When the latest Harvard plagiarism scandal broke, an article in the Harvard Crimson [the Harvard daily newspaper]listed Dershowitz as among those recently charged with plagiarism. Dershowitz immediately fired off a letter to the Crimson denying the allegations and claiming that Harvard Law School chief librarian Harry Martin had confirmed they were "baseless." Although professors and university administrators are known to habitually lie librarians usually hold themselves to a higher ethical standard, so I contacted Martin. He unsurprisingly denied ever having asserted the allegations were "baseless" or for that matter ever having even examined the charges and countercharges. I then brought this to the attention of the Crimson which printed a more or less accurate correction in its 26 May issue:Here's Dershowitz's letter:The May 5 letter to the editor "Plagiarism Accusations Unfairly Characterized" by Alan M. Dershowitz, Frankfurter Professor of Law, incorrectly implied that Harry S. Martin '65, the Ess Librarian of Harvard Law School, dismissed charges of academic dishonesty against Dershowitz as "baseless." While Martin has said that he validated the acceptability of certain methods of citation that Dershowitz used in his book, he has not attempted any comprehensive review of [Beyond] Chutzpah.
By ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
To the editors:
In her comment, "One Week Later" (Apr. 28), Lauren Schuker wrote that I "recently stood accused�of academic dishonesty." The crucial fact that Schuker fails to mention is that I was innocent of that politically motivated charge and was so found after a thorough investigation, which I requested. Several distinguished individuals who examined the accusations including former Dartmouth President James O. Freedman, former Solicitor General Charles Fried, and the head of the Harvard Law School library Harry S. Martin �65 also dismissed them as baseless.
The charges were part of a politically motivated campaign by a hard-left, anti-Israel academic who was falsely charging "plagiarism" against me and several other pro-Israel writers. The false charge was that I found several quotations by Mark Twain, Lord Peel, and others in a secondary source, but cited them to the primary sources in which they originally appeared. That is the citation method approved by The Chicago Manual of Style. Moreover, I cited the secondary source eight times and was using several of the quotes years before the secondary source was even published. I can document highly visible anti-Israel writers who have done exactly the same thing I was accused of doing, but were never accused of plagiarism by my biased accuser.
Plagiarism is a serious charge. It should not be trivialized by failing to distinguish those who are innocent of it from those who have admitted to it.
ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ
May 1, 2006
The writer is Frankfurter Professor of Law.
And here is Finkelstein's brief letter to the Crimson:
To the editors:I think Finkelstein's been very kind to the Crimson. Look at the correction again. "Alan M. Dershowitz, Frankfurter Professor of Law,incorrectly implied that Harry S. Martin '65, the Ess Librarian of Harvard Law School, dismissed charges of academic dishonesty against Dershowitz as "baseless."" "Implied?" Look at what Dershowitz actually wrote. "Several distinguished individuals who examined the accusations including former Dartmouth President James O. Freedman, former Solicitor General Charles Fried, and the head of the Harvard Law School library Harry S. Martin �65 also dismissed them as baseless." That's not implying something; that's saying it straight out. So, not so much implying as lying.
Alan Dershowitz dismisses allegations of plagiarism on the grounds that I am a “hard-left” academic (“Plagiarism Accusations Unfairly Characterized,” letter, May 5). I understand neither what this means nor its relevance: the basis of rational inquiry is the merit of an argument, not its provenance.
NORMAN G. FINKELSTEIN
May 8, 2006