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Norman Finkelstein Update:

AP:

A vocal American critic of Israel met Monday with a senior official from the militant Hezbollah group and visited villages in southern Lebanon that witnessed heavy fighting in the 2006 war between the guerrillas and the Jewish state.

Norman Finkelstein, who resigned last year as a political science professor at DePaul University in Chicago, met Hezbollah's commander in south Lebanon, Nabil Kaouk, in his office in the coastal city of Tyre.

He visited the border village of Maroun el-Rass where heavy fighting between Hezbollah guerrillas and Israeli troops took place during the two side's 34-day war in the summer 2006, according to the state-run National News Agency and Hezbollah's Al-Manar television.

Finkelstein also toured the border village of Aita al-Shaab, the location from where Hezbollah guerrillas triggered the war after they crossed the border, killing three Israeli soldiers and capturing two others in hopes of trading them for Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails, according to the report....

"After the horror and after the shame and after the anger there still remain a hope, and I know that I can get in a lot of trouble for what I am about to say, but I think that the Hezbollah represents the hope."

[Insert favorite critique or parody of "resolute atheist" "Progressive" academic toadying to fanatical, violent religious extremists here.]

jvarisco (www):
The guy is an idiot. But do we really care? He's certainly not shooting anyone, and no longer has a teaching position. What makes this newsworthy?
1.7.2008 5:04pm
jvarisco (www):
I'm also not sure I would call him an academic - he was refused tenure precisely because his work was not academic. There are reasons to critique academics, but he's not one of them.
1.7.2008 5:06pm
wm. tyroler (mail):
Good take-down of this monumental hypocrite, here.
1.7.2008 5:09pm
neurodoc:
If an American fan of Osama bin Laden managed to get an audience with the Great Terrorist and come back with a video of their meeting, might not he/she be federally prosecuted under one or more anti-terrorism laws? Isn't Hezbollah, like Al Qaeda, on the US's list of terrorist organizations, so that Finkelstein might be prosecuted for this latest undertaking of his? Would Finkelstein have to make a donation to Hezbollah or do substantially more than what he is currently doing to make himself criminally liable?

The president of DePaul must have no regrets that Finkelstein is no longer associated with the school.
1.7.2008 5:24pm
John (mail):
Hope? Of course there is hope. The problem is what Hezbollah is hoping for.
1.7.2008 5:26pm
David (mail):
Norman Finkelstein was denied tenure after years of teaching at De Paul solely because he is NOT a hypocrite. This son of Holocaust survivors had, what the hypocritics in academia thought, was the audacity to question some of the assumptions made about the Holocaust. Since Finkelstein is Jewish they were hard pressed to brand him an anti Semite. Rather they just harrassed the guy and fired him de facto by denying him tenure. That's the problem with free speech, if you support the concept, you must tolerate all views even those you deem to be reprehensible.
1.7.2008 5:26pm
PLR:
After the horror and after the shame and after the anger there still remain a hope, and I know that I can get in a lot of trouble for what I am about to say, but I think that the Hezbollah represents the hope.

I wouldn't want to cause trouble, but I don't even know what the heck that statement means.
1.7.2008 5:26pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
PLR, it may be a butchered quote, or Finkelstein may have been making an allusion to "Hatikvah," "the hope," Israel's national anthem, which expresses the hope "to be a free nation, in our land, the land of Zion, Jerusalem."

