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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Norman Finkelstein’

Israel: A Peacetime War or a Wartime Peace

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/israel-peacetime-war-or-wartime-peace.html

In the library’s history section all the shelves are crowded together. In the Middle East, opposing polemics are wedged up against each other. Alan Dershowitz rubs shoulders with Tony Judt who leans onto George Gilder who balances out Norman Finkelstein who flakes bits of paper on Benjamin Netanyahu. Though located in the history section, most of these books are not history. They are long opinion pieces, arguments for and against the Jewish State.

On the left there are vituperative diatribes and on the right there are earnest defenses. The Holocaust Industry contends with The Case for Israel, The Jewish Lobby with Start Up Nation. Every few months brings new combatants to the shelves. Shlomo Sand is swapped out with Peter Beinart who is swapped out with Noam Chomsky like a baseball team that is forever calling the same players off the bench to make the same plays.

Next year there will be another four books denouncing Israel for its settlements and its trickery in making the terrorists look like they don’t want peace by negotiating with them for twenty years. And next to them another four books asserting that Israel wants peace and has the right to self-defense.

The four-hundred thousand word argument can be summed up as, “Israel is bad and those who live there are bad people” and “No, they aren’t.”

The first argument is easier to make then the second, because all countries and people have their flaws, but the second argument has gotten easier to make once the first argument switched off to, “Israel is the worst country that ever existed (with the possible exception of South Africa) and those who live there are the worst people that ever existed.”

When the torchbearers of the Anti-Israel argument are the likes of Norman Finkelstein and Tony Judt, then anyone who appears less filled with violent hatred suddenly seems moderate by comparison. It allows opponents of Israel like Peter Beinart to rebrand themselves as Liberal Zionists because at least they aren’t claiming that the Prime Minister of Israel ritually eats four babies for breakfast every morning.

Few of the books are concerned with the reality of Israel. They are concerned with it as an ideal. The left tears apart the ideal. The right defends the ideal. There is a growing body of books by Jewish leftists who visit Israel, stop by a supermarket outside their hotel, visit one or two sites, cringe at the guns, take in a nightspot, visit the Western Wall, visit the Separation Wall, and transmit the whole thing into a miniature memoir expressing their disappointment with the experience.

The latest such offering, Harvey Pekar’s Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, a 70 year-old son of a Communist mother and Orthodox father who visited Israel for the first time and discovered that it didn’t live up to whatever mixed-up ideal his parents promised him. Pekar is already dead, but there is an entire conveyor belt along which the younger set rides to write critical books, graphic novels, blogs and tweets about their disappointing experience in the Jewish State.

Whatever books are on the shelves two years from now, it is likely that very little will have changed. The world as a whole, not just the occasional liberal brat, will continue being disappointed in Israel for not having magically and non-violently resolved the dilemma of people shooting at it no matter what it does. After all there’s already a book titled, How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less on the shelf. Why not just read it and do what it says?

Regardless of who wins the presidential election, two years from now a Secretary of State will be icily dressing down Israel for building houses in provocative places, using drones to kill terrorists and refusing to make peace. As the history section will bulge with eight more pro and con books; another member will have joined the choir invisible of James Baker, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton. While the Democrats have been worse on Israel, each administration regardless of its affiliation, has accepted the precedents of the previous administration and eventually managed to top its attacks on Israel’s sovereignty.

Why Israel Booted Norman Finkelstein

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

         We’ve grown used to it: whenever anyone in the media takes note of the antics of Norman Finkelstein, a flood of disinformation is bound to follow. The recent arrest of Finkelstein in Israel was no exception.
 
         The facts are simple. Finkelstein attempted to enter Israel several weeks ago for the purpose of traveling to the West Bank. Israel is used to foreign troublemakers, such as the stooges of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), who come to Israel to engage in hooliganism and support Islamofascist terrorism.
 
         But Israel usually does not prevent them from entering the country (a highly naive and short-sighted policy). In any case, Finkelstein was – somewhat uncharacteristically for Israel – detained upon arrival, kept under watch for a few hours, and eventually deported to Amsterdam.
 
         This of course served as a siren call for all the anti-Israel moonbats inside and outside Israel to protest this “suppression of academic freedom of an academic critic of Israel.” Leftist websites and the liberal media were immediately filled with reports of how “Professor Finkelstein” was kicked out of Israel for having anti-Israel opinions. Finkelstein’s own website screamed his martyrdom in lurid terms. The Israeli far left itself got into the fray.
 
         As is usual whenever Finkelstein is involved, the facts all got lost along the way.
 
         First of all, Finkelstein is no “professor” and never was an academic in any meaningful sense of the word. He is a crackpot with links to Holocaust denier groups all over the world who has attempted to build a career by churning out masses of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel diatribes.
 
         I am an academic critic of Israel (from the right); Finkelstein is merely a vulgar Beer Hall buffoon.
 
