Monday, December 05, 2005


Saw the Chomsky-Dershowitz debate on C-Span last night. Chomsky kicked Dershowitz's ass, of course, if for no other reason than that the only weapon Dershowitz seemed to have in his arsenal was a dull smear. He kept saying that whatever Chomsky said was only true on "planet Chomsky," and insinuating that Chomsky uses sources out of context, and so forth.

And Chomsky displayed his knack for being "simple-minded," as he has described himself. When Dershowitz held up a map of a proposed Palestinian state which was contiguous except for the West Bank (which he did repeatedly) and said that such a state was really a good deal for Palestinians, Chomsky said that there is a simple test to determine whether that's a good deal or not: impose it on the Israelis and see if they think it's then such a great deal.

Dershowitz claimed that Arafat was the problem in the Camp David talks with President Clinton because Clinton privately told Dershowitz that that was the case. Chomsky easily punctured the veracity of that argument by saying essentially, "are you going to believe the public historical record or something that Dershowitz claims someone told him?"

The Gadflyer has a great take on the debate here, in which he did what Dershowitz kept suggesting, which is to check Chomsky's sources against Chomsky's claims. And lo and behold, Chomsky's claim is borne out.

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