You may not have heard that Norman Finkelstein is under threat of being excluded from tenure. It became clear last week that, while he had the overhwelming support of students, his department and his college, the Dean was refusing to endorse his candidacy (probably under pressure from the University president). Finkelstein is routinely nominated for the top teaching award from DePaul's students, and had been nominated for it again this year. However, if he fails to get tenure, his professional life at the institution will be more or less finished: he will no longer be able to teach or have access to university facilities. It has emerged that Alan Dershowitz
has been working away to disrupt his tenure bid, circulating a dossier accusing him of antisemitism and "egregious academic sins". DePaul faculty staff have written to its President, and to Harvard University to decry this interference, and internal investigations have rebutted Dershowitz's claims, but the faculty dean has effectively taken Dershowitz's side, saying: "I find the personal attacks in many of Dr. Finkelstein's published books to border on character assassination and, in my opinion, they embody a strategy clearly aimed at destroying the reputation of many who oppose his views."
The final decision rests with the provost and the President of the University, and as they may see Finkelstein as a permanent problem for them given all the negative publicity he attracts - largely on account of the smear campaigns - they are likely in the absence of overwhelming counter-pressure to cave in to Dershowitz et al. A solidarity campaign
has therefore been initiated, and scholarly professionals are being asked to sign a letter of support addressed to DePaul's president and provost. Most of the materials and memos involved can be read here
. You can watch a debate between Finkelstein and Dershowitz here
and see why Dershowitz is so keen to obliterate his seasoned foe.