Urgent Need to Right Wrongs at DePaul University

They did the wrong thing: the denial of tenure to Norman Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee at DePaul University must be reversed, and very quickly

Most questions having to do with ethics, politics, and university administration are both simple and complicated. Certainly there are many complex issues involved in the case of Norman Finkelstein. There are perhaps fewer complexities in the case of Mehrene Larudee, which seems to have been treated by DePaul administrators as simply an adjunct to the Finkelstein case. That would make the adjudication of her case an even greater wrong than what has been done to Prof. Finkelstein. But the complex issues should not be allowed to obscure certain simple facts. The administration at DePaul did the wrong thing in these cases. Both Finkelstein and Larudee should be granted tenure and promotion and given every encouragement to continue with their good work in the classroom and in research. These wrongs must be corrected very quickly, both for the sake of Professors Finkelstein and Larudee, and for the sake of the credibility and intellectual legitimacy of DePaul University, which is very much in question at this time. The eyes of the intellectual world are on DePaul, and the leadership of DePaul, which first of all means the president, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the senior faculty, only have a short time in which to make things right.

What I write here, as a senior faculty member at DePaul, I will write as if I am addressing the president of the university, Father Dennis Holtschneider. Fr. Holtschneider is a man whom I have very much liked and respected, and I hope to like and respect him again. What I say here I would say to Fr. Holtschneider directly, but it is clear that letters from faculty members to the president, while good and helpful, are not going to be enough to go against the larger political tide that the Larudee and Finkelstein decisions represent.

Indeed, I hope that Fr. Holtschneider and Dean Suchar (whom I have also liked and respected over the past seventeen years, the time I have been at DePaul) and others will recognize what I say here as part of an effort not only to help, but indeed even to save DePaul University, and therefore, to help them as well. The stakes of the Finkelstein and Larudee decisions are very high. DePaul has been, in my view, a politically progressive university. I have been very proud of DePaul in this respect, and have felt very happy and privileged to be a part of this university. DePaul has made an effort, far more than most universities, to stand for social justice and inclusiveness. Although there are some first-rate scholars and theorists and creative practitioners in the many departments and schools of the university (and I do not hesitate to say that I am especially proud of my own department in this regard, which also excels in diversity and inclusiveness among the philosophy departments in the United States), DePaul is also a generally plebeian sort of place. There is no overestimating the role that a certain Christian perspective, which at DePaul we associate with the vision of St. Vincent DePaul, and which we call “Vincentian values,” has played in making DePaul a beacon of justice and inclusion. I took the fact that the Political Science Department had hired Prof. Finkelstein in the first place to be exemplary of the kind of university that DePaul has been, and that, indeed, is a very good thing.

Now I feel that my politically progressive university has been destroyed in a single stroke, and this makes me sad, sick, dismayed, and angry.

Furthermore, because these wrong decisions have taken place at DePaul, the door is now opened wider for a general assault on politically progressive intellectuals at other universities. This assault is not just some amorphous thing, it is an organized effort. Indeed, this organized effort played an essential role in the decisions at DePaul.

Two things that are very simple to understand need to be said up front. First, you cannot deny tenure to a professor because she or he takes a political stand that you do not like, agree with, or that is going to incur the disapprobation and wrath of some group. Yes, frankly, I think a professor who is an outright racist or misogynist or anti-gay bigot ought to be removed from the university (though even here there have to be procedures, and judgments cannot be based on whims, innuendo, or the self-promoting agendas of powerful persons or groups), but that is not what is going on here. Second, you cannot deny tenure to a professor simply for a rhetorical style that you do not like. A person cannot be denied tenure simply because you find his or her rhetoric “inflammatory.”

Now, when I say these things cannot be done, I mean two things. First, it is morally wrong to deny tenure to a professor on such bases. Second, to deny tenure on these bases goes against anything that could be codified as a basic procedure, and it undermines the very idea of there being procedures, as opposed to the arbitrary whims of administrators or of senior faculty who are in positions of responsibility in the tenure process.

Of course, there is a level on which it does not mean anything to say that “this cannot be done,” since, at the moment, these things have been done. In the case of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Charles Suchar and of Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, the fallback position ultimately seems to be that they are the deciders. In response to questions and protest raised by one of my esteemed colleagues regarding the decisions, Fr. Holtschneider said that he was sorry for the disagreement but that he was not going to change his decision. This could either be called a complete non-response or the “response” that, in the end, there are only questions of power and no real questions of ethical or political justification. Procedures, which are meant to embody principles of such justification, are rendered meaningless. Surely it can be considered to be a part of Fr. Holtschneider’s job to be concerned about the fallout that would occur if Norman Finkelstein were to be tenured at DePaul — clearly, powerful interests were lined up against this. What is the proper way to address this concern, however? If the response is to undermine the system of principles and procedures, and therefore any basic trust that faculty — and students as well — might have for the university leadership, then it might be said that the university has destroyed itself in order (supposedly) to save itself.

The powerful outside interests that were lined up against Prof. Finkelstein either touched a nerve or found kindred spirits among certain administrators and a couple of key senior faculty; it is not outlandish to suppose that tremendous pressure was brought to bear on some of these, perhaps most of all the university president. The first two stages of the tenure procedure — namely the deliberations and decisions of the home department and the College committee — are supposed to be the most decisive stages. The votes were 9-3 and 5-0, respectively, in favor of Finkelstein’s tenure and promotion. However, the “minority report” (representing one-quarter of the voting members of the Political Science Department) and Dean Suchar’s decision (and attendant documents and conversations) have the character of an urgent intervention. Dean Suchar and the authors of the minority report (Professors Patrick Callahan, James Block, and Michael Mezey, the last being the former dean of the College and someone with a good deal of clout in the university) were within their rights to make their recommendations, from a purely procedural point of view, but only if their justifications were to be submitted to critical scrutiny at a later stage of the process. In fact, their justifications were flimsy, at best, but these justifications were accorded primary status in further deliberations, and the fact that these justifications had been carefully scrutinized and refuted in a lengthy document by two senior members of the Political Science Department, and that this document was then “ratified” by a three-quarters vote of the department, was accorded no status at all. Or, to leave the lawyer-language aside for the moment, anyone can see that a job was done on Prof. Finkelstein, there’s no mystery here or anything else that can be set aside because of other “complex” factors.

By and by, I have no doubt that all of these documents will be on the table (most of them already are), as well as the credentials and standing of the dean and the authors of the minority report, and this will further undermine the credibility of DePaul University. These decisions have created an opening to a kind of intellectual civil war. This isn’t anything I look forward to; in fact my urgent hope is that the decisions can be reversed quickly and we at DePaul can go back to being what we ought to be, on the basis of the Vincentian values of the university. However, if things drag out, then, as with the case of Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado, we will have to look very carefully at the credentials of the people who have questioned (or trashed, really) the credentials of Norman Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee. No doubt, given the timing of the decisions (at the very end of the school year), those who did this dirty job hope that anger and protest will dissipate into the summer. But the destruction of the university will not end with the departure of Norman Finkelstein (and whatever large payoffs are necessary to ensure that departure), if and when that departure occurs. This wound cuts much more deeply, to the very heart of the university.

DePaul has had a tradition of fairness in its tenure procedures, undoubtedly inspired by Vincentian values and a more general sense that we bring people to DePaul first of all in order to support them and give them every chance to excel in their work. We may not have lived up to this lofty ideal in every case, but it meant something that we worked with this ideal in mind. Often, DePaul has been fair to a fault, bending over backwards to avoid even the appearance of unfairness. In contrast, the teaching and research credentials of Norman Finkelstein stand out dramatically, and this again points to the impression that the process was proceeding as it should have, with Finkelstein headed toward tenure and promotion, when a number was done on him. We can talk about the role of various individuals, both inside and outside of the university, and what might be called a “rolling coup” or series of interventions that were made against Prof. Finkelstein, but then the point would be that it was up to certain key individuals, most of all and especially the president, acting as a protector of Vincentian values, to put a stop to this nonsense. That instead certain individuals in positions of leadership and responsibility actually pressed forward with the intervention, facilitating it and adding to it, is shameful.

The ideal of fairness with which we have worked at DePaul is not the norm at all universities, and at some universities it is taken for granted that senior colleagues will put junior colleagues in difficult positions to see how they fight their way out of the corner, so to speak. But then, DePaul, from its founding (in 1898), never had a “Jewish quota,” something that Harvard, from which Alan Dershowitz presumes to give us lessons in ethics, had well into the 1950s. It has been claimed that, in the end, outside influences did not play a role in the decisions. I would say that, at least from the moment in 2006 (June 16th), when then-chair of Political Science Patrick Callahan wrote to Alan Dershowitz essentially to ask for the “dirt” on Norman Finkelstein (“Could you point me to the clearest and most egregious instances of dishonesty on Finkelstein’s part”), the process was poisoned. And how is that for collegial behavior and Vincentian values? In this case it is completely upside-down that the futures of Norman Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee at DePaul are what we are discussing. If Fr. Holtschneider needed anything else to tell the president of the board of trustees of DePaul, John Simon (a supporter of both Alan Dershowitz and of the decision to fire Prof. Finkelstein), he could simply have said that the poisoning of the process by itself means that Prof. Finkelstein has to be awarded tenure, or otherwise the reputation of the university will be very seriously damaged — and so it has been. Unfortunately, the connection between Alan Dershowitz and John Simon, around fund-raising for the Jewish United Fund, is itself a part of this poisoned process.

