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12.14.2015

Norman Finkelstein American Radical

Great documentary here about Norman Finkelstein, professor and author of The Holocaust Industry, among other books.  OMG, so great, he's such a breath of fresh air.  Minutes 29-31 he writes off a 20ish college girl for crying alligator tears.  He certainly isn't afraid to speak his mind.  


Finkelstein, a Jew, grew up in New York City in the 50s.  His parents both lived in German internment camps and all of their families died in these camps.  Given his biography, Finkelstein's taken some unconventional and, to some, unpopular positions on the Holocaust and the Middle East.  Finkelstein supports Palestine's right to self-govern and believes the Israeli's have behaved criminally towards them.  Additionally, he thinks that the Holocaust has been exploited in order to victimize Israel and legitimize their violent actions towards Palestinians.

As someone in the movie points out, Finkelstein gives some cachet to these positions given that he's a Jew and both his parents are Holocaust survivors.

Although I think that the creaters of the documentary American Radical think favorably of Finkelstein, they've given nuance to Finkelstein and his positions.  Alan Derschowitz, a real Finkelstein opponent, speaks several times throughout the documentary, claiming Norman is a self-hating Jew.

This documentary really drives home the idea that speaking your mind can be tantamount to suicide.  Here's an example of one of Finkelstein's controversial quotes;  
"Just as it would be shameful for a German during WWII to sing the praises of Germany and just as during the US war of Vietnam to sing the prises of the US, admist the horror and admist the suffering I'm not going to sing the praises of Israel...not while and when it's torturing the Palestenians." 
After publishing The Holocaust Industry, Finkelstein lost his job as a professor in New York, and found work at DePaul University in Chicago.  Several years later DePaul University denied Finkelstein tenure, almost undeniably due to his outspoken statements against Israel, his controversial views on the Holocaust, and his dismissal of Alan Dershowitz' book A Case For Isreal 

 "These are dangerous days.....to say what you feel is to make your own grave."   Perhaps a more accurate re-phrasing of this quote from Sinead Oconnar is "to say what you feel about Jews is to make your own grave."

I find it so disconcerting the way Jews have turned on Finkelstein....isn't he one of their own?  I don't find his statements hateful; rather he's speaking out for justice on behalf of the Palestenians.  His being outcast reminds me of David Stein, a Jew who had a bounty placed on his head by a Jewish organization after he produced a documentary minimizing the Holocaust.

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