intervening in De Paul University to get
Norman G. Finkelstein fired
9 April 2007
by G.S. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2007-04-09.htm
Norman G. Finkelstein is a rock of solidity in academia. His effectiveness in making known much of the truth about the Israel-Palestine conflict is so great that Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University has mounted a disgraceful one-person campaign to try to bury his voice by preventing him from gaining tenure in DePaul University, i.e. by getting him fired.
As the United States and Israel become more and more enmeshed in the colossal destruction of the Middle East, it is vital that open discussion and debate on the key issue of the Israel-Palestine conflict be possible. Dershowitz is pursuing an obscene campaign to silence Finkelstein's highly informed participation in this much needed discussion.
You can take part in the effort to protect honest discourse on the crucial issue of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Background information on the Dershowitz campaign is available at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2007-04-08.htm . If you decide to participate by writing to the president of De Paul University to support rejection of Dershowitz’s attempted intervention, there is a sample letter by Miriam Reik in the information linked to above. Two more sample letters follow:
Subject: The Finkelstein Tenure Case
From: Kevin Murray <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 04:07:19 -0700 (PDT)
To: Dennis H. Holtschneider <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CC: Norman G. Finkelstein <email@example.com>, Alan Dershowitz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
April 11, 2007
The Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., Ed.D.
Dear Reverend Holtschneider:
I am not an academic, but have been working for the last 30 years in the fields of international development and human rights. While working for the Jesuit Refugee Service in El Salvador during the late 1980s and early 1990s, I had the opportunity to meet many faculty and students from DePaul University and developed a high degree of respect for the seriousness of DePaul’s faculty and its strong commitment to the formation of students that were prepared to think critically about their world. I do not profess to understand the process by which DePaul or any other university makes decisions on the tenure of their professors. I have, however, read several accounts of the efforts of Alan Dershowitz to influence DePaul’s deliberations regarding the tenure case of Norman Finkelstein, and I am compelled to comment on those efforts.
For years, Dershowitz has built a career around his knee-jerk support for the policies and practices of the State of Israel. He has left no stone unturned in this regard, and has never hesitated to personally attack anyone taking a view on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that differs from his own. The record on this is long and entirely obvious. Most recently, Dershowitz pilloried President Jimmy Carter for daring to question the mainstream view of the conflict in his book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”
In addressing a less-than-friendly crowd at Brandeis University, Carter acknowledged the book’s imperfections, but defended its essential thesis that there is a need for a major reassessment of U.S. policy toward the conflict. He also expressed the extent to which he had been hurt by the personal attacks of people like Dershowitz and then said, “I didn’t know that the Brandeis community needed a professor from Harvard to come out here and tell it what to think about the Middle East.” With Dershowitz waiting in the wings to launch a frontal attack on his book, Carter’s words were well chosen. The comment also has relevance to this case. Thankfully for him, Pres. Carter is not under consideration for tenure at any U.S. university.
Norman Finkelstein is under such consideration. Given Finkelstein’s own controversial positions and, especially, his questioning of Dershowitz’s scholarship, the Harvard professor has an evident personal reason to want to discredit Finkelstein’s work and destroy his livelihood. That, alone, should cause the University to take any observation the Harvard professor might make about Finkelstein’s case with a grain (if not several grains) of salt. I didn’t know that the DePaul community needed a professor from Harvard to help it make tenure decisions on its own faculty...especially a Harvard professor with such an obvious bias in this case.
I don’t consider myself well-placed to make a recommendation on the merits of Finkelstein’s tenure case. While I don't love Finkelstein's style of argument in all of his writing, I credit Finkelstein for directing his rigorous academic work in a direction that is sure to draw the ire, not just of the Alan Dershowitzs of the world, but of much of the U.S. academic and political establisment. A more prudent scholar, with a better-refined sense of self interest would pursue other academic interests, but the truth seems to matter to Norman Finkelstein. I certainly feel comfortable asking that you see that this decision is made without consideration of input like that offered by Dershowitz.
I thank you, in advance for your consideration of these points, and wish you all the best in your continuing efforts to lead a great university.
Subject: Professor Alan Dershowitz' Intervention in DePaul University
From: George Salzman <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 09 Apr 2007 11:47:35 -0500
To: Dennis H. Holtschneider <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CC: Norman G. Finkelstein <email@example.com>, Alan M. Dershowitz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Monday, 9 April 2007
I know full well that universities are not isolated from the
society at large, and are subject to political and financial pressures,
but I hope that you and your university will not be influenced by
Dershowitz’s attempted intervention.
My assertion above, “Finkelstein has shown, with meticulous care, irrefutably, that Dershowitz, in his book The Case for Israel, plagairized substantial material from Joan Peters’ book, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine” rests on the material in Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah. The facts are nailed down there in Appendix I, pp.229-254.
If you want to be off my e-mail list, please let me know.
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