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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Norman Finklestein Posting on a Terror Attack in Israel


Norman Finklestein


Of all the controversial professors who infest American universities, few can match ex-DePaul University Professor of Middle East Studies Norman Finklestein. I say ex-professor because Finklestein lost his position at DePaul (after a nasty fight)when they refused to give him tenure. He is one of those many professors who detest the state of Israel and deny its right to exist. Since losing his job at DePaul, Finklestein, now going under the label "independent scholar", has joined the lecture circuit traveling around the country and appearing at one university after another where he accuses the Israelis of every crime imaginable while also pouring insults on his own country-especially the previous administration. Finklestein's main thesis is that the Jews and Israel are using the Holocaust to drive their own agenda in favor of the Jewish state at the expense of the Palestinians. Interestingly, he is the son of Jewish Holocaust survivors. Whatever his motives, Finklestein is one of many Jewish academics who allow themselves to be used as "Jewish voices" in opposition to Israel.

As we speak, more universities around the nation are extending invitations for this character to speak:

4/04/09 – Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis
4/07/09 - University of Connecticut
4/08/09 – University of Maryland
4/09/09 – University of Massachusettes, Lowell
4/13/09 - California State Universty, Chico (Political Science
Department, Middle East Studies Program)


In at least one(California State University at Chico), his appearances are being sponsored by academic departments, a testament to their "dedication" to bringing a fair debate to the issues for the benefit of their students.

On January 31, I attended a completely one-sided forum on Israel/Palestine at UC Irvine. Finklestein was one of several left-wing academics who sat on a couple of panels and poured abuse on the Jewish state. According to Finklestein et al, Israel committed a massacre in the recent fighting in Gaza, deliberately targeting innocent Palestinians and using bombs given by dear old Uncle Sam. According to Finklestein, the reason Israel has fought virtually all of its wars was to instill fear in the Arab world and put a halt to any peace efforts when cute little groups like Hamas got too "moderate" and desirous of peace. These are all statements that Finklestein made in my presence and are included in the two reports I wrote both for Campus Watch/Frontpage and my own blog.

Finklestein is a character who oozes arrogance and condescension. In a previous appearance at UCI, he angrily berated a young student who had the temerity to ask him about his invitation to attend a Holocaust denial conference in Iran. Once he has the podium, you need to send in the Army to get him to relinquish it. The man can literally drone on forever. Yet, college audiences love him-especially at UC Irvine where deans and above gather at his feet, laugh at his nasty quips and applaud his insulting statements. Finklestein has few words of praise for anyone and plenty of insults for those he doesn't like-which is just about everybody. At UCI in the space of a few hours, he called Israeli historian Benny Morris, who has produced many works on the Middle East conflict, a "part-time historian and full-time propagandist", George W Bush "an idiot" and Dick Cheney a "thug and a murderer".

At that same event, I sent up a written question to the panel which was selected and directed to Finklestein. I asked if he and his colleagues would condemn recent comments and chants heard at anti-Israel rallies around North America in the wake of the Gaza fighting, such as "Long live Hitler", "Jews go back to the ovens", etc (all of which are readily available on YouTube and can be seen on this blog). Finklestein's answer was that he had not heard of such statements, suspected they were wildly exaggerated, made up, or committed by "Zionists" masquerading as Jews. (That answer caused the audience to erupt in cheers when he closed by making a reference to people who should pull themselves out of their navels.)

This, ladies and gentleman, is an academic-a professor!! This is what I want to be when I grow up.

Enough of the background on Finklestein. I would like to make a comment here about something that has appeared on his website (normanfinklestein.com):


On March 6, 2008, an Israeli-Arab terrorist entered a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem (Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav) and opened fire on the occupants. By the time it was over, eight Jewish students, seven of whom were teenagers, were dead, senselessly murdered for no other reason than they were Jewish.

Victims of the terror attack at Yeshiva Mercaz HaRov


While the reaction in Israel was one of shock and horror, many Palestinians in Gaza, Lebanon and other places took to the streets to celebrate in joy. Some imams in mosques praised the killer as a hero. Below are photos of Palestinians celebrating this incident.




Finkelstein's website features a statement written by the board of the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) in March 2008 condemning the horrific terrorist attack. The statement is posted without comment but appears under the title (apparently added by Finklestein): NAZI PHDs FOR PEAXE mourn death of ubermenschen.

Uebermenschen is a term originally associated with Friedrich Nietzsche, which is roughly translated as "superman" or "overman" and later became related to the old Nazi term Untermenschen-"sub-humans", which was used to refer to Jews and other groups not deemed worthy by the Nazis.