And thanks to commenter David for "proving" Finkelstein's point about how one's Jewish origins and the Holocause are misused for political purposes. Always love it when Finkelstein's defenders use the tactics that Finkelstein accuses "Jewish elites" of using.
1.7.2008 5:30pm
neurodoc:
Professor Bernstein, how about an answer to the important question here, that is could Finkelstein be criminally prosecuted for consorting with the leadership of an organization officially designated a terrorist one by our government? If Finkelstein has not gone over the line, is he walking close to it? If, for example, Finkelstein managed to get an audience with Nasrallah and made a show of handing Hezbollah's leader money and telling him to use it to buy more rockets to use for their holy cause, would that make Finkelstein prosecutable?
1.7.2008 5:52pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Professor Bernstein, how about an answer to the important question here, that is could Finkelstein be criminally prosecuted for consorting with the leadership of an organization officially designated a terrorist one by our government? If Finkelstein has not gone over the line, is he walking close to it? If, for example, Finkelstein managed to get an audience with Nasrallah and made a show of handing Hezbollah's leader money and telling him to use it to buy more rockets to use for their holy cause, would that make Finkelstein prosecutable?
Funding terrorists, to state the obvious, is hardly the same thing as interviewing them.
1.7.2008 6:01pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Neuro, how the heck should I know?
1.7.2008 6:17pm
R:
Why is "resolute aheist" relevant and why is it in quotes?
1.7.2008 6:30pm
MnZ:

Norman Finkelstein was denied tenure after years of teaching at De Paul solely because he is NOT a hypocrite.


I heard that he was not given tenure at the end of his contract because his research is not highly regarded. He is hardly the first person to be denied tenure.


That's the problem with free speech, if you support the concept, you must tolerate all views even those you deem to be reprehensible.


No, I do not. Your free speech ends on private property. I don't have the right to rant on your property. Finkelstein does not have the right to speak on DePaul's property.

You should really learn a bit more before you write.
1.7.2008 6:31pm
ys:

Why is "resolute aheist" relevant and why is it in quotes?

Just follow the link in the main posting and you'll see.
1.7.2008 7:12pm
Barry P. (mail):
Hezbollah is a quasi-state with an army that is fighting a war with Israel. In this instance, Bernstein's use of "terrorist" is synonymous with "the guys on the other side".
1.7.2008 7:21pm
R:
Thank you, ys. I knew I must have missed something on my first read through it: the very first line.
1.7.2008 7:35pm
Crimso:
"Finkelstein does not have the right to speak on DePaul's property."

Indeed. I learned very quickly that the way to get tenure is to shut up and do what you're told (as a bare minimum). It's ironic that tenure (the original purpose of which, IIRC, was to permit academics to espouse unpopular opinions without fear of retribution) is gotten (at least in my experience) by NOT exercising free speech. Having it, I damn well say what I please. Fair? Maybe not, but that's how it is. He should have known that.
1.7.2008 7:37pm
Crimso:
"Hezbollah is a quasi-state with an army that is fighting a war with Israel."

Then their intentional targeting of civilians makes them war criminals as opposed to terrorists, no?
1.7.2008 7:40pm
davidbernstein (mail):
except i didn't use the word terrorist
1.7.2008 7:43pm
Thoughtful (mail):
This canard about Finkelstein's work not being "highly regarded" borders on slanderous. In a very recent post Ilya Somin referenced Raul Hilberg, one of the best-known and most distinguished of Holocaust historians. He is author of the seminal three-volume work "The Destruction of the European Jews" and is considered the founder of Holocaust studies. Before his death last year, Hilberg, politically a conservative, bemoaned the injustice of denying Finkelstein tenure. He lauded Finkelstein's scholarship, indicating it was impeccible. In addition, Avi Shlaim, professor of international relations at Oxford University, is widely regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on the Israeli-Arab conflict. He, too, agrees with Finkelstein's conclusions and confirms the scholarly quality of his work.

Hilberg and Shlaim were interviewed last year about Finkelstein, the quality of his scholarship, the denial of tenure. You can listen to their thoughts here:
radio interview

It is patently evident that those who denounce Finkelstein's scholarship (as opposed, say, to his provocative writing style) are not themselves scholars in the field and very likely haven't even read his works.
1.7.2008 7:46pm
DG:
""Hezbollah is a quasi-state with an army that is fighting a war with Israel."

Then their intentional targeting of civilians makes them war criminals as opposed to terrorists, no?"

