Monday, September 17, 2007

Finkelstein Revisionism

Subject: Finkelstein Revisionism

(see web page for links)The Passion of Norman Finkelstein)

By Steven Plaut<>

* | 9/17/2007 *

The Norman Finkelstein affair at DePaul University was not yet buried when
an entire revisionist "narrative" of the affair was being churned out by the
Far Left. A bit of revisionism was to be expected, one supposes, regarding
the favorite "academic" of those promoting Holocaust Revisionism and "New
History" about World War II. After all, Finkelstein had made his name in the
media by cheering Hezbollah's terror attacks on Jews, by arguing that
Germany is the victim of greedy dishonest Jews, that nearly all those
claiming to be Holocaust survivors are liars, thieves, and hoaxers, thus
feeding the lunatic fringe that claims that the entire Holocaust of Six
Million Jews by Nazi Germany was a Zionist hoax. Neo-Nazi web sites hailed
him as the "Jew who proved that the Holocaust was a hoax." Finkelstein had
repeatedly proclaimed Holocaust Denier and pseudo-historian David Irving as
his role model and hero, even when Irving was sitting in a Vienna prison for
Neo-Nazi propagandizing. Finkelstein baselessly smeared just about everyone,
from Holocaust writer Elie Wiesel to Alan Dershowitz, the latter whom
Finkelstein falsely accused of plagiarism. Finkelstein physically threatened
his own Dean. But in spite of all this, the scope of Finkelsteinian
revisionism emerging the past few weeks and its willingness to employ the
Big Lie are still shocking.

Finkelsteinian revisionism simply and completely falsifies every single
aspect of the hiring and firing of Norman Finkelstein by DePaul University.
It claims that the Chicago master of vulgar ad hominem defamation was
himself the innocent "victim" of ad hominem attacks. It seeks to attribute
Finkelstein's career failure to the all-but-nonexistent "Israel Lobby,"
while overlooking the bizarre alliance of hatred and bigotry comprising the
Finkelstein Lobby. Finkelstein's apologists are leaders in the pro-terror
Arab Lobby, the sorts of people who readily believe everything about the
Middle East except the facts. They include everyone from the "Revolutionary
Communists," to the "anarchists," to the Islamists, to David Duke and the
Neo-Nazi fruit loops, to a handful of Jewish leftwing loonies. All these are
running about the cyber-world proclaiming that Finkelstein was the "victim"
of nefarious sinister conspiracy by you know whom. Perhaps it is their way
of coping with their disappointment at not having been among those recruited
by Mohammed Ata.

Finkelstein's apologists claim he fell victim to academic politicization.
But the simple truth is that Finkelstein was one of the country's most
obvious *beneficiaries *of academic politicization. Nothing else can explain
the outpouring of support for such a ridiculous buffoon, fraud, and juvenile
smear-monger. The campaign on behalf of Finkelstein has succeeded in one
thing - in drawing light to the fact that academia is crawling with
pseudo-scholarly extremists who have made a career out of ladling out
political advocacy and extremist agitprop. In fact, the recruitment of
political support on behalf of such a character as Finkelstein demonstrates
how dishonest and unscrupulous the Bash-Israel Lobby is willing to sink.

DePaul University is hardly a bastion of neo-conservatism. In fact it is one
of the loopiest campuses in the Midwest when it comes to political
correctness. With administration blessing, it ran a series of lectures and
"The American Empire" and US "imperialism." It has a long history of
hosting pro-terror radical haters of America, from Ward
Ali <>. The university hosted
the "Vagina
Monologues <>" and
"art exhibits<>"
celebrating Palestinian terrorism. It hosts and sponsors
pro-terror student groups and faculty members.

