Is there a Jewish gene?
Israel-Palestine, Alan Dershowitz,
Norman G. Finkelstein

4 May - 3 June, 2007

by G.S.  <>

this page is at

      A long-time friend recently wrote me (25 April) “I am glad that I was born Jewish, I’m known as a Jew, and I’m known for supporting justice and opposing injustice. I don’t like to see Jews acting below their heritage, exploiting people, the environment, social and political systems, no matter if they’re a professor, CEO, plant manager, farmer or diplomat.”
      Then I got in the mail (on 3 May) an article headlined “Promoting Hate: California Professor is Font of Anti-Semitism”, about a so-called evolutionary psychiatrist who believes Jews are genetically programmed to cause the destruction of Western Civilization.[1] As a devoted ‘enemy’ of the dominant culture of death and destruction misnamed ‘Western Civilization’, which I hope we can replace with a true civilization, I was intrigued enough to read it.

On being ‘born Jewish’

      My friend had been noticeably unhappy at my strongly condemnatory position towards the State of Israel, and my unequivocally aligning myself with Norman G. Finkelstein’s assessment of the realitiy of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and hence my unambiguous view of where justice lay.[2] In a note to my friend, I responded briefly, “no one is ‘born Jewish’ or Irish or Russian or gypsie.[3] Religion and nationality are part of cultural ethnicities with which a child, pure and pristine at birth, is clothed – perhaps ‘smothered’ is a more accurate verb. No one is ‘inherently’ Jewish or Catholic or ...” There’s nothing profound about this. It’s just true, and perfectly obvious when you think about it. Human beings are no more born with a given ethnicity than with other cultural traits. In an earlier essay I took as an example a different cultural trait, lying.[4]

Why do people lie?

      You’ve probably heard it said, about someone who apparently lies effortlessly, that so-and-so is a ‘born liar’, as though it was a particular genetic attribute rather than something that had to be learned. Of course that’s not so. No one is born a liar. Clearly, from the very beginning of its life an infant is embarked on a miraculous search for understanding – everything – a search to comprehend the world of which it rapidly gains consciousness. Long before it can verbalize, long before it can decipher the sounds of speech, it discovers, much to the pleasure of adults, that it can smile and that its smile invariably elicits smiles in return, and human warmth. And it learns to cry. You have only to watch a small baby held by a parent or other familiar person if its eyes suddenly discover you in its field of view. With its eyes rivetted upon you, the intense, unabashed scrutiny to which you are subjected is one of total curiosity, a focused effort to understand you. The child tries to fit you into its perception of the universe. Clearly, at this stage, a small child is nothing if not totally open, totally honest.

      I went on, in that essay, to explore why people learned to lie. Again, nothing profound, pretty obvious when you give it a moment’s thought. Like all social behavior, whether it be stealing, lying, self-identifying with a particular ethnic group, whatever, none of it is an expression of genetic determination, but a result of cultural assimilation. From that first moment of birth the new person-to-be is inescapably immersed in an entire complex cultural milieu. There are of course genetic variations among different population groups, the results of evolutionary changes, but these have nothing to do with social behavior. The hocus-pocus promoted by some so-called evolutionary psychologists, for example that Jews are genetically driven to be destroyers of so-called Western Civilization has about as much intellectual traction as, for example, the equally absurd notion that ‘white people’ are genetically predisposed to favor capitalism.

So why is there an American Jewish mafia
trying to hide Israel’s crimes?

      Initially, as mentioned in [2], I learned of the Jewish American Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz trying to have Norman G. Finkelstein fired, probably with the vain hope that his voice would thereby be somewhat silenced. Soon afterwards friends pointed out that it wasn't just Dershowitz but an entire (primarily Jewish) Zionist infrastructure that was gunning for Finkelstein, in an effort to hide the truth of Israel's insufferable actions towards the Palestinians. Why is it that many so-called mainstream Jewish American organizations are fiercely committed to the State of Israel? Once we set aside the self-promotional fairy tales of evolutionary psychiatrists that attribute social behavior of particular ethnic groups to their supposed genetic uniqueness (Swiss as makers of precision watches and fine chocolates, and so on) then we must look to the historic specificity of each ethnic group.

