Norman Finkelstein

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(academic, author)
Norman Finkelstein.jpg
BornNorman Gary Finkelstein
8 December 1953
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materBinghamton University, Princeton University
ParentsMother: Maryla (née Husyt) and Zacharias Finkelstein

Norman Finkelstein, an American Jewish scholar, is one of the world’s leading experts on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the political legacy of the Nazi holocaust in which, apart from his parents, every member of Finkelstein’s family, on both sides, was exterminated.

Finkelstein's 2000 book The Holocaust Industry, which was serialised in The Guardian, became an international best-seller and touched off a firestorm of debate. His subsequent book, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History argued that Israel uses perceived anti-Semitism as a weapon to stifle criticism.[1]

Feud with Alan Dershowitz

In September 2007, after a highly publicised feud between Finkelstein and an academic opponent, Alan Dershowitz, Finkelstein resigned his professorship at DePaul University, Chicago.[2] In his resignation statement, Finkelstein said that he believes the tenure decision was "tainted" by external pressures, but praised the university's "honourable role of providing a scholarly haven for me the past six years."

DePaul denied that outside parties influenced the decision to deny Finkelstein tenure. The school's portion of the statement called Finkelstein "a prolific scholar and an outstanding teacher." Finkelstein called that acknowledgment the most important part of the statement:

"I felt finally I had gotten what was my due and that maybe it was time, for everybody's sake, that I move on," he said at a news conference that followed a morning rally staged by students and faculty who carried signs and chanted "stop the witch hunt." Finkelstein said "DePaul students rose to dazzling spiritual heights in my defence that should be the envy of and an example for every university in the United States."

Finkelstein would not discuss financial terms of the resignation agreement, which he said was confidential, but noted that it does not bar him from speaking out about issues that concern him, including "the unfairness of the tenure process."

Dershowitz said:

"I'm happy he's out of academia. Let him do his ranting on street corners."[3]

Banned from Israel

In May 2008, Finkelstein was deported and banned from entering Israel for 10 years. The Israeli security service Shin Bet interrogated him for around 24 hours about his contact with the Lebanese Islamic militia, Hezbollah, when he travelled to Lebanon earlier in the year and expressed solidarity with the group which waged war against Israel in 2006. He was also accused of having contact with al-Qaeda. But Finkelstein rejected the accusations, saying he had travelled to Israel to visit an old friend:

"I did my best to provide absolutely candid and comprehensive answers to all the questions put to me," he told an Israeli newspaper in an email exchange.
"I am confident that I have nothing to hide. Apart from my political views, and the supporting scholarship, there isn't much more to say for myself: alas, no suicide missions or secret rendezvous with terrorist organisations. I've always supported a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. I'm not an enemy of Israel."[4]

8 December 1953| 

A Document by Norman Finkelstein

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
Document:The American Jewish scholar behind Labour's "antisemitism" scandal breaks his silenceInterview3 May 2016"Antisemitism"
"The Holocaust"
Tony Blair
Jonathan Freedland
Jeremy Corbyn
Sadiq Khan
Bernie Sanders
Ken Livingstone
Jill Stein
Naz Shah
John Mann
Hajo Meyer
BDS
Norman G. Finkelstein is clear: "It’s time to put a stop to this periodic charade, because it ends up besmirching the victims of the Nazi holocaust, diverting from the real suffering of the Palestinian people, and poisoning relations between the Jewish and Muslim communities. You just had an antisemitism hysteria last year, and it was a farce. And now again? Another inquiry? Another investigation? No."


References