WASHINGTON - A prominent Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, is alleging that the authors of a Harvard Kennedy School paper about the "Israel lobby," one of which is the Kennedy School's academic dean, culled sections of the paper from neo-Nazi and other anti-Israel hate Web sites.
"What we're discovering first of all is that the quotes that they use are not only wrenched out of context, but they are the common quotes that appear on hate sites," Mr. Dershowitz, who is identified in the paper as part of the "lobby," told The New York Sun yesterday.
"The wrenching out of context is done by the hate sites,and then [the authors] cite them to the original sources, in order to disguise the fact that they've gotten them from hate sites."
The paper, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," was written by the Kennedy School's Stephen Walt and a political science professor and the codirector of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, John Mearsheimer, and published by the Kennedy School.
In the 83-page "working paper," the professors suggest that a vast network of journalists, think tanks, lobbyists, and largely Jewish officials have seized the foreign policy debate and manipulated America to invade Iraq.
The paper has drawn sharp criticism from prominent Harvard faculty, Harvard students, and a member of Congress, with many critics alleging that the document is riddled with factual inaccuracies and suffers from bias and faulty research.
According to Mr. Dershowitz, one of the paper's most prominent critics, Messrs. Mearsheimer and Walt not only demonstrated "shallowness" in their analysis,but also based that analysis on quotes and viewpoints widely available on the Web sites of hate groups.
The paper, the law professor said, was "simply a compilation of hateful paragraphs lifted from other sources and given academic imprimatur." Mr. Dershowitz said that he and his research assistants were currently working on a comparative chart showing the parallelism between parts of the Walt-Mearsheimer paper and quotes available on neo-Nazi Web sites.
While Mr. Dershowitz stressed that the comparison project was a "work in progress," one particularly noticeable example of the authors' alleged culling from hate sites was found in the Walt-Mearsheimer paper's use of a quote from a former executive editor of the New York Times, Max Frankel.
Under the section "Manipulating the Media," on pages 19 and 20 of the paper, Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer write: "In his memoirs, for example, former Times executive editor Max Frankel acknowledged the impact his own pro-Israel attitude had on his editorial choices. In his words: 'I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert.' He goes on: 'Fortified by my knowledge of Israel and my friendships there, I myself wrote most of our Middle East commentaries. As more Arab than Jewish readers recognized, I wrote them from a pro-Israel perspective.'" The footnote cites Mr. Frankel's 560-page book, "The Times of My Life and My Life with the Times," published in 1999.
Yet the Frankel quote used by Messrs. Mearsheimer and Walt, Mr. Dershowitz said, is nearly identical to the quote used by a neo-Nazi Web site in its own take on Jewish press influence, "Jewish Influence in the Mass Media." The document, posted on Holywar.org, quotes more extensively from the same section in Mr. Frankel's memoir.
"Here's Max Frankel [for years the Executive Editor of the New York Times] and his thoughts about Israel in his work," the document proclaims. "'I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert. ... Fortified by my knowledge of Israel and my friendships there, I myself wrote most of our Middle East commentaries. As more Arab than Jewish readers recognized, I wrote them from a pro-Israel perspective....'" Holywar.org also cites Mr. Frankel's memoir.
"He quotes Max Frankel, as if he read the whole 500 pages of Max Frankel?" Mr. Dershowitz said. "I promise you they did not read Max Frankel's whole book," the law professor said of the paper's authors. "How do I know that? We found the same exact quote on various hate sites."According to Mr. Dershowitz, other parts of the Walt-Mearsheimer paper bear striking similarities to postings on other anti-Jewish Web sites, including Nukeisrael.org, which purports to be the Web site of the "National Socialist Movement Northwest."
"They didn't do direct research, they didn't do primary research," Mr. Dershowitz said of the paper's authors. "They're just taking ideas that already existed out there in hate sites - in the work of Chomsky, in the work of Buchanan, and in the work of David Duke - and they're claiming it as their scholarship."
Phone and e-mail requests from the Sun for comment about the ongoing "lobby" paper situation to Messrs.Walt and Mearsheimer since Tuesday have not been returned.
Meanwhile, concern over the paper is continuing to mount at the Kennedy School, where a professor told the Sun yesterday that the faculty are buzzing with questions about whether a Harvard investigation will be launched into the paper's "poor scholarship," "in the same way poor scholarly work and plagiarism have generated past investigations and, on occasion, the stripping of tenure."
The professor also told the Sun that one of the Kennedy School's most prominent faculty members, David Gergen, had been contacting prominent Jewish donors to allay concerns about the furor generated by the Walt-Mearsheimer paper.
Last night Mr. Gergen told the Sun that he had "been in conversations, at my own initiative, with a number of people on the outside, including some of our benefactors."
"Because obviously there are some people out there who are concerned," Mr. Gergen continued. "People read the newspapers, they watch the blogs, and they call and say 'What's going on at the Kennedy School? What's going on at Harvard,'" he added.
Still, the professor said he had "been very impressed with how supportive and understanding people are, about the situation, and about recognizing the importance of academic freedom even as they disagree with the contents of the article."
Related articles & editorials:
A Harvard School Distances Itself from Dean's Paper, March 23, 2006
The Belfer Declaration, March 23, 2006
Harvard's Paper on Israel Called 'Trash' By Solon, March 22, 2006
Kalb Upbraids Harvard Dean Over Israel, March 21, 2006
David Duke Claims to Be Vindicated By a Harvard Dean, March 20, 2006
Discredited Dean, March 20, 2006.
Harvard, Chicago, and the 'Lobby', March 17, 2006