      Each particular ethnic group has had every aspect of its social behavior shaped by its unique historical experience. That of the Jewish peoples was greatly determined by Christianity. Raul Hilberg marks the beginning of (state mandated) anti-Jewish policy to early in the fourth century,[5] following the Emperor Constantine’s adoption of Christianity and his decision to make it the state religion. “Unlike the pre-Christian Romans, who claimed no monopoly on religion and faith, the Christian church insisted on acceptance of Christian doctrine.” From the early fourth century “the state carried out church policy. For the next twelve centuries, the Catholic Church prescribed the measures that were to be taken with respect to the Jews.”

      Hilberg places the heart of the conflict, I think correctly, in religious dogma. The view of the early Christians “was changed abruptly when Christ was elevated to Godhood. The Jews have only one God. This God is indivisible. He is a jealous God and admits of no other gods. He is not Christ, and Christ is not He. Christianity and Judaism have since been irreconcilable.” Though Rome prohibited forceful conversions, gradually the Jews, the vast majority of whom rejected conversion, were prevented from participating in social activities and thereby separated from the population at large. Intermarriage was forbidden. Jews were barred from public office. Discussion of religious questions was forbidden.

      The twelve-century long effort to convert the Jews from their dogma to Catholic dogma failed. “The unsuccessful church”, writes Hilberg, “began to look on the Jews as a special group of people, different from Christians, deaf to Christianity, and dangerous to the Christian faith.” Martin Luther, writing in 1542, just four years before his death, was bitterly convinced of the impossible blindness and lack of common sense that prevented Jews from accepting the true God. “The Lutheran manuscript was published at a time of increasing hatred for the Jew. Too much had been invested in twelve hundred years of conversion policy. Too little had been gained. From the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, the Jews of England, France, Germany, Spain, Bohemia, and Italy were presented with ultimatums that gave them no choice but one: conversion or expulsion.”

      In the twelve years 1933 to 1945 the Nazi government managed the slaughter, according to Hilberg, of five million European Jews. As he emphasizes, “The Nazi destruction process did not come out of a void; it was the culmination of a cyclical trend. We have observed the trend in the three successive goals of anti-Jewish administrators. The missionaries of Christianity had said in effect: You have no right to live among us as Jews. The secular rulers who followed had proclaimed: You have no right to live among us. The Nazis at last decreed: You have no right to live.”

      No sane and informed person can fail to be revulsed at the terrible carnage visited upon those millions of ordinary people. This includes of course the bulk of those Americans who identify ourselves as Jews, whether or not we believe in Jewish religious dogma. Call it tribal identity, ethnic identity, whatever. There’s a particular sensitivity to the realization that people not all that different from us could be methodically swept up and murdered. If them, why not other Jews? I believe there is this innate fear among many American Jews that the State of Israel is the only shield protecting Israeli Jews from possible extermination, and that therefore, no matter what Israel does must be accepted and legitimized. Since Israel’s military, financial and diplomatic dependence on the United States is essential for continuing its current course, that support must in their view be maintained at all costs. I believe this is why the American Jewish mafia strives to hide Israel’s crimes.

Unchaining our minds, Jew and Gentile alike

      Nothing cripples the human mind so effectively as giving oneself over to acceptance of dogma. If we forego the practice of questioning many things we lose an essential characteristic of what makes us human. Children display their humanity continually with their endless, totally natural questioning. We all want to understand, to know. But the process, if it is to be more than superficial, has to involve our own judgments. We need to question whether what we are told, even if by a supposed authority, makes sense. Is it consistent with other things we know? In brief, we must keep testing, keep searching for information that is trustworthy, that is reliable, a search that never ends. We must engage in critical thinking.

      It’s well to remember that during the twelve-century span from Alexander’s conversion to Catholicism until Luther’s exasperation with what he regarded as the Jews’ blind dogmatism, the driving force that socially constructed the Jews as a distinct (and despicable) human group was religious dogma pure and simple. By denying Jews the possibility of living in the same ways professed Christians could, they gradually were forced into modes of social behavior that served to set them apart from the general population. They increasingly were seen as different, not just in behavior but inherently. This mistaken belief occurred both among Gentiles and Jews. The belief itself became a widely accepted article of faith, a dogma, which still has enormous and disastrous effects.

      A basic part of Zionist dogma is the belief that Jews and Arabs are inherently different, not just culturally but in effect irrevocably separated into distinct population groups as though they are genetically disparate. Jews were so regarded by the Nazi dogma that dominated the thinking of many Germans. The terrible consequence of this dogma is that it makes possible the dehumanization of ‘the other’ in the eyes of the dominant group. And once dehumanized the weaker group can be slaughtered without compassion, in fact with a sense of satisfied cleansing by the murderers. So it was with the Indians in the eyes and actions of the settlers of the Americas, with the Jews in the consciences and behavior of the Nazis, and now with the Palestinians as seen and treated by the Jewish majority in Israel-Palestine.