         Regarded as a Holocaust denier by, among others, the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Finkelstein was fired last year by DePaul University in Chicago because he had no academic publications or achievements to speak of; he has yet to publish his first academic paper.
 
         Contrary to the whining of his boosters that at he fell victim to “outside interference” in his promotion proceedings at DePaul, most of the outside interference there was actually in his favor, coming from the sewers of the anti-Israel lobby.
 
         Second, Finkelstein was not denied entry into Israel because he holds anti-Israel opinions. Anti-Israel leftists come in and out of Israel all the time, and some of Israel’s own tenured traitors are even more extremist and anti-Israel than Finkelstein himself.
 
        Finkelstein was denied entry into Israel, as is clear from the accounts in the Israeli media, because he has spent the past few years serving as an all-but-official spokesperson for the Hizbullah terror group and was suspected of wanting to enter Israel for purposes of espionage and activities on behalf of terrorism.
 
         Third, entry into Israel is not some sort of universal entitlement that anyone anywhere on earth can claim for himself without limit. According to the official Israeli statement as reported in Haaretz, Israeli intelligence said Finkelstein “is not permitted to enter Israel because of suspicions involving hostile elements in Lebanon” and because he “did not give a full accounting to interrogators with regard to these suspicions.”
 
        Finkelstein was kept under wraps by Israeli security at the airport for a few hours after landing before being deported. It sounds like his toughest moment was when the free cola he was served was not quite ice cold.
 
         While in Israeli captivity he refused to answer questions such as what he was planning to do while in the country and who was paying for his trip. He was also asked what he currently lives on, and my personal guess is that this is what caused him to lose his famous temper, as his lack of gainful employment since being fired by DePaul seems to be a sore point with him.
 

         Moments after arriving in Amsterdam, Finkelstein sent out the following message to his fans (spelling, syntax and typos uncorrected):

 

Before rumors report my premature death, I was kept in a holding cell for 24 hours and then deported to Amsterdam. It wasn’t a Belgian bed and breakfast but it wasn’t Auschwitz either (although after six hours of abusive treatement I did call them “[expletive] Jewish Nazis,” not taken well). It seems that to see Musa and his family again, I’ll have to wait until the end of the occupation. I have been been banned for “at least 10 years.” Another incentive to work towards ending the occupation.

 

         Israel’s far left, at least as batty as America’s far left, chirped in its outrage at Finkelstein being prevented from entering Israel. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel took the lead, quickly dispatching once of its leaders, a lawyer named Michael Sfard, to serve as attorney for Finkelstein while he was being held at the airport.
 
         Sfard was quoted in the media as saying, “A country that starts to fear what its harshest critics write about it is a country that is already behaving in a manner reminiscent of the darkest days of the communist regime.”
 
         Strange, but Winston Churchill never invited Lord Haw Haw to Britain to lecture in the middle of World War II, nor did FDR invite Tokyo Rose to throw out the first pitch at the 1943 World Series.
 

         Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

DeNial At DePaul: The Thomas Klocek Affair

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

Catholic universities in the United States have in recent years shown a weakness for cultivating far-leftist anti-Semites and haters of America. Perhaps the best known has been Notre Dame, home of the extremist Kroc Institute, which attempted to sponsor Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss Arab with ties to Al Qaeda, for a three-year professorship. But in many ways, DePaul University is even worse.

DePaul is a large, if not particularly academically renowned, Catholic college in Chicago, nominally associated with “Congregation of the Mission,” more popularly known as the Vincentians. Until recently, the main cause of controversy surrounding DePaul was its insistence on employing the notorious pro-Palestinian left-winger Norman Finkelstein as an assistant professor in its political science department. But a few months ago, DePaul took a giant step in implementing leftist suppression of free speech on its campus.

The immediate target of DePaul’s campaign was Thomas Klocek, a part-time adjunct professor at the university’s so-called “School for New Learning.” (“New learning” evidently is not something DePaul confuses with “learning,” as the events there show.) Klocek’s crime? He was guilty of expressing support for Israel.

After 14 years of continuous employment at the Chicago-based college, Klocek was suspended with pay last September, and then stayed suspended – this time without pay – through the winter and spring quarters. Klocek is guilty of nothing more than expressing pro-Israel views in the face of extremist Palestinian propaganda on DePaul’s campus.

DePaul summarily dismissed Klocek from his duties after the school claimed he “insulted” and “demeaned” several Muslim students at a campus fair for extracurricular groups. Klocek had publicly expressed his belief that “strictly speaking, right now there is no such place as Palestine on the map. The Palestinian people were simply Arabs who lived in the West Bank and Gaza.” We seem to recall that Galileo was also persecuted by Church institutions for daring to tell the truth. (Klocek, by the way, is a Roman Catholic from a Polish-American family).

