Standing Firm With Norman G. Finkelstein and DePaul’s Heroic Students: A Defining Moment

I am an untenured, assistant professor at DePaul University in Chicago, where Norman G. Finkelstein, the most heroic critic of U.S. and Israeli policy in Palestine ever to set foot in the U.S. academy, was denied tenure over nearly three months ago. I was, and am, deeply saddened that DePaul University, the institution where I have chosen to make a career, has so effectively undermined its social justice mission in a series of actions that have put us, as a faculty body, in grave peril.

By capitulating to the threats, antics, and pressures of Alan Dershowitz, the Israel Lobby, and its numerous affiliates, DePaul has compromised something so integral to an educational institution’s mission, that once so compromised, it is impossible to regain. That something is institutional autonomy. An institution’s ability to withstand outside pressure, and economic coercion — which can often be tantamount to blackmail — is a must in an age of corporate scandal, sleazy deal making, and political cover-ups. The general public used to look to the academy for leadership, vision, and most importantly, uncorrupted knowledge. Not anymore. DePaul is now even more vulnerable than it was before President Dennis Holtschneider signed Norman G. Finkelstein’s tenure denial letter on June 8th. Despite the legalistic obfuscations about the how the Finkelstein denial is not about academic freedom, but about professional conduct, the denunciation of so-called “conspiracy theories” which have cropped up over the summer, and the holier-than-thou pronouncements about how this past year’s tenure and promotion decisions were the result of a “clean process,” DePaul University is more vulnerable than ever to the next assault upon its integrity and autonomy — no matter how many millions of dollars have poured into its coffers because of the Finkelstein tenure denial, we are vulnerable.

Today, Wednesday (September 5th, 2007), is the biggest day in DePaul University’s history as Norman G. Finkelstein returns to campus to begin his terminal year after being denied tenure on June 8th. Finkelstein has been placed on “administrative leave” because of his supposed behavior on June 13th and June 14th, when he confronted faculty in the Political Science Department, individuals who voted against his tenure, and Dean Charles Suchar, who recommended against tenure in a memo dated March 22nd to the University Board on Tenure and Promotion. Because of these confrontations and because of a recommendation made by a special committee within the Political Science Department, according to a memo written by Provost Helmut Epp, Finkelstein has been removed from the classroom and will not be allowed to teach the courses that were assigned to him as late as ten days ago.

Over the last few months I have been forced to ask some hard questions about DePaul’s institutional mission, its commitment to preserving tenure as a special accolade for the best and the brightest in the academy, and its defense of academic freedom in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, which so often is subject to institutional surveillance, censorship, and silencing. Most importantly, I have come to question DePaul’s administration and faculty’s commitment to upholding academic freedom, as a serious institutional value, which enables critical thinking and meaningful dissent around important, albeit, taboo subjects such as Israel’s human rights record in the Occupied Territories and the special role that U.S. taxpayers fill in contributing to that record. Indeed, the silence of many tenured faculty here at DePaul, in the face of egregious violations of academic freedom and due process in the Finkelstein case, is in many ways the same silence that plagues the American public when it comes to speaking out about the sixty-year Israeli occupation of Palestine. This faculty silence is perhaps the hardest thing for me, as a new faculty member, to understand and reconcile with DePaul’s Vincentian heritage and mission. If there was ever a time for Vincentian personalism to manifest itself, it is now, in this moment, when Norman Finkelstein steps onto campus this morning. If faculty find themselves unable to rally around him, too busy with the usual duties that attend preparing for the beginning of the academic year, perhaps DePaul faculty should ask themselves why they are in this business of opening young minds to new ideas, when they are incapable of seeing that our campus is on the brink of devolving into something reminiscent of the Red Scare of the McCarthy Era. Will those faculty associated with, and standing in support of Finkelstein, be the next targets of DePaul’s administration? If so, I would certainly be a likely target. I am ready to accept that challenge.

Faculty and administrators that I respect, people to whom I have turned to for advice and guidance in the short time I have been at DePaul, have repeatedly cowered in the face of various pressures within and external to the university around the political persecution of Norman G. Finkelstein. Most DePaul faculty have preferred to simply stay out of the way, justifying their inaction with statements such as “Perhaps the administration has information that we don’t” or “We don’t know what happened in that room when Finkelstein met with the University Board.” “Finkelstein is difficult” I’ve heard people say or “He’s not collegial and is a polemicist” someone else dismissively points out. “He’s saying things, which might be true, but people aren’t ready to hear such things as yet” another announces. These are excuses, I know, that well-meaning people generate to justify their decision to remain silent, realizing perhaps the fight for this dissident is not going to yield anything for them personally or professionally.

DePaul’s decision to deny Norman G. Finkelstein tenure in such a clumsy and blatantly foolish way, really beggars the imagination. The administration maintains that Finkelstein does not show adequate respect for the views of his political opponents in his scholarship, which is a transparent admission that, since it could not find serious flaws in his teaching or scholarship, the administration had to concoct a reason to deny Finkelstein tenure. That which Suchar called “Vincentian personalism”and what Holtschneider referenced as “a tendency to simplify and polarize debates which require subtle and layered consideration,” are admissions that DePaul, under no circumstances, was to make a positive recommendation on the Finkelstein tenure case. Indeed, that is more likely than not what key members on DePaul’s Board of Trustees told the administration over a year ago — “Find a way to do this. We don’t care how.” Perhaps realizing that most DePaul faculty would prefer to hold on to their academic privilege, instead of rocking the boat and making noise about the persecution of a dissenting colleague, the administration made a cynical calculation — “No one will care if Finkelstein is denied tenure. We can pull this off with minimum cost.” Therein lay a miscalculation: There are a group of people who care about the political persecution of Norman G. Finkelstein — DePaul’s heroic students, who are at this moment standing by their favorite professor as he prepares for the fight of his life. Regardless of whether or not the faculty joins these students in this day’s heroic struggle is of little consequence. A mighty victory has been won for the idealism of the young. With them and Finkelstein I will stand firm.

See also the related article: “Resisting Tyranny in Academia: The Deepening Bathos at DePaul University

Matthew Abraham is an Associate Professor of English and the author of the recently released Out of Bounds: Academic Freedom and the Question of Palestine (Bloomsbury Academic Publishing). Read other articles by Matthew.

58 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. jaime said on September 5th, 2007 at 7:31am #

    How about getting your basic facts right!?

    De Paul contacted Dershowitz to ask him for his opinion about Finkelstein. This was delivered. They then made their own decisions without outside interference other than the the Finkelstein “We are all Hezbollah” camp.

    Universities don’t generally give tenure to staff members who commission cartoons of their intellectual enemies masturbating to dead bodies. It’s considered unprofessional.

  2. jaime said on September 5th, 2007 at 7:43am #

    Here’s what another dedicated Finkelstein supporter had to say when confronted in this forum about Finkelstein’s support for Hizbollah, the radical Islamist terrorist group:

    http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2007/08/does-norman-finkelstein-constitute-a-security-threat-to-depaul-university-you-bet-he-does/

    #Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 4th, 2007 at 4:57 am #

    “…Hezbollah is not a ‘terrorist group’. Its a bunch of Lebanese Shia freedom fighters who drove out a vicious, racist occupying force, that had invaded their lands. These Israeli racists, deluded by religious faery stories and the belief in their inherent superiority to the rest of creation, murdered, tortured and defiled the land and people of Southern Lebanon for over twenty years. After being driven out they lusted for revenge, to slake their outrage at being bested by Arab untermenschen. Their chance, so they thought, came last July, when, in a carefully planned assault, fully backed by their fellow racists in Washington, they attacked Lebanon. They devastated the whole country, in the usual cowardly manner, from thirty thousand feet, destroying homes, schools, mosques, hospitals even grocery stores. Over 90% of their victims were civilians. Unfortunately, on the ground, the freedom fighters of Hezbollah kicked their arses yet again. Over 90% of Israeli casualties were military. Still, in a show of that ‘moral purity’ for which Israel is legendary, the defeated Chosen People gifted the people of Southern Lebanon four million cluster bomblets, out of sheer generosity of spirit, for which they are so renowned.The real terrorists, perhaps, with their puppet hyper-power buddies in Washington, the very worst terrorists in history, live in Tel Aviv and other parts of ethnically cleansed Palestine. Just to set the facts right, for your edification.”

