Andrew Bostom’s plagiarism charge against Robert Spencer: still no beef
A correspondent informed me that Andrew Bostom has added some material to his extremely brief and fact-free blog post, entitled “The Little King,” in which he accused his—until recently—good friend and ally Robert Spencer of plagiarizing his work on Islamic anti-Semitism. The original Bostom entry was discussed at VFR here. I read the expanded entry and wrote back:
Andy has not presented evidence, he just points to links. He doesn’t seem to have any concept of the seriousness of the plagiarism charge, and what is needed to prove it. Also, based on Spencer’s reply to Bostom at Jihad Watch, it does appear that at least in part Andy is saying that if Spencer quotes an Islamic authority that Bostom quoted or discovered, and if Spencer does not credit Bostom, that is plagiarism. As Spencer points out, that is not plagiarism. If someone discovers a passage by some Islamic authority, and you then quote that passage, you are certainly obligated to give credit to the person who discovered it and first published it, and it is wrong not to do so. But not doing so is not the same as plagiarism. In other words, not giving a “hat tip” (“Thanks to Jones for pointing me to this worthwhile passage by Smith”) is not plagiarism.I sent a follow-up to the same correspondent:
Something just occurred to me. With all the personal attacks that have been directed at me by other conservatives over the years, sometimes extremely vicious and aimed at marginalizing and discrediting me as a writer, I have never said—and it never occurred to me to say—that a person by attacking me was weakening the cause or causes with which I am identified and therefore was helping the other side. But Spencer takes any criticism of himself, whether (as in my case) about his non-existent or inconsistent position on Muslim immigration, or (in Bostom’s case) an accusation of plagiarism, and casts it as “helping Islamic supremacism.” I repeat that this is a form of pathological narcissism, in which Spencer imagines that the anti-jihad cause is identical with his own person or completely dependent on his person. It is to be hoped that someone Spencer trusts will point out to him his distorted attitudes. Unfortunately, all the indications are that he is surrounded by jealously protective groupies, ranging from Pamela Geller (and, until recently, Andrew Bostom himself) down to many of his commenters, and that he likes it that way. The discussions at Jihad Watch have always been unreadable, as so much of them consists of commenters saying, “Yes, Robert! Yes, yes!”VFR reader Dean E., who has also followed the story, writes:
Just for fun I read over Dr. Bostom’s charges. If he has a case it wasn’t made obvious to me. Bostom begins by linking to Spencer’s blog post of 21 April, “The persistent fiction that Islamic anti-Semitism is a borrowing from Nazism,” but there’s no line-by-line demonstration of the alleged plagiarism. Then Bostom links to his book and to several of his articles and implies Spencer plagiarized from those sources, but no word-for-word evidence is produced.
The Editrix, in a post on the Bostom-Spencer controversy, criticizes me for saying that Spencer had shown “pathological narcissism.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 29, 2010 11:02 PM | Send