      Another deadly dogma is the widely held belief that security is to be found only within the framework of a national state. The Zionists’ belief that Jews are irreducibly different from other peoples and their historical experience of centuries of anti-semitism in European Christian nations led them to seek security in a Jewish nation state, specifically, a nation state with a dominant Jewish majority. As I see it, that is the genesis of Israel’s drive for ethnic cleansing.[5.1]

      Jews who are trapped in these two dogmatic beliefs – 1) the essential difference of Jews from other people, and 2) the necessity of citizenship in a nation-state to live in security – can imagine no acceptable alternative for Israeli Jews but an Israeli state that is overwhelmingly Jewish. This dogma, integral to Zionism, shapes the thoughts of almost the entire Israeli political spectrum, from the extreme right-wing to the moderate left. It underlies, for example, the commitment of some of the most humane Jewish Israelis, such as Uri Avnery, to the so-called Two-State Solution. Avnery criticizes those who call for a One-State Solution.[6] He wrote, “I listened to a lecture by Professor Ilan Pappe of Haifa University, one of the leading spokesmen for this idea . . . These were the principles: There is no sense in opposing just the occupation, nor any other particular policy of the Israeli government. The problem is the very essence of Israel as a Zionist state. This essence is unchangeable as long as the state exists . . . [I]n Israel there is no essential difference between Right and Left. Both are accomplices in a policy whose real aim is ethnic cleansing, the expulsion of the Palestinians not only from the occupied territories, but also from Israel proper.”

      Avnery, in substantial (though only partial) agreement, states, “There is no doubt that the real disease is not the 40-year long occupation. The occupation is a symptom of a more profound disease, which is connected with the official ideology of the state. The aim of ethnic cleansing and the establishment of a Jewish State from the sea to the river is dear to the hearts of many Israelis, and perhaps Rabbi Meir Kahane was right when he asserted that this is everybody's unspoken desire (emphasis added).” However, a little later Avnery reinforces what I believe is the truth, that ‘adequate ethnic cleansing’ of Israel is not only ‘official ideology of the state’, but is culturally embedded in the Jewish Israelis, when he writes, “There is no doubt that 99.99% of Jewish Israelis want the State of Israel to exist as a state with a robust Jewish majority, whatever its borders.” My guess is that Avnery places himself in that 99.99%, and that the remaining 0.01% consists, in his mind, of Ilan Pappe and a few other misguided utopian individuals. In the final paragraph of his article, Avnery, speaking of “the great majority of Israelis”, says, “They are shackled by the beliefs they acquired in early childhood. They must be freed from them — and I believe that it can be done.” Avnery too is shackled, as are many Jews (and others), by dogmas 1) and 2) of the preceding paragraph.

Dogma-controlled thought. Can a ‘hammer and
tongs’ approach shake Israeli dogma?

      The conflict — no, disagreement is the right word — between those in the Israeli peace groups that advocate a so-called two-state solution, the camp to which Uri Avnery belongs, and those who argue for a so-called one-state solution, as called for by Ilan Pappe, is over how to end the oppression of the Palestinians and build a healthy society in the ancient land of Palestine. They agree that the overwhelmingly dominant dogma of the Israeli Jews is virulently anti-Palestinian. Avnery says he believes they can be freed from “the beliefs they acquired in early childhood.” Pappe is convinced it will not happen from within Israeli society. He supports a world-wide boycott to force a change of consciousness, and behavior, among Jewish Israelis. I think Pappe is correct in seeing the need for pressure from outside Israel.

      However, even a world-wide boycott, if it did not include the United States, would be inadequate to force change, because, indisputably, Israel can act as it does solely by virtue of the military, financial and political support of the United States. Thus, if indeed outside pressure is necessary to change Israeli policy, that immediately calls attention to the role of the United States and of so-called organized mainstream American Jewry, what I’ve referred to (in my 22 April paper) as the U.S.-based Jewish Mafia with its ‘Israel Über Alles’ commitment. There has been considerable discussion about whether this Jewish Mafia has exercised a good deal of control over American foreign policy in the Middle East, as Mearsheimer and Walt maintain,[7] or whether it has aligned itself with the overall geopolitical interests of the United States, which largely dovetail with those of the government of Israel, as Joseph Massad argues convincingly.[8]

