May is coming, and it’s not bringing flowers — its bringing the delusional yet dangerous Storming Norman Finkelstein to a college campus near you. As part of the national Muslim Student Speakers circuit for a while, he always crawls out from his rock in time for May.

Now you may remember that we chimed in during the debate on whether he should get ordained by DePaul and given a real full time job. I offered to teach Norman Hebrew, since he freely admitted that he does not speak Hebrew, nor Arabic. I mentioned that mastery of one or more Semitic languages that are an integral part of the regional conflict would help his chances of getting tenure. He never contacted me for the free lessons and was denied tenure.

We have published too many posts on this nutty professor. Yet, his staying power and his hypocrisy just shout out “blog me!”

Here are some of his upcoming performances:

Brown University— April 15
Boston College — April 16
Grinnell College — April 21 (Passover edition)
University of Southern Maine — April 29
University of Montreal and University of Ottawa — May 3
University of Toronto — May 4
University of Arizona — May 5
University of California, Irvine — May 7
The Evergreen State College, WA — May 8
New College of Florida — May 13

I counted nearly 30 colleges and universities on his published schedule in the US, UK, and Canada from January – May 2008. In other words, since being let go from DePaul he has catapulted to a rarefied status amongst Muslim Students. He is the token Jew, who along side Neturei Karta, say whatever they pay them to say. His performances condemning Israel are being heard by tens of thousands of impressionable young Americans who do not have the requisite knowledge to realize they are being duped. Finkelsteins lectures are often assigned for extra credit or even mandatory by multiple departments, meaning his “lectures” are always well attended.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah

186 Comments

  • Last time he was in Toronto, he shook the hand of my number one anti-Israel activist and everyday martyr for students’ rights and invited him out to dinner. He cried because he couldn’t go.

    He also told mutual friend of mine they couldn’t be friