Bintel Blog

The Battle of Newton: Dershowitz vs. Chomsky

By Daniel Treiman

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Last month, far-left icon Noam Chomsky spoke about Iraq to students at Newton South High School. He came at the invitation of the Massachusetts high school’s Social Awareness Club. The choice of speaker sparked no small measure of outrage (which isn’t surprising, given that it sometimes seems as if the famed MIT linguist never met a problem he couldn’t blame on American foreign-policy). The invitation to Chomsky — no great friend of Israel — particularly irked members of Newton’s large Jewish community. In response, the school’s Jewish Student Union is calling in the heavy artillery: Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who will speak at Newton South on June 5.

I don’t have much to add, except that this presents a convenient opportunity to recount a highlight from a 2005 debate at Harvard between Dershowitz and Chomsky. In the course of arguing that many countries have better human rights records than Israel when responding to terrorism, Chomsky declared:

Israel and the United States are both threatening Iran with destruction. Preemption, according to Dershowitz, would require that Iran be carrying out targeted assassinations in Israel and the United States.

What makes Chomsky’s statement that much more unhinged is that it came only a month after Iran’s president called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” Talk about turning the world on its head…

You can watch the full video of the debate here. The bit mentioned above comes one hour and 20 minutes into the video.

UPDATE: Bintel Blog reader James Holstun disputes my characterization of Ahmadinejad as having called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” Read my response here.



Comments
Jeffrey Levy Fri. Jun 29, 2007

I watched the Harvard debate and was amazed to see the huge contrast between the integrity and vast knowledge of Noam Chomsky and the special pleading and downright silliness of Dershowitz, who, as you'll see at the video's end, appeared to be on the verge of tantrum. I highly recommend the video.

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