      Norman G. Finkelstein, one of the most effective researchers in exposing the manufacture of propaganda in defense of Israeli policy, also argues that the Israel Lobby is far less important than the major geopolitical interests of the United States.[9] He says, “[G]iving primacy to either the Israel Lobby or to U.S. strategic interests — isn't, in my opinion, very useful. Apart from the Israel-Palestine conflict, fundamental U.S. policy in the Middle East hasn't been affected by the Lobby.” He concludes, “[A] crucial dimension of this debate should be the extent to which the Lobby stifles free and open public discussion on the subject. For in terms of trying to broaden public discussion here on the Israel-Palestine conflict the Lobby makes a huge and baneful difference. Especially since U.S. elites have no entrenched interest in the Israeli occupation, the mobilization of public opinion can have a real impact on policy-making ­ which is why the Lobby invests so much energy in suppressing discussion.”

      I agree with Ilan Pappe, and thus support efforts to develop a world-wide blockade of Israel. To be succesful I think it must be nearly world-wide, in particular it must include the United States. But a change of U.S. policy will not happen readily, because most U.S. elites – Jews and non-Jews – are pleased with their personal benefits derived from the current policy, and are not about to give up the status quo. Some of them may prefer ‘better management’ of the empire by Democrats, but are not for abandonment of the goal – universal rule by the U.S. on their behalf. In order to initiate real change in U.S. mideast policy, along with an end to backing Israeli aggression, I think massive popular opposition would be needed, an unlikely development unless the level of economic hardships suffered by the American people became unbearable.

      In the absence of unsupportable hardships, the bulk of the American people are kept compliant with national policy by the massive propaganda machinery of the media and the state and by the terror tactics of the government against those in open opposition. Just as Pappe believes external pressure on Israel is necessary to force a change of that government’s policy, I believe external pressure on the United States is required to force a change in this government’s policy, as I wrote previously.[10] Though it’s more than four and a half years since my appeal for using a ‘hammer and tongs’ approach on the U.S., and enormous damage has been done to our world since, the idea still is worth trying to implement. A successful application of force to the United States would, as one consequence, also force the Israeli government to give up its policy of conquest of the Palestinians. But the impact of a U.S. abandonment of its effort to dominate the world would also have many other desirable results. Anti-democratic regimes that now support the U.S. would lose U.S. backing and popular struggles would be strengthened by a lessening of oppressive actions by their governments.

Dogma-controlled thought. “We Jews have suffered the most”

      American Jews are not an ethnic group that can legitimately lay claim to have suffered more than any other groups. I believe it is likely true, as historian Jon Wiener, in a very provocative review of The Holocaust in American Life,[11] notes, “Despite the fact that after World War II Jews became the best-educated, most politically effective and wealthiest ethnic group in American society, official Judaism since the seventies has increasingly drawn on the Holocaust to portray Jews as victims, pitting them against other groups seeking redress—especially through affirmative action—for their own victimization” (emphasis added). Peter Novick, whose book Wiener reviewed, maintained that “the Holocaust”, as it exists in American consciousness, “was constructed twenty-five years after the war in a way that would not have been recognizable to Jews or gentiles in 1945.”

      Jon Wiener’s review, titled appropriately by The Nation ‘Holocaust Creationism’, casts a good deal of light on the underlying motivation of the current campaign by the American Jewish Mafia to make sure Norman Finkelstein is fired (denied tenure) at De Paul University. As one of the most effective writers and speakers to expose the lies and mythology on which much of the American public’s sympathy and support for ‘poor little Israel’ is based, he is much more damaging to the Jewish Mafia than simply a thorn in the side. The notion that the (Jewish) Holocaust, an indisputable historical event, is absolutely incomparable to any other mass slaughter, had to be constructed. It had never before occurred to me either that this was a construction or that it did not take place until a quarter century after the end of World War II, a period I lived through. What Novick [12] and Wiener write accords with my own experience. I do not know whether my perception gradually changed during that period. If so, I certainly did not realize that it was the result of deliberate propaganda efforts. Wiener writes

Holocaust consciousness today is thoroughly embedded in mainstream popular culture. This has happened, Novick writes, because American Jews “are not just ‘the people of the book,’ but the people of the Hollywood film and the television miniseries, of the magazine article and the newspaper column, of the comic book and the academic symposium.”