Well, aside from THAT, there are a couple of other issues. Armies must wear uniforms and be identifiable in order to be accorded status as lawful combatants under the Geneva Convention. Otherwise, their presence endangers civilians. Hez also likes to put their "fighters" and military hardware (missile launchers, etc) smack in the middle of civilian areas. Not just for concealment, either - they are hoping to bring down an Israeli attack on civilian areas.

So, targeting civilians, lack of uniforms, deliberately hazarding their own civilian population - that makes them "not soldiers". By most accounts it would make them terrorists.
1.7.2008 7:56pm
neurodoc:
Barry P. Hezbollah is a quasi-state with an army that is fighting a war with Israel. In this instance, Bernstein's use of "terrorist" is synonymous with "the guys on the other side".
Hizballah (or Hezbollah, Party of God) is 14th on the US State Department's alphabetical listing of 33 Foreign Terrorist Organizations. http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/fs/37191.htm

So Barry P., you may choose to see Hezbollah, Iran's cat's paw and destabilizer of Lebanon, which has tortured and murdered a great many Americans, including 256 US Marines, as just "the guys on the other side," if not "freedom fighters," but Professor Bernstein is far from the only one who sees them very differently than you do.


http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/fs/37191.htm
1.7.2008 7:57pm
Thoughtful (mail):
1. Not a lawyer; I believe I should have typed "libelous" rather than "slanderous" in my last post. Sorry. Nor am I making a legal claim that the statement is actionable, merely that it is strongly analogous to, if not actual, libel.

2. DG: It is in extremely bad taste, when referencing the recent Lebanon war, to discuss "targeting civilians" when not referencing Israel. Motes and beams... [This is a brief response, DB, not an effort or desire on my part to move OT.]
1.7.2008 8:13pm
Crimso:
"bemoaned the injustice of denying Finkelstein tenure"

Having been in on a number of tenure and promotion committee meetings, I can attest to the simple fact that it isn't just about the scholarship. See my above comment. There are people who will vote against your tenure because they don't like your politics, or your hair, or (most unforgivably) because you get better student evaluations of teaching than they do. I don't fool myself into believing ours is the only institution where such nonsense occurs. And I most certainly have made my feelings known to both my Dean and Provost. The bottom line is if you want tenure, shut up and do what you're told. And even that plus excellent scholarship might still not be enough. Fair? No. Fact of life? Yes. After high school, I spent 17 years of education and postdoctoral reserach just to make myself competitive for the position I now have. I would have been a total fool for not doing whatever it takes to get tenure (so long as it's ethical). Now, I can say whatever I want. As long as it isn't illegal to say. Plus I try not to offend people. Or inject topics into lectures that don't belong. But there are a few of my "colleagues" who give me a wide berth these days, because they know they no longer have me by the balls. It's sweet.
1.7.2008 8:20pm
neurodoc:
David M. Nierpoint, Finkelstein is "interviewing" Hezbollah leadership, perhaps for research purposes? Do you also know it to be the case, or surmise, that this impecunious, out-of-work "scholar" is receiving nothing of value from Hezbollah, an officially designated "Foreign Terrorist Organization"?

I suggested that Finkelstein might want to put his money where his mouth and heart are and give at least a token sum to Hezbollah, showing "solidarity" with the organization. Or maybe he will visit one of their training camps in the Bekaa Valley and send back pictures of himself firing an AK47. I would love to see that.

