Finkelstein takes swipe at PrezBo

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It seemed like something was going to happen in the hubbub filling Roone Arledge Auditorium a few hours ago, just before Norman Finkelstein, author of The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, started his speech. Two hours in, Finkelstein is still going, after saying at least 15 times that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is completely uncontroversial and taking jabs at academics from Alan Dershowitz to Lee Bollinger.

Referring to PrezBo’s statement that the analogy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to South African apartheid is “grotesque and offensive,” Finkelstein said, “It’s a sad day for a great institution when its president subjugates the pursuit of truth to the pursuit of fundraising.” Huge applause from certain sections of the audience. “Not to say that he’s the only one, but Larry Summers lost his job.”

More Fink quotes after the jump.

“I’m in awe of the Butler Stacks. Although I’m afraid of what a perverted professor might do there.”

On Elie Weisel’s Peace Prize: “Why he got it, nobody knows.” Boos from the audience. “I guess somebody does know.”

On the night he discovered that Joan Peters had fabricated much of her book, From Time Immemorial: “I didn’t know who to call, but I am Jewish, so I called my mother.”

“The only difference between Israel’s and Hamas’ terrorism is that Israel is three times as lethal…Hamas sometimes talks about destroying the Jewish state, but Israel is in practice dismantling and destroying the Palestinian state.”

“It’s only a matter of time before ‘holocaust denier’ enters the Dictionary of American Slang as a synonym for the F word. Like ‘Holocaust you’ or ‘Mother Holocauster.'”

“You can’t be anti-anything on a college campus…you can’t even be anti-downright-ugly on a college campus.”

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  1. spellcheck

    btw it's norman, not normal

  2. Anonymous

    he was awesome! my favorite was when he called bollinger out for "intellectual terrorism"

  3. Anonymous

    Wow, Bollinger actually said that?

  4. Anonymous

    there is no palestinian state to speak of. how can israel be dismantling a state that doesn't exist?! hamas is intent on driving the current state of ISRAEL into the sea.

    there's nothing noble or dignified about using the holocaust to spew hate and intolerance. it's not a mark of openmindedness but of utter disregard for the tortorous death of millions of jews. if norman finkelstein has a problem with acknowledging the holocaust that's his issue but he shouldn't make it an academic question. there are no two sides to the story of 6 million dead in gas chambers and concentration camps and the fact that muslim student organizations invites this hatemonger, gave him a forum to spew his dangerous 'ideas' is disheartening, to say the least.

  5. Anonymous

    His parents were holocaust survivors. And I don't care much about this but that sounds exactly like what he says- distracting from the real human rights and international law issues with accusations of anti-semitism or holocaust-denial.

  6. Anonymous

    Hey, the C4 gave Ashcroft a forum to spew his "ideas" and he's had more power to implement those ideas, too.

  7. Anonymous

    oh, and there never WAS a palestinian state to begin with.

  8. Anonymous

    his parents were holocaust survivors doesn't make him an authority on the holocaust.

  9. cay

    does being a jew make you an authority on anti-semitism? no, so stop accusing people of it who happen to disagree with you on unrelated topics.

  10. me

    the holocaust should not be 'open for debate.' and denying the holocaust is in fact an act of overt anti-semitism. in case this is news to you, the holocaust and anti-semitism are hardly unrelated. in fact, the two are inextricably connected and will forever be.

  11. do

    Who is denying the Holocaust? Why distract from the actual issues.

  12. you

    Finkelstein, clearly. I'm responding to the post. I don't see an actual issue. Unles syou consider the issue of Israel destroying the Palestinian state an issue. Alas, I can't understand how Israel can possibly destory a state that has never existed. Or is the actual issue the fact that Bollinger sacrifices Finkelstein's subjective "TRUTH" for funding? Finally, it's all very well that Finkelstein discovered that Joan Peter's book was fabricated, but of course this charge was not exactly objectively formulated. Clearly there is no objectivity on this campus when it comes to the father of Orientalism and the stories he fabricated--posing as a Palestinian refugee when in fact he was spent a luxurious childhood in Cairo.

  13. said

    father of orientalism=Edward Said

  14. me

    it needn't destroy a "state which never existed" so long as it continually prevents it from being able to resist.

    the problematic relationship isn't between anti-semitism and the holocaust, but between those two and the policies enacted by israel. anyone who argues otherwise wishes to obfuscate the debate with a tangentially related (at best) issue in order to grant the argumentatively weaker position the benefit of a listener's sympathy.

  15. me

    sorry, that should read "so long as it prevents it from being able to exist"...but resist works as well

  16. edward said

    attacking said on the merits of his biography are as much of a red herring when discussing the relevance and poignancy of his scholarship as using the discourse of anti-semitism to silence critics of the secular foreign policy of the ostensibly secular state of israel.

  17. Dave

    This debate is not BWog-worthy. I guarantee you can have it in any other forum, online or offline. Kill it now now now.

  18. David

    This seems to need repeating. Fink doesn't deny the holocaust. Fink doesn't deny the holocaust. Fink doesn't deny the holocaust. Even the people who wrote that raging Spec op-ed clarified, when Fink protested, that they don't think he denies the holocaust.

  19. Also

    It's also worth noting that everyone provacative quote that critics and pro-Israel groups are taking out of context as quotations are coming from off-the-cuff interviews, not Finkelsteins very respectable, lucid scholarly works (The Holocaust Industry, Beyond CHutzpah).

  20. Also

    Please excuse the grammatical mistakes (every, not "everyone"; provocative, not "provacative"; Finkelstein's, not "Finkelsteins").

  21. this is ridiculous

    i thought this was a prestigious university full of bright lucid thinkers, not an ego-trip of indulgence and self-pity. there's no one answer, israel is wrong, hamas is wrong, finky, you, and i are wrong. open your eyes--the holocaust happened, but to learn from the past and avoid another genocide (even as a number have taken place since the holocaust) is the individual's own job--no one else can teach that. so, as you go off to whatever levels of oblivion, enjoy spring break.

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