      I agree with Wiener’s condemnation of “Official Jewish treatment of the Armenian genocide” as having been “particularly reprehensible”, which he says Novick demonstrates. Briefly, the Holocaust museum was originally pledged to include the Armenian genocide. Israel, for its own geopolitical reasons, didn't want to offend Turkey. Wiener continues
American Jewish activists joined Israeli lobbyists in defeating a 1989 Congressional resolution memorializing the Armenian genocide, while major Jewish organizations stayed silent. In response to Armenians who argued that they too were the victims of genocide, Lucy Dawidowicz, a leading Holocaust historian, argued that the Turks had “a rational reason” for killing Armenians, unlike the Germans, who had no rational reason for killing Jews.

      Although Wiener has a few disagreements with and criticisms of Novick’s study, overall he gives it the highest recommendation, concluding his review
. . . Novick has made his case: The present state of Holocaust consciousness is not good for the Jews. It provides a negative way for Jews to define themselves as a people and a destructive way for Jews to relate to others. His wonderfully clear and intelligent voice, his insistence on posing difficult questions and his deep learning make this, for me at least, the history book of the year—not just for what it says about Jews but for what it reveals about cultural politics in America since World War II.

      Historians, i.e. academically credentialed ones,[13] are of course by no means objective neutral assessors of ‘THE FACTS of history.’ Like all of us, they live their lives, as Howard Zinn reminds us, ‘on a moving train’, where neutrality is an impossibility. Some of them are extremely careful and very highly regarded for their historical research. Raul Hilberg is an example. I am unaware of his involvement in any ideological controversies. Also highly regarded for his careful, honest historical research is Benny Morris.[14] He, however, is intensely involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict as a Zionist ideologue, apart from his historical research and writing.

      Wiener, in two Nation pieces about the Dershowitz attack on Finkelstein,[15] mentions a number of historians, some of whom are slashingly negative about the value and honesty of Finkelstein’s book, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. Others consider its historical accuracy beyond reproach. Wiener is in my opinion very fair in citing negative as well as positive opinions of Finkelstein’s work, though it seems clear that he himself believes in its merit. Of particular interest to me is that although the three of them – Finkelstein, Novick and Wiener – all agree that promoting the myth of the uniqueness of Jewish suffering is wrong and harmful, Novick is one of the harshist critics of the Finkelstein book. Finkelstein, as is his custom, refutes Novick’s assertions (all made off the cuff without citations), taking them allegation by allegation.[16] I think this is part of the reason why Finkelstein has made such a powerful impact on the controversy, and why he is a prime target of the American Israel Lobby’s Jewish Mafia. Instead of being simply sloppy, as in this instance Novick was in his comments, Finkelstein nails things down. That, together with his willingness to say what he thinks without resort to euphemisms, is the other part of his effectiveness. It is the part that makes him, as they say, ‘controversial’.

Dogma-controlled thought. Norman Finkelstein, a prime
enemy of the ‘we poor suffering Jews’ dogma

      Ongoing profits from The Holocaust Business are threatened if destruction of the dogma continues. Finkelstein, a vulnerable academic, is anathema to the American Jewish Mafia, which is out to stifle his voice, using whatever means it can. Whether or not the attack, headed most prominently by Alan Dershowitz and strongly backed by an array of so-called mainstream American Jewish organizations, can succeed in preventing Finkelstein from holding a permanent place in academia remains to be seen. But it is becoming increasingly clear that the tide of truth is rising, the mythology and false dogma on which undeserved support for the worst practices of the Israeli state has long been justified is being eroded. Whether he will be secure in the academy or not, all of us who cherish and work for the unity of humankind are indebted to Finkelstein for his commitment to truth and his readiness to assume the personal risks it entails.


[1] Promoting Hate. The e-mail came from the Science for the People Discussion Group, where excerpts of the article were posted by Phil Gasper. However, I would recommend reading the full version, which is at . My caustic assessment of the article is posted at

[2] Norman G. Finkelstein. On 6 April I first learned of Alan Dershowitz’s effort to get Finkelstein fired. On 8 April I posted “A dangerous struggle to bury the truth”, at . Then on 9 April I posted “Help prevent Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz from intervening in De Paul University to get Norman G. Finkelstein fired”, at . Then Bill Templer and James Petras wrote me, emphasizing the importance of confronting the Zionist infrastructure in the U.S., rather than focussing only on Dershowitz. Their view seemed to me correct and I intended to turn to the larger problem, as I indicated in the 12 April posting, “Dershowitz vs. Finkelstein III”, at . But fraudulent use of my name (and those of others) on a petition calling on DePaul University to fire Finkelstein interfered temporarily. I reported on that episode in two postings, “Dershowitz vs. Finkelstein IV: Beyond Dershowitz, institutionalized fraud” on 18 April, at , and on 22 April, “Fraud by Anti-Finkelstein U.S.-based Jewish Mafia: Beyond Dershowitz, institutionalized fraud”, at .