The DePaul campus is crawling with *lumpen* leftists and jihad-supporting
faculty who use their classrooms for political indoctrination. These include
Deena Weinstein, Professor of Sociology at DePaul University, whose
"specialization" is the sociology of heavy
metal<>rock music in her sociology
*"**SOC 282- Rock Journalism"*. She also is a promoter of pulp
Then there is Aminah Beverly
the Director of the Islamic World Studies Program (IWSP) at DePaul, who is
an apologist for and follower of Louis Farrakhan. Her courses feature
anti-American propaganda<>texts.
Another professor who teaches in the Islamic
World Studies Program <> is Khaled
Keshk, whose classroom indoctrination is based in part of biased
blithely portray Palestinian terrorism as a justified response to
Israeli "atrocities" in typical Orwellian inversion. The DePaul Religious
Studies department is full of PC indoctrination courses in "liberation
theology," feminism, and "post-modernism." Political Science at DePaul
offers "Contemporary Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Politics*.*"
That is just the tip of the DePaul PC iceberg. Political correctness
entire campus.

Obviously Finkelstein was not fired because DePaul is hostile to
anti-American and anti-Israel radical faculty members and opinion. *Au
contraire*! The *only reason* the political science department at DePaul had
hired Finkelstein in the first place, in spite of the total absence of
academic journal publications on his resume, was that they *APPROVED *of
Finkelstein's bash-Israel and hate-America political extremism. The simple
fact of the matter is that someone with Finkelstein's "academic record"
would never have been hired by DePaul's political science department at all
had he been pro-Israel, pro-America, or politically conservative. And no
such person would have attracted an entire lobby of kibitzers on his behalf.
The ONLY reason that *any* of the faculty members in political science at
DePaul had endorsed Finkelstein's bid for tenure was that *they* approved of
his political extremism and vulgarity, willing to overlook his total lack of
scholarly credentials as a gesture of political solidarity with him. Three
members of the DePaul political science department had the courage to resist
the naked political machinations on behalf of Finkelstein. They are the
modest heroes of the entire affair.

Not only is DePaul not hostile to radicals, America haters, supporters of
terrorism, and anti-Semites, but it came dangerously close to granting
Finkelstein tenure as a form of political solidarity, at least before the
majority on the DePaul Promotions Committee returned to its senses.
Ultimately the Finkelstein Lobby lost because DePaul chose to enforce and
impose academic integrity and serious scholarly standards upon its own
faculty, and of course also to conduct campus denazification two generations
after the end of World War II.

DePaul is indeed hostile to certain political opinions and sentiments, but
they are conservative and pro-Israel opinions. The university administration
took sanctions and
DePaul students when
they dared<>to
hold an "affirmative action bake sale," which mocked affirmative
And DePaul had earlier fired the untenured professor Thomas
he dared to challenge the anti-Israel opinions of some Arab students
campus outside the classroom. DePaul administrators suppressed Klocek's
speech and fired him without justification. He has yet to be rehired.

The Klocek affair also illustrates the truth, which naturally is in direct
contradiction to the claims of Finkelstein revisionism. Members of the
Finkelstein Lobby claims that they only support Finkelstein as part of their
desire to defend academic freedom at DePaul. But I doubt that a single
member of that Lobby has spoken out in defense of Thomas Klocek's academic
freedom! To the contrary, most Finkelstein apologists go out of their way to
defend the *firing *of Klocek. After all, he is pro-Israel and we can't have
any pro-Israel opinions being voiced on politically correct campuses. There
was indeed a victim of "thought crime" persecution at DePaul, but it was not
Norman Finkelstein.

Even more absurd have been the efforts by the Finkelstein Lobby to paint
Finkelstein as some sort of "scholar" who was fired because of his
controversial political opinions. No doubt he is regarded as such by most
members of the Taliban. In part, the DePaul administration is to blame for
this. In the September "joint statement" that allowed DePaul to be rid of
Finkelstein and revoke his "terminal year of employment," the school paid
lip service to Finkelstein's being a supposed "prolific scholar and
outstanding teacher." He is of course neither. Clearly the DePaul brass were
willing to tell some little white lies if that were the price of being rid
of him. Finkelstein is not a scholar of any sort, but rather is a full time
anti-Semitic propagandist and generator of hate screeds. At *that* he is
indeed prolific. That is why his cheerleaders support him, including
self-conscripted radicals from academia. As for his being an "outstanding
teacher," he was indeed popular with the campus leftist fringe and student
admirers of Middle East terrorism, who filled his classes. These gave him
high teaching evaluations because they like his politics. Ward Churchill no
doubt also was a popular teacher. So what? Courses in Holocaust Denial at
some schools can be filled with local Hitlerjugend granting the lecturer
outstanding teaching evaluations.