Professor Bernstein, physicians are often asked questions outside their particular areas of specialization, and they may attempt to answer or beg off for any number of reasons. Because you are a professor law, and you have blogged about Lebanon's Islamofascists (Hezbollah/ Hizbollah), and see Finkelstein as deserving of attention even now, I thought you might care to speculate about the possibility of criminal prosecution, or even better, find someone knowledgeable about these matters to tell us if Finkelstein is inviting trouble for himself.
1.7.2008 8:22pm
neurodoc:
Thoughtful: It is patently evident that those who denounce Finkelstein's scholarship (as opposed, say, to his provocative writing style) are not themselves scholars in the field and very likely haven't even read his works.
As Finkelstein himself proudly proclaims, he has never published in a scholarly journal, which is something quite exceptional for someone seeking tenure. So if Finkelstein is indeed a scholar, then the evidence must be one or more of his books, and I take it you have read them. Please tell us which you consider worthy scholarship, something that might have earned him tenure. What I have read of Finkelstein's ouevre strikes me as nothing more than shrill tendention, and bears no resemblance to scholarship. But if you will specify what he has written that is truly a meritorious contribution, I will gladly go back and read or re-read it. (Seriously.)
1.7.2008 8:34pm
hattio1:
Thoughtful states;

2. DG: It is in extremely bad taste, when referencing the recent Lebanon war, to discuss "targeting civilians" when not referencing Israel. Motes and beams... [This is a brief response, DB, not an effort or desire on my part to move OT.]

Oh please. Do you realize what you are saying? You can't discuss targeting civillians unless you're accusing Israel of it? That's not even saying that we should discuss targeting of civillians by both sides, but rather that it can only be discussed in reference to Israel.
And this is coming from someone who is a frequent critic of Israel.
1.7.2008 8:35pm
Waldensian (mail):

But there are a few of my "colleagues" who give me a wide berth these days, because they know they no longer have me by the balls. It's sweet.

"...because the stakes are so low."
1.7.2008 8:41pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I suggested that Finkelstein might want to put his money where his mouth and heart are and give at least a token sum to Hezbollah, showing "solidarity" with the organization. Or maybe he will visit one of their training camps in the Bekaa Valley and send back pictures of himself firing an AK47. I would love to see that.
He could just throw rocks at Israeli soldiers. No, wait, that was Edward Said.
1.7.2008 8:55pm
Crimso:
Waldensian
If you only knew...
Hopefully (for your sake) you don't. Of course, I am pulling in that fat salary, so maybe the stakes aren't so low.

I'm being sarcastic, of course.
1.7.2008 8:59pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Raul Hilberg is a scholar of the Holocaust. Norman Finkelstein is a polemicist about what he perceives as the political misuse of the Holocaust. The fields really don't overlap. It would be like saying that a scholar of the history of American slavery and an activist on behalf of reparations are in the same field. A "peer" of Finkelstein would be, say, Deborah Lipstadt, who I doubt thinks highly of him.

As for Finkelstein being a "scholar" on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Finkelstein, as I recall, speaks neither Hebrew nor Arabic, which would make him an odd "scholar" on that subject indeed, given that the vast majority of primary sources are in one language or the other. (Not that Finkelstein is equivalent to David Irving, but Irving, before revelations from his trial with Lipstadt, used to have many more and more prominent academic defenders than does Finkelstein).
1.7.2008 9:09pm
ph (mail):
www.abanet.org (sorry but I couldn't post the entire reference; something prevents it)


This is a good summary of the material support clauae of the Patriot Act. The courts have generally ruled against any interpretation that impinges on free speech. Thus, saying "We are All Hizbollah Now" is probably not subject to prosecution, but giving money or advice on how to conduct attacks is.

I think the USDOJ has more important targets to bother with than NGF.
1.7.2008 9:20pm
neurodoc:
He could just throw rocks at Israeli soldiers. No, wait, that was Edward Said.
Yes, back in September of 2000, after Israel withdrew its last forces from southern Lebanon, the late, execrable Edward Said famously threw rocks at the border fence in a symbolic act of protest. (Supposedly, the rocks Said threw didn't clear the top of the fence.) I don't know if Said was acting in concert with Hezbollah then, nor whether Hezbollah was on the US's official "foreign terrorist organization" list at the time.