A further element of the ideal of fairness with which we have attempted to work at DePaul is that we hire people to tenure-track positions in the hope that they will fulfill certain expectations and that we can then award them tenure. Nowhere has it previously been set out in these expectations that a professor cannot use “inflammatory language” in his or her writings or public discourse; nowhere previously has it been said that a professor has to uphold Vincentian values in order to be tenured at DePaul. Even apart from the fact that these requirements, as concocted by Dean Suchar without any discussion with faculty or procedural basis, are nothing but a smokescreen (and not even remotely an effective one) for covering the real issues, surely we would want to talk about the meaning of these new-found requirements; I know that many junior faculty at DePaul are wondering about this, or perhaps justifiably freaking out about it would be a more accurate description. It appears to me that Jesus, for instance, may have said some inflammatory things. Furthermore, to speak up for the existence and condition of the Palestinian people seems like the sort of thing St. Vincent would have done. Lastly, it cannot be a requirement for tenure at any intellectually respectable university that one cannot be a critic of the State of Israel.

But now of course I have veered toward the real issue, the issue that everyone who has followed this case knows is at the heart of the matter. Of course the administrators at DePaul, and the authors of the minority report, know this full well, hence the new-found requirements and the paper-thin justifications. Are these people living so deep inside their own heads that they actually think anyone else is buying this stuff? Seriously, if they really believe this, and I am not saying this in jest, and neither do I take any pleasure in saying this, then their basic mental competence has to be questioned. What is going on instead (for these are not stupid people) is that the crew who did this number on Professors Finkelstein and Larudee just hope that their obfuscations will deter people long enough that the cases will fade away, hopefully during the summer. (A recent response by Dean Suchar to the president of the Faculty Governance Council, Prof. Gil Gott, is a prime example; one great irony — or that’s what it would be called if it wasn’t instead just formalistic obfuscation — of Suchar’s response is that he raised procedural questions about the FGC sending its letter of protestation over his head, directly to the president, as if he himself had not shown contempt for the faculty of the College by overturning the overwhelming majority decisions of the home departments and the College tenure and promotion committee.) However, this issue will absolutely not fade away, and it is very disheartening to many, many people that such a cynical ploy would be attempted by our leaders.

That there is really only one issue in these cases is captured well by a comment that was made at the Norman Finkelstein Solidarity web site: “Keep the C. V., change the subject, and Norman Finkelstein has tenure.” If the “crew” is fooling anyone regarding this, it is only themselves; unfortunately, I can’t even believe that. What I can believe is the combination of enormous pressure that almost certainly was put on some of these people, perhaps most especially the president, combined with the ideological and personal animus that some of them may have against Prof. Finkelstein. One measure of how intense the pressure must have been, coming from powerful pro-Israel forces, is that, last year, DePaul University became the first Catholic university in the United States to have a gay studies program. I was very proud of the university for taking this step (and bravo to the faculty and administrators who organized it); it is the sort of thing for which I have been proud of DePaul for my entire time there, and there have been many such advances. Surely there were many in the Catholic community, academic and otherwise, who were not happy with the formation of DePaul’s gay studies program, but that didn’t stop us.

It would be silly to pretend to debate the question of Israel here, though perhaps not as silly as anyone thinking that Norman Finkelstein’s arguments and research are not a very important part of that debate. The crux of the problem is that there are some who don’t want a debate because, they think, on this issue there is no debate. Part of their position is that there is no such thing as the Palestinian people, though somehow the State of Israel has found it necessary to build an immense wall to contain and shut out these non-existent people. A big part of Norman Finkelstein’s research, and this goes back to his days as a graduate student at Princeton, has in essence been to challenge one of the founding myths of the State of Israel, the idea of “a land without a people for a people without a land.” Just as no thinking person in the United States today can believe that North America was “empty,” a “virgin land,” when the explorers and pilgrims showed up, no one in Israel itself actually believes that Palestine was “a land without a people” when the original Zionist settlers came. Indeed, 1948 is called a “revolution,” and it is hard to see why a revolution was needed if there were only lizards and sand there before. Thus a wall now has to be built against Norman Finkelstein in academia — and if they get away with building this wall they will feel emboldened to build others — even though his position in the debate, and the debate itself, does not exist.

The pro-Israel forces in the United States do not hesitate to fight dirty, and in this case they are even willing to destroy what has been a good university. They were quite willing to attack DePaul for having hired Prof. Finkelstein in the first place, but now Alan Dershowitz praises this “excellent Catholic university” for having fired him. Dershowitz had said that DePaul would be a laughing stock if it tenured Prof. Finkelstein, but of course the reality is that DePaul will now be a laughing stock for submitting (or even simply appearing to submit) to the dictates of Harvard’s leading torture advocate, someone who would probably even be willing to admit that he would be willing to say absolutely anything if it furthered the cause of the State of Israel. Surely part of the pressure used on some DePaul administrators is the threat to unleash the language of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. It does not help that the Catholic church and its institutions does not have a good record on these questions. But let us face the issue squarely: to use these terms loosely, when in fact there are *real* and *really vicious* anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers in the world is to trivialize these issues — and why shouldn’t this trivialization instead be called anti-Semitism? To just throw these terms around, to engage in their trivialization in order to advance a political agenda, is disgusting. It is also traumatizing to be called these things, and undoubtedly difficult to find the intellectual and political (and financial?) will to stand up to it, but this has to be done. The cost for not standing up will be enormous: DePaul will be destroyed as a place deserving of respect in the intellectual and academic worlds, and, if this happens, academic freedom will be under attack everywhere.

Without saying anything at all about the State of Israel, or its chief supporter the United States for that matter, we can readily see that, if a particular state is understood to be sui generis, the only true sovereign, and the exception to every rule (including even the law of contradiction, which would say that there is no need for a “revolution” to overthrow people who do not exist), then there are no rules — and then there is no university worthy of the name, either. It attests to the power of the defenders of sovereign absolutism that this — criticism of the State of Israel, especially if done by someone who is not only Jewish but is the child of Holocaust survivors — is the one line that cannot be crossed; no similar line exists, apparently, for the advocacy of torture at elite institutions.

The administrators and faculty at DePaul who created this terrible mess, especially the president, need to come clean. I say this to you now directly: the rest of us ought to appreciate the kind of pressure you are under (and even that people get carried away with certain ideologies and personal animosities and resentments which have no place in a legitimate tenure procedure) and we ought to do what we can to help you stand up to it, but we also have to demand that you do the right thing. Acknowledge the reality that your actions and decisions were wrong. Don’t waste any more precious time with formalistic obfuscation or opening up attacks on your critics. Reverse these terrible decisions and let us get back to the work of restoring the DePaul of which we have been justifiably proud.

For now, a great victory has been handed to people who are essentially fascists. Why is it a great victory? Because, as with Germany in 1933, a decisive role was played by people who are liberals and even progressives. Even more, because a university that should have been one of the last places where something like this could happen is instead one of the first.

Bill Martin is a Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University. Read other articles by Bill, or visit Bill's website.

64 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. gerald spezio said on August 9th, 2007 at 11:02am #

    Professor Finkelstein represents all that is sacred in science and scholarship – tireless searching for objective truth.

    Professor Dershowitz represents all that is routine in the adversarial masquerade of lawyering – throwing pepper in the eyes of the observer.

    What is happening to Professor Finkelstein is happening to the public at large. The Zionist engineered genocide in Palestine and Iraq can’t be missed, even through the propaganda fog. Zionist propagandists are backing themselves into a corner every day.

    The Chosen People of Israel and their no-holds-barred multi-billion dollar peeyar campaigns are on the ropes. They know it, and they will do anything in the name of their special-ness to hang on.
    The over-reaching machinations of the vicious Zionist agenda for genocide and total war is inserted into every aspect of our lives. People are realizing that it is our troops who are dying for Israel.

    The army of Zionist lawyer henchmen and hench women are everywhere preaching murderous Zionist hatred and never ending war. When forked tongue mutant, Dershowitz, comes out of his Ivy covered office to attack Finkelstein, he does a terrific job of exposing the pretentious double talk.

  2. Michael Kenny said on August 9th, 2007 at 1:17pm #

    Professor Martin claims not to want to debate the subsatntive point at issue between Finkelstein and Dershowitz, namely, Israel, but then proceeds to do just that! In so doing, he justifies the university’s action, inasmuch as he drags the university into an acrimonious dispute between Jews whose relevance to the Catholic Church is hard to see. Meddling in other people’s moral issues is a Protestant thing, not a Catholic thing, as is “what kind of car would St.Vincent drive”-type speculation.

