By Richard Edmondson
You could almost, with a few minor modifications, imagine the same irate conversation taking place 2,000 years ago in the Jerusalem Sanhedrin:
Clutching a copy of Gilad Atzmon’s The Wandering Who, Professor Alan Dershowitz recently did an interview with the abundantly-respected Fox News in which he referred to the book’s author as “some obscure saxophonist from England who nobody takes particularly seriously.” In fact, not once but twice during the interview we see a visibly upset Dershowitz classifying Atzmon as an “obscure saxophonist” while attacking two American professors who gave favorable comments about his book.
“If somebody had endorsed a book saying slavery hadn’t occurred or that there were no rapes ever against women, they would be shamed today,” said the mighty Dershowitz. “And I think that the university and its students and its faculty ought to shame these professors. They ought to understand that what they’ve done is cross a terrible line.”
Dershowitz of course teaches at Harvard, and as I watched the interview I found myself wondering, “This is the best Harvard can do for a spokesperson on national TV?” I thought that because Dershowitz, throughout the interview, seemed to be making a blatant appeal to emotions rather than having a rational, reasoned discussion about a book he disagrees with. He also throws out what seem to be some extremely disingenuous comments, although here I must make a confession: I have not yet had a chance to read Atzmon’s book myself. However, I have read a fair bit of his Internet writing. Not everything of course. But enough to find myself rather skeptical of the following book description given by our esteemed Harvard scholar:
The great Ivy League thinker also compared The Wandering Who to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, suggesting that the professors who endorsed it are anti-Semitic and/or hate Jews. He then proceeded to urge their colleagues and students to walk up to them and say, “Shame on you!”
I really have to doubt that The Wandering Who makes the claim that Hitler was right or that the Nazis never killed anyone (two assertions which would seem, on the face of it, to refute each other) or that Jews have a fondness for the blood of Christian children, etc. and so on. What seems far more likely to me is that something in this book approaches what, for the Harvard professor, amounts to some very uncomfortable truths. But Dershowitz has managed to convince me of one thing, if I wasn’t convinced already: that I do need to get a copy of Atzmon’s book and read it.
Only in the coagulated, slate-gray world of mainstream media serfdom (they tell us what to think and we, the serfs, obey) can Atzmon be regarded as “obscure.” Message to Dershowitz: thanks to the Internet, people all over the world, Semites and non-Semites alike, are hearing what this “nutcase” has to say and agreeing with him.