Any self-respecting institution of higher learning must make sure that
course content consists of actual academic research and analysis, not
populist political indoctrination, no matter how much radical students seek
the latter. And speaking of little white lies, much of the media were
willing to accept at face value claims by the Finkelstein Lobby about
"hundreds" of DePaul students rallying on campus in early September to back
Finkelstein. A fast look at this news
the event shows that there were less than 25 people present, some of
might have been DePaul students.

Finkelstein's greatest "scholarly" achievement was commissioning and
Alan Dershowitz masturbating while watching Lebanese children die.
Finkelstein has yet to publish a single scholarly paper in a refereed bona
fide academic journal, not even in the anti-Israel ones, of which there is
no shortage. Finkelstein built his entire "career" on churning out
anti-Jewish "books," snatched up by publishers indifferent to academic
quality and interested only in their commercial potential. Finkelstein's
"books" were almost universally dismissed by serious historians (meaning,
those working for the something *other* than the annihilation of Israel) as
fraud, as defamation of Holocaust survivors, and as amateurish one-sided
anti-Israel propagandizing. The New York Times compared these to the czarist
forgery "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Finkelstein's closest "research"
associate was the Holocaust Denier Brazilian Arab cartoonist

The fact that Finkelstein was fired for fraud and for a lack of scholarly
research seems to be precisely what motivates the leaders in the Finkelstein
Lobby to rush to his defense. Most of these lobbyists are themselves
academics with dubious records and long histories of turning their
classrooms into political indoctrination encampments. Among these are James
a SUNY English professor who brags about turning his classroom into a
Marxist re-education gulag, Peter N.
St. Xavier University, best
known <> for his vile
denunciation of Air Force cadets and his collaborations and paling-abouts
Denier David Irving, Matthew
a leftist DePaul English professor who falsely
accuses<>his own school of
taking millions of dollars in payoffs for firing
Finkelstein (he is so biased
<>that he won the "2005
Rachel Corrie Courage in the Teaching of Writing"),
and Neve Gordon <>,
an extremist anti-Israel lecturer at Ben-Gurion
whom Alan
Dershowitz writes<>:
"Neve Gordon has gotten into bed with neo-Nazis, Holocaust justice deniers,
and anti-Semites. He is a despicable example of a self-hating Jew and a
self-hating Israeli."

The whining about "outside pressure" upon DePaul was the height of hypocrisy
by the Finkelstein Lobby. There was indeed plenty of outside pressure on
DePaul, but most of it *was in favor* of Finkelstein. The Finkelstein Lobby
organized countless petitions and letter writing campaigns to DePaul
officers on behalf of their guru. The Anti-Israel Lobby provided massive
artillery support for Finkelstein. Only Jimmy Carter was missing. Indeed,
the entire operation of the campaign to get tenure for Finkelstein at DePaul
involved the cynical manipulation of the academic system by DePaul radicals
conniving with extremists outside their university. The tale is a classic
illustration of how campus hiring and promotion can be subordinated to
political corruption and manipulation.