  3. pipistro said on September 5th, 2007 at 8:10am #

    Dershowitz’s “opinion” about the Middle East conflict is nothing but an apologize for every Israeli action. But you know, as (also) ex President Carter said, Dersh doesn’t know anything of the issue … Plus a bunch of ad hominem agression towards the man who had the guts to show plenty of evidence that Dershowitz’s The case for Israel (and one more time Joan Peter’s work) is not worth reading. Now, it seems you (jaime) know about Finkelstein’s work the sole libels (“commission cartoons”) spread by Dersh to counteract – without fortune – the facts.

  4. Abu Nurah said on September 5th, 2007 at 8:57am #

    Truth is on our side. All the Zionists can do is use bully tactics. I commend you for your stance on this issue.

    Peace & Justice,
    Abu Nurah

  5. your colleague said on September 5th, 2007 at 10:20am #

    As a new faculty member, you may not be qualified to judge whether today is “the biggest day in DePaul University’s history.” Time will tell, and the facts will come out.

    The phrase “it is more likely than not” does not make an assertion true. A responsible writer (not to mention an English professor) should exercise the kinds of wisdom and discretion that his profession requires.

  6. Neal said on September 5th, 2007 at 11:42am #

    Mr. Abraham,

    You write that some say that “He’s not collegial and is a polemicist.” That is quite a charge against someone who is supposed to be a professor. If true, being a polemicist, rather than a scholar, is more than sufficient grounds to deny tenure to anyone.

    I might note, in any event, that this has nothing to do with McCarthyism. Finkelstein, as I understand it, gives speeches all over the country and sells books to a fairly wide audience, things that would not occur if McCarthyism were remotely involved. Whether or not justly denied tenure, the McCarthyism explanation falls on its face.

    It is also worth noting that some of Finkelstein’s scholarship – and not just his opinions – has been questioned. His work has been described as “throwing caution to the wind.” Again, I cannot say that such is a fair assessment, but I note that such is the view of one expert on the field, Michael Berenbaum.

  7. heike said on September 5th, 2007 at 1:13pm #

    It’s even worse than Jaime thinks. This dude teaches a course called “called “Introduction to Reasoned Discourse” http://condor.depaul.edu/~mabraha5/index/English208.doc

    Look at #6 in his course objectives:

    6) distinguish between propaganda and well-reasoned argument

    So, let’s see how he’s doing. Yesterday on his blog he put out the following:
    “Grossman Churns Out Agitation Propaganda Piece on Finkelstein”

    Question: is Matthew going to submit that to his tenure board as an example of how well he is training students to distinguish between propaganda and well-reasoned argument?

    Does he make unsubstantiated conjectures?
    “…more likely than not what key members on DePaul’s Board of Trustees told the administration over a year ago — “Find a way to do this. We don’t care how.”

    Is that the “reasoned discourse” you are training your students to understand?

    You are SO concerned about lack of academic freedom for pro-Palestinians. Do people who have different views than they do also have a RIGHT TO ACADEMIC FREEDOM? I’ve looked far and wide on your “students for academic freedom” website, and find nothing about academic freedom for anyone but F. and La Rudee. Has no one in the last three years brought up valid questions about academic freedom in your university?

    Instead of asking hard questions about De Paul’s institutional mission, why don’t you start by asking some questions about Finkelstein’s “scholarship”? I suggest you start with the August 2006 program with Amy Goodman on “Democracy Now.” Tell everyone exactly what he says about Phyllis Chesler’s remarks about anti-Semitism. And how many times he says she mentions India is an Arab country. Next, in accordance with item 6) of your course syllabus, go back and find out exactly what Phyllis did write on those subjects. If you have trouble with the research, I’ll be glad to help you.

    Your final exam question is: What did he say she said that she didn’t say, and what did she say that he didn’t say she said?

  8. Chris Crass said on September 5th, 2007 at 1:18pm #

    Give it up, jerks.
    If Finklestein got sacked for cheering on Israel you’d be outraged. This gang mentality bullshit is disgusting. As long as objectivity is nowhere to be found, the most viscous, myopic fools will rule the Earth from the shoulders of people like you.
    War? Theft? Slavery? Why, thank you, morons!

  9. jaime said on September 5th, 2007 at 2:04pm #

    So we have some news that Finkelstein’s resigned today rather than get charged with trespass thrown in the clink.

    And he’s “settled” with De Paul. And “resigned.”

    Who cares anyway?

    My take on this is that they had a whole lot of interesting stuff on him that was going to be given to the media if he didn’t go quietly.

  10. Peter LaVenia said on September 5th, 2007 at 2:10pm #

    Ridiculous. As a prospective academic, I am saddened by DePaul’s decision. Whatever you might think about Israel, Dr. Finkelstein has had the courage to discuss controversial topics. That is what defines academics – the possibility of open discussion and the possibility of being right or wrong. Unfortunately for many conservatives or those who are anti-Finkelstein, this means heeding Voltaire’s maxim of “I disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.” It is unprecedented that so many people around the country denigrate a professor they’ve never had contact with, or cheer on denial of tenure and what is a de-facto early dismissal. On the grounds of academic freedom one would assume that they would also be horrified – but most of Finkelstein’s critics don’t care much about academic freedom, only denigrating their perceived enemy, who has done them no personal harm except venture forward to explore the truth.

  11. Neal said on September 5th, 2007 at 2:24pm #

    Mr. LaVenia,

    The role of the professor is not merely the courage to discuss contraversial topics. The role of a professor is also bring real scholarship to bear on an issue, not merely polemics.

    I might add: anyone who thinks it takes any courage to discuss the Arab Israeli dispute on campus, taking the Arab side of things to boot, must live on a different planet than I live on. That dispute is the subject of endless discussion, with polemics being the very last thing that is needed.

  12. Kim Petersen said on September 5th, 2007 at 2:42pm #

    Polemics merely refers to the ability to effectively argue a controversial position. Finkelstein’s scholarship is regarded as first rate and groundbreaking by acknowledged experts in the field.

  13. Rambo Jones said on September 5th, 2007 at 2:59pm #

    “I will return to my office. I will teach my classes”–Norman Finkelstein

    Norman needs a caveat: “Unless Depaul gives me a good buyout.”

    I would be interested in hearing any info on the deal that Finkelstein struck with DePaul.

    Also, how does the firing of the top excecutive for operations [who oversaw the university's legal department] fit into the Finkelstein mess?

  14. Hue Longer said on September 5th, 2007 at 3:06pm #

    jaime said on September 5th, 2007 at 2:04 pm #

    “My take on this is that they had a whole lot of interesting stuff on him that was going to be given to the media if he didn’t go quietly”.

    You should calm down before clicking, “submit”….This doesn’t help the Zionists here who are better versed in logic perversion. Maybe you could get one of them to explain to you why this looks bad?

  15. jaime said on September 5th, 2007 at 3:12pm #

    Webster:
    1 a : an aggressive attack on or refutation of the opinions or principles of another b : the art or practice of disputation or controversy — usually used in plural but sing. or plural in constr.
    2 : an aggressive controversialist : DISPUTANT

    Polemic just means argumentative …not enlightening or encouraging scholarship.

    He published opinions not research. But again, I think he’s just a jerk. Now he’s a better known jerk.

  16. jaime said on September 5th, 2007 at 3:15pm #

    Hue,

    You’re quite the cheap shot artist. Slimy insinuations …

  17. LanceThruster said on September 5th, 2007 at 3:17pm #

    If Dr. Finkelstein is satisfied with a settlement and chooses resignation over his other options, then that is good enough for me. The man is in incredible teacher and has paid dearly for his truth-telling. I have no doubt that he will find other outlets for sharing his knowledge.

    He deserves our respect and admiration for his intellectual honesty and integrity. And DePaul deserves the condemnation of true academics everywhere.

  18. Hue Longer said on September 5th, 2007 at 5:31pm #

    another appeal for subjective reality. I am not “ANTISEMETIC”, and confronting Zionists who perverse logic may hurt your feelings, but logic is logic and getting hung up on the word “perversion” or “Zionist” is a good place to start with your latest complaint. The fallacy offered here by many Zionists is not just an opinion—it is a perversion of logic.

    This by no means is a suggestion that other people don’t do it…in fact, were I to, I’d expect one could do better for me by explaining -unattached to their emotions- how I did so.

  19. DEB-Z said on September 5th, 2007 at 5:37pm #

    I have NO RESPECT what so ever for DEPAUL UNIVERSITY;
    DePaul let a professor go that both faculty and students respected and
    made an undisclosed settlement with Dr. Finkelstein today and released
    this statement:

    “Professor Finkelstein is a prolific scholar and outstanding teacher.”