Am I reaching when I try to find a basis to prosecute Finkelstein criminally for consorting with Hezbollah? Sure, but if there might be a basis, it would be a shame to overlook it. (Hey, those 5 Yemeni-Americans from Lackawanna, NY may be going to prison for doing no more than attending a "camp" like those Hezbollah runs.)
1.7.2008 9:37pm
Crimso:
"I think the USDOJ has more important targets to bother with than NGF."

Well it's a damned sorry fascist state we've got going here. One would think he'd be in Gitmo by now.
1.7.2008 10:01pm
Barry P. (mail):
Yep, DB didn't say "terrorist". Mea culpa, I guess I read his statement too quickly and too reflexively.

Neurodoc, you appear to beleive that I am some sort of Hezbollah supporter or advocate. I'm not. But I actually lived in the Middle East for several years, as opposed to merely commenting from half a world away, and have thus had the oportunity to talk to actual Arabs instead of merely parroting State Department documents. Maybe you gain some comfort from chanting "terrorist, terrorist, terrorist", but Hezbollah is far more than a military orgnization. Many Arabs support Hezbollah because Hezbollah clothes, feeds and educates a lot of people a lot better than the Lebanese government. Maybe they're only doing so for propaganda reasons, but they do it nonetheless. Yes, Hezbollah is in an armed struggle with Israel (futile as that may be), and yes, they choose to not follow European-scripted "rules of war". They believe that anything goes in war, and if this wounds our sensitive Western "fair play" sensibilities, well, they don't really care. They're true believers in their cause, and they honestly believe they've gotten the shitty end of the "fairness" stick more than a few times.

Yes, it's sad that Arabs refuse to choose to see the world the same way we do (and I actually spent several years there trying to get them to do so, so I take that personally), but wishing that they would and calling them names isn't going to change things.

Anyway, my point is that when DB labels Hezbollah as "fanatical, violent religious extremists" he may be telling the truth, but only a small part of it. What is good and what is evil is in the eye of the beholder, and there are many different beholders.

I dislike much about Arabs, but not for the same reasons as you, I imagine.
1.7.2008 11:04pm
RowerinVa (mail):
Now hang on, "Thoughtful." You write,

"DG: It is in extremely bad taste, when referencing the recent Lebanon war, to discuss "targeting civilians" when not referencing Israel."

I normally stay out of the Israel/Palestinian mess, as there is often blame on both sides, but you don't have much of an argument here. Aside from its initial kidnapping incursion, Hezbollah deliberately avoided attacking Israel's military and directed 100% of its fire at Israeli population centers. Israel attacked infrastructure, yes, but first, it did so in retaliation, and second, if it had deliberately targeted civilians the death toll would have been over 200,000, or more, very quickly. One can often see through the propaganda by watching the reactions of the people on the ground, and what did we see? Lebanese standing in the open, watching the Israeli planes, and if they showed any concern at all it was to wave white flags or other symbols to identify themselves as civilians. Now, have you ever seen an Israeli confidently identify himself to a Hezbollah combatant to convey, "I'm not the guy you want -- I'm a civilian?" Of course not, because everyone knows (you do, too) that he'd be a dead Israeli. Assuming, of course, that he was an Israeli Jew. Hezbollah did apologize for one and only one rocket attack: the one that accidentally fell short and hit an Israeli Arab town.

C'mon, be serious. Hezbollah kills every Jewish civilian it can; only its military tactical incompetence prevents genocide. (It has political and strategic competence in spades, but military tactic wise, it is ineffective.) If Israel's policy were Hezbollah's, the summer war would have looked very different. I don't know whether individual Israeli soldiers or pilots targeted the occasional civilian qua civilian but wholesale killing of civilians was not Israeli policy. It was and is Hezbollah policy. Try to keep the debate honest.
1.7.2008 11:11pm
neurodoc:
Barry P., in the construction business, there are what are known as "double-breasted" companies. The same people are behind two nominally "different" companies, but it's a fiction that they are truly different. The fiction allows one corporate persona to operate as a non-union contractor and with lower labor costs bid lower on private sector jobs, while the other corporate persona operates as a union contractor and can bid on government work that requires the payment of "prevailing" wages (Davis-Bacon) or that relatively small fraction of non-government jobs which insists on only engaging union contractors. Hezbollah and Hamas, with their distinct charity and terrorist sides, are similarly "double-breasted"?

