him, or
really anything. He has refused to answer e-mails, talk to most of
the press and has refused to answer questions students ask about the
tenure process or his case in particular.

If you want to go around making wild accusations about what he is and
isn't doing, and if you want to continue on this road taking his
quotes out of context and calling him a Nazi, go ahead. It only makes you
look that much worse.

On Tuesday 15 May 2007 2:51 pm, Alan Dershowitz wrote:
I don't believe you
Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless

-----Original Message-----
From: Matt Muchowski >
Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 16:55:31
Subject: Re: Finkelstein's tenure

Well, it wouldn't be the first false belief you held without any actual
evidence. Is this how you write your books, based on belief? "Well, I
don't believe in international law, I don't believe in the documented
historical record by legitimate sources, so I'll just write about what
I do believe."

Fine, if you don't believe me, come up with good, reliable,
un-concocted sources that prove me wrong. I think you will find it about as
difficult as creation scientists trying to prove that a magical sky wizard
created the universe in 7 days and nights.


On Tuesday 15 May 2007 5:26 pm, Alan Dershowitz wrote:
Have you seen the cartoon. Do u believe f had nothing to do with it?
Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wirelesse

-----Original Message-----
From: Matt Muchowski >
Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 19:37:27
Subject: Re: Finkelstein's tenure

If you mean the cartoon Latuff drew of you jerking off to the pain and
suffering Israel caused in Lebannon, yes I have seen the cartoon.

Do I believe Finkelstein had anything to do with it? Finkelstein has
maintained that he wrote the article which sarcastically applied your own
moral code on assasinations to yourself, and then Latuff read the article
on his own and drew a cartoon based on the inspiration of the article. I
have no reason to disbelieve him unless any real evidence or testimony
counters that. Do you have any such thing, or do you merely believe, sans
evidence, that Finkelstein comissioned the cartoon? Or do you not even
believe your accusations, but feel justified in lobbing them in order to
smear Finkelstein?

I would never want you as my lawyer, "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I
know the prosecution has presented a lot of evidence, but I don't believe
any of it. Let me tell you what I believe."


On Tuesday 15 May 2007 8:15 pm, Alan Dershowitz wrote:
Fs claim proved false by fact that his article was published
simultaniously with the cartoon. But that doesn't matter to you because he can do no
wrong. Now do u see why I don't believe your preposterous lie that you
have not been in touch with f about you activities. Sent via BlackBerry from
Cingular Wireless

-----Original Message-----
From: Matt Muchowski >
Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 16:53:28
Subject: Re: Finkelstein's tenure

Well your certainly entitled your belief on that, but the burden of
evidence still weighs on you to produce documentation. I still have little
reason to doubt Finkelstein, but I think this issue is a smokescreen that
you brought up, knowing that I'm not the expert on it. I'm neither
Finkelstein or Latuff, so how could I know for certain the specifics of
this cartoon?

In a sense, it's irrelevant. It's a distraction from the real issues. You
didn't want to release documents pertaining to your attempts to prevent the
publication of Finkelstein's book, so you came up with this stuff about the

As a lawyer, you should know that if a defendent has two charges against
them, you can't convict them on one, based on the other. Now your trying to
distract and sidetrack our conversation from my original point, the one
thing I can conclusively state as it pertains directly to my own actions,
that Finkelstein is not directing any student or outside group to influence
his tenure proceedings.

In your last e-mail you said that you don't believe that I have not been in
touch with Finkelstein about my activities, and I should point that I have
been in touch with him about my activites. I met with him in his office and
spoke about a book I'm writing, and got some advice from him about how to
edit it, (he suggested making it as short as possible).

Another example: our coalition of students agreed to have the rally outside
his tenure hearing at a meeting by ourselves. Finkelstein did find out what
we were planning, as we were flying outside his classes, encouraging his
students to come, but his response wasn't to encourage us.

Over a year ago, I interviewed him for our student publication Revolver.
The following is a relevant excerpt:

In the Chicago Reader article about your feud with Harvard Professor Alan
Dershowitz Dershowitz is quoted saying that he will fly out to Chicago next
year when you are up for tenure to make a case against you receiving
tenure. Are you worried that DePaul might listen and be swayed by his
claims? I'm told by my classmates that DePaul already tried getting rid of
you once, and if it wasn't for students protesting and defending you that
they might have succeeded. What can students do to help your chances of
receiving tenure?

Fink: When I read that remark of Dershowitz's in the Reader, I thought of
the song, "Bring on the Clowns." I assume he's just trying to use up his
"frequent flier" miles. I never tell students what to do: they're smart
enough to figure things out on their own.
(, fall 2005-2006 issue)

I am also going to forward you an e-mail I received from Prof. Finkelstein
just after you sent out your packet to the poli sci department.

Your welcome to believe whatever you want, but you will need evidence that
is not fabricated to convice most people.

Matt Muchowski

RE: Tenure question...
Standard Header|Full Message View
Norman Finkelstein
Norman Finkelstein ...
AddFriday, November 17, 2006 1:59:58 PM

I prefer if people use their own judgment without my input. Otherwise I will be accused of tainting the tenure process by orchestrating extra-university coercion. I'm sure you understand.

From: depaul no war
Subject: Tenure question
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2006 23:14:10 -0800 (PST)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Received: from ([]) by with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.2444); Wed, 15 Nov 2006 23:14:10 -0800
Received: (qmail 10953 invoked by uid 60001); 16 Nov 2006 07:14:10 -0000
Received: from [] by via HTTP; Wed, 15 Nov 2006 23:14:10 PST

Hi Prof's. Finkelstein, Layton, Spaulding. this is Matt Muchowski, writing you for DePaul Students Against the War. We see that the campaign against Finkelstein getting tenure has been heating up, and a number of students and community members want to take some action to support tenure. But to do that we need some info about the timetable for this process. When and where does the poli sci department vote on tenure? Where does it go from there?


On Wednesday 16 May 2007 5:16 pm, Alan Dershowitz wrote:
Ask f. What are u afraid of?
Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless

-----Original Message-----
From: Matt Muchowski >
Date: Wed, 16 May 2007 18:51:07
Subject: Re: Finkelstein's tenure

If your so concerned, I would suggest you take your own advice. Obtain a
torture permit, stick red hot syringes under his finger nails, until he
confesses in your little inquisition.


Re: Finkelstein's tenure
From: "Alan Dershowitz"
To: "Matt Muchowski" >
Date:Yesterday 7:16:57 pm

Please stop writing your foolishness to me
Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless

1 comment:

  1. You put the guy against the wall, Matt, congratulations


Intense Debate Comments