With no current income, and facing the possibility of losing the health insurance he desperately needs for a serious kidney condition, Klocek decided to go public with his fight. The story made major headlines after the Chicago Jewish News ran a large expose of DePaul’ persecution of Klocek.

The university contends that Klocek’s case “is not a case of academic freedom, but a situation of inappropriate behavior outside the classroom by a university employee,” in the words of the university spokesperson. This coming from an institution that has no problems with the behavior of the aforementioned Norman Finkelstein.

Klocek’s dismissal is alleged by the administration to be due the fact that, as he walked away from the students in question, he “thumbed his chin” at them. It’s a common Italian expression meaning, “I’m finished, I’m out of here.” But in a special letter to the student newspaper DePaulia, Dean Susanne Dumbleton first apologized for the incident and stated that the instructor was being dealt with in an appropriate manner. The dean then referred to Klocek’s attempt to impose his “erroneous views” on the students. This belied the claim by the university that Klocek’s case is about his supposed attitude, not the content of his statements.

In other words, support for Israel against Arab aggression and terrorism is “erroneous” and not to be tolerated on the DePaul campus.

Klocek tells us his side of the story:

“A Student Activities Fair was being held at DePaul on 9.15.04 at the Loop campus. It was open to all. When the incident began, I had not identified myself as a faculty member. I visited various booths and tables, among them ‘Students for Justice in Palestine(SJP).’ I gave them my e-mail address and asked for some of their literature. I then stood about reading this incendiary piece about Rachel Corrie and the Israeli bulldozing of Arab homes and properties. I stated that there is no such entity as Palestine on the current map and that U.S. newspapers only began using the term Palestinians some 25-30 years ago. One of the SJP members said that the Israeli treatment of ‘Palestinians’ is as bad as the way Hitler treated the Jews. I took vast umbrage with this scurrilous statement.

“At no time did I threaten any of the students physically or verbally, but the volume of the talking turned loud on both sides.

“Some few days later, the Dean, Susanne Dumbleton of the School for New Learning, called me in and had in her hand two letters from students. I never saw these but she appeared to read from them, outlining charges against me made by the student groups, among them that I was ‘disrespectful’ and that they were ‘hurt and crushed’ by my remarks. She stated that I was to be suspended from teaching until further notice. She also announced that the school would make a response to the school newspaper.

“It should be noted that Dean Dumbleton had previously met with both student groups and their faculty advisors without my being present, and, when I asked her why, she replied that I was too ‘passionate’ about the subject.”

Large numbers of bloggers and some DePaul faculty have come out in favor of Klocek and against his inquisitors. Perhaps more important, the Catholic Church as an institution is finally beginning to learn the details of the Klocek case, and several local authorities have indicated their sympathy.

DePaul’s sudden horror at the supposed “unprofessorial behavior” by Klocek is all because they claim he made an impolite hand gesture. Note how dramatically this stands in sharp contrast with the university’s record regarding Norman Finkelstein, arguably the most openly anti-Semitic Jew on the planet, certainly in American academia. DePaul recruited Finkelstein as an assistant professor in political science after Finkelstein was fired from two New York-area adjunct teaching jobs (at New York University and Hunter College). The Anti-Defamation League calls Finkelstein a “Holocaust denier” and accuses him of pursuing an anti-Semitic agenda.

Finkelstein refers to the Jews murdered by the Nazis as the “Six Million” – in quotation marks. “Indeed,” he’s written, “the field of Holocaust studies is replete with nonsense, if not sheer fraud.” And this: “‘If everyone who claims to be a survivor actually is one,’ my mother used to exclaim, ‘who did Hitler kill?’ “

Finkelstein is the star on virtually every Holocaust denial and neo-Nazi website. He has been denounced as a fraud and anti-Semite by Alan Dershowitz, by historian Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, by Dennis Prager, by Professor Omer Bartov from Brown University, by the World Jewish Congress, and by just about every other academic to comment on him, gentile or Jew.

Jonathan Freedland wrote in the British Guardian – a strongly pro-Palestinian newspaper – that Finkelstein was “closer to the people who created the Holocaust than to those who suffered it.” The New York Times compared Finkelstein’s book The Holocaust Industry to the old czarist forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

DePaul University President Fr. Dennis Holtschneider has been circulating a personal letter to anyone complaining about the firing of Klocek and the employment of Finkelstein. The letter states, in part, “Dr. Finkelstein was hired at the recommendation of the Political Science faculty after extensive reference checks and an evaluation of the quality of his teaching. The faculty were aware of his published works that have provoked disagreement from many quarters, but also recognized that mainstream publishers, publications and reviewers have taken his research seriously, if critically.”

The “mainstream” reviewers and publishers of whom Fr. Holtschneider speaks are almost without exception anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis. But DePaul University will defend someone like Finkelstein while terminating a professor who refuses to toe the Palestinian line.

Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steven_plaut@yahoo.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/denial-at-depaul-the-thomas-klocek-affair/2005/04/13/

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