    I have the impression that all this is really about Dershowitz and Finkelstein’s “supporters” are simply using him (and DePaul) as a stick to beat the “hated” Dershowitz. The amusing thing is that if Dershowitz wants DePaul to teach the strict Catholic position on the Middle East, he’s in for a rude awakening! There are no Catholic Jews but lots of Catholic Arabs, in Palestine, in Israel, in Lebanon and in Iraq, for example!

  3. Freddy Lejeune said on August 9th, 2007 at 3:20pm #

    I have had e-mail exchanges a few years ago with the peron who did not get tenure . You may also do research why he did notreceive by another universities where he taught previously. I have read his books and find them wanting. He is not considered at all a historuian of the holocaust , He is if I understand him correctly a po,litical scientist. His main theme seems that the history of the Holocaust is being used detrimentally. Hisparents were Survivors, yet according to him never mentionned it to him until th Eichman trial. Somehow, he is an angry person because his parentsreceived a meagre compensation from th e German Federal Government for their sufferinghs. I am a Holocaust Survivor and never received a penny , although born in Germany. I do not wish to get blood money anyhow , and I am fortunate that i was on my own very succesful in life after those horrible events of my youth. The undoing of Dr. Finkelstein is of his own making. He has a tendency to denigrate others who do not agree with his views. Sometimes it leads to uncivilized behaviour taking on people he does not like personally. That is far from being tolerant of other views and debating their views, he attacks their person. That is why he is not a schiolar nor someone I would have teachingat all. Youseem come to his rescue because of his left oriented views . That is not a reason to do that. He simply does not deserve the tenure, from what i read, obviously according to his employers. That is, if he wishes to teach using denigration against people, he may always find a place among the alienated.

  4. Kim Petersen said on August 9th, 2007 at 4:06pm #

    With all due respect Freddy, you seemed to have missed entirely the crucial points in Prof Martin’s article: Finkelstein’s scholarship is not in doubt and denying tenure for “inflammatory” remarks is untenable.
    Your say-so otherwise is uncompelling.

  5. harold williams said on August 9th, 2007 at 7:52pm #

    The core issue was that Finkelstein was exposed as an author and teacher who fabricated narratives about the Middle East and mocked the survivors of the Holocaust. He used foul language against fellow academics and tried to wreck the careers of journalists and professors who supported Israel. He refused to stop making a business out of the Holocaust. At every turn, he would play the Holocaust card to exclaim his credentials as the child of survivors of the Holocaust–as if he was the only one. There are some 780,000 baby boomers in America, Europe and Israel whose parent are/were survivors. They do not use this status as a shield to bash Israel, to excoriate the Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel as “a clown,” or to become publicity-hounds by taking on a famous personality, which is Finkelstein’s specialty. This man is clearly demented and a disgrace to academe. The Hitlerists in Tehran no doubt are negotiating with him now on joining one of their universities.

  6. DEB-Z said on August 9th, 2007 at 8:58pm #

    Do you think students in the USA should have to be spoon fed the Jewish lobbies’ interpretation of the genecide taking place in Palestine?
    Do you think ,we in the USA, can’t think for ourselves? Are we to
    ignore the innocent children and people that are being killed in Palestine, and other parts of the world where war and killings are condoned by the USA and Israel while we supply weapons there?
    Allen Dershowitz had worked to discredit this professor and make President Carter appear to be “creating fictional stories”….
    Dershowitz apparently is an angry man who believes in torture and Harvard should be embarrassed to have him on staff…especially after all the unprofessional favors, harrassment, and bullying he appears to have created at DePaul.
    His cronies should be stripped from the board also, if they have not been removed, and DePaul should start new and with a respect for faculty, students, and education!
    Dershowitz represents all that is evil in lobbies working for special interests and not the American people, but the Jewish people especially of Israel, which is not part of the USA!!!
    (Although Jews everywhere have Israel citizenship no matter where they were born or what country they live in.)
    Dershowitz should have no business bullying DePaul University faculty members or using lobby connections to reach DePaul board members.
    The American Indians did nothing wrong when they were killed also and moved on to reservations…Can we discuss this?
    Many Jews think they are doing nothing wrong by killing Palestinians
    and taking their lands…as the world watches them wipe out villages!
    Can we not debate, discuss, and research this modern day slaughter taking place in Palestine by Israel?
    Why are we trying to silence professors and people who are discussing and/or teaching about this.
    As a parent visiting universities this summer with my child I am asking
    questions about this…I am paying huge sums for applications and will be paying over $40,000 per year for an education for my child at college. I do not want him to be spoon fed by lobby groups with special agendas!!!
    The faculty of DePaul deserve respect. Universities have our children in their classes and are teaching the future generations of historians.
    Please, assist them in viewing what is happening in the world, not dictitated education communist style.
    However, first DePaul must respect itself and do the right thing
    by letting their faculty raise their heads and be proud of their hard work.
    Professor Martin this was a wonderful letter!

  7. Alex Chaihorsky said on August 10th, 2007 at 1:34am #

    Professor Martin,

    If DePaul, which we now call the “Campo De’Fiori University” would ever reclaim its dignity (I doubt it) it would be because of the fact that Dr. Finkelstein taught there.
    And because of your support of him and Dr. Larudee.

    My hat goes off to you, Sir.

    Alex Chaihorsky
    Reno, Nevada.

  8. Irene Decker said on August 10th, 2007 at 5:51am #

    Finally! I never understood why in the US Catholic universities are (were?) considered to be on the political left, now I have my lesson. Thank you, Professor Martin.

  9. George said on August 10th, 2007 at 7:11am #

    Dershowtiz claims Finkelstein is a Holocaust denier. Israel has made Shimon Peres its President, the man who said “what happened to the Armenians was a tragedy, not a genocide.” We all know the truth about the Armenian Holocaust, that it happened, that it was the first genocide for which the term “holocaust” was applied, that Israel and its allies routinely pressure the US to not admit what happened, and that Israel even to this day says it never really happened. Now Israel has made a Holocaust denier its President.

    Where is Dershowitz? Where is his outrage? Or does he hold the David Irving Chair of Holocaust Denial?

  10. Bill Williams said on August 10th, 2007 at 7:31am #

    Dear Harold Williams:

    It’s clear that you have neither read a single one of Professor Finkelstein’s books nor possess the intelligence to understand the ideas contained within those books if you had. That’s no mean accomplishment, Harold.

    Bill Williams

  11. Sam Livingston Re: Bill Williams said on August 10th, 2007 at 8:23am #

    Way to go with those ad hominem attacks Bill! I see you learned well from Finkelstein.

    … and that’s why you will always be an mediocre writer.

  12. Jonathan Mark said on August 10th, 2007 at 12:27pm #

    “””For now, a great victory has been handed to people who are essentially fascists.”””

    If it is okay to call people fascists, and it is, then it is equally okay to call people anti-Semites. One cannot with consistency engage in the first behavior and then express outrage that others engage in the second.

    You may not agree that some of Finkelstein’s supporters are anti-Semitic, and I definitely don’t agree that critics of Finkelstein are fascists, but we both have equal rights to make these claims.

  13. hp said on August 10th, 2007 at 1:16pm #

    One wonders when might Norman get his free one way flight to Germany, ala Zundel?

  14. harold williams said on August 10th, 2007 at 1:57pm #

    Dear Bill Williams,

    You should be less impudent. I hold a Ph.D in Middle East history and conducted a forensic analysis under contract of all of Finkelstein”s books. This was sent to DePaul administrators and played an eye-opening role in getting this charlatan removed from holding a tenured position. His books contained massive distortions and wholesale plagiarisms from the doctored history put out by the Arab League in 1968. Finkelstein’s sources are not archival, but secondary. And the latter provide only one viewpoint — that of the enemies of peace. No solid authorities are quoted or cited by him. Rather, he does his usual hatchet job on their works because they contradict his reactionary agenda. For example, Finkelstein concocted the fairy tale that the Arabs are the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine when the chronicles of the Arabs clearly show they invaded with their imperial armies and placed the Jews, Samaritans and Greek Christians under their vicious sharia apartheid rule.

    His Holocaust and Germany works are unscholarly – they consist of diatribes and tirades against great scholars in these fields. The gist of his themes in these books is support for the “pity poor Nazi Germany and its collaborators” movement and a maniacal and diabolical attempt to demean, denigrate, and distort the significance of the Holocaust in history. As he wrote in the Holocaust Industry, “we should not be stunned by the numbers of Jews that were slaughtered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. After all, more children die in traffic accidents during the year around the world and more children die of starvation in the developing world during the same period.”

    This obnoxious outpouring should have led to his ouster from DePaul many years sooner, if not his incarceration in a mental hospital. You ought not to sully your reputation by being Finkelstein’s stooge.