Do you think that Hezbollah and Hamas don't deserve their places along with the 31 other organizations, including Al Qaeda and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade (a Fatah affiliate), designated as "foreign terrorist organizations"? Or do you think all of them are someone's "freedom fighters," if not ours?

You note that Hezbollah (and Hamas) enjoys great popular support. The Taliban does too, doesn't it? And Osama and his merry band of men are lionized by many in the Arab world, aren't they?

You say you are not "some sort of Hezbollah supporter or advocate," so do you have anything bad to say of them, or do you think the "good" is balanced" by the "evil"? ("What is good and what is evil is in the eye of the beholder, and there are many different beholders." - is that anything different from "one man's 'terrorist' is another's 'freedom fighter'? Something other than moral relativism, if not simply amoral?)

Anything to say about the death of 256 US Marines on what amounted to a peacekeeping mission in 1983, or the subsequent kidnapping, torture, and murder of William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Lebanon? (Unfortunately, I can't for the moment remember the name of the US colonel serving with UNFIL who met the same terrible fate at their hands.) Help us put all this in proper perspective, if you will.

These are the people Finkelstein has gone off to play with.
1.8.2008 12:03am
Thoughtful (mail):
hattio1: You misread me. My point was it is in bad taste to bring up "targeting civilians" in a war when the vast majority of civilians--well over 90%--were killed by the other side. To claim they weren't targeted when Israeli missiles were aimed to hit large population centers is just silly. This, of course, in no way justifies Hezbollah's actions, and I never said it did. I just said motes and beams comes to mind when one jumps over the entity that caused less than 10% of the civilian casualties without mentioning the other side.

DB: Well, you certainly seem to have not bothered to listen to Hilberg in the reference I gave, or read the accompanying transcript. You claim Hilberg's work didn't overlap Finkelstein's, the implication apparently being that his endorsements are worthless (and unprofessional? please go on the record if you wish to besmirch the reputation of a recently deceased high praised scholar.) Turns out his and Finkelstein's work overlapped significantly. Hilberg was researching the efforts to extort billions of dollars from Swiss banks on spurious Holocaust charges when Finkelstein's book on the subject "The Holocaust Industry" came out. Hilberg thoroughly endorsed it, finding Finkelstein's research largely matched his own findings. (This sort of thing will keep happening, David, as long as you persist in contributing without ever showing evidence of reading Finkelstein. But to be fair, I don't want to presume you didn't read Hilberg's comments solely on the basis of logical implication. Please feel free to state for the record whether or not you read them.)

Neurodoc: as a physician myself, I know that neurosurgeons are often very certain of their beliefs, even when wrong, so forgive me if I doubt your sincerity when you claim you'd read Finkelstein's scholarship if only I gave you a reference. But, to take you at your word, his dissection of Joan Peter's fraudulent "From Time Immemorial" was the first to demonstrate in detail the gross fabrications and other scholarly failings of that initially highly acclaimed work, now widely recognized by scholars in the field as worthless. His even more devastating analysis of Dershowitz's "The Case for Israel" demonstrates the detailed factual knowledge and analytical skills typically associated with scholarship. And contrary to the claims of many uninformed posters on this blog in the past, Finkelstein has published in peer-reviewed journals, including The Journal of Palestine Studies. (You might feel, of course, that the journal is biased, as I'm sure you and I both occasionally feel JAMA and NEJM are biased, but the claim that he didn't get tenure because he never published in peer-reviewed journals is simply rubbish.)

