Friday, May 30, 2008
Contributed by Lucia in Spain
By Joharah Baker
".....Norman Finkelstein is probably the least surprised of us all, having learned early on that his positions would come with a high price. Last year, Finkelstein was denied tenure at DePaul University in Chicago after his positions regarding the Holocaust came under attack by faculty members, who said they were “inconsistent with DePaul’s values.”
In 2000, Finkelstein published a book entitled “The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the exploitation of Jewish Suffering” in which he said Jewish activists, including the well-known Elie Wesiel were “exploiting the memory of the Holocaust as an “ideological weapon,” so that Israel, “one of the world's most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, [can] cast itself as a victim state” in order to garner "immunity to criticism.”
Subsequently, in his 2005 book, “Beyond Chutzpah: On the misuse of anti-Semitism and the abuse of history”, Finkelstein basically charges Israel with exploiting anti-Semitism to steer international criticism away from it. The book also counters claims made in “The Case for Israel” by Alan Dershowitz, on Israel’s human rights record, recounting the daily practices of the occupation and the multitude of human rights violations its carries out against Palestinians.
No doubt, Israel was looking for an excuse to keep this man out of Israel and the Palestinian territories. The truth about the Palestinians is hardly coveted, especially since the majority of the Israeli public has already swallowed the bulk of Israel’s propaganda. In this case, Hizballah was the perfect scapegoat and one which Israel’s public would be sure to accept. While there may be a small minority of politically-aware Israelis who question Israel’s policies against the Palestinians, it is doubtful that many will show sympathy to Hizballah or those who recognize it.
Even Israeli Jews are not immune to Israel’s discriminatory policies if they are perceived as threatening. The best case in point is Ilan Pappe. Author of “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” among other books, Pappe has caused a major stir within Israeli society, given that he recounts Israeli policy in 1948 and the massacres perpetrated by Jewish gangs against Palestinians. He is one of the few Israelis who support the right of return for Palestinian refugees, something all Israeli governments and the overwhelming majority of the Israeli people adamantly refuse to recognize. This has hardly made him popular among Israelis, with some hardliners even calling him a “traitor” and the “the most hated Israeli in Israel.”
The last straw for Pappe was in 2007 after expressing his support for the academic boycott of Israel. At the time, he was a political science professor at the University of Haifa and justified his position by saying the boycott would be the best means to pressure Israel into ending the “worst occupation in recent history.” This did not go down well with the university’s administration and culminated in the university president asking Pappe to resign......."