    I am shocked at what Dershowitz had to say today!
    (as reported in the International Herald Tribune on Sept 5, 2007)

    1.) “DePaul looks like they caved into pressure”

    …..Yes, I feel Dershowitz is right they did cave in to pressure last spring and they have looked bad since. DePaul, the lobby and Dershowitz look bad today.

    2.) “The idea of describing him as a scholar trades truth for convenience…”

    I believe that Professor Finkelstein has proven Alan Dershowitz as the one who is not a scholar in the book BEYOND CHUTZPAH by Finkelstein and the comparison in the rear about Dershowitz’s copying another book without referenceing, etc….
    Who is the true scholar? Read Dershowitz’s book then Finkelstein’s!

    3.) “I am glad he is out of academia. Let him do his ranting on street corners.” Dershowitz also said.

    Perhaps Dershowitz should be out of a job if copying others work,
    and passing it off as his own, is not a reason for dismisal….than what is?
    He is arrogant and DePaul was stupid to get involved with this supporter of torture.

    Dr. Finkelstein stated he wanted to “leave with my head unbowed.”
    Today it appears DePaul and Dershowitz should have their heads bowed for the discrace they have brought upon DePaul University.

    Perhaps DePaul should replace members of their board and executives at their university and start with a fresh page.

    Their university is littered with much gossip, disrespect, apparent control by special interest lobbies, and lack of academic freedom. This extreme lack of academic freedom slants towards Israel’s perspectives only!

    Heaven forbid that both sides of a world conflict can’t be explored at universities in the USA without retaliation by the Israeli representatives!

    The age of open topics for education should be an encouraged practice and not a condemned one. We will never have non predjudice towards the ME with an educational enviroments like DePaul University has displayed. This institution and others like it foster hate and one sided
    thinking.

    What has happened to the other faculty member that was denied HER
    positon due to much the same reasons? Let’s not forget that there were
    TWO professors that DePaul disrespected and targeted! Both wanted to
    advocate for exploration of the Palestine issues and she supported
    Professor Finkelstein! Where is the outrage for her postion?

  20. David Lucier said on September 5th, 2007 at 10:34pm #

    I’ve been aware of Norman Finkelstein’s works and politics since listening to him debate with Shlomo ben Ami, ex Israeli Peace Talks Negotiator, on Democracy Now, with Amy Goodman.

    The arguments were polite and led to considerable agreement on the problems facing Israel and the Palestinians. Both men were compassionate and sensible. If there were more people of their knowledge and ability to respect the pain of others, there might be a solution to the Israel-Palestine dispute.

    Unfortunately, stereotypes, fear, and hatred fule fires that should be put out. Dershowitz, settlers, and zealot Zionists will not stop until they dig graves big enough for all of us.

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 6th, 2007 at 4:48am #

    Thank-you Jaime for recycling my apposite observations regarding Hezbollah. The tendency of Zionists, neocons and others in the Israel-First movement, to smear everyone who resists Israeli aggression as ‘terrorists’ is deeply hypocritical and faintly amusing.The Israeli side has never abjured the use of racist violence-after all Jewish terrorists were cutting childrens’ throats at Deir Yassin only three years after Auschwitz-and the list of their atrocities from the ethnic cleansing of 1948 through the massacres of prisoners in 1956 and 1967, the USS Liberty, the downing of the Libyan airliner in, if my memory serves me, 1972, through to the near universal torture of detainees on the West Bank since 1967, land theft, dispossession, assassination, child murder etc, etc, etc would put even their old bosom buddies in Apartheid South Africa to shame, so it’s a bit rich to call Hezbollah ‘terrorists’. You know, it’s a question of ‘pots and kettles’, or rather tiny thimbles and whacking great cauldrons. The use of the term ‘terrorist’ by apologists for Israel is based entirely on a racist set of cynical and hypocritical double-standards. One side is blessed by God, and stands above International Law, the UN and most people’s understanding of basic decency. When this odious double standard is challenged (as it is every year in the UN General Assembly where Israel usually is at the losing end of votes of 170 or so to 2 or 3, depending whether both Micronesia and Palau are ‘on board’)the reaction of the Israel First mob is visceral. There’s nothing like the outrage of those ‘born to rule’ when the untermenschen refuse to follow orders.

  22. Robert Johnstone said on September 6th, 2007 at 8:13am #

    I demand to know why Finkelstein sold his soul for a mess of pottage!

    Why did he not go to jail and go on a hunger strike like he promised all his students and supporters?

    Why is this man opting to cash in on a financial settlement that DePaul has set before him?

    This is nothing but a bitter betrayal by a con man who fleeced his acolytes of their fighting souls.

    All progressives and humanists should demand an investigation into Finkelstein’s actions. We all feel personally betrayed by this man’s cynical stunts and publicity-grabbing.

    There is something definitely rotten in the State of Finkelstein!

  23. sk said on September 6th, 2007 at 9:20am #

    FYI, a video of Norman Finkelstein giving a statement at De Paul yesterday. He also talks about the case of Mehrene Larudee.

    The late Israel Shahak had the number of the Zionists who brought about this disgraceful situation, with repercussions for academic life across the country. He referred to these blinkered fanatics as “more Stalinist than Stalin, with Israel being their ‘god which has not yet failed’

  24. ashley said on September 6th, 2007 at 10:29am #

    Jaime: you might want to do more research on the degree to which Finkelstein’s latest work on the Is-Pal affair was ultra-rigorously fact-checked and again to a degree that is very rarely the case in any field. This is because the publishers knew they had a potential hot potato. And it was a University Press, not a mainstream commercial house.

    Most of your arguments are based on the emotional bias that Finkelstein is everything his critics say they are. However, those same critics, including yourself, hardly ever reference anything he wrote or said or if you do, base entire arguments and views on one or two third-hand anecdotes told without any detail or context.

    Indeed, you help prove his point and others like him. Israel and her coterie of sympathisers, both passive and aggressive, have overplayed their hand in terms of influencing how America functions as a country. It is not over yet, but at some point it will be and I fear the backlash will be terrible as the degree of outright fraud, greed and arrogance is laid bare.

    Dershowitz and his ilk have won this round on the surface capitalizing on the complacency and cowardice of many involved. This is an all too familiar tale since it is asking a lot of individuals to jeopardize their family life and reputation in order to make a principled stand that would appear to have little effect on the wider world. This is how the whole thing works and always will. But at a certain point when the level of abuse and greed become too obvious and widespread, there will be blowback.

    At which point, I doubt people like yourself will pontificate so confidently about things of which you obviously have almost no knowledge or understanding. I would be astonished if you have even read any of his books.

  25. Bill Williams said on September 6th, 2007 at 10:36am #

    Great post, Ashley! You point out something about Jaime that I’ve gone to great pains to point out in other venues.

    BW

  26. Neal said on September 6th, 2007 at 12:08pm #

    Ashley,

    Being “fact checked” does not mean much. Such does not make Finkelstein’s analysis accurate or reasonable or fair. He may, in fact, cite only things that are true – basically as a lawyer does when presenting a case to a court of appeals. All facts presented perhaps can be verified from somewhere in the record but – and this is important to consider – that hardly means that his presentation amounts to serious analysis of anything. There is the question of whether his take on the facts is reasonable or in context and whether he leaves out facts that contradict his views, etc., etc..

    Now, I am not saying he is a bad scholar, since I have not read his books. But, the things of his that I have read suggest the possibility that his views are more contentious than scholarly, which is his privilege, so please do not mind my gut reaction that there is nothing wrong with a university preferring not to grant him tenure. I recall knowing more than a few good scholars who were denied tenure.

    Them’s the breaks. He can try again somewhere else. Or, he can become an independent scholar. I have acquaintance with quite a few such people and there is no shame in it.

  27. heike said on September 6th, 2007 at 12:42pm #

    You asked for fact checks? Here is how he characterized Phyllis Chesler’s work and here are the facts. On p.51 of Beyond Chutzpah he refers to two quotes from her work mentioning India: “more Jewish Arabs fled from Arab lands such as …India than did Palestinians from Palestine-Israel”(113) and “Israel absorbed dark and olive-skinned Jews from India”(228). On p.167 (he doesn’t mention this) she also writes “Jews from Arab lands (and from India and Iran) have increasingly become more predominant, more politicized in Israel.”

    In his 2005 Vancouver library speech, he stated the following:

    Phyllis Chesler made her reputation by writing this book “Women and Madness,” and judging by this current book, you see she does have expertise in her original field. So, you know, the book is completely looney. It’s nutty. …she’s a complete embarrassment. She’s an idiot. She’s an imbecile….Turn to Page 116. Look at the top of page 116. She says that hundreds of thousands of Jews after 1948 fled from Arab countries like India. (laughter) I said Steve, I’m serious. And she said it twice, it’s not a typo! It’s there twice! …This woman is an imbecile. (end quote)

    So, there are several issues here. Does she think that India is an Arab country or did she make a typographical error? She mentions India on p.113 (not p.116 as F. asserts) as an Arab land, but on p.167, she puts India and Iran off in parentheses to make it clear they are not Arab lands. But he asserts in his speech, quite erroneously, that “she said it twice.” He did so in order to be able to disparage her scholarship and her mental stability. Is this what you call honest scholarship on his part? If he had delved deeper into his subject, he would have come up with a good reason to criticize her – India was not a country from which Jews fled because of anti-Semitism. (of course, he was also quite correct regarding her reference to Aung San Suu Kyi)

    Secondly, is she crazy because she referred to “Arab Jews” coming from India? Actually, as you will see from the following, she wasn’t that far from the reservation, as even Israeli sources refer to a historic community of Arab speaking Jews in India.

    From the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:

    Arabic-speaking Jews came to India as traders in the wake of the Portuguese, Dutch and British. These “Baghdadis,” as they came to be known, especially the Sassoons of Bombay and the Ezras of Calcutta, eventually established manufacturing and commercial houses of fabulous wealth. (end quote)

    Thus, it’s not so lunatic and insane to talk about Arab Jews coming from India. What F. missed (it didn’t matter because he was simply out to undermine her reputation) is that Jews who left India did not do so because of anti-Semitism, which is historically absent from India’s experience.

    Did Chesler accuse major U.S. media of anti-Semitism? On p. 220 of her book, Chesler writes:

    “In America CNN and NPR in particular, but many major newspapers as well such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, have often given more sympathetic coverage to the Palestinians than to the Israelis.”

    She quotes the BBC nine times but only as a news source. The Washington Post is used as a news source and is mentioned as one of the most influential media in America

    And how did Finkelstein characterize her work? In a debate on “Democracy Now,” he said the following:

    If you open up, like, Phyllis Chesler’s book, The New Anti-Semitism, she says Jewish feminists are anti-Semites, NPR is anti-Semitic, BBC is anti-Semitic, Los Angeles Times is anti-Semitic, New York Times is anti-Semitic, Washington Post is anti-Semitic. Everybody is anti-Semitic. The term is devoid of any content. Anyone who ever criticizes Israel is anti-Semitic.

    If you read these people — Phyllis Chesler, her book The New Anti-Semitism had lots of praise by serious intellectuals like Paul Berman. She keeps saying in the book that India is an Arab country, and she’s very emphatic about this, that India is an Arab country. That’s the level of intellectual, you know, debate and discussion in this country when it comes to the Arab world.

    So here again is a wholesale smearing of someone whose views he dislikes. The fact that she wrote something on p.220 that is completely at odds with his statements doesn’t bother him, after all, “who ever bothers to check the accuracy of his assertions.” Is this truly research that he has “painstakingly conducted”?

  28. jaime said on September 6th, 2007 at 5:09pm #

    Thanks Heike.

    The fact is that F. has made all kinds of over-arching assertions not backed up in fact. The reason we’re even talking about him is because he is an oddity and his premise of Jews using the memory of the Holocaust being used to bludgeon others is as disgusting as the notion of American Blacks using their memory of slavery to torment others, or descendants of the Irish potato famine doing something similar.

    F’s ravings have found currency with racists and terrorists.

    Meanwhile here’s an interesting follow-up piece …. another assault against a female professor at DePaul? If so, I can certainly see him leaving quietly rather than have those details publicized…

    http://marathonpundit.blogspot.com/2007_09_01_archive.html#88
    34430791615572118

    Any Corroboration would be appreciated:

    Sent to writer: moc.enubirtnull@namssorgr
    Finkelstein, a scholar praised and damned for his strong criticisms of Israel, was denied tenure in June.

    Dear Mr. Grossman,

    You seem to imply in certain portions of your article that Mr. Finkelstein was controversial and denied tenure predominately due to his criticisms of Israel and support for the Palestinian cause. To even tacitally impy this is ludicrous. Why are there many other professors at plently of Universities, Columbia for example, that are highly critical of Israel and supportive of the Palestinian cause that are not denied tenure and do not physically and verbally assault people.

    Further, you stated Mr. Finkelstein verbally and physically assaulted others after being denied tenure. However, you erred and told half the story. He physically and verbally assaulted another female professor well before the Tenure decision and this incident (and apparently others, records are sealed) was brought to the Dean’s attention.

    I wonder if this reporter would ask Mr. Finkelstein if he would agree to have the University unseal the records of his incident/incidents and have them made public, in exchange for another tenure hearing?

    Further, Mr. Finkelstein, as Depaul stated in its tenure decision, is not just noted for his position, but for the way in which he demonizes, demeans and attempts to shame others who disagree with him. This is evident from his website where, for example there is a pornographic picture of Alan Dershowitz ‘getting off’ to Lebanese civilians dying in last years Israeli Hezbollah conflict.

    This attitude, as the Dean made clear in his statement, is not conducive to a ‘discussion’ and apparently extends to his dealings with others, as in faculty and students. Yet, when Mr. Finkelstein is criticized in the slightest way he instead becomes the ‘victim’ of a conspiracy of ‘powerful others’ trying to keep him down. That seems to me more a case self important demagoguery.

    Sincerely,
    Mike Narigizian
    Fort Lee, NJ
    Mike Nargizian | 09.05.07 – 2:12 pm | #

  29. Neal said on September 6th, 2007 at 5:31pm #

    Ashley,

    If what Heike posts is correct and reasonably representative, then Finkelstein is not much of a scholar such that I cannot imagine anyone wasting much breadth over his denial of tenure. So, when I noted the possibility that he might say things that are technically true, whether or not in context and whether or not contradicted by other facts, that, if Heike is correct, was far too kind of me. Good grief.

  30. Kim Petersen said on September 6th, 2007 at 5:50pm #

    Jaime,
    Are you Dershowitz behind a monitor? Then stop repeating innuendo as fact regarding Finkelstein having commissioned a cartoon.
    Finkelstein denies such.
    “In investigating the matter, the Committee discovered that Finkelstein reported never having heard of the website in question publishing the article and cartoon, did not authorize use of his article, and did not commission the accompanying editorial cartoon.”

  31. Neal said on September 6th, 2007 at 6:16pm #

    Kim,

    I think the more important evidence is that brought forward by Heike. Is Heike mistaken?

  32. heike said on September 6th, 2007 at 9:21pm #

    I have given all the relevant references, so if anyone doubts, it is easy to check the facts. Do as I did: go to the Amazon.com website for both books. There is an inside search mechanism, and you can input key words such as “India.” This way, you can get an electronic search of key terms of all pages in both “Beyond Chutzpah” and “The New Anti-Semitism.” People should not create reality from their own ideological prejudices, but should let the facts govern their conclusions. I have tried to be balanced as to Finkelstein’s findings, and have noted that on the Burmese dissident he was correct. However, one could also add that this is making a mountain out of a molehill: the central theme of her book is not the fate of Burmese dissidents but whether a new variety of ant-Semitism exists today. That should be the theme of any discussion or review of her work, and to try to suggest that she need an “idiots guide to the Middle East” is irrelevant and based on false information.

    In the last analysis, as everyone will probably agree, discussing the Middle East and all its ramifications can be a very emotional and daunting exercise for all sides. What I am aimply trying to do here is to plea for honesty, and for people to recognize that they need to recognize dishonesty when it comes into this discussion and not defend people simply out of ideological solidarity. If we can do that, the currently wide gulf that exists between viewpoints favoring one side or the other might at least be partially bridged. As to the “Democracy Now” broadcast, I think it did make the point that Congressman Weiner has insufficient knowledge of this subject, but it also showed that the show’s producer, who is a close personal friend of NGF, did not carry out her responsibilities as an investigative journalist in challenging the falsehoods that HE put forward on her show.