    You are entreated to read his books with an open mind and not let yourself be blinded by deviant ideologies.

  15. Bill Williams said on August 10th, 2007 at 4:02pm #

    Dear Harold:

    I am convinced that you are a conscious charlatan. Every word you produce above about Finkelstein’s work is a transparent lie, and provides yet more evidence that you are a fraud. Finkelstein’s Holocaust Industry: The Exploitation of Jewish Suffering was praised by the late Raul Hilberg, the founder and Dean of Holocaust scholarship, as a book “on the right track” and as actually understating the amount of racketeering done by Jewish organizations such as the WJC in its double-shakedown of the Swiss banks. Finklestein’s A Nation on Trial, which was co-authored with the German scholar Ruth Bettina Bern, was praised by the likes of Ian Kershaw and Arno Mayer. I don’t take it that you’re suggesting that these individuals are “shoddy” scholars are you? Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, published by the University of California Press, received praise from Avi Shlaim (Oxford), the late Baruch Kimmerling, Sara Roy (Harvard), and Mouin Rabbani (Berkeley). You must be an ADL operative. If, as you claim, provided an “outside opinion” about Finkelstein’s to DePaul administrators, it showed in the sloppiness of the minority report, Dean Suchar’s memo, and Holtschneider’s June 8th letter denying Finkelstein. If you’re the best DePaul and Rubenstein and Associates could come up with, I’d say Finkelstein has one hell of a lawsuit in the works. Harold, you’re a disgrace. If you have some specifics to lay on the table, demonstrating you’re supposed expert knowledge, I’d love to see it. All you’ve produced above is the usual Zio-con hysteria, which is usually churned out by pseudo-intellectuals who have never even bothered to read Finkelstein’s books. By the way, can you even give us the title of Finkelstein’s first book? Do you even know what it was about? Do tell….

  16. DEB-Z said on August 10th, 2007 at 7:06pm #

    He stated above:
    “conducted a forensic analysis, under contract of all of Finkerstein’s books….”
    I ask:
    May I also ask:
    Just for my own curiousity:
    And just to be sure things were done fairly:
    I look forward to your comments!
    Signed, A mother for peace and equality (Women in Black)

  17. hp said on August 10th, 2007 at 7:15pm #

    What’s deplorable, among sundry other practices, is the tactic of pulling out the anti-Semite label like a pistol.
    I remember once when Alan Dershowitz was asked why he did this when he in fact did not have a single drop of semitic blood in his body. What could he say, but only stammer as to how he actually did not like the term. Yea, right Alan.
    In Alan’s defense though, he isn’t alone in this doublespeak illusion of Orwellian proportions. David Gruen (Green) aka David Ben-Gurion also comes to mind, as does Golda Meyerson aka Golda Meir. Just because one has a semitic sounding name and happens to be a Jew does not mean they are a Semite. Quite the contrary.

  18. DEB-Z said on August 10th, 2007 at 9:05pm #

    Is Harold Williams, PhD., the same faculty member that is Montgomery College’s Planetarium Director? Does he gives lectures on the astrolabe in relationship to time study in ancient times?

    If so has he released this report to the faculty at DePaul about Dr.
    Finkerstein and Dr. Larudee investigations. Has he ever done reports at DePaul concerning other faculty members that are up for review and have published articles and/or books? Has he ever done similar
    reports at other universities and colleges; investigating other professors writings? If so where and when and under what circumstances? If not when did he begin this career and what makes
    him an expert in evaluating two professors that their own peers judged
    to be worthy of appointment?
    This whole thing is frightening to me…
    I have been googling his name and background information for professional information…Has anyone found reports similar that Harold Williams, PhD, has composed to remove faculty from their positions at Universities?
    Signed, A mother for peace and equality (Women in Black)

  19. Jonathan Mark said on August 10th, 2007 at 11:53pm #

    “””It appears to me that Jesus, for instance, may have said some inflammatory things.”””

    If Jesus were alive today he would not receive tenure at DePaul, since Jesus lacked the right credentials from the right schools. Jesus also lacked the requisite record of publication in scholarly journals, since the printing press had not yet been invented in his day.

  20. Kim Petersen said on August 11th, 2007 at 3:11am #

    Harold Williams did his report for a Christian Zionist cult called CFM Ministries Inc. based in Canada.
    See http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/content.php?pg=23

  21. gerald spezio said on August 11th, 2007 at 6:53am #

    Dershowitz , forked tongue lawyer for Israel, pops up everywhere, and we shouldn’t be surprised. The Israel Lobby spends millions pushing two of their foaming-at-the-mouth lawyer/advocates, Dershowitz and Lieberman.

    A recent blurb from the New York Academy of Sciences announced their upcoming convention in November – “The Secular Society and its Enemies.” Of course, Dershowitz is a speaker. He is a speaker-headliner with his heaven sent “Israeli Legal Science.” Dershie is Israel’s advocate, and he will be defending Israel’s God given right to genocide at a “Scientific Convention.”

    A subsection of the Academy’s planned agenda is; ” The Secular Society and its Enemies.” Following the lead of his fellow mad dog Israel Firster. Frank Gaffney, Dershie will enlighten the audience about the perils of “Islamofascism” – term coined by Gaffney to help us all understand why the foul Muslims must be exterminated if Israel is to inherit the earth.

    Wendy Kaminer, another sweetheart lawyer for Israel, will be speaking on why lawyers like Dershie and the sacred law are our best defense against injustices of all sorts. Finkelstein surely wasn’t considered as a presenter.

  22. gerald spezio said on August 11th, 2007 at 7:10am #

    Correction; It is N.Y. wing of The Center for Inquiry that will be holding its convention at the N.Y. Academy of Sciences building.

  23. Bill Williams said on August 11th, 2007 at 8:00am #

    Thanks to the brilliant Kim Petersen we now know the truth about the supposed “expert,” Harold Williams. Williams is just another Zionist crazy. Below:



    PENTICTON, Canada — Christians for Moses Ministries chairman Dr. Charles J. Edgbaston today extolled the role played by his organization in securing the denial of tenure for the arch anti-Zionist Norman Finkelstein of DePaul University in Chicago.

    In August 2006, a judicial sentence was issued against Finkelstein for being a “Slanderer of Zion” and an “Enemy of the People.”

    The sentence was rendered by the ecclesiastical court of CFM Ministries Inc., a 55,000-strong world-wide Christian Zionist movement based in Canada.

    Mr. Finkelstein was offered a waiver from the sentence if he issued a public apology for his offensive obscenities against the holy Jewish people and their Holy Land.

    He refused.

    As a consequence, its disciples were empowered to enforce the court-ordered penalties of: a) removing him from his place of employment; b) removing him from his place of residence and c) removing him from the global community of professional educators.

    DePaul University management and the University of California Press were informed of these developments.

    In addition, the celebrated Middle East and Arab Studies expert Prof. Harold Williams was contracted by CFM Ministries to analyze the disturbing contents of Finkelstein’s book “Beyond Chutzpah.” Dr. Williams documented that this book was without academic and intellectual merit. It consisted only of “an unprovoked pit-bull” attack against the eminent legal scholar Prof. Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University and the trail-blazing journalist Joan Peters. She aroused Finkelstein’s venom for exposing in 1984 the history of myth-making by the Arabs of Palestine and the Arab League on the history of the Holy Land and the Palestine Arab war against the Hebrew Holocaust survivors in Israel in 1947-8.

    Dr. Williams also enumerated over 300 errors of fact contained in the Finkelstein book.

    One of the major errors committed was Finkelstein’s bald assertion that no other country in the world today except Israel occupied the territory of another country. 54 countries were named as occupying powers by Prof. Williams, including India (Kashmir) and China (Tibet).

    Finkelstein also invented the myth that the Arabs of Palestine were its indigenous inhabitants. Prof. Williams showed this to be egregiously false as the Jews are the aboriginal inhabitants and have always inhabited Palestine whereas the Arabs of Palestine were nouveaux arrives, invading the land from their homeland in Arabia in 638 A.D. and ethnically cleansing the native Jews, stealing their holy places, and committing a massive land and water resource grab of Jewish property. They also brutalized the native Christians, burning down the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Finkelstein then proceeded to ventilate his rage at Williams, accusing him of “spreading Zionist fairy- tales.”

    This documentation was immediately forwarded to the University of California Press with a view to ordering a massive recall of all copies of the defective Finkelstein book. Further, DePaul University management was apprised of this shocking material last January with a view to having Mr. Finkelstein removed from its halls of academe as serious scholars no longer debate Finkelstein’s books — they dismiss them.

    This information is on the public record and can be accessed on Mr. Finkelstein’s website and in abbreviated format on the “Will to Truth” blog maintained by Brad Stroud.