First, an evaluation committee was set up for Finkelstein consisting of
those politically friendly to him and his ideological agenda. These then
recruited letters of recommendation from "outside experts," but every single
one of those was from a Bash-Israel extremist who was known to be willing to
ignore Finkelstein's lack of scholarship for the sake of political
solidarity. Not a single objective political scientist was asked for an
evaluation, because the local DePaul marketers of Finkelstein knew what *
they* would write. (Even Raul Hilberg was not asked for one, lest he deliver
an "unreliable" endorsement of Finkelstein.) The two main
academics willing to prostitute themselves in writing sycophantic fibs
about Finkelstein. One was Professor Ian Lustick of the University of
Pennsylvania, a far
anti-America <> and
unabashedly anti-Israel
<>propagandist, best known
his expressing regret<>that
America did not lose more soldiers in the campaign to topple the
Taliban in Afghanistan. A frequent ranteur about the Zionist cabal, Lustick
deconstructs terrorism thus <>:

"Lustick dismisses the concept of terrorism as a valid conceptual term.
Instead, he embraces what he terms an 'extensive', as opposed to an
'intensive', definition of terrorism that is not bound by any limiting
'conditions'. This, he claims, enables one to classify activities as
'terrorist' if they encompass any violent 'actions and threats' by
governmental militaries and even 'tax collectors', as well as insurgents."

The second "neutral evaluator" of Finkelstein was John
Mearsheimer<>of the University of
Chicago, best known for his dredging up medieval blood
libels together with Stephen Walt about an imaginary Jewish cabal that
controls the world. Both letters were part of the most outrageous example of
Chicago ballot stuffing since the days of the elder Mayor Daley. These
"evaluations" were fed to the handpicked political science evaluation
committee as a tactic to get Finkelstein smuggled through for tenure.

It did not work, because the campus promotions committee at DePaul saw
through the naked manipulation and voted against tenure for Finkelstein and
against the Finkelstein Lobby. The Dean of Liberal Arts at DePaul went to
the trouble of reading all of Finkelstein's mind-bogglingly idiotic "books"
for himself, to form his own independent opinion. It needs to be emphasized
that Finkelstein was canned because his own colleagues at DePaul ultimately
refused to be browbeaten into giving a pseudo-academic buffoon tenure on the
basis of "outside evaluations" that expressed little more than political
solidarity with Finkelstein's extremism and bigotry.

True, there were plenty of people who were understandably outraged at
Finkelstein's obscene rantings, and some of these expressed themselves in
public, just as lots of folks have long been ready to call on the University
of Colorado to do something about Ward Churchill. Alan Dershowitz is being
accredited by the media and the Finkelstein Lobby with the most devastating
of these "outside pressures." But Dershowitz' professional opinion of
Finkelstein was recruited by
(And even unsolicited outside letters of evaluation are
not so unusual<>in
academia.) In any case, Dershowitz' lobbying against Finkelstein paled
its weight in comparison with the campaign on Finkelstein's behalf by the
jihaniks in the Middle East Studies Association, or the repeated expressions
of support for Finkelstein by the bats in the ivory belfry of the American
Association of University Professors. Noam Chomsky was no doubt the most
outspoken and shrill outside lobbyist, in spite of the fact that Chomsky is
but a linguist (and a discredited one at that), not a political scientist.
The bottom line is that "outside pressure" had little to do with Finkelstein
getting turned down for tenure, but had everything to do with his having
been hired and then proposed for possible tenure in the first place!

Finkelstein is almost universally regarded as an anti-Semite, and is
regarded as a Holocaust Denier by the Anti-Defamation League, by the Simon
Wiesenthal Center (Finkelstein smears the latter as "Disneyland in Dachau"),
and others. Finkelstein generally uses the expression "Six Million Jews
killed by Hitler" with quotation marks. Finkelstein seems proud to be
proclaimed the "Jewish David Irving," and has never denounced Irving's
Holocaust Denial. Finkelstein's firing strongly resembles the dismissal of
the French Holocaust Denier Robert
Faurrison<>from a
university in France. Faurrison is also proclaimed a great scholar by
his apologists, who again claim he was a "victim" of persecution by a Jewish
cabal. And Noam Chomsky has led <> the
public campaign on behalf of BOTH!

