The Dershowitz-Finkelstein Debate Timeline

Sept. 24, 2003—Finkelstein accuses Dershowitz of committing plagiarism in his bestselling book “The Case for Israel.” The accusation surfaces on a talk show called “Democracy Now!” in which both professors appeared to debate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as in an article published in the October edition of The Nation.

July 2005—Dershowitz attempts to move the University of California Press to careful consideration of its publication of Finkelstein’s book “Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History,” in which the author continues his attack on the academic work of Dershowitz, including a charge that Dershowitz did not actually write—and may not even have read—one of his own books, “The Case for Israel.”

The University of California Press removed the suggestion that Dershowitz did not read his book from the text prior to publication.

Nov. 3, 2005—Finkelstein tells an audience of Harvard Law School students that Dershowitz’s book “The Case for Israel” represents a work of plagiarism, and adds a new charge—that Dershowitz has recently flown to Israel to advise the Israeli government on how to suppress the free speech of the nation’s pilots. Dershowitz denies the charge.

September 2006—Dershowitz sends a list of Finkelstein’s alleged academic transgressions to the DePaul political science department upon the request of former department chair Patrick Callahan.

May 4, 2007—In comments published in the Wall Street Journal under the title “Finkelstein’s Bigotry,” Dershowitz alleges that Finkelstein has “encouraged radical goons to email threatening messages.” He then quotes from a letter of award-winning biologist Robert Trivers, in which his views of the Israeli-Lebanese conflict are criticized, and he is compared to a “Nazi-like apologist.”

May 25, 2007—After arriving on campus to deliver a talk and enjoy a party in his honor at the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics (PED), Trivers is informed only hours in advance by PED Director Martin A. Nowak that both events have been cancelled. Trivers later states in an interview with The Crimson that he believes Dershowitz may have been involved in the cancellation of the event—a charge that Dershowitz denies.

June 8, 2007—Assistant professor of political science at DePaul University Norman G. Finkelstein is informed that he has been denied tenure. Finkelstein identifies Dershowitz in remarks to The Crimson as having “played the leading role in creating an atmosphere of hysteria” that resulted in his failure to attain job security at DePaul.

—Compiled by Christian B. Flow.