'AIPAC study is ignorant propaganda'

Dershowitz tells Post: "There is no scholarship here whatsoever."

By NATHAN GUTTMAN
March 22, 2006 19:55
2 minute read.
alan dershowitz 88

alan dershowitz 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Prominent Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz is taking on the authors of the study, which blasted the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, AIPAC. Dershowitz, one of Israel's strongest defenders in the American public and academic arena, was mentioned personally in the study as an "apologist" for Israel, claiming he is one of those responsible for endorsing the notion that Israel pursued peace in the Middle East for many years. Dershowitz slammed the authors - Stephan Walt, from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago - and challenged them to a public debate at the Kennedy School. "You have to counter this article", Dershowitz told The Jerusalem Post, "These are two serious scholars and you need to expose what they have done as ignorant propaganda". Dershowitz, who is now working on a paper which will refute the claims in the Walt-Mearsheimer article, argues that there is no original material in it and that "the challenge is to find a single idea in the piece that does not already appear in hate websites. There is no scholarship here what so ever". The article, titled "The Israel lobby and US foreign policy", claimed that the pro-Israel lobby in the US has caused policy makers to prefer Israel's interests over the interests of the US. The report, which was published in the London Review of Books, went on to claim that the pro-Israeli activists in the US silence anyone in the media and academia that try to dispute the policy of favoring Israel and that AIPAC has a stronghold over congress that is used to ensure that only legislation that is seen as positive to Israel will go through. Since the article was published last week, it has attracted attention from both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian groups in the US. The media watchdog organization CAMERA published a lengthy analysis that disputes many of the claims made in the original article. CAMERA concludes that "Harvard should remove the report from its website - and therefore remove from the report the Harvard imprimatur - until the authors fix its manifold deficiencies". The paper won praise from David Duke, a white supremacist and former Klan leader. Duke told the New York Sun he was surprised "how excellent" the paper is and said that it "validates every major point" he has made during the past years. Harvard University is backing its professor, while making it clear that Stephan Walt represented only his own views in the article. In a statement put out Monday, David Elwood, dean of the Kennedy School of Government said that "The Kennedy School is committed to academic freedom and supports the practice of scholars introducing ideas in the public arena where they can be discussed and debated". Elwood added in his statement that "Work by individuals including the article published in the London Review of Books represents the research and opinions of individual faculty members, not the Kennedy School as an institution".

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