Now perhaps, Neurodoc, you think a professional career devoted to debunking the unscholarly work of others does not perforce make one a scholar oneself. I disagree, and assume you find medical papers that correctly analyze the errors of previously published work scholarly.

Enough for now. Such major responses from such minimal commentary is itself evidence that on this subject emotion rather than reason rules.
1.8.2008 1:12am
Barry P. (mail):
Neurodoc, I have no doubt that you're absolutely convinced of the righteousness of your beliefs. But so are those on the other side.

What I find amusing is your need to try and get me to utter some concordance with your position. Is my opinion really that important to you?

For the record, I take no side in that conflict. However, when engaging Arabs in discussion of this matter, my default tactic is to avail them of my considered opinion that continuing to resist or fight Israel is pointless and futile, and simply accepting it as a extant, ongoing reality and peacably getting on with their lives in a more productive and forward-looking manner would be the happiness-maximizing choice. To my utter amazement and disbelief, this hyper-rationalistic anglo-saxon utilitarian position garners remarkably little traction. It appears that the average Arab that I know has a rather different utiliy function to me. But, you know, they *really* believe what they believe. Just like you. And they really, really believe that they are *right*. Just like you do.

Me, I could never convince myself of my own infallibility.
1.8.2008 1:13am
neurodoc:
Thoughtful, if you have a medical specialty, but surely you are aware that just as there are those who specialize in cardiology and those who specialize in cardiovascular surgery, there are those who specialize in neurology and those who specialize in neurosurgery. And you are as free to doubt my sincerity or whatever you chose as I am to doubt yours.

Too late for me to look now, but I am quite sure that Finkelstein has boasted that he never published an article in a scholarly journal. Perhaps he himself doesn't count the Journal of Palestine Studies as a scholarly journal, and saying that a publication is a peer-reviewed one can be remarkably meaningless. (I know a group of out and out medical charlatans who "publish" one another's anecdotal reports of miraculous cures in the form of an electronic journal, which is truly "peer-reviewed.")

When was the last time that you came across a scientific article in the NEJM or JAMA that you regarded as biased, and what was it? I'd like to see for myself (sincerely) what you consider biased in what those journals publish. (BTW, what would "biased" mean for purposes of the Journal of Palestinian Studies?)

"you think a professional career devoted to debunking the unscholarly work of others does not perforce make one a scholar oneself" - right, I don't think a professional career devoted to debunking the unscholarly work of others...perforce make(s) one a scholar oneself." Is Finkelstein sui generis as such a "scholar," one whose professional career is devoted to tendentious engagements with those not themselves engaged in scholarship, or can you name other such "scholars"?
1.8.2008 1:59am
neurodoc:
Neurodoc, I have no doubt that you're absolutely convinced of the righteousness of your beliefs. But so are those on the other side. It isn't the righteousness of my beliefs, it is the decided unrighteousness of the "Islamofascists" on the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

What I find amusing is your need to try and get me to utter some concordance with your position. Is my opinion really that important to you? No, it is of zero importance to me for other than debating purposes here. Now, I understand that you adopt the stance of a moral "neutral, if not someone who is simply amoral.

For the record, I take no side in that conflict. By "that conflict" I suppose you mean the Arab-Israeli one. (Hezbollah is not a Palestinian faction.) Do you take any position in the larger conflict between the West and the Islamofascists? (Let's not argue over terminology, I'm sure you have a pretty good idea of who warrants the label "Islamofascist.") Or "neutral" there too, holding that no side ever is pure Good and the other pure Evil. (Nazis?)

...

Me, I could never convince myself of my own infallibility. As a world famous mathematician told me many years ago, "Any statements about the null set are always true." Since you refuse to stake a position, how could you ever be wrong (or right). Do remember, though, the final fate Dante imagined for such positionless people.
1.8.2008 2:14am
rolly:
Remind me again how one can exclude a VCer's posts from coming up when you access the main page. Thanks.
1.8.2008 6:42am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Once again, Thoughtful distorts what I said, and then goes on a rant based on something I didn't say. "You claim Hilberg's work didn't overlap Finkelstein's."

