Category Archives: Norman Finkelstein

Roundup: more on Finkelstein, Carter video

[Editor's note: There are times when I will link to stories that I believe are of interest to readers, but I may have neither the time nor the inclination to either look into or judge the merits of the case. These stories often appear, but not always, as quick links in the Roundup section. In these cases, it is my assumption that readers are smart enough to make up their own minds-you can use the comments section to bring in additional information and debate the issues.

But when it comes to debating Muzzlewatch or Jewish Voice for Peace opinions, a good rule to follow is if you haven't seen us state an opinion, don't assume you know what it is. After several months of watching folks do just that, sometimes projecting onto Muzzlewatch and Jewish Voice for Peace things we've never said, or positions that actually violate our policies, I felt it worth pointing out. ]

Peter Kerstein has this exclusive, the full unedited report by Finkelstein’s colleagues in which they examine Dershowitz’s 50 something page dossier of charges. Makes for interesting reading.

On YouTube, you can catch Norman Finkelstein give a talk at Harvard (Is Jimmy Carter an anti-Semite?) “which he was supposed to give at Brandeis University.”  (This video is in 5 parts)

You can also see Carter give his famous talk at Brandeis, otherwise known as the talk that lost Brandeis at least $5 million in donations, according to Jewish Week.

Cartoonist Tony Auth gets a chance to show he’s not an anti-Semite, gets welcome reception from Philadelphia section of the National Council of Jewish Women.

Richard Silverstein of Tikun Olam is on the front page of today’s New York Times because of the impersonator blog set up to mock him after he got Masada2000 taken down.

Simply Appalling is amazed at conservative columnist Robert Novak’s new take on apartheid after a visit with the Palestinians.

This one is not directly about muzzling- but Harvard’s Sara Roy has written an absolutely stunning essay about Jews, Judaism and the Lebanon war that left me speechless. If you want to understand what the “Jewish Divide” is really about, read her piece. Hers is a deeply moral voice.

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Roundup, tips from readers

New petition on behalf of Norman Finkelstein
We Support A Fair Tenure Process for Dr. Norman Finkelstein. Find it here.

Chomsky: Muzzling attempt fails in Massachusetts
The Jewish Week reports: “Despite mounting pressure, Newton South High School has decided to allow controversial figure Noam Chomsky to address students about his perspective on Iraq.”

Alan Ronkin, deputy director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, said:

“I haven’t read [Chomsky’s] views about Iraq, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he thought that the solution [to it] was the dissolution of the Jewish state or the end of occupation,” Ronkin said. “A person like Chomsky believes that Israel is the root of all evil in the Middle East.”

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation accused of cultural “insolence”
Australia’s PBS is under fire for giving a platform to critics of Israeli policies, Antony Loewenstein and Lenni Brenner.

THE ABC is facing a major Jewish community backlash on two fronts after featuring outspoken Israel critic Antony Loewenstein in a program on Islam that screened on first-night Pesach (Monday).

With the national broadcaster already under fire from the community’s antisemitism watchdog over a segment on its Religion Report radio show last month, Jewish MP Michael Danby said the decision to include Loewenstein on a television panel this week was “culturally insensitive” and offensive to most Australian Jews.

While the majority of Australia’s 100,000-plus Jews were attending seders on Monday night, Loewenstein, author of a controversial book on Israel and the co-founder of the Independent Australian Jewish Voices group, was the sole Jew on a four-person multi-faith panel on the ABC TV’s Difference of Opinion.

Planning Commission member resigns over blog comments about Israel
A member of a county-wide planning commission in Georgia resignedafter making controversial comments about Israel.”

Mary Catarineau wrote on a Web site two weeks ago that Israel “was artificially created to provide a place for Jews to avoid persecution after the Holocaust.” She also wrote about dismantling Israel as a way to achieve peace in the Middle East.

“My views are obviously controversial to some,” she said Wednesday.

She made her comments on her Web site — www.mydiarywithgod.com.

Her online apology states:

I said many harsh things about the Jews, yet I said many harsh things about the Muslims, too, which was ignored. For people focus on only what they wish to see.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution goes on:

Harry Johnston, the Cherokee County commissioner who appointed Catarineau, said that when making appointments to boards and committees, he does not take into account someone’s views “on religion, international politics, or anything else that’s not the subject of that particular board.”

“Still,” he said Wednesday, “growth and development in Cherokee County is a highly controversial subject. It’s probably wise not to pile on more controversy if it can reasonably be avoided.”

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Dershowitz v. Finkelstein:Harvard Law Professor Works to Disrupt Tenure Bid of Longtime Nemesis at DePaul U.

That’s the headline from the April 5 Chronicle of Higher Education.

“His scholarship is no more than ad hominem attacks on his ideological enemies.” No, that’s not a statement about Alan Dershowitz (whose multi-part ad hominem attack on his ideological enemy Jimmy Carter is nicely dissected by Mitchell Plitnick here). That’s Dershowitz on Finkelstein, explaining why he sent a “dossier of Norman Finkelstein’s most egregious academic sins, and especially his outright lies, misquotations, and distortions” to “everybody who would read it ” at DePaul University. (Dershowitz says he compiled the file at the request of some 24 people associated with DePaul.)
We wrote earlier about The Holocaust Industry author Norman Finkelstein’s battle for tenure at DePaul. It should not come as a surprise that Dershowitz is back: several years ago the famed First Amendement advocate waged a scorched earth campaign, prior to publication, against Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah:On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, which contained several hundred pages chronicling, to put it more charitably than Finkelstein did, errors in Dershowitz’s book, The Case for Israel.