(See: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=1553).

First of all, let me state that the SPME is a national organization made up largely of Jewish professors, current or retired. They support Israel and are concerned about the situation on US campuses where anti-Israel voices have made many campuses unpleasant for Jewish students. For Finklestein to label this organization as Nazi is outrageous. They are not anti-Muslim or anti-anything else. What Finklestein has done is take a moderate organization that defends Israel and label it as made up of Nazis. Also, why does Finklestein label the innocent, young, Jewish victims as "Uebermenschen? What kind of hateful message is he trying to send by implying a Nazi connection here? He should be ashamed of himself, but I suspect Mr Finklestein is beyond shame.

I don't know what drives this man, nor do I particularly care. Perhaps, he is just a product of the 1960s college generation (that I survived). What I do believe is that Norman Finklestein-along with others such as Ward Churchill-represent the very worst in American academia. Finklestein has the constitutional right to spout his venom and twisted version of history, but we have the same right to comment on it and shine the public spotlight on the ravings of this character.

He should take great care before he goes around calling people Nazis. (I have just recently called certain people Nazis, but I am prepared to back that up.) He should especially remember that it was the very people he champions who cheered and celebrated the massacre of March 2008.

9 comments:

Bryan said...

How about your fascist British friends in the BNP, like Lionheart? Nazis to the rotten core. I mean, these are people who have LITERALLY been photographed seig heiling. So uh, might want to look a little closer at your own side of the aisle.

Gary Fouse said...

Bryan,

I don't have any British fascist friends in the BNP, and I don't know beans about the BNP. Why is Lionheart a Nazi? Because he points out the truth about radical islamists who are literally trying to take over the UK and are openly advocating violence?

Show me something that Lionheart has said against Jews or any other immigrant group/minority and I will reconsider my support for him.

When Brits like Lionheart raect against a group that calls for beheadings of people, more bombings like 7-7 and insults their troops coming back from Iraq, sorry, that's not my definition of racism.

LanceThruster said...

George W Bush [is] "an idiot" and Dick Cheney [is] a "thug and a murderer".


Sounds about right.

Gary Fouse said...

Lancethruster,

First of all, is there a reason you don't put your name on your comment and your own blog? My name is front and center on everything I write.

Secondly, checking out your "blog", in which it looks like your last entry is July 2007, there isn't much there except a loony posting bringing up that old 9-11 truthers conspiracy again, buttressed by the comments of some of your fellow-conspiracy theorists.

Your writing, sir, is frankly the ramblings of something you and Finklestein called George Bush.

Take my suggestion and remain anonymous.

Maggie M. Thornton said...

I fear Finklestein is only one of many messing with the campus minds. At least he didn't tenure. Someone had doubts.

The last part of the post: "untermenschen" - truly despicable.

I hope there are other conservative professors out here speaking out as you are doing.

LanceThruster said...

Gary,

Even with my handle, I have been harassed by the Z-team so it is not without a prudent rationale. I'm glad you choose to post under your real name; I chose otherwise (at least for most venues). I created my blog mostly for a place holder for my nick, but you are right, I should be more active there. Maybe in the near future.

I do not see the reality false-flag attacks as conspiracy theory as they have a long history, particularly with regards to Israel. As far as casting stones about those in the grip of paranoia; pretty much Israel's entire reason for being is that "everyone is out to get them" and they use that excuse for the most brutal atrocities against the indigenous people of the region and their neighbors.

Gary Fouse said...

Maggie,

Where are all those conservative professors?

Gary Fouse said...

Lancethruster,

I have never claimed to be a Middle East expert, nor have I ever claimed that Israel is clean as snow. As for the brutal atrocities against the indigenous people, I think you have been listening to too much pro-Palestinian propaganda. Surely you know by now that Israel doesn't get any break from the world media. The recent fighting is an example of how Hamas was basically the source of infomation for the press.

As to who are really the indigenous people of the region, we could argue about that forever. Both peoples have historical claims.

It's basically this for me. I believe that Israel has a right to exist and a right to defend themselves. Ever since 1948, the Arab world has refuse to accept the existance of a Jewish state in their midst. Had the Palestinians not engaged in terrorism, which has been a reality my whole adult life, they would have had their own state decades ago.

So my questions to you are:

1 What do you expect the Israelis to do?

2 I took from your comment that you don't really think Israel has a right to exist-Is that true?

3 Don't you think that after the Holocaust, Israeli's might be excused for thinking that "everyone was out to get them"? Or was the Holocaust just another invention that never really happened?

Maggie M. Thornton said...

Gary, I was going to ask you that.