Saturday, June 17, 2006
Shilling for Norman Finkelstein
Finkelstein's Fan in Israel
By P. David Hornik
FrontPageMagazine.com November 1, 2005
In a recent issue of the far-Left web magazine Counterpunch, Neve Gordon,
senior lecturer in the Department of Politics and Government at Israel's
Ben-Gurion University, again comes to the defense of his admired author
Normal Finkelstein, professor of political science at DePaul University.
Gordon favorably reviews Finkelstein.s new book Beyond Chutzpah: On the
Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (University of California
Finkelstein is a strange figure for an Israeli academic to be praising.
Back on November 18, 2002, Finkelstein gave a lecture at Georgetown
University. Four days later the Anti-Defamation League, in a letter to the
president of Georgetown, said it was .shocked and troubled. that the
university had .sponsored a lecture by a known Holocaust denier and
anti-Israeli propagandist, Norman Finkelstein. [The] lecture was a
one-sided program, intended to promote hatred of Israel and perpetuate
classic anti-Semitic stereotypes..
ADL.s letter went on to note that .in his highly publicized book, The
Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering,
Finkelstein argues that the Holocaust .has become a straight-out extortion
racket.. Finkelstein is well known for his anti-Israel rhetoric and his
claims that Jews have exploited the Holocaust to make money. He has said
that he .truly honored. Hezbullah fighters from Lebanon for .having
inflicted an exceptional and deserving defeat on their foreign occupiers,.
and that, .I can.t imagine why Israel.s apologists would be offended by a
comparison to the Gestapo...
ADL could have added, among other things, that the New York Times called
The Holocaust Industry .a novel variation on the anti-Semitic forgery, The
Protocols of the Elders of Zion.; that historian Peter Novick called it
.trash.; and that Gabriel Schoenfeld, author of The Return of
Anti-Semitism, labeled Finkelstein.s views as .crackpot ideas, some of
them mirrored almost verbatim in the propaganda put out by neo-Nazis
around the world.. ADL could also have mentioned that Finkelstein appeared
on the official Hezbollah television network al-Manar, and that he is a
popular speaker among German neo-Nazis, one of whom, the wife of the
notorious Ernst Zundel, called him the .Jewish David Irving..
Gordon and Finkelstein have, of course, some things in common, including
an attraction to anti-Israeli terrorists. On February 3, 2002, Israel.s
ynet reported that .250 left-wing activists violated the Israeli army.s
orders and entered Ramallah for a meeting with Arafat. . . . Neve Gordon .
. . was photographed with Arafat with hands clasped [see picture]. . . .
In reply to the question of whether he felt comfortable hugging the
chairman of the Palestinian Authority, responsible according to Israel for
acts of terror, he replied: .I don.t know who.s responsible for the terror
attacks, that.s what the media says. . . . . .
Gordon, who has written that .Israel.s gravest danger today is not the PA
or even Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, but the one it faces from within:
fascism,. and whom Ma.ariv columnist Ben-Dror Yemini accused (along with
Haifa University.s Ilan Pappe) of .spread[ing] their articles dripping
with anti-Zionist poison all over the world, some of which appear on
anti-Semitic websites,. also shares with Norman Finkelstein a Zundel
Ernst Zundel, a pamphleteer who has been jailed several times for hate
literature, was deported this year from Canada to his native Germany to
stand trial for Holocaust denial. On October 27, 2000, his Zundelsite.org
posted Gordon.s glowing review in The Nation of Finkelstein.s earlier
book, The Holocaust Industry, in which Gordon opined that .[Finkelstein],
and not the Jewish organizations he criticizes, is following the example
set by the great Jewish prophets.. Zundel prefaces the review by
remarking: .I think it is pretty balanced, even though there are a few
politically correct hiccoughs.. And on November 23, 2002, Zundel
approvingly posted another Gordon article from The Nation.
In his Counterpunch review of Finkelstein.s latest opus.which the
publisher demanded that Finkelstein revise after Alan Dershowitz
complained and proved that it libeled him.Gordon demurs from .an odd and
troubling conclusion: the Jews, Finkelstein implies, are also to blame for
the rise of anti-Semitism.. But Gordon goes on to praise Finkelstein.s
attempt to debunk Dershowitz.s defense of Israel.s human rights record in
his The Case for Israel. Finkelstein, in trying to pillory Israel for
alleged violations, relies on human rights NGOS like Physicians for Human
Rights Israel, whose .crude propaganda,. wrote Israeli professor Gerald
Steinberg of NGO Monitor, .is seen by many as anti-Semitic, and has
prompted the Israeli Medical Association to end all cooperation with this
Nowhere in the review, of course, does Gordon mention that Finkelstein
sympathizes with terrorists and has himself won neo-Nazi admiration, and
indeed it would be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
As always, Neve Gordon retains his carte blanche from Ben-Gurion
University to conduct his .research. and to .teach. Israeli students.
Norman Finkelstein's world
Isi Leibler, THE JERUSALEM POST Nov. 1, 2005
Historically, self-hating Jews besmirching their kinsmen have ranged from
apostates in the Middle Ages to communists in Stalinist Russia. Today
their successors have assumed pivotal roles in the global campaign to
The most recent chapter in the ongoing offensive is Norman Finkelstein's
book Beyond Chutzpa, which endeavors to depict Israel as one of the most
evil countries in the world. The author also defames Alan Dershowitz,
author of the widely acclaimed The Case for Israel. Dershowitz is
particularly hated by the anti-Israeli pack because of his impeccable
credentials as a champion of human rights.