  33. sk said on September 6th, 2007 at 9:36pm #

    Here’s an excerpt from Beyond Chutzpah in which Norman Finkelstein discusses Phyllis Chesler’s “work”:

    If virtually any criticism of Israel signals anti-Semitism, the sweep of the new anti-Semitism, unsurprisingly, beggars the imagination. Apart from usual suspects like Arabs, Muslims, and the Third World generally, as well as Europe and United Nations, Chesler’s rogues’ gallery includes “Western-based international human rights organizations, academics, intellectuals”; “Western anticapitalist, antiglobalist, pro-environment, antiracist,” and “antiwar” activists; “progressive feminists,” “Jewish feminists” (“American Jewish feminists stopped fighting for women’s rights in America and began fighting for the rights of PLO”); “European, and left and liberal American media” like Time magazine, the Associated Press, Reuters, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, British Guardian, Toronto Star, BBC, NPR, CNN, and ABC, as well as many Israelis like “Yeshayahu Leibowitz of Hebrew University”–an orthodox Jew and one of Israel’s most revered intellectuals. And “anyone who denies that this is so,” Chesler throws in for good measure is also “an anti-Semite.” Small wonder that Chesler sees a world awash in “Nazi-level” anti-Semitism: It’s as if Hitler’s Brown Shirts have returned from the dead, in greater numbers, and are doing their dirty Kristallnacht work everyday, everywhere.” Even in the United States, the new anti-Semitism that those daring to criticize it “wear the yellow star.” Amid these absurd dilations Chesler juxtaposes the Eastern propensity for “hyperexaggeration” against her own “Western standard of truth-telling and objectivity.” To convey the amplitude of the new anti-Semitism, she lets loose a barrage of strange similes and metaphors: “There is a thrilling permissibility in the air–the kind of electrically charged and altered reality that acid-trippers or epileptics may experience just prior to a seizure”; “Doctored footage of fake Israeli massacres has now entered the imagination of billions of people; like pornography, these ideas can never be forgotten”; “It’s as if the political equivalent of the AIDS virus has been unleashed in the world”; “To be a Jew is to live dangerously, on the margins, with an open, ‘circumcised’ heart.” “Acid-trippers,” “epileptics, ” “pornography,” “AIDS,” “‘circumcised’ heart”–one begins to wonder whether Chesler’s magnum opus, Women and Madness, was autobiographical.

    By the way, Finkelstein may have been wrong about an a infitesimally tiny minority from the “sub-continent” of South Asia (close to 1 in 4 humans), but to use that factoid to discredit his entire scholarship is more indicative of the way of thinking of those trying to smear his reputation than a serious objection to his main claims.

  34. sk said on September 6th, 2007 at 9:42pm #

    Oops, one sentence above is incomplete. Instead of:

    Even in the United States, the new anti-Semitism that those daring to criticize it “wear the yellow star.”

    it should be:

    Even in the United States, the new anti-Semitism is so pervasive that those daring to criticize it “wear the yellow star.”

  35. Neal said on September 7th, 2007 at 6:50am #

    sk,

    It sounds to me, from what you quote, that Finkelstein is concerned that Ms. Chesler might be worried about some serious nastiness – as if virulent, eliminationist Antisemitism were only a thing of the past that could not be connected with a thousand smaller cuts along with some rather nastier cuts. Or, perhaps Ms. Chesler chases some ghosts along with real hate mongers. Perhaps.

    Then again, the obsession with Israel by many of Israel’s enemies who are not remotely affected by Israel is rather akin to the uproar regarding Captain Dreyfuss early last century, with a political dispute both using and fomenting Antisemitism.

    Historically, when political agendas can use Jews to advance that agenda or, in fact, relate to Jews, Antisemitism tends, whatever the actual intentions of those involved, in time to become – if history is any guide – rather virulent and, in some instances, rather eliminationist in tone. So, perhaps Finkelstein is quite a bit naive or perhaps he is so very and blindly political toward advancing his agenda that he is entirely blind and tone deaf about the subject regarding which he writes.

    One, however, has to think that a person is blindly political if he or she treats as mere politics a topic which has been a veritable plague on Christian and Islamic society through the ages.

    No doubt I shall get a response that he does not do so, that he is a Holocaust survivor and that he is accusing his opponents of merely using past horrors to advance Israel’s agenda. Perhaps. Then again, since he has mostly negative things to say about Israel, perhaps he also has an agenda that is merely political and that making the claims he makes are made in order to cast Israel’s supporters in a bad light.

    It would seem to me, in any event, that what he writes about Ms. Chesler lacks much weight, even assuming he says things that are technically accurate. So, I return to what Heike notes.

  36. jaime said on September 7th, 2007 at 7:40am #

    Kim Petersen wrote on September 6th, 2007 at 5:50 pm #

    Jaime,
    Are you Dershowitz behind a monitor? Then stop repeating innuendo as fact regarding Finkelstein having commissioned a cartoon.
    Finkelstein denies such.
    “In investigating the matter, the Committee discovered that Finkelstein reported never having heard of the website in question publishing the article and cartoon, did not authorize use of his article, and did not commission the accompanying editorial cartoon.”

    =================

    Er no, I’m not Dershowitz and your “link” did not in any way refer to let alone exonerate or distance Finkelstein from the notorious Latuff “masturbation cartoon.”

    Indeed, Finkelstein has NEVER distanced himself from having had it posted on his website, and has never condemned or distanced himself from Latuff or his work. Indeed, an updated selection of latuff’s materials are still available on Fink’s site.

    Similarly, Fink. has never retracted or retreated from his position as a devotee of the violent criminal/terrorist group Hezbollah.

  37. jaime said on September 7th, 2007 at 12:50pm #

    What was Finkelstein’s involvement with the “masturbation” cartoon?

    Finkelstein wrote an article that included the Latuff cartoon suggesting that Dershowitz be assassinated.

    =======================
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.aspx?GUID={E8779737-1B43-4214-967C-444C5FB9BE23}
    Norman Finkelstein’s Obscenities

    By Alan M. Dershowitz
    FrontPageMagazine.com | 8/22/2006

    Preview Image

    The level of “academic” discourse on the Middle-East reached a new low—quite a feat considering some of the old lows—when the notorious Jewish anti-Semite and Holocaust-justice denier Norman Finkelstein wrote a screed suggesting that I be targeted “for assassination” because of my views on Israel. The obscene article was accompanied by an obscene cartoon drawn by “Latuff”, a frequent accomplice of Finkelstein. The cartoon portrayed me as masturbating in rapturous joy while viewing images of dead Lebanese civilians on a TV set labeled “
    Israel peep show,” with a Jewish Star of David prominently featured. The cartoon aptly represents the content of Finkelstein’s piece, which accuses me of being a “moral pervert” who “missed the climactic scene of his little peep show.” He also claims quite absurdly that I “sanction mass murder” and “the extermination of the Lebanese people.” (I’m surprised he hasn’t accused me of kicking of puppy dogs, scowling at little children, and parking in handicapped spaces.)

    Finkelstein calls me a Nazi not once, but twice, first saying that I subscribe to “Nazi ideology” and then comparing me to Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher, who was prosecuted at Nuremberg by my mentor Telford Taylor.

    The peep-show cartoon was even too extreme for the notorious “Counterpunch,” a Stalinist website that glorifies Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist enemies of the U.S. and Israel. Prior to its decision not to run this particular cartoon, Counterpunch seemed to have no standards, but even for them this one was apparently too much (though they kept in the “peep show” reference that inspired the cartoon).

    The article itself is typical Finkelstein. He totally distorts my positions, uses quotes out of context, and simply makes things up. He assumes that his readers will not have read the material he criticizes, because if they did, they would not recognize his characterizations of them. Indeed I challenge any reasonable reader to peruse my writings and then Finkelstein’s characterization of them and decide whether his characterizations are even close to what I actually said.

    It was President Bush who once famously said, “I don’t do nuance.” Well at least Finkelstein has that much in common with our president. Any effort by a pro-Israel writer to be reasonable, balanced or nuanced is turned by Finkelstein into a justification for genocide.

    Finkelstein himself is a well-known Holocaust minimizer and Holocaust-justice denier. He is beloved by full blown Holocaust deniers. Listen to Ernst Zundel, the notorious Hitler lover and Holocaust denier:

    “Some people hate it when I pitch Finkelstein and his ‘Holocaust Industry’ yet one more time – because they know, as I know, that what must be for tactical reasons, ‘Stormin’ Norman’ doesn’t go all the way and says what he must surely have come to realize in his heart: That the “gassing-of-millions” stories of the so-called Holocaust are just a pot of crock.

    […]

    That doesn’t mean that Finkelstein isn’t exceedingly useful to us and to the Revisionist cause. He is making three-fourths of our argument – and making it effectively. Never fret – the rest of the argument is being made by us, and will topple the lie within our lifetime. We would not be making vast inroads in Europe with our outreach program, were it not for his courageous little booklet, “The Holocaust Industry.”

    Zundel’s wife and fellow Neo-Nazi, Ingrid Rimland, referred to Finkelstein admiringly as the “Jewish David Irving”—a reference to the well known Holocaust denier and admirer of Hitler. Finkelstein himself admires Irving’s “historical” research.

