Cambridge Diarist Taking the Bait by Alan Dershowitz Post date 05.14.07 | Issue date 05.21.07
Afew years ago, I barely knew the name Norman Finkelstein. I was vaguely aware of his screed, The Holocaust Industry, which argued that Jews "fabricated" their victimhood. I had heard of his comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany. ("[I] can't imagine why Israel's apologists ... would be offended by a comparison with the Gestapo," he once wrote.) And I had caught wind that neo-Nazi Holocaust-deniers like Ernst Zundel, now in an Austrian prison, praised him for "making three-fourths of our argument--and making it effectively." But I certainly never imagined meeting such a person.
Like David Duke, who is now teaching in the Ukraine, Finkelstein is a failed academic. By his own account, he has been fired by "every school in New York," including Brooklyn College and NYU. One of his former department chairs attributed Finkelstein's firing to "incompetence," "mental instability," and "abuse" of students with different politics from his own. That may help explain why he accepted a job at DePaul, a school Finkelstein describes as "a third- rate Catholic University." With a political science department known as hard left, Finkelstein finally saw a path toward tenure--a sorry possibility now being debated, and one that I may have inadvertently helped along.