The Finkelstein Lobby likes to counter arguments about Finkelstein's
fraudulent "scholarship" by citing praise for him by Raul Hilberg, a
well-known Holocaust historian who died recently. But Hilberg praised
Finkelstein as an act of petty solidarity simply because Finkelstein had
earlier smeared Hilberg's own arch-nemesis, the historian Daniel Jonah
Goldhagen. It was an example of Middle East style vendetta, where "the enemy
of my enemy is my friend." Exiled to rural Vermont, Hilberg was bitter and
hostile towards a "Jewish establishment" that he felt granted him
insufficient recognition, and was willing to praise a vicious anti-Semite in
order to poke his finger in their eye. For a good laugh, ask a Finkelstein
lobbyist to name a *second *Holocaust historian who has praised Finkelstein.

One of the silliest claims of the Finkelstein Lobby had to do with the case
of Mehrene Larudee, a DePaul radical faculty member who was also turned down
for tenure at the same time as Finkelstein. The Finkelstein Lobby claims she
was the "target" of the Zionist bogeyman. But there were no criticisms at
all in the media against Larudee before she was denied tenure, no public
calls to dismiss her. Virtually no one had ever heard of her, which turns
out to be most of her problem. Her academic record was nearly empty.
Claiming to be an economist, her publications were not enough to get her
tenured anywhere. The Finkelstein Lobby claims she was fired for endorsing
Finkelstein. But lots of people at DePaul endorse Finkelstein because they
like his political extremism, and virtually no one even knew that Larudee
was one of those. In fact, the dual dismissal of Finkelstein and Larudee
attests, if anything, to the fact that DePaul was simply getting serious at
long last about academic standards.

DePaul after all is a Catholic University, not exactly an appendage of the
Zionist bogeyman. The attempt by the Finkelstein Lobby to blame
Finkelstein's demise on "The Israel Lobby" simply shows how deep the
anti-Semitism is that drives Finkelstein revisionists, and how thoroughly
dishonest the Finkelstein Lobby is. One of its members, Matthew Abraham from
DePaul itself, claims the Israel
Lobby<>paid DePaul
millions of dollars to fire Finkelstein. Perhaps he should go to
work for the government of Iran.

Representation of the Finkelstein dismissal by DePaul as extortion by the
"Israel Lobby" is not only patently absurd, but smacks of the sort of
anti-Semitic libels about a "Jewish cabal" once found in *Der Sturmer* in
the 1930s. If anything from the outside affected DePaul, it was the fact
that the Church saw Finkelstein's association with a Catholic university to
be an unending source of embarrassment and disgrace.

The Finkelstein apologists insist that Finkelstein was a courageous crusader
willing to defy the "Zionist Lobby," which supposedly suppresses criticism
of Israel, and to challenge the oppressive force of campus conformism. And
it will repeat this Big Lie style for as long as you fail to walk away.
Anyone who thinks that it takes courage to spout off anti-Israel or
anti-American platitudes on American campuses must have been on another
planet these past few decades. It is about as courageous as denouncing
Israel and the United States in the Syrian press. If the "Israel Lobby" is
in control of the media and terrorizing anti-Zionist academics, it is doing
an awfully poor job of it. The liberal media are overflowing with hatred of
Israel, and the real endangered species on campus are the conservatives and
Israel supporters.

The more an academic screams about the need for diversity, the more likely
it is that he or she belongs to a university department that contains not a
single non-leftist. The Finkelstein Affair threw terror into the hearts of
the hordes of pseudo-academic leftist faculty members with their
embarrassingly skimpy resumes, often consisting of nothing but leftist
agitprop and political propagandizing. Ward Churchill
Finkelstein to get tenure. The Finkelstein revisionists are horrified
at the idea that their academic records could be publicly examined and the
manipulations that got them tenured exposed. No wonder they came out for
Finkelstein with all claws extended.

The reality is that bashing Israel on campus is the easiest and morally most
cowardly thing one can do these days, aside being the first resort of a
scoundrel and a bigot. Academics and students standing up to the Anti-Israel
Lobby today require an ever-growing amount of moxie and guts.

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