    Finkelstein is also an admirer of Hezbollah, having said that his “chief regret is that I wasn’t even more forceful in publicly defending Hezbollah against terrorist intimidation and attack.”

    This academic pornographer, who uses “professor” in his byline even when he is spewing unacademic hate, is now up for tenure at DePaul University, a Catholic school in Chicago that recently fired a teacher named Thomas Klocek for offending Arab students during a discussion of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Finkelstein was fired by several universities at which he previously worked for abusing students who disagreed with his bigoted views. The chairman of one department where he taught said he was fired for “incompetence”, “mental instability” and “abuse” of students with politics different from his own. I wonder whether Finkelstein will submit this “assassination” article as part of his tenure portfolio at DePaul. He certainly should, since it is quite representative of his “scholarship”. If he submits it, will it be accompanied by the masturbation cartoon? It should, because the cartoon too personifies Finkelstein’s academic standards.

  38. heike said on September 7th, 2007 at 2:24pm #

    Yes, sk, your last quote says it all. Not only did he say she was insane in Vancouver, but he also put that slander into Beyond Chutzpah. So much for “meticulous scholarship,” not to mention meticulous checking of facts by his UC Press team of readers. That’s exactly what Holtschneider’s letter referred to in regard to “deliberately hurtful” attacks on others. You can say you disagree with someone, but why do you have to call them names in such an infantile fashion?

    The points I made were directly related to his assertions in public for those were the things HE regarded as most important about her work. Yes, India is really not germane to the subject of the “new antisemitism,” but it is HE who keeps bringing it up as if it is the centerpiece of the story. I have run down every one of his quotes that you excerpted in your last contribution. Many of them are taken out of context and made to deliberately distort her meaning. Of course, he is mum on a lot of things she wrote about — such matters as modern-day iterations of the Blood Libel. How could he possibly respond to that? It would contradict the validity of his thesis, and that doesn’t suit the goals of a propagandist. On p.38, in the “rogues’ gallery,” he points to almost every major media source. But that’s not accurate. She quotes in a footnote, an interview with Danny Seaman, who named the AP and several other media, and points to four reporters from other named media who have since been reassigned by their employers. So, she is not painting with a black brush the Washington Post, Toronto Star and others, but points out that some of their reporters have been biased and were subsequently reassigned. That suggests she feels those media have a sense for journalistic integrity and not that they are part of a world-wide anti-Semitic cabal. I earlier pointed out what she actually said on p.220 about other media, which is totally different from what F. alleged she said. He didn’t put in the previous sentence before “anyone who denies that this is so is also an anti-Semite.” It reads: “Let me be clear: the war against the Jews is being waged on many fronts – militarily, politically, economically –and on all continents.” Her beef with Leibowitz was with his use of the N-word for the IDF, and his insistence that Israel would soon be embarking on mass expulsion and slaughter of the Arab population and setting up concentration camps. (Please don’t tell me that Gaza is one big concentration camp. How many missiles were launched from within Auschwitz?) Her actual “yellow star” quote is “after all, who willingly wants to wear the yellow star?” She doesn’t say she has Western rationality against Eastern hyperexaggeration, but rather: “In time, I learned that I had a weakness for “Eastern” emotion and hyperexaggeration and had to protect myself by double-checking the information that came my way.” She quotes an Afghan-American author who spoke with some Muslims in Morocco who insisted that “Quadhaffi must be a Jew, placed in power years ago by the Israelis to blacken the reputation of Islam.” (Chesler, 95). There are many points she brings up that he simply overlooks or trashes with his “India is an Arab country” retort.

    In reference to the Latuff cartoon, of course it appeared on Finkelstein’s website, but he later withdrew it when the heat got too high. He also put up death wishes against Chris Hitchens Tom Freedman and others, but also withdrew them when he realized he wasn’t helping his reputation. But his published calls for Hitchens to commit suicide and for the “lunatics and freaks in Washington and their helpers in Tel Aviv” to “drop dead” have been widely reported. No one has to try to discredit him; he does a good job by himself.

  39. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 7th, 2007 at 3:27pm #

    Neal reveals one of the more lurid delusions of Israel-firsters. The lie that the critics of Israel’s racist gangsterism are actually new Nazis, whose real aim is elimination of the Jews, is a nauseating untruth, but one mobilised by the Judeofascist Right whenever their Holy State’s numberless crimes are criticised. It is, of course, a lie that most, if not all critics of Israel are simply anti-Semites. Criticism of Israel is motivated, in my experience, mainly by Israel’s racist cruelty, murderous aggressiveness and contempt both for the human rights of Palestinians and for International Law, in other words by Israeli behaviour, not its racial composition. The casting of this odious smear is simply a camouflaged demand that no-one may criticise Israel, that this one state, which daily murders, dispossess and cruelly humiliates an entire people, should be set up above all other nations. Therein lies the hub of the problem. The relentless cleansing of Palestine, the contempt for the humanity of the untermenschen who have got in the way of the Zionist colonial project, based as it is on 2,000 year old faery stories, that by some malevolent magic are said to trump the rights of all other peoples who have existed and still exist in that same piece of land, is motivated by notions of racial supremacy. The Zionists are devotees of Rabbi Kook the Elder’s infamous and noxious nostrum, that ‘..there is a greater difference between the soul of a Jew and a non-Jew than there is between the soul of a non-Jew and an animal’. Please Neal et al in the society of Israeli apologists, is this an opinion with which you concur? Do you deny that such maniacal racist chauvinism, masquerading as ‘religion’ is the not so hidden motivation for Israeli intransigence and cruelty?

  40. jaime said on September 7th, 2007 at 4:36pm #

    blatant antisemitism again from the mumblebrain! Standard fare in this toilet!

  41. DEB-Z said on September 7th, 2007 at 6:38pm #

    No Jamie….
    Jews and Christians are inter-marrying in this country in large numbers…Perhaps in just a few years they will be mixed together in
    this great melting pot just like all others!!! The more inter-marrying
    that goes on, I feel the less hate that will exist in the world.
    As I have said in the past extremists be it Jews, Moslems, and Christians
    cause all of the problems…
    With just about 3% of the population being Jewish in the USA it should
    not take too long to “mix and mingle”. My male friend is Orthodox and
    the extreme point of view that exists with many Orthodox is to kill all
    Palestinians and that will solve the land problems….This is sick, but true….Face it Harvard’s main man against Finkelstein is Orthodox…
    He believes in torture and is not for freedom or questioning idears that
    provide peace and assistance to the Palestinian people.
    As a Jewish female I believe in respecting all views. Not just male, white, Jewish, Christian, or people that think they are superior to other
    suppressed groups.
    Jaime at least you and Dershowitz did turn my head and make me see how ignorant and predjudice much of the world still is, especially in the USA and we have the education system in place to prove this.
    Read the new book”Israel Lobby and USA”….funny how the Osama Bin Laden tape was released just when the book was released…Ohhhhhhh conspiracy theory…. Laden it is on all the TV talk shows…but not the “Lobby” book!!!!
    Who controls Government, Business, Television, and Education? EXTREMISTS with deep pockets and their puppets that want cash…..

  42. Hue Longer said on September 8th, 2007 at 2:33am #

    Jaime,

    you continue to make the same mistakes over and over again–even after having it explained to you by empathetic contributers

    I’ll answer the silly question by saying nothing should be done to Jews

    Can you answer if it’s possible (despite what you feel others think) for a Jew to not be a Zionist?

  43. sk said on September 8th, 2007 at 8:06am #

    Mercifully, some of these claustrophobic (phobic in other ways as well) ideas–which germinated in the intellectual hothouses of Europe of another century–are losing their hold on younger generations.

  44. DEB-Z said on September 8th, 2007 at 3:25pm #

    http://imeu.net/news/article006406.shtml

    If you can’t read this article and feel there is not something truly wrong with the USA blindly supporting Israel…Then you qualify as a Nazi!

    “American media may well have covered some aspects of Israel’s latest attacks on Gaza, but one is unlikely to have seen coverage of its continuing demolition of the homes of the weakest and most vulnerable Israeli citizens: the Bedouin Arabs of the Negev desert.”

    “On May 8, 2007 the entire village of Twail Abu-Jarwal -30 huts, home to over 100 people – were destroyed on Israeli government orders.”

    …the Israeli “government had hired young workers from West Bank settlements, known for racist, anti-Arab zeal, adds a further vindictive twist to the saga.”

    The German Government during WWII and the Israeli Government
    that currently exists….is there a difference? Racism due to hatred of
    someone that is different than you be it gender, color, race, or religion
    is sick….and Israel appears to be critically ill….

