• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Burning Books at Harvard Law

Click on Harvard Law’s homepage and you find Dershowitz’s lambaste of Carter’s recent book entitled “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” This is an op/ed piece by Dershowitz printed in Conrad Black’s National Post. If, as Lawrence Velvel (Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law School) has articulated very convincingly, what goes on in the hallowed halls of Harvard Law is inextricably linked to what goes on in the halls of power in Washington DC, because of the revolving door between the two, we are in a sorry state indeed.

This is particularly true if Dershowitz is representative the scholars at Harvard Law, which he must be as his editorial is on page one of Harvard Law’s website. In my opinion, his superficial review of Carter’s book is today’s equivalent of a verbal book burning–as any reader of the review would be persuaded to ignore Carter’s book. This, in effect, takes the book out of circulation.

The op/ed proceeds as follows: Carter’s book is initially described as an “anti-Israeli screed”; Dershowitz complains “a mere listing of all of Mr. Carter’s mistakes and omissions would fill a volume the size of his book (Dershowitz lists four, out of context and with his own very-subjective interpretation of the word “mistake”); Dershowitz continues with subjective comments such as “Mr. Carter just doesn’t like Israel or Israelis”; and finally, the coup de grace, “his (Carter’s) authorship of this ahistorical, one-sided brief against Israel forever disqualifies him from playing any positive role in fairly resolving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.” Thank you Professor Dershowitz for this anti-Carter screed!

Anyone who has actually read the book would know that most of it is centered on former President Carter’s own personal conversations and negotiations with all of the leaders of the Middle East from the 1970s to the present. The book is, in part, autobiographical. How can you label this autobiographical account of a former president “ahistorical”?

The major contribution of this book is not the pre WWI history of the region, but Carter’s own personal contribution to, and opinions of, the current history. Carter is a former President of the United States–he made this history. Carter’s book is important to read, if for no other reason than to get these first-hand accounts of his conversations with world leaders at critical moments in the recent history of the Middle East.

The final statement of Dershowitz, noted above, is especially galling when applied to former President Carter. Our former president is a man who has dedicated himself to seeking peace in the Middle East, he was the mediator of the historic Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel, and, most recently, was the monitor of fair Palestinian elections via his Carter Center and his own physical presence on the ground in the occupied territories. Ignoring these realities, Harvard Law has put it’s “seal of approval” on Dershowitz’s vitriolic review of an important work of a former President of the United States, effectively contributing to censoring this information. This is an accomplishment that should make our preeminent institution of higher education proud, or perhaps make the American public seriously question Harvard’s preeminence.

Troublesome as well, is the fact that Dershowitz’s review appears to be based on his reading precious little of the book. Obviously, he read the book title–as the entire first paragraph of his op/ed is a rant on the title alone. He is also familiar with a few selected quotes (perhaps highlighted for him by a student assistant) that are not representative of the tone of the book at all. Again, anyone who has actually read the book would know that it is not an anti-Israeli screed, quite the contrary. Carter has bent over backward to be fair in his presentation of Israel and Israeli citizens. Carter does, however, describe personal conversations and personal experiences on the ground that may put Israel in a negative light, but these are historic facts and if Dershowitz finds them offensive he might look to Israeli leaders, not Carter, to target his venom.

What I find especially frightening about the promotion of Dershowitz’s op/ed on Harvard Law’s homepage is that it says volumes about the current state of public discourse, free communication and public access to factual information in our country. Recently, in a radio interview, Carter stated that criticism of his book, and the recent resignation of Kenneth Stein from the Carter Center, has gotten more publicity from the mainstream press than has his book and its contents. If a former president, who has dedicated much of his life to seeking a fair solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, cannot get his opinions heard over the jeering of the likes of Dershowitz, who has dedicated much of his life (for big bucks) to defending murderers and currently, a child-molester in Palm Beach Florida, public discourse in the US is being seriously eroded. Even worse, this disinformation campaign is being abetted and empowered by Harvard Law, as evidently, Harvard Law prefers the bombast of Dershowitz to the serious historical facts of a former President of the United States.

MARY McGRANE is an associate professor in the field of biomedical sciences at the University of Connecticut.

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
John Feffer
Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
Dean Baker
The Economics and Politics of Financial Transactions Taxes and Wealth Taxes
Jonah Raskin
What Evil Empire?
Nino Pagliccia
The Apotheosis of Emperors
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Passion for Writing
Basav Sen
The Oil Despots
Brett Wilkins
‘No Friend But the Mountains’: A History of US Betrayal of the Kurds
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange: Enema of the State
Scott Owen
Truth, Justice and Life
Thomas Knapp
“The Grid” is the Problem, Not the Solution
Rob Kall
Republicans Are Going to Remove Trump Soon
Cesar Chelala
Lebanon, Dreamland
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
Robert Hunziker
Methane SOS
Lawrence Davidson
Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior
William Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail