Under the guise of taking apart Dershowitzâ€™s political-legal analyses Finkelstein gets off some nice shots: his victim is a â€œnotorious serial prevaricatorâ€� and â€œmoral pervertâ€� who â€œmounts his case from multiple angles, sometimes implicitly, sometimes explicitly, but always falsely.â€�
Aaah, the sweet art of the ad hominem academic slapdown.
Overall the piece is a lot of fun, and provides some nice ammo for after-dinner arguments. Finkelsteinâ€™s comments on civilian culpability and casualties, and the implications of blurring civilian/military distinctions are one high point. Another comes at the very end where, well, he answers the question raised in the title.
In the same vein (readable, consumer level stuff on international law) Philippe Sandsâ€™s Lawless World provides a good clear primer on the political/judicial terrain over which Finkelstein and Dershowitz are punching each otherâ€™s lights out.