    For the record, CFM Ministries has no connection to Prof. Dershowitz or the other brave individuals who have risked their reputations to expose the violent and irrational personality of Mr. Finkelstein. However, it has made available to them the original forensic research documentation unearthed by Prof. Williams against Mr. Finkelstein. This includes tens of examples of plagiarized material from human rights groups. The international scholarly community has rightly condemned “Beyond Chutzpah” and declared Finkelstein’s other books as a collection of monumental falsehoods.

    – 30 –


    * Very Rev. Dr. Charles J. Edgbaston, D.D., Ph.D
    Chairman, Christians for Moses Ministries Inc. and
    Rector, Zion College of Canada
    Penticton, B.C.

    * Author:

    Three Centuries of Arab Pogroms Against Jews in Palestine

    The Arab Usurpation of the Holy Land

    Christians and Jews Under Arab Apartheid Policies in Palestine

    The Untold Story of the Palestinian Arab Zionists

    Mufti: The Nazi Collaboration of the Arabs of Palestine (forthcoming)

  24. Jaime said on August 11th, 2007 at 10:23am #

    Finkelstein had Brazillian cartoonist Latuff produce a lurid cartoon of Dershowitz masterbating to an image of dead bodies. It’s also archived on his website.

    Here’s where it can also be seen:


    No legitimate university is going to give a jerk like that tenure.

  25. DEB-Z said on August 11th, 2007 at 2:09pm #

    ….Does he dismiss Raul Hilberg as easily? and professor Larudee…
    Oh yes, you require all professors that read his books to get
    dismissed also from academics???
    This is beyond unbelievable the lack of freedom to study, in the USA, different opinions and are only being spoon fed what the Jewish community approves!!!
    This is like being in a communist country…
    What right does this group have to say only the Jewish Lobby can dictate what will be taught in the USA to college students?
    We must stand up for Professor Finkelstein and Professor Larudee before this happens all over the country and they start burning books!
    This is just the beginning of the end of freedom of speach, open discussions on a college level, and exploration of world conflicts on
    both sides and not just slanted in one direction….
    We need to speak out for academic freedom for our students and faculty NOW …OR IT WILL BE TOO LATE FOR FREEDOM!!!!!!!
    A mother for peace and equality (Women in Black)

  26. e.o.barlow said on August 12th, 2007 at 12:48am #

    I am now, and have been for years, appalled that this ‘slime-ball’ Dershowitz, has been allowed to run his mouth endlessly in such a shameful anti-ethical, anti-free speech, anti-Christian, anti-white way, while all along the MSM has continued to invite his comments on matters that he usually has no expertise in, let alone any sense of fairness or balance. The media seem to be his lap dog. He only spews his pro-Zionist rhetoric. He is full of hate, fear and jealousy, as any sane person can see. Anything he is affiliated with is tainted, twisted and ultimately will be exposed as such and he will eventually be shown for what he is…..a cheap, partisan lap dog for ‘The Lobby.’

    He has no qualification in anyway shape or form to pass judgement on a dog catcher, let alone a solid academic.

    All of us should be emailing, writing letters, telephoning and faxing DePaul, Harvard and the media outlets to let them know; WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF HIS UNIFORMED, HATEFUL AND SUBJECTIVE RANTS.
    He is truly, the worst of partisans. To bad he has tenure.

  27. Bill Williams said on August 12th, 2007 at 7:20am #

    Sorry, Jaime. No credible proof has been produced proving that Finkelstein had Latuff draw the Dershowitz masturbation cartoon. Also, this cartoon is nowhere to be found on Finkelstein’s website. This is yet another example of how desperate Dershowitz, the Lobby, and the ADL are becoming.

  28. sonia kimberwick said on August 12th, 2007 at 10:50am #

    I find the points made by Dr. Harold Williams and the Christians for Moses Ministries against Finkelstein quite convincing.

    I went over the book “Beyond Chutzpah” and noted that every chapter is devoted by Finkelstein to criticizing another book by a world scholar on the Middle East conflict. The criticism is not the ordinary criticism one would expect of a scholar. Rather, Finkelstein gets into some rather nasty name-calling, virtually brow-beating any professor who disagrees with his thesis that Israel caused every single war in the Middle East.

    I simply could not believe that Finkelstein goes on , page after page, praising the late Egyptian dictator Gamel Abdul Nasser who used poison gas against a brother Arab state. I mean, what the hell is going on here.? Why is this crazy being allowed to abuse the academic freedom given to him by DePaul? Academic freedom, like every other single freedom, is not absolute. It is given to a professor to pursue scholarly truth. Once a professor departs from this condition, and becomes a rabid, ranting propagandist for the forces of injustice, we radical dissidents of the world have to step in and shout clearly: Finkelstein, you do not belong among us scholars. Here is a megaphone—- go rave and rant on Chicago’s street corners.

    Jeepers, reading the remarks of your correspondents, I have the sinking feeling that the deviants of the world are about to take over! For shame! I urge all progressives to unite and oust Finkelstein from their ranks immediately.

  29. jaime said on August 12th, 2007 at 11:57am #

    Bill wrote: “No credible proof Finkelstein hired Latuff.” Sorry Bill, Finkelstein’s disgusting latuff cartoon has been cross-referenced so many times all over the internet and elsewhere that no amount of hysterical denial will put Humpty Dumpty together again.

    And there’s plenty more similar bloodcurdling Latuff garbage on F’s site, so even if he removed one cartoon it really doesn’t change the world’s perception of him.

    Like Ward Churchill, Finkelstein’s been outed as a whining bigot, a mocker of the dead and an academic fraud. If he was such an asset to humanity, you’d think that other institutions of higher learning would falling over themselves offering him big bucks and a fancy position on their faculties.

    So far he’s had one offer from Teheran University. I think he should take it. Maybe when he gets there he should tell them that it’s wrong to hang people from cranes in public squares ….

  30. Kim Petersen said on August 12th, 2007 at 4:19pm #

    With all due respect Sonia, you might better consider which sources are compelling. The agenda of Williams and the Christians for Moses Ministries have been exposed elsewhere. Read Will to Truth and follow through the links.

    The Rev. Charles J.Edgbaston has taken it upon himself to write to several people accusing them of slandering Israel (as if Israel were a person that could be slandered). Among others, see: here and here.

    Apparently the ministry is displeased at Edgbaston.

    Jaimie, sorry but your say-so without an iota of proof undermines all your assertions. Furthermore, you unsoundly argue that speaking freely is an abuse of free speech and yet do not apparently consider punitive actions against someone speaking freely an abuse of free speech. How is anyone supposed to take anything you state seriously based on such “rationale.”

  31. jaime said on August 12th, 2007 at 5:24pm #

    Finkelstein did not lose his tenure application “because of what he said or the political positions he has taken. ”

    He was rejected for tenure because he didn’t make the “cut’ academically.
    And my assertions are all common knowledge.

  32. Kim Petersen said on August 12th, 2007 at 5:33pm #

    Jaime, that fact that you acknowledge that you are asserting says it all.

  33. alfred said on August 12th, 2007 at 5:37pm #

    Kim, Sonia is right.

    You did not deal with her careful analysis of Finkelstein’s work. She gave specifics. Dr. Harold Williams gave specifics.

    Since you still disagree with them, you’ll have to give specifics too.

    I just about fell off my chair when I learnt from Sonia that Finkelstein was an adulating admirer of Nasser, the Egyptian mass killer. I want nothing to do with this crackpot professor!

  34. jaime said on August 12th, 2007 at 5:49pm #

    Let’s see how long this stays up:

    From Finkelstein’s website:

    Finkelstein has posted this open letter from his arch-foe Dershowitz, but doesn’t refute or deny the widely published assertion that he Finkelstein had

    “…commissioned, or solicited, the Latuff cartoon. He has not denied it; rather, he has refused to confirm or deny it on the ground that “whatever he says will not be believed…”


    Wait there’s more…..


    The Jerusalem Post Oct 16, 2006 describes an article published by Finkelstein containing the above indicated masterbation cartoon. Far as I know, F. isn’t suing the Jerusalem Post for libel.

    “…Norman Finkelstein – a strong supporter of Hizbullah and an opponent of justice for Holocaust survivors – published a call to arms entitled, “Should Alan Dershowitz Target Himself for Assassination?” As the title of the article suggests, Finkelstein puts forward in his article what he believes to be a justification for my assassination as a war criminal, based on my support for Israel.

    Nor was this the only obscenity in the article. Not by a long shot. Finkelstein’s piece was accompanied by a 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….”

  35. hp said on August 12th, 2007 at 7:07pm #

    I repeat, How long will it be before Norman gets his one way ticket to Germany, ala Ernst Zundel?

  36. gerald spezio said on August 13th, 2007 at 4:55am #

    What can we possibly learn from the 30+ responses to Bill Martin’s article?
    The no-holds-barred Israel First army of cyber soldiers is off and running.
    It is an extension of the lawyering/peeyer propaganda game. They are pitching all kinds of yuppie framing, stories, doubletalk, and brain damage.
    Now, intelligent people are supposed to argue about the source of the Brazil connection and cartoons. It is so similar to trying to find the elusive weapons of mass destruction, Bush’s brain, or some content anywhere. Keep them barking up the wrong tree.
    The Israel murder machine murders on.