Finkelstein accuses Dershowitz of plagiarizing material for his book from
Joan Peters's From Time Immemorial, published over 20 years ago. The
accusation is specious, because Dershowitz never used a single phrase or
idea from Peters without proper citation. All Dershowitz did was to
collate the evidence (including material used by Peters) and employ his
professional fort to present a first-rate case for Israel. Indeed, after
reviewing the charge of plagiarism, the former presidents of Harvard and
Dartmouth both concluded that it was baseless.
Finkelstein also accused Dershowitz of trying to suppress his views on the
grounds that he expressed surprise that a purportedly reputable publisher
like University of California Press would associate itself with so
unscholarly a work.
But Dershowitz was entirely justified in describing Beyond Chutzpa as a
vile, unscholarly anti-Semitic tract. It employs similar techniques that
Holocaust revisionists do in seizing upon tiny grains of truth to build a
framework of lies, employing myriads of distorted or misleading footnotes
to provide a veneer of pseudo scholarship.
Peter Novick, whose work criticizing aspects of Holocaust memorial
activity was utilized by Finkelstein, described Finkelstein's
"scholarship" as "a twenty-first century updating of the Protocols of the
Elders of Zion, a piece of trash."
NEVERTHELESS Beyond Chutzpa is likely to confuse those unaware of the
extent to which human rights agenda of NGOs as been hijacked and
transformed into a vehicle for demonizing Israel.
Finkelstein quotes extensively from organizations such as Human Rights
Watch, B'Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights, Amnesty, and the Public
Committee against Torture which have long track records of bias and
employing double standards in relation to Israel.
Finkelstein had already assumed the role of a global cult figure among
anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli groups prior to the publication of Beyond
In an earlier book, Finkelstein described the "holocaust industry" as "an
extortion racket", a vehicle "to crush any dissent, any criticism of the
State of Israel." Jewish leaders were referred to as "gangsters" and
"crooks." Eli Wiesel was depicted as "the resident clown for the Holocaust
circus." He challenged the authenticity of survivors, "If everyone who
claimed to be a survivor is one, my mother used to say 'Who did Hitler
In subsequent interviews, Finkelstein attacked Leon Uris, author of Exodus
alleging that "the chief character was named Ari Ben Canaan because Ari is
the diminutive for Aryan." He admired Hizbullah - "The honorable thing now
is to show solidarity with Hizbullah as the US and Israel target it for
Israeli demolitions of terrorist homes are equivalent to the "Nazi
destruction of the village of Lidice" (in Czechoslovakia). Being compared
to the Gestapo would "flatter" Israel; its human rights record "is
interchangeable with that of Saddam Hussein's Iraq."
But his most bizarre comments related to Osama bin-Laden: "Regrettably it
is payback time for the Americans... We deserve our problems because some
things Bin Laden says are true... Bin Laden said 'until we [Moslems] live
in security, you are not going to have any security' ... and there is
certain rightness in that... Why should we go on merrily with our lives
when so much of the world is suffering - with us as the direct and
IN Beyond Chutzpa Finkelstein writes: "From a combination of economic and
political power [Jewish American elites] have sprung a mindset of Jewish
superiority... From this lethal brew of formidable power, charismatic
arrogance, feigned or marginal victimhood, and Holocaust immunity to
criticism, has sprung a terrifying recklessness and ruthlessness on the
part of American Jewish elites. Alongside Israel, they are the main
fomenters of anti-Semitism in the world today. Coddling them is not the
answer. They must be stopped."
He also claims that "like the Holocaust" anti-Semitism is an ideological
weapon to deflect justified criticism of Israel and concomitantly,
powerful interests. In its current usage, "anti-Semitism" alongside the
"war against terrorism" serve to cloak a "massive assault on international
law and human rights."
Jewish leaders "resemble stereotypes straight out of Der Sturmer" and are
also "de facto agents of a foreign government" and "in service to their
IN A sane political world one might have assumed that such trash would be
relegated to the fringe. Not in todays frenzied anti-Israeli climate where
Finkelstein's ravings are boosted, among others, by a long parade of
academics of Jewish origin praising his lies and describing his
distortions as scholarship. The blurb on the dust jacket of this appalling
book includes commendations from Daniel Boyarin of the University of
California, Avi Shlaim of Oxford, and of course, Noam Chomsky from MIT.
But the most outrageous paeans of praise come from Israeli academics whose
universities are sponsored by the state they demonize and supported by
contributions from Diaspora Zionists.
Thus Hebrew University professor of sociology, Baruch Kimmerling,
describes the book as "the most comprehensive systematic and well
documented work of its kind... about the daily practices of the occupation
and colonization of the Palestinian territories by Israel."
In a review of Finkelstein's book in the National Catholic Reporter, Neve
Gordon of Ben-Gurion University, who also promotes international war crime
tribunals against Israeli military officers, described Beyond Chutzpa as
"an attempt to expose how elements in academia have played a role in
concealing Israel's abuse... the heated response to his book is just
another example of how the literature discussing the new anti-Semitism
delegitimizes those who expose Israel's outrageous violations of
international law. The major irony in relation to this saga is that Dr.
Finkelstein's book, not Dershowitz's, constitute the real case for Israel,
that is, for a moral Israel."
THE INCREDIBLE damage to Israel's reputation inflicted by renegade Jews
has been greatly underestimated. The distortions have already persuaded
the average European that Israel represents a greater threat to world
peace than Iran or North Korea. We cannot afford this to be extended to
the United States.
Israel must realize that the battle of ideas is crucial to our future.
There are hundreds of talented Israelis and friends of Israel throughout
the world who possess the scholarship and communication skills to enable
them to make a major contribution. The government should invite the best
of them to join in a campaign to reverse the tide. When the poisonous
ravings of people like Finkelstein gain credence in the mainstream media,
it is surely time to ring the alarm bells.
The writer chairs the Diaspora-Israel relations committee of the Jerusalem
Center for Public Affairs. He is a veteran international Jewish leader.