No, I wrote, "Raul Hilberg is a scholar of the Holocaust. Norman Finkelstein is a polemicist about what he perceives as the political misuse of the Holocaust. The fields really don't overlap." The only reason anyone cares what Raul Hilberg thinks of Finkelstein (or more precisely, the only reason Finkelstein's defenders constantly point out that Hilberg has praised him) is because of Hilberg's reputation as a Holocaust scholar.

Here's Hilberg: "And I was struck by the fact, even as I, myself, was researching the same territory that Professor Finkelstein was covering, that the Swiss did not owe that money, that the $1,250,000,000 that were agreed as a settlement to be paid to the claimants was something that in very plain language was extorted from the Swiss. I had, in fact, relied upon the same sources that Professor Finkelstein used, perhaps in addition some Swiss items. I was in Switzerland at the height of the crisis, and I heard from so-called forensic accountants about how totally surprised the Swiss were by this outburst. There is no other word for it.

Now, Finkelstein was the first to publish what was happening in his book The Holocaust Industry. And when I was asked to endorse the book, I DID SO WITH SPECIFIC REGARD TO THESE CLAIMS." All when and good, but not the source of the controversy over Finkelstein.

The reason that people attack Finkelstein is not because he raised doubts about the size of the Swiss claims and settlement (which many people, including Hilberg, have done without being subject to the same attacks) but (a) the fact that he uses conspiratorial tones, assumes bad will on the part of people he doesn't like, and otherwise uses inappropriate rhetoric that many people think at best plays to anti-Semitic sentiment, and at worst is evidence of Finkelstein's own anti-Semitism; and (b) has a crazed overarching theory that just every action taken to memorialize the Holocaust is motivated by the Jewish establishment's desire to politically benefit Israel.

Hilberg consistently notes that his "tone" and "style" isn't the same as Finkelstein's, but it's the "tone" and "style" that accounts for 80% of the controversy over The Holocaust Industry, with the allegations that it's all a Zionist plot accounting for almost all of the rest.

BTW, I'm going off-topic, but the emphasis by the Jewish establishment on the Holocaust strikes me as largely demand driven, and is certainly independent of pro-Israel sentiment. My alma mater, Brandeis, had a very active Jewish studies curriculum, and by far the most popular class, drawing in the least Jewishly engaged (and least pro-Israel) Jewish students, was a course on the Holocaust.
1.8.2008 7:55am
Yankev (mail):

His even more devastating analysis of Dershowitz's "The Case for Israel" demonstrates the detailed factual knowledge and analytical skills typically associated with scholarship.


Wasn't it Finkelstein who persisted in charging that the book was not written by Dershowitz, even after Dershowitz produced his original hand-written drafts? And who branded the book as plagiarized because Dershowitz cited other authors, with full attribution?
1.8.2008 8:43am
PLR:
PLR, it may be a butchered quote, or Finkelstein may have been making an allusion to "Hatikvah," "the hope," Israel's national anthem, which expresses the hope "to be a free nation, in our land, the land of Zion, Jerusalem."

That's helpful. So NF's suggestion is that Israel may live free when Hezbollah achieves its aim of an Islamic state in heterogeneous Lebanon.

I think such counterintuitive theories should be grounded on something more substantial than conversations with regional military commanders.
1.8.2008 11:15am
c.gray (mail):
Honestly, can't we all just forget about Finkelstein? He's the academic world's equivalent of a message board troll. Giving him attention is just surrendering what he most craves.
1.8.2008 3:46pm
LM (mail):

Honestly, can't we all just forget about Finkelstein?

Sure. Right after we give up junk food, pornography and rubber-necking at freeway collisions.
1.8.2008 7:10pm