There was a bigtime debate up at Harvard on November 29, 2005, between Noam Chomsky and Alan Dershowitz (RealMedia).
I used to think Dershowitz was legit, but he's just crazy when it comes to Israel - I mean, just, insane. When he talks about Israel he goes into this madman pose. So, kinda feel sorry for him, but when he starts talkin trash about Chomsky - that's it.
I watched the debate and watched Dershowitz repeatedly calling Chomsky all sorts of names - just like a ten year old kid would do to another ten year old kid. I was really embarrassed for Dershowitz and for the students in attendence, but whatever.
Shoot - if anything, I have to give credit to Dershowitz for attempting to debate Chomsky. Most conservatives are too cowardly to do any such thing.
I found out why Dershowitz always acts so cowardly when it comes to Israel, and facing Chomsky:
Chomsky "versus" Dershowitz
Barsamian: Over the years you've been subjected to a number of personal attacks. I don't want you to go into a detailed response because you have done that elsewhere. But I'm curious about your perception and understanding of the nature and character of these attacks. What motivates them? Why do they persist? I'll just give you two examples. On March 16, 1991 you spoke for KPFA and the Middle East Children's Alliance in Berkeley. This prompted a letter from seventeen UC Berkeley academics who condemned you and called you "A defender of the PLO, even when it was carrying out murder missions against Jewish children. You also have the current case of a national bestseller, Alan Dershowitz's Chutzpah. In various passages, he calls you an "anti-Zionist zealot, anti-Israel, anti-American, and anti-Western." Did he leave anything out?
Chomsky: I didn't read it so I can't tell.
Barsamian: But what about these attacks? How do you respond? How can you respond?
Chomsky: You really can't. There's no way to respond. Slinging mud always works. Again, it's partly institutional, but in this case partly personal, too. In the case of the Berkeley professors, the letter came out about six weeks after I was there, and it was a letter, remember, to bookstores, saying that they should not allow this stuff to be heard. I've also been told, although I'm not certain, that there was an attempt to get them to withdraw my books from the stores. I think that's very understandable and I appreciate it. These are people who know perfectly well that they don't like what I say. They know that they don't have either the competence or the knowledge to respond, so the only thing to do is to shut it up, prevent it from being heard because you can't respond to it. Therefore you say I supported the PLO, etc. Most of them probably don't know what I said about anything. But the author of the letter, Robert Alter, knows perfectly well that I condemned the PLO for those atrocities, probably more harshly, certainly more knowledgeably than he did. But that doesn't matter. Facts are irrelevant.
Turning to Dershowitz, there's partly the same story. Again, he knows that he can't respond to what I say. He doesn't have the knowledge or the competence to deal with the issues. Therefore, the idea is to try to shut it up by throwing as much slime as you can. There's a famous story attributed to Sam Ervin, a conservative Senator, who once said that as a young lawyer he had learned that if the law is against you, concentrate on the facts. If the facts are against you, concentrate on the law. And if both the facts and the law are against you, denounce your opposing counsel. Dershowitz is not very bright, but he understands that much. If you can't answer on the facts and if you can't answer on the principles, you better throw dirt. In his case there happens to also be a personal reason.
He's been on a personal jihad for the last twenty years, ever since I exposed him for lying outright in a vicious personal attack on a leading Israeli civil libertarian. Despite pretenses, he's strongly opposed to civil liberties. Using his position as a Harvard law professor, he referred to what the Israeli courts had determined. But he was just lying flat outright. This was in the Boston Globe (April 29, 1973). I wrote a short letter refuting it (May 17). He then came back (on May 25,) accusing everybody of lying and challenging me to quote from the court records. He never believed I had them, but of course I did. I quoted the court records in response (June 5). He then tried to brazen it out again. It finally ended up with my sending the transcript of the court records to the Globe ombudsman, who didn't know what to do any more with people just taking opposite positions. I translated them for him, and suggested that he pick his own expert to check the translations. The ombudsman finally told Dershowitz they wouldn't publish any more letters of his because he had been caught flat out lying about it.
Ever since then he's been trying to get even, so there's just one hysterical outburst after another. That's not surprising, either. He's basically a clown. In that case there's a personal issue overlaying the political issue, which is much more interesting. This personal stuff is not interesting. But if you look at the Anti-Defamation League or the Berkeley professors, and there are plenty of others, it's the Sam Ervin story. You know you can't deal with the material. Either you ignore it, or if you can't ignore it, then defame the speaker. That's the only way you can deal with it if you don't have the brains or the knowledge or you just know your position can't be defended. I think that's understandable, and in a sense you can appreciate it. That's just the hallmark of the commissar.
Dershowitz - clown. Ouch.
Here's a story about more of Dershowitz's clowning and totalitarian ways. Like Chomsky said, "That's just the hallmark of the commissar."