  37. Bill Williams said on August 13th, 2007 at 7:29am #


    Has it occurred to you that Dershowitz effectively employed the whole “Finkelstein commissioned a cartoon by the Neo-Nazi Latuff, who won first place in the Iranian Holocaust denial conference” to distract attention away fromt the fact that Finkelstein completely exposed Dershowitz as a coward, a liar, and a fraud in the latter’s presentation of Israel’s human rights record in his The Case for Israel? It’s not even clear that you’ve read Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History given what you state above.

  38. jaime said on August 13th, 2007 at 8:12am #

    Wow, talk about getting off the topic!

    If it’s any consolation here is another board and audience that appears to share your attitude concerning this now very disgraced fellow. Funny how far-left and far-right, & pro terror groups like this slob.



    Norman Finkelstein wrote: “…To my thinking the honorable thing now is to show solidarity with Hezbollah … my chief regret is that I wasn’t even more forceful in publicly defending Hezbollah against terrorist intimidation and attack….”

  39. gerald spezio said on August 13th, 2007 at 8:50am #

    When Dershie, Esquire is distracting and obfuscating, he is lawyering pure and simple. Many astute observers fail to focus on the lawyering connection in all the rampant flim-flam.
    Just for starters, consider how many high profile Israel Firsters are trained legal whores. Dershie, Joe Lieberman, Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, James Woolsey, Michael Chertoff, Scooter Liebowitz, Jack Abramoff, etc.

  40. DEB-Z said on August 13th, 2007 at 9:48am #

    Nobody has addressed the fact that faculty working with both of the
    DePaul professors; Finkelstein and Larudee gave them a vote of confidence, as well as the students!
    How does this factor into the decision, when it appears, outside sourses and outside reports were sent to DePaul!
    Especially to do a report that was, perhaps, comissioned by an outside source who did not agree with the facts concluded by these faculty members.
    Due to “DePaul’s Board” being under the influence of the “Lobby” it appears anyone affiliated with this “Lobby” and report would have had to withdraw from a vote on this professor and the issues his books cover.
    (For instance if FormerPresident Carter was on DePaul’s faculty and the Jewish Lobby wanted him removed, by the same person who attacked Professor Finkelstein, then I guess we would have had a very similar report passed in! It appears anyone disagreeing with Israel and thus no freedom of discussing the ME and the crimes against humanity)!!!
    Did DePaul do their own report or did it simply rely on an outside agency that was paid by a third party to do? Did DePaul pay for the report? Who commissioned this report? Who allowed it to be placed
    before the administration….If so did they do this for other faculty members up for appointments??? Is there a similar report for Professor
    These can easily be a skewed factor into the decision especially if special interest groups hire someone to review and lay out what they want the outcome to be.
    It appears there needs to be a professional legal inquiry/review brought by the teachers union to evaluate what took place here.
    For many “accademic guns for hire” can testify and slant their reports similar to how lobbies want them to read….
    I see this frequently in reports in legal malpractice involving expert wittnesses…
    Also, many large companies and organizations hire PR
    firms with experts on “flooding” the media, etc…in order to get their point across.
    A PR firm is something I would not expect a teacher to be able to afford, unless independantly wealthy…but can easily be afforded by a
    very rich and powerful lobby and wealthy law firms, including firms that board members who are involved in this might be on!!!
    Is it not time to have experts inquire in a court hearing to see how involved special interest groups/lobbies were involved in this decision at DePaul University. is in accademic freedom and faculty rights in protecting their reputations in this situation.
    After all let’s not forget “If the glove fits we must aquit” in this case it
    appears to be “If you do believe killing or eliminating citizens that question the belief or get in the way of Israel then you can be removed by this network and they are aquitted, for murder and torture, as well!!!
    Nobody is allowed to discuss this….

  41. Kim Petersen said on August 13th, 2007 at 10:28am #

    alfred read the links (i.e., “specifics”) I provided earlier and you should quickly and easily recognize Williams for what he is.
    jaime did it ever occur to you that Finkelstein doesn’t need to waste his time refuting a known disseminator of garbage like Dershowitz? Since when does no comment imply anything? You persist in asserting based on nothing.
    Do you not realize that suing means paying lawyers, and what are the chances of winning such a case in Israel?
    Sheesh, such feeble points you make.

  42. alfred said on August 13th, 2007 at 11:38am #

    Kim — have read everything you provided. I still need your answer why Finkelstein devoted several pages in his Image and Reality book to singing the praises of the late Eyptian dictator Gamul Abdul Nasser. You will recall that Nasser used poison gas against another Arab country he wanted to conquer. He also hanged Sayed Qutb for writing about Islamic values. His secret police tortured the Copts and shot most of the trade unuion leaders.

    It’s these major flaws that resulted in DePaul management taking a close look at just what the hell Finkelstein was publishing before deciding to turf him out.

    Why are you pimping for Finkelstein? how can you call yourself a radical dissident? Don’t you have any standards?

  43. Bill Williams said on August 13th, 2007 at 11:51am #

    Kim Petersen’s right– there’s no point even responding to Jaime, who apparently believes that whopping assertions carry their own truth value. Sheesh is right.

  44. jaime said on August 13th, 2007 at 12:26pm #

    Spezio did it best….when you can’t make a good case, then play the Jew hatred card. Hahahha!

  45. Bill Williams said on August 13th, 2007 at 3:09pm #

    Jaime: I don’t understand what you’re stating— give us some indication that you’ve actually read Finkelstein’s work. For example, what’s the thesis of the chapter 2 of Finkelstein’s The Holocaust Industry: The Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (“Hoaxers, Hucksters, and History”)? I’ll await your direct response. Maybe Harold Williams can help you out.

  46. gerald spezio said on August 13th, 2007 at 3:44pm #

    Israel Firsters keep murdering innocent Palestinians while preaching their religiosity and Zionist Chosenness. As the increasing publicity of Israel’s vicious genocide and land grabbing fuels public contempt of Israel, any and all criticism must be framed as anti-semitism or “Jew hatred.” Good Jews don’t want anything to do with lying and murder in anybody’s name.

    Dershowitz’s personal advocacy of Israel’s murderous genocide shows his distorting and lawyerly cowardice. His documented double dealing fabrications and outright lying do a masterful job of shaming the very best of his Abrahamic heritage.

    All the cyber typists on the Lobby’s payroll, as well as all the billions for peeyar can’t stop the world from observing the Zionist hatred in action.

  47. jaime said on August 14th, 2007 at 4:48pm #

    Nice rant, Spezio. A trifle racist and antisemitic, but it’s a good fit in this toilet.

  48. DEB-Z said on August 14th, 2007 at 6:06pm #

    Does everyone that does not agree with you belong in the toilet?
    I am a Conservative Jewish woman who loves an Orthodox Jewish man.
    I am entitled to respect all that is Jewish without being insulted by you and the other people who want to limit education.
    Professor Finkelstein, a Jewish man, who perhaps does not believe, after hearing about his parents horrific circumstance in the concentration camps, in seeing the Jewish people of Israel treat others
    in the same manner in Palestine!
    We need to open our eyes and encourage peace and brotherly love and
    not just spill hatred and call everyone antisemites!!!
    A mother for peace and equality, (WOMEN IN BLACK-read about them and causes they stand for-try to make a positive change in this world!)

  49. jaime said on August 15th, 2007 at 8:18am #

    Dear Jewish Woman in Black who’s in love with an Orthodox Jewish man,

    Limiting education? Where did you dream that up from? Certainly not from anything I posted.

    So Finkelstein’s been outed as a phony again and sent down the road holding his ass. So what? It’s the university’s prerogative.

    And thank you for comparing Israel with Nazi Germany (yawn). That’s original too. Not.

    Yes I’m being sarcastic. There’s no comparing the 2 situations. Unless you’re maybe mentally ill.

  50. jaime said on August 15th, 2007 at 8:33am #

    Another word about “The Women in Black.”
    You don’t hear much about them lately because they’re irrelevant.
    First made an appearance around 2002 at the height of the radical Palestinian terror bombing of pizza parlors, coffee houses, bars discos and notably the cafeteria of a university in which Arab and Jewish students studied and worked together. The principle governing ethos of women in black was simple.

    Israel has no right to exist and has no right to defend its civilian population from daily terror attack.

    By no means the first or the last passive aggressive pro-terror far-left hate Jews and Israel causes. That there were Jews among them was a curiosity and confused some outsiders for a time.

    And current events have far out-paced their reason for being. Israel and the Abbas Regime are working together towards a viable 2 state solution in the middle of a very complex political situation.

  51. DEB-Z said on August 15th, 2007 at 3:00pm #

    Dear Jaime and other apparent reps for lobbies and/or groups with Israel being their #1 agenda prior to education, freedom and the USA:

    Go to Finkelstein’s web site and see the student’s letter of support and see all of his classes are filled up for September!!! This letter was sent to DePaul as well.

