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

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Deborah Lipstadt On Her Comments About Jordan Peterson

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close