[3] Gypsie. In a recent note Bill Templer, a linguist, used the term Gypsies/Roma to designate people of that ethnicity. The Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, unabridged (1952) entry is ‘gypsy, gipsy’, but also says, [often cap.]. So I ought to have written Gypsy instead of gypsie. It also says Cf. Bohemian, Romany. There is no entry for Roma. Probably the two terms Roma and Romany are equivalent.

[4] Cultural traits. From the essay “Mutual Aid and Mutual Trust”, posted at .

[5] Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews. Student Edition, Holmes and Meyer, New York 1985. Interestingly, in 326 Constantine decided to move the capital of the empire from Rome to a new city, Constantinople, whose construction began that year (Encyclopedia Britannica 11th edition, 1911, Vol VI, p.989). The author conjectures, “It is very probable that this step was connected with Constantine’s decision to make Christianity the official religion of the empire. Rome was naturally the stronghold of paganism, to which the great majority of the senate clung with fervent devotion. Constantine did not wish to do open violence to this sentiment, and therefore resolved to found a new capital for the new empire of his creation.” It was built by enlarging the old town of Byzantium (Vol VII, p.3).

[5.1] Ethnic cleansing. Michael Goldhaber wrote me (4 June), “You correctly point to the inherently ethnic cleansing desires of even humane Israelis, but you fail to include a vital context. It is this: Israelis are far from unique in such desires, inherent in the notion of the nation-state itself.” I think he may be correct that I did not adequately emphasize the non-uniqueness of the (Jewish) Israelis in desiring ethnic purity. I regard the practice as horrendous wherever it occurs (or occurred).

[6] Uri Avnery. His article criticizing the idea of the ‘one-state solution’ was first published on 21 April 2007. It is available at . It is also available at . Ilan Pappe, whose advocacy of the ‘one-state solution’ was the focus of Avnery’s criticism, responded. His reply is available at .

[7] The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, John J. Mearsheimer, U. of Chicago, Department of Political Science, and Stephen M. Walt, Harvard U., John F. Kennedy School of Government, .

[8] Joseph Massad, in an article published in the 23-29 March 2006 issue of the Cairo Weekly, Al-Ahram. Massad, who teaches modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University, has been attacked by the American Jewish Mafia. His article is at .

[9] The Israel Lobby, by Norman G. Finkelstein, .

[10] “Call to stop the U.S. government's drive for global domination”. This call, with specific actions to force the U.S. to change its policies, was inspired by the attack looming over Iraq in Sept 2002. It is at
. A brief ‘last minute call’, “A campaign to FORCE the American government to stop”, as the assault drew close in March 2003, is at .

[11] Jon Wiener review of The Holocaust in American Life, by retired University of Chicago historian Peter Novick, in The Nation, 12 July 1999. Available at http://www.the

[12] Peter Novick. I have not yet read Novick’s book, just the quotes in Wiener’s review.

[13] Historians. People like Gore Vidal, William Blum and (in his day) Upton Sinclair, are by any reasonable criteria very knowledgeable about some areas of history, but are not academically certified historians.

[14] Benny Morris is the most prominent of the ‘new historians’, a group of Israeli historians responsible for revealing much of the previously hidden history of the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is the author of The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, Cambridge University Press, 2004. In an interview with Ari Shavit for the major Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, Morris explains his position, at . I find his ideology abhorrent, but in expressing it I think he is speaking honestly.

[15] Wiener’s two pieces in The Nation. An article, “Giving Chutzpah New Meaning”, is at A comment, “The Chutzpah Industry”, is at .

[16] Finkelstein’s refutation of Novick’s allegations. I examined them as carefully as I could without excessive effort (access to Novick’s review in the Jewish Chronicle is not available without subscription). The citations appear to be accurate. The compilation is at .

All comments and criticisms are welcome.>

If you want to be off my e-mail list, please let me know.
If you want to be added, please write me with
your full name and e-mail address

*      *      *
Return to the Latest postings page
Return to the opening page of the Website

Last update of this page: 9 June 2007