    Women In Black, is still alive and well. As you know, WIB works to protest wars, rape as a tool of war, ethnic cleansing, and support human rights.
    They are in many cities in the USA, England, Israel, Canada, and many more countries (check out their web sites). International Conference is 16-20 Aug 2007 in Spain.
    They have had silent vigils calling for an end to the Israel occupation of
    Palestine and blood for oil for years!
    They were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in the past. Every year they have their conference in majoy cities around the world!
    The group meets in NYC on Wednesdays to hold silent vigils for peace.
    http://www.womeninblack.org.uk and many many more sites on the web!

    However, this is getting off topic, (or is it?) of Professor Larudee, Professor Finkerstein, and now a new member of this group…Professor Nadia Abu El-Hag.
    It appears, according to Aug 15, 2007 issue of Chronicle of Higher Education “Alumni group seeks to deny tenure to Middle Eastern scholar at Barnard College”. She is an anthropologist. The reason: “she if flawed and skewed against Israel”. Big surprise
    Sounds like I have heard this song before…but are we going to keep allowing this to be played again and again on campuses across the USA?

  52. jaime said on August 15th, 2007 at 3:39pm #

    “…are we going to keep allowing this to be played again and again on campuses across the USA?”

    The answer is yes. Universities and other facilities of higher learning in democratic countries are going to continue to hire people for their efforts, accomplishments and qualifications and will fire or deny tenure to those who are found out to be frauds and/or plagiarists.

    Nadia Abu El-Haj?

    Another brilliant academic! Hahahahah! Looks like she’s cut from the same cloth as Finkelstein.

    She wrote an archeological study to the effect that Jews have no historical connection to the Land of Israel. And passed herself off as an archeologist without any bona fide qualifications.

    Here’s what the Journal of Near Eastern Studies has to say about her:

    “At the heart of her critique is an undisguised political agenda that regards modern and ancient Israel, and perhaps Jews as a whole, as fictions.

    “Abu El Haj’s anthropology is undone by her… ill-informed narrative, intrusive counter-politics, and by her unwillingness to either enter or observe Israeli society…

    “The effect is a representation of Israeli archaeology that is simply bizarre… Filling in what is missing from her text becomes fatiguing. In the end there is no reason to take her picture of Israeli archaeology seriously, since her selection bias is so glaring.

  53. Kim Petersen said on August 15th, 2007 at 5:07pm #

    more ad hominem from jaime
    Please provide a citation for your claim that “She wrote an archeological study to the effect that Jews have no historical connection to the Land of Israel.”
    — especially where in The Journal of Near Eastern Studies did you find what you quoted?

  54. jaime said on August 15th, 2007 at 8:38pm #

    Journal of Near Eastern Studies. Chicago: Oct 2005. Vol. 64, Iss. 4; p. 297

    “At the heart of her critique is an undisguised political agenda that regards modern and ancient Israel, and perhaps Jews as a whole, as fictions.

    “Abu El Haj’s anthropology is undone by her… ill-informed narrative, intrusive counter-politics, and by her unwillingness to either enter or observe Israeli society…

    “The effect is a representation of Israeli archaeology that is simply bizarre… Filling in what is missing from her text becomes fatiguing. In the end there is no reason to take her picture of Israeli archaeology seriously, since her selection bias is so glaring.

    “What then are the real goals the book? It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the effort is designed to contribute to the deconstruction of the legitimacy of Israel as a modern, and ancient, entity. Her current research on the “use of genetic evidence in historical inquiry, specifically attempts to isolate distinctive genetic markers of Jewishness through which ancient histories of migration are being traced and claims to Jewish descent evaluated. This project will examine the implications of genomics for questions of history and identity, race and territory at the turn of the new millennium”

    “Abu El Haj concludes on a truly shocking note, suggesting that with the destruction of the archaeological site called ‘Joseph’s Tomb,’ an attack during which a real person, a no doubt hybridized Israeli Druze named Yusuf Mahdat, was killed, “Palestinian demonstrators eradicated one of Israel’s ‘facts on the ground'” (p. 281). Are scholars now in the business of advocating the eradication of ‘facts’ rather than their explanation?

    “Abu El Haj has written a flimsy and supercilious book, which does no justice to either her putative subject or the political agenda she wishes to advance. It should be avoided.”

    Alexander H. Joffe has dug for several seasons at Meggido.
    Lecturer in Archaeology
    Purchase College, SUNY

  55. jaime said on August 15th, 2007 at 8:56pm #


    By Ben Harris Published: 08/14/2007

    NEW YORK (JTA) — A brewing battle over tenure for a polarizing Barnard College professor is threatening to thrust Columbia University back into the center of a controversy over its academic treatment of the Middle East.

    Nadia Abu El-Haj, an assistant professor of anthropology at Barnard, is the author of “Facts on the Ground,” a 2001 book that questions archaeological claims regarding the ancient Jewish presence in Israel and argues that Israeli archaeologists legitimize the Jewish state’s “origin myth.”

    An online petition against Abu El-Haj had garnered nearly 1,000 signatures as of Tuesday, the bulk of them from students and graduates of Barnard or Columbia University, its institutional parent.

    “This woman has written and made statements that are not based in fact and refused to recognize fact,” said Elaine Bloom, a Barnard graduate and former Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives who said she would reconsider her support for the college if the tenure decision goes forward. “And I think it’s a very harmful direction from somebody who is in a professorial position.”

    Neither Barnard nor Columbia would reveal any details about the status of Abu El-Haj’s tenure application, though Barnard has confirmed that the tenure process is under way. Abu El-Haj and Barnard President Judith Shapiro denied requests for comment.

    The wall of silence has fueled speculation that Shapiro, herself a professor of anthropology, has secretly endorsed the tenure application. If correct, final approval would rest with a committee appointed by Columbia Provost Alan Brinkley, sources familiar with the university said. Brinkley’s office also declined requests for comment.

    The controversy over El-Haj threatens to raise questions anew about the integrity of Columbia’s scholarship on the Middle East, which first came under fire in 2004 with the release of a documentary film alleging university professors intimidated and embarrassed pro-Israel students who challenged them in class. A committee of inquiry subsequently found only one example of improper behavior, leading critics to call the report a whitewash.

    Since then, pro-Israel groups have become ever more vigilant in monitoring university campuses. Meanwhile, Columbia’s president, Lee Bollinger, has labored to improve the school’s tarnished image, most recently by becoming the lead signatory to a statement published in the New York Times opposing an academic boycott of Israel.

    If El-Haj’s tenure is approved, much of that progress could be undone. It could also hurt the university financially.

    Bloom, Maxine Schwartz and Helene Berger — all Florida-based Barnard alums — met with Shapiro in March in Miami to communicate their concerns about Abu El-Haj. Schwartz and Berger both told JTA they would cease support for Barnard if the professor is granted tenure.

    “The credibility of Barnard is on the line,” said Berger, who has contributed to Barnard for each of the 52 years since she graduated.

    “It’s one thing to have different points of view, but to have someone with this perspective — I think as a Barnard graduate, the damage that so-called scholars can inflict on a university that I care about is very strong,” she said. “There’s no pursuit of truth here. It’s just merely a book to support her own political objectives.”

    Professors bristle at the notion that tenure decisions may be subject to outside pressure, a concern most recently manifested in Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz’s very public campaign against tenure for Norman Finkelstein at Depaul University. In a message posted on the Barnard Alumnae Affairs Web site, Shapiro echoed that concern.

    “Please understand that I greatly appreciate your feedback,” Shapiro said. “I always want to respond to any concerns our alumnae may have. At the same time, I will share with you my concern about communications and letter-writing campaigns orchestrated by people who are not as familiar with Barnard as you are, and who may not be in the best position to judge the matter at hand.”

    At issue is Abu El-Haj’s only book, which argues that archaeology in Israel was used to legitimize the “colonial” enterprise that was the founding and territorial expansion of Israel. Among her accusations is that Israeli archaeologists bulldozed Palestinian artifacts to more quickly access Jewish ones.

    Scholars are divided on the book’s merits. David Ussishkin, a Tel Aviv professor and one of Israel’s most celebrated archaeologists, has defended the excavation methods Abu El-Haj criticized. William Dever, an emeritus professor of archaeology at the University of Arizona and the author of many books on the ancient Near East, told the New York Sun late last year that Abu El-Haj should be denied tenure, calling her work “faulty, misleading and dangerous.”

    On the other side, Michael Herzfeld, an anthropology professor at Harvard, characterized Abu El-Haj’s work as “meticulous scholarship and even-handedness” in a blurb published on the book’s back cover. Others have lauded Abu El-Haj’s contribution to understanding how national priorities shape academic work on history and archaeology.