    I do not know how the USA who wants to pride itself on being a “melting pot” for religions, race, and socio-economic groups can maintain any
    relationship with such an inferior country that Israel presents as a
    racist and segragationalist society

  45. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 8th, 2007 at 4:35pm #

    Jaime, you continue to conflate criticism of Israeli crimes with a desire to exterminate the Jews. For myself I wish not one hair on the head of one Jew to be disturbed. Nor, and this is the point, one hair on the head of one Palestinian. My criticism of Israel is solely based on its sixty years of crime and cruelty, and its particularly nauseating pretensions of ‘moral purity’ while practicing moral perfidy.As for Judaism, I find it the most unpleasant of the monotheisms, all of which I regard as noxious faery stories, the cause of millenia of cruelty, and little good. The Jewish claim to uniqueness in the Universe I find particularly repulsive. However, as long as these unpleasant confabulations are merely the business of their brainwashed adherents, that’s their affair. It’s when, in the grip of these nasty manias, people attempt to colonise another’s land, and in so doing commit every crime and depravity known to man, and when their victims resist, use their unparalleled money power to have these people demonised and traduced from one end of the world to another, that I am outraged. My demand, and that of the great majority of humanity, whose lands were similarly invaded by racially supremacist European colonists, is for Israel to desist, to cease from their abominable treatment of the Palestinians and everyone else that gets in their way. And to cease agitating for the destruction of Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and the rest of the Arab Middle East. I am at a loss as to what motivates the sort of rubbish you spout, that opposition to Israeli crimes is a call for the extermination of the Jews. Is it an understandable, if unpleasant, lunacy, given the Nazi crimes, that affects the emotionally unstable, and given US support and hundreds of thermo-nuclear bombs at Israel’s disposal will never come near to happening, or is it a cynical and vicious device to smear and silence those opposed to Israel’s multifarious crimes. I suspect it is the latter.

  46. jaime said on September 8th, 2007 at 4:47pm #

    Israel’s chief crime according to you twits…..is simply existing.

  47. DEB-Z said on September 8th, 2007 at 6:33pm #

    Yes, Israel’s chief crime is simply existing…You are right Jaime… Existing in Palestine… It is a crime all Israel has done to the Palestine people…The USA should not support this type of crime any longer…It is making all parts of the globe look at the USA like we condone this type of behavior and it is acceptable….and Jaime sorry but it is not acceptable behavior; it is horriffic!

  48. jaime said on September 8th, 2007 at 7:46pm #

    So finally…here we are….Deb Z is for the extinction of Israel. Well you’re in good company here at Hezbollah.

    So back to my original question… How would you go about effecting that?
    Would you butcher children in front of their parents for world peace and social justice? What about the disposition of their assets? How would you dispose of the bodies?

  49. DEB-Z said on September 8th, 2007 at 8:02pm #

    No, only the Nazi, Israeli, and other extremists enjoyed butchering children in front of their parents…
    I believe Palestine existed already. Let all the Jews, Christians, and Moslems that are not extremists live there in peace…
    Anyone who can’t get along or makes trouble for others…Do what they do in the USA put them into prison until they know how to get along in society…
    If they are active extremists then they should be treated like other people who kill and attempt to harm society…
    If they commit no crimes just have them watched as a group and organization just like they watch extremists in the USA!
    I think the history and current affairs within Israel society has shown that they can’t exist without thinking they are superior to others and that is a danger to peace in the region and creating an unstable region in the world.
    I for one am sick of seeing this play out over and over again in the print and news media. Enough is enough….
    We as a nation should not condone this.

  50. Hue Longer said on September 8th, 2007 at 11:03pm #

    So you’ve gotten your answers Jaime….when will you answer if you think one can be Jewish without being Zionist? Your last deflection of that one was terrible….remember, don’t worry about what others think….what is your answer?

  51. jaime said on September 9th, 2007 at 8:08am #

    I’ve already explained this in another thread. Not that I expect any of you to understand it, let alone respect it.

    http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2007/08/does-norman-finkelstein-constitute-a-security-threat-to-depaul-university-you-bet-he-does/

    Actually there is an inextricable connection between Jews and the Land of Israel, but I would never expect you to understand it.

    Every time formal prayers are done in the Jewish religion, both Israel and Jerusalem are specifically mentioned with great reverence. And Zion or Israel is acknowledged as where the Torah, or basic code of law emanates from.

    Also whenever there is a Jewish burial outside of the Land of Israel, a small quantity of Israeli soil is placed in every casket beneath the person’s body.

    This practice has continued for nearly 2 thousand years and symbolizes the eternal connection between Jews and the Land of Israel.

    Similarly, for practicing Hindus the world over, the River Ganges in India and it’s water have an enormous spiritual significance extending back perhaps 5,000 years. Are you going to tell us that Hindus have no right to a majority country of their own?

    Those others reading this, who have respect for and knowledge of larger things than you will ever understand know what this means.

  52. Joseph Anderson said on September 9th, 2007 at 10:24am #

    OPEN LETTER TO MATTHEW ABRAHAM AND NORMAN FINKELSTEIN ADVOCATES:

    Dear Professor Abraham:

    Thank you for your very informative articles re Norman Finkelstein. I’m sure they will be greatly appreciated by many. I think that the struggle for Finkelstein’s reinstatement and tenure should not skip a beat. The tenure process has long been politically abused against politically progressive professors.

    I think that Norman should have consulted an attorney who has handled tenure cases before (or at least won VERY sizeable settlements) — before he, seemingly, precipitously resigned (and with the all-too-often abused, by universities, imposition of secret terms). Other than whatever money DePaul paid Finkelstein to just make nice, shut up and go away quietly –immediately– I don’t see what he had to lose by continuing the fight: it’s not like any other name-brand university (if any accredited university at all) in America is going to offer him a position now, seeing him as a hot potato — especially since the Israel lobby (the political and financial sledgehammer it can bring to bear) has made its position quite clearly and resoundingly understood now.

    At any rate, this case is not just about –and is far larger than– Norman Finkelstein. In fact, it is not even just about DePaul University sending a message to any aspiring professor at DePaul. It’s about THE ENTIRE UNIVERSITY SYSTEM IN AMERICA sending a message to ALL aspiring (especially untenured) professors in America: don’t criticize Israel; don’t cross the Israel lobby! This is so, as well as for any aspiring academic going against any other deeply held conservative establishment (including even corporate doner) interests. That’s why the Finkelstein reinstatement and tenure struggle needs to be continued without skipping a beat.

    I especially appreciated your sentence: “I’d prefer tenure to be an honor we bestow upon people who are saying provocative and timely things about the important issues of the day,[as well as their scholarship,] rather than an accolade with which we buy people’s silence and good behavior.”

    You might be interested in the comment that I posted below under DissidentVoice.org co-founder/-editor Kim Peterson’s article. I did not send a copy of my comment to Norman: now would not be the time for me to say ‘I told you so’ directly to him. (For your indirect reference, I also wrote a DissidentVoice article last June 8, 2006: “The Left and the Israel Lobby”.)

    Regards,

    Joseph Anderson

    Berkeley, CA

    ====================================================================

    Resisting Tyranny in Academia
    The Deepening Bathos at DePaul University
    – by Kim Petersen / September 5th, 2007

    http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2007/09/resisting-tyranny-in-academia

    Joseph Anderson said on September 8th, 2007 at 12:12 pm #

    I have a great deal of respect for Norman Finkelstein. I think he’s a very courageous person — and obviously a meticulous scholar (as one would certainly have to be, dealing with his academic subject matters). I signed the petition (#1376, if I correctly recall) for his tenure. I consider him a highly valued friend. We have communicated on numerous occasions. And I see him whenever he comes to the San Francisco Bay Area.

    But, I consider it very ironic that THE ISRAEL LOBBY, whose POWER he once denied (as Chomsky too still completely denies), or said that PROOF of the lobby’s power is indeterminable, is the very lobby that has DESTROYED his career at DePaul University (a CATHOLIC university –not a state or Jewish one– previously known for its supposed liberalness at that!).

    (Finkelstein had just *partially*, say about 30%, shifted to my position –see “The Left and the Israel Lobby”, online– as a result of our previous private analytical discussions.)

  53. Joseph Anderson said on September 11th, 2007 at 5:07pm #

    WHY GIVE RABID ZIONISTS PRIVILEGES AT DV THAT THEY DON’T PERMIT INFORMED LEFTISTS & PROGRESSIVES AT RIGHT-WING ZIONIST WEBSITES?