In this must-read article in the Nation in 2005:

What do you do when somebody wants to publish a book that says you’re completely wrong? If you’re Alan Dershowitz, the prominent Harvard law professor, and the book is Norman Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, you write the governor of California and suggest that he intervene with the publisher–because the publisher is the University of California Press, which conceivably might be subject to the power of the governor.

Payback looks an awful lot like this (from the Chronicle):

The highly public feud between Norman G. Finkelstein of DePaul University and Harvard Law School’s Alan M. Dershowitz has taken an unusual procedural twist, with Mr. Dershowitz attempting to weigh in on Mr. Finkelstein’s bid for tenure at DePaul.

How Mr. Dershowitz’s move will play out remains to be seen. Mr. Finkelstein’s department supported his tenure bid, but the dean of his college has refused to support him. A final decision is expected next month.

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Finkelstein back on; Barack Obama loves Israel, forgets Palestinians?

Larry Cohler-Esses at Jewish Week reports that Norman Finkelstein is tentatively back on schedule at Brandeis.

For a positive analysis (and complete transcript) of Obama’s speech at AIPAC, read M.J. Rosenberg.

This is a good speech. Not perfect. But this is not the kind of full-court pander I (and certainly AIPAC) have come to expect. No Palestinian-bashing. And remember this is what he says to AIPAC, not the Council of Foreign Relations. A good start.

Here is Ali Abunimah’s account of Barack Obama’s evolution from a politician who dares to state the obvious–that the US should have an even-handed policy towards Israel and Palestine– to a more obsequious presidential candidate in How Barack Obama learned to love Israel.

The last time I spoke to Obama was in the winter of 2004 at a gathering in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. He was in the midst of a primary campaign to secure the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat he now occupies. But at that time polls showed him trailing.

As he came in from the cold and took off his coat, I went up to greet him. He responded warmly, and volunteered, “Hey, I’m sorry I haven’t said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I’m hoping when things calm down I can be more up front.” He referred to my activism, including columns I was contributing to the The Chicago Tribune critical of Israeli and US policy, “Keep up the good work!”

As if he were reading Obama’s mind. The Nation gives the former president some respect in The Sanity of Jimmy Carter.

In Carter’s opinion, the need for this vigorous public debate is all the more crucial since he doesn’t believe the Democratic Congress will take any more of a balanced approach to peace than its Republican predecessor. Aside from “maybe two or three members” Carter believes that our representatives view any position critical of the current conservative Israeli government as “politically suicidal.”

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What a shocker! Brandeis welcomes Daniel Pipes, but Norman Finkelstein still left wondering

It’s actually painful to watch Brandeis president Jehudah Reinharz’s desperate dissembling over the ongoing Carter debacle. As we reported earlier, major donors said they will withdraw as much as $5 million from Brandeis as punishment for giving Jimmy Carter a platform (and, one assumes, a respectful reception). Later Reinharz announced he’d be putting on hold campus speaking engagements with both the right-wing Daniel Pipes and left-wing Norman Finkelstein as the school set up a new vetting process for Middle East speakers. Surprise, surprise, The Jewish Week now reports that:

A free speech dispute over campus speakers has continued to roil Brandeis University in the wake of controversy over its hosting of former president and Israel critic Jimmy Carter.

Brandeis’ president waded personally into it this week, voicing hope that right-wing Middle East policy advocate Daniel Pipes would soon lecture there — but issuing no such statement for Norman Finkelstein, a left-wing academic students have also invited.

In a personal letter to Pipes — after Pipes called publicly on Brandeis donors to consider cutting off the school — Jehuda Reinharz disavowed a report that he and an aide had criticized Pipes. Indeed, Reinharz wrote, he and his aide, John Hose, looked forward to personally attending Pipes’ lecture and meeting with him afterward in his presidential office.

Not everyone at Brandeis is happy about the new “process”:

“In 59 years, Brandeis has never had an oversight committee for speakers, nor has it ever needed one,” complained sociology professor Gordon Fellman, who chaired the faculty-student committee that invited Carter. “It doesn’t seem to me we need one now — unless some people want to keep speakers out whose views on the Middle East they find unacceptable.”

In a presentation at a faculty meeting earlier this month, Fellman advocated following up Carter’s appearance by opening the school to a new range of speakers on the Middle East.

“We also need to hear Avigdor Lieberman” — an Israeli Knesset member who advocates stripping Israeli Arab citizens of their citizenship — said Fellman. “We also need to hear a right-wing Orthodox settler convinced that God commands Jews to live in the West Bank. We need to hear more from Israelis who reject the occupation and reject the violence. … We need to hear Palestinians who have lived under occupation tell their sides of the story. … We need to hear from the rejectionists on both sides, and we need to hear from the accommodationists on both sides.”

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