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Deborah Lipstadt On Her Comments About Jordan Peterson

To the Forward:

Last week Ari Feldman interviewed me for “Is Jordan Peterson Enabling Jew Hatred?” When Feldman contacted me, I explicitly told him that I had never read Peterson’s work and knew very little about him. Throughout the interview, I repeated that point and refused to offer any assessment of the work itself because I was unfamiliar with it.

I was however willing to discuss some of the broader issues undergirding his article.

Feldman asked me to contextualize Peterson’s emphasis on Jews’ high IQs, as a possible explanation for the hostility towards them. Once again, stressing that I had no firsthand knowledge of Peterson’s work, I observed that Kevin McDonald also focuses on Jews’ IQ and argues that that Jews have honed their intellectual abilities in order to use them to the detriment of non-Jews. I am very familiar with McDonald’s work because he is an intellectual guru for alt-right. More significantly, when I was on trial for libel in London after having been sued by David Irving, he was the only witness to appear for David Irving who did not have to be subpoenaed to do so. He appeared in an attempt to prove that my work was part of “international endeavor to destroy [Irving’s] legitimacy as an historian,” an endeavor run by a cabal of Jewish leaders and organizations.

My comments to Feldman were almost all phrased as questions because, having no direct knowledge of Peterson’s work, I could not assert that there was a parallel. I repeatedly qualified what I had to say.

Though Feldman quoted me correctly, my repeated assertions and qualifications about my knowledge of Peterson’s arguments did not appear in his article thereby potentially skewing many readers’ assessment of my remarks.

Deborah E. Lipstadt, Ph.D.

Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, Emory University


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