    Dear Kim Peterson (DV co-editor):

    I’m kind of surprised that Dissident Voice has been permitting comments, (though I myself have made, I hope, perhaps very good, informative and even valuable use of that facility), because then you inevitably get the likes of this verbal graffiti (but without any intelligent artistry) from rabid Zionists (or other right-wing nutcases), like:

    “From what I see posted here, the position of DISSIDENT VOICE is that Israel and the _Joos_ have no right to exist.”

    Or stuff like:

    “Not that I expect any of _you Hezbollah Jihadis_ to understand it”

    Can you imagine any Zionists saying this to the opposition panelist(s) at a formal public debate, say at a university? Such Zionists would just make themselves look like manic *morons* — and not even a mainstream corporate TV public affairs program would have them on. (That is so, excluding a Bill O’Reilly verbal spitball kind of TV program; but that’s known for what it is — political tabloid TV, if you call that mainstream too.) And yet the rabid Zionists, including the Dershowitz’s, the Horowitz’s, the O’Reilly’s, and the other right-wing nuts here have the CHUTZPAH to attack Finkelstein for “uncollegial/uncivil” discourse.

    Usually, whenever I see something that inane — like blatant and boorish anti-Semite-baiting in a post — like slinging baiting words like “Joos” around — I just *immediately* skip over the entire comment, because I know that it has nothing informative to say. Or, pretty soon I (and I’m sure others) just skip reading all the comments if there’s too many posts like that to sift through: so such Zionist garbage actually works as a form of censorship, dissuading others from wishing to find and follow more reasoned posts or debate here.

    (I think that even people on the left do a disservice to DV when they begin a comment with “Give it up, jerks.” It’s a big turn-off for people who are not especially conversant about an issue, but will hopefully use DV as a regular intellectual resource, and want to become informed, even about the different sides of a debate, to reach their own decision. No one’s ever accused me of being prissy in argumentation, but I think we progressives/leftists can be more creative here at DV than just an intellectually undeveloped declarative sentence that, “You’re a jerk! You’re a fool!”)

    This (especially rabid Zionist) level of freewheeling verbiage might be acceptable at a more general website, but I believe that it insults the dignity of, and debate at, an honorable intellectual political journal like DissidentVoice. In short, it doesn’t “Add to the discussion” — it *detracts* from it.

    (I believe, for example, the BBC or some of the major British newspaper websites have excellent published guidelines for what is acceptable –or, especially, what is *unacceptable*– discourse at their comments pages, if DV would like to adapt that right off the shelf.)

    Also, I humbly would like to suggest to DV that when someone (usually, again, some rabid Zionist) posts AN ENTIRE SCREED FROM A RIGHT-WING RAG –when a URL would suffice– you (&/or your moderator) immediately delete the article and, if possible and acceptable (FrontpageRag articles customarily contains quite a bit of personal invective and defamation), perhaps just leave the URL (or just say that posting other entire articles or overly extensive article excerpts will not be allowed, but acceptable URL references will be).

    (Of course, I would hope that DV would automatically delete any comment-posted article without a URL because Zionists often like to post articles, especially pro-Palestinian human rights articles, and falsify the content, or just change certain words, to make it look patently anti-Semitic, while leaving the over-all article in the compositional style or otherwise the general, and therefore seemingly authentic, words and argumentation of the author.)

    Thus, all that (usually rabid Zionist) inanity merely (and *purposely*) serves to distract from (and makes it hard to visually follow) the flow of sincere, reasoned, or at least reasonable, debate, and/or BECOME A PUBLISHING BRANCH OUTLET FOR THE LIKES OF FRONTPAGE_RAG_ (expoiting YOUR money and using YOUR resources, when they have enough of their OWN media). Your comment pages will just become a graffiti garbage wall, or egg-throwing excercise, for right-wing (usually Zionist) nutcases, their verbal bullying, and even their purposeful political or (im)moral defamation. And other people will eventually just stop reading the comment posts altogether, or bothering to sincerely comment themselves, because there will become too much trash to sift through, and they know that most other people won’t sift through the trash either. This would defeat almost the entire potential value of even having article comment pages — if they become a veritable trash bag for Zionists.

    And while the rabid right-wing Zionists love to mar and scar progressive/leftist political comment pages with their inane ‘bear-baiting’, they tightly control their *own* websites: first, you must *register* beforehand at their websites (and then be cleared upon their background search on the web or from other personal knowledge or political investigation); their websites are *tightly* moderated; and they *don’t permit* known pro-Palestinian human rights advocates (who are usully quite articulate and informed on the subject and therefore quite compelling to non-Zionists readers/commenters and thus make the Zionists look especially silly and immoral) to post there. Zionists certainly don’t practice freedom of speech –except their own– and the open marketplace of ideas at their website comment pages — as the Israel lobby’s crushing of Finkelstein’s tenure amply demostrates.

    My apologies, Kim Peterson, if you have already considered all of this.

    Thank you.

  54. Kim Petersen said on September 11th, 2007 at 6:44pm #

    Thanks for your important comments Joseph.
    DV editors prefer free speech. But free speech is not absolute and carries responsibilities.
    There are some clear ground rules in effect. Any name calling will be edited when found. This includes “anti-Semite,” “Joos,” and “Hezbollah jihadis.”
    Civility is expected in discussing with other commenters.
    DV is not a site for posting at length from rabid right-wing sites. This is not cool. Just post a link.
    Disinformation and unsubstantiated comments are frowned upon. Please provide references for others to assess the legitimacy of any claims.

  55. Kim Petersen said on September 11th, 2007 at 7:05pm #

    Regarding the right of a state to exist that is something that is decided by humanity and forces of history. There is no right for Israel to exist. To state this would be to deny the right for Palestine to exist or, even worse, to affirm the right of Zionists to kill, dispossess, steal, and erect their state on the territory of an Indigenous people. This what people who argue for the right of Israel to exist are stating. This is neither progressivist nor moral.

    Also, the right of Israel to exist has nothing to do with the right of Jews to exist. The existence of a state is not a sine qua non for the existence of a people. The existence of Jews, Arabs, Chinese, and other nationalities and ethnicities outside their traditional lands is clear evidence of this.

    Although I speak in my own capacity here, I am certain that my fellow DV editors consider the right to equality and equality of conditions to hold for all races, ethnicities, and nationalities.

    Just as Jews have no right to dispossess a people, Arabs or Muslims do not have the right to dispossess other peoples. In the same vein, I argue that the European-committed genocide and subsequent occupation of Turtle Island and South Ixachilan (South America) is immoral and illegitimate and that the Original Peoples must receive just reparations.

    I laid out much of this position out earlier in an essay: “Progressive Principles: Israel and the Duty to Obey Conscience.”

    So those critics who want to argue for the right of Israel to exist must therefore also agree that Palestine also has the right to exist where it always has existed — otherwise their argument fall flat on its face.

  56. Kim Petersen said on September 15th, 2007 at 12:00am #

    Dead Sea scrolls has nothing to do with this. No one denies that the Mizrahi Jews were indigenous to the Middle East, but the Ashkenazi Jews (the greater part of Israeli Jews) are invaders. You still insist on saying that one group of outsiders has a right to murder and stealthe land of another people. That is unconsciousnable and immoral.

  57. jaime said on September 19th, 2007 at 7:07am #

    “…You still insist on saying that one group of outsiders has a right to murder and stealthe land of another people. That is unconsciousnable and immoral….”

    I NEVER SAID THAT! SHOW US WHERE I POSTED ANYTHING RESEMBLING YOUR ASSERTION PLEASE EDITOR!

    What’s your solution to the conflict? Genocide?
    There are 7 million people now in Israel.

    A copy of this is being kept in case this “unacceptable viewpoint ” is erased by “management.”

  58. I.M. Small said on November 9th, 2007 at 9:30am #

    FACULTY SENATE

    Curtailment of this free speech fad
    Is seen on campus not a bad
    Development–so you will see
    Faculty senates all agree.

    (Barometers record the sinking
    Of liberty´s attendant thinking!)

    Professors once autonomous
    Had best hop on the party bus,
    Accelerating to the ramp:
    Faculty senates put their stamp.

    (The barometric pressure sinks
    While faculty just nods and winks!)

    Great was the man as did invent
    The rubber stamp–but his intent
    Was not the mind´s autonomy:
    Faculty senate, do you see?

    (Liberty sinking, room for thought
    Diminishes, that once was sought.)

    The football team is doing well,
    Tossing the pigskin, can´t you tell,
    Hooting it for the home team so
    Faculty senates “spirit” show!

    (Alumni contributions rise,
    Bequests, gifts and indemnities.)