  56. jaime said on August 15th, 2007 at 9:16pm #


    Customer reviews of El-Haj’s book:

    Unimpressive and unconvincing, February 7, 2006

    By Jill Malter (moc.loanull@retlamllij) –
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
    Oh yes, this book asks some interesting questions. But one has to be a little suspicious of its point of view.

    Many of us know that Ed Said attacked the entire field of Oriental Studies as merely a political device to support colonialism. That certainly appeared dubious to those of us who saw scholars as people who were genuinely interested in learning about the subject. Now we see a similar set of questions about archaeology. And now it is Nadia Abu El-Haj who is wondering about the extent to which people use archaeology as a political device.

    I suspect that almost all archaeologists are genuinely interested in their subject. I can’t believe that many of them want to be archaeologists merely for political reasons. But that does leave unanswered the question of whether some archaeological research has become rather political in nature. And I can see why folks might want to ask such a question, given the way that some scholars have turned much of the work in Middle East Studies into rather useless political propaganda.

    Some of the other reviewers of this book have dismissed this work as pure anti-Zionist political propaganda, not just because it attacks Israel but due to a paucity of scholarly material. They point out the author’s lack of detailed discussions of what archaeology is and how it works. And while there is some material here about what Israeli archaeologists have been looking for, there isn’t a detailed appraisal of what these archaeologists have indeed discovered. If there were, it would give us a better chance to determine if there has been something systematically wrong with what most of these archaeologists have been doing.

    Plenty of people are interested in the past. That includes Israelis. After all, some Israelis can trace their ancestry back for many generations. They are aware that Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital for quite a while, including the past three millennia. It is not surprising that many are interested in discovering what archaeology can tell them about that time period and that some are enthusiastic about participating. And it is not surprising that archaeologists have indeed discovered quite a bit.

    It is a good idea to ask if archaeologists could do better work. But I don’t think the author does a very convincing job here. Are Arab artifacts being overlooked? Are bulldozers being used that destroy the small and recent Arab artifacts but not the larger and older Hebrew ones? Those could be good questions, but I don’t see much scholarly investigation into this.

    El-Haj spends plenty of time discussing politics, but I don’t see much scholarship in this. She complains about the use of Hebrew names, but I don’t understand such a criticism. If there were a study of Germanic culture in Vienna, I’d hardly expect it to use the word “Becs” rather than “Wien” as the name of that city.

    There are some interesting claims in this book. Obviously, I could not overlook the author’s quote of Clermont-Ganneau, who said that the peasants in the Levant were “resigned Mussulmans” when the Muslims ruled, “bad Christians” when the Christians ruled, “mediocre Jews,” and “fervent Pagans.” That’s music to my ears, but is it even true? Matter of fact, just how much continuity was there from one group to the next? And if it is true, why doesn’t the author advocate a return to the Paganism that obviously is best suited to that area, rather than the monotheistic religions that appear to have developed in that region?

    El-Haj says that “the struggle to realize a Jewish presence upon the land is perhaps best understood, quite literally, as having been a conflict over the problem of presence. Archaeology, for its part, developed into yet one more dimension and ongoing practice of kibbush (of conquest).” Goodness Gracious! She even sounds, quite literally, like Said!

    The author explains early in the book that some folks see archaeology as a science while others see it as a social product. Well, I see it as a scholarly field, and I think that any other approach is unworthy of the name. If El-Haj wants to some up with some constructive criticism about what Israeli archaeologists are doing, it ought to be on that basis. And she hasn’t done that.

    Instead, she’s written a political manifesto in which scholarship is something of a side issue.

    Just another pathetic attempt attacking Israel, October 11, 2005

    By joseph (United States) –

    The woman that wrote this work of fiction is not even an archeologist. In fact she has never even visited the nation of Israel during an archaelogical dig. It is not surprising that she is part of the Colombia University gang of Arab Muslims that attacks and attempts to delegitimize Israel.

    When will they learn they must overcome their own fallacies instead of blaming Israel and scapegoating Jewish people for their troubles.

    Propaganda, not Archeology – anti-Israel , October 10, 2005

    By B. Nitzberg “tired of racism” (united states) –

    I have a backround in archeology and have dig experience. i am interested in the archeology of the Holy Land (Israel/Palestine/Levant).

    I found this book worthless. It is just one , big, hot-air- filled polemic denouncing Israel and Judaism. This is bereft of all insight and discussion of actual archeology and its practices.

    It could be argued that this is a study not of archeology, but of a history of archeology. But using that pious fraud Said as a model makes this without value as well.

    I was shocked and distraught over the action of the Muslim Waqf in its destructive “remodeling” lf the Temple Mount/Al Aqsa Mosque from 1996-2000. It seems archeology has no value to the PLO and, as noted by this book, by El-Haf. Well, it has value to me.

    This is nothing but a crude political attack on the legitimacy of Israel. More ‘pseudo-history from the PLO.

  57. Kim Petersen said on August 15th, 2007 at 11:51pm #

    But jaime, that is just an ad hominem letter to JNEAS without any substantiation; hence, for critical thinkers, it is meaningless.

  58. DEB-Z said on August 16th, 2007 at 6:56am #

    I think we should look at all special interest groups now attacking our
    learning centers for higher education. After all this brain washing in a
    McCarthyism way will create future generations of predjudice against
    many groups. For instance look at yesterdays story on the Vice President’s wife Lynne Cheney who apparently was involved with forming a “watch dog” group called ACTA: http://www.indybay.orgnnewsitem/2007/08/15/18440891.php

    It is frightening to see how people can try to steal any form of critical thinking or research investigation unless it is for their own personal benefit or organizations! We wonder where hate and wars start!

  59. jaime said on August 16th, 2007 at 8:19am #

    Kim wrote:
    “But jaime, that is just an ad hominem letter to JNEAS without any substantiation; hence, for critical thinkers, it is meaningless.”

    That’s OK, there’s enough cross-referenced material to more than show that

    El-Haj produced a racist ideological polemic rather than a serious archeological study.

    ..and yes this issue parallels the Finkelstein matter. Same doo-doo different day. If these are ” intellectuals ” that you admire, then

  60. Kim Petersen said on August 16th, 2007 at 8:42am #

    jaime, it has nothing to do with admiring any persons; it has to do with supporting freedom of thought , speech, and academic freedom.

  61. DEB-Z said on August 16th, 2007 at 11:40am #

    I think Jaime is “beyond” supporting freedom of thought, speech, and academic freedom. I think perhaps she thinks the people who put up cement walls and are condoning seperation of the “elite” and “perfect”
    people, who feel that the Israeli way is the only way, reguardless of how many inocent people die, how much land is occupied. For some truly feel there is an elevation of status of people that are Jewish as oposed to Islamic or Christian.
    This attitude is creating wars and deaths all over the world now. We have to face facts and make peace or the USA will be dragged further into this conflict. The USA are being hand fed facts and being fueled into brain washing our students in the into only one way of seeing things.
    The Radical Jewish way, which is similar to the Radical Islalmist way. We need to educate and explore both sides to best judge how to create peace. After all the future leaders that are perhaps now being educated.
    Just like Africa and many other countries grab the young to go to war because they are easy to brain wash…this is what is happening on college campuses in the USA.
    If you do not agree with the powerful lobbies, with membership involved in top goverment positions in the USA, then you are out of
    work…as we are seeing with FOUR known professors this summer!!!

  62. jaime said on August 16th, 2007 at 12:22pm #

    “jaime, it has nothing to do with admiring any persons; it has to do with supporting freedom of thought , speech, and academic freedom.”

    Uh no, it’s about bogus academics being refused tenure.
    Bye Bye.

  63. DEB-Z said on August 16th, 2007 at 1:54pm #

    If it was about bogus academics being refused tenure… Harvard would not give continued tenure to faculty doing the same thing!
    Especially when he is working, as an Orthodox Jewish Man, to limit educational expression and explore other issues for debate.
    Interfering with students outside of his university and even attempting to prevent faculty from going into Harvard to even lecture that do not
    agree with all of his view points is outrageous!
    As I stated Radical Jewish people are the same as Radical Islamic people….no different!

  64. DEB-Z said on August 26th, 2007 at 2:12pm #

    FYI…Norm Finkelstein’s web site:
    Is stating his classes for September at DePaul have been cancelled…
    This despite his classes being fully enrolled.
    Non renewal of his contract having a year prior notice necessary and DePaul is not letting his have access to his office either…
    I guess it does pay to be tight with LOBBY MEMBERS at DEPAUL UNIVERSITY so you can have faculty removed that do not agree with
    your social and political views and advocate torture!!!
    See student’s reaction letter to this sent to FR. HOLTSCHNEIDER at DEPAUL UNIVERSITY on this web site as well…
    Shocking to see this as an adult…I can only imagine what students must be thinking…
    A book about the Jewish Lobby in America will be out in September and I am going to read it cover to cover after this…I am afraid of our
    right to free speech in this country after this has occured at a University in America.
    I have read Prof. Finkelstein’s books and with all of his justifications for statements backed up with sourses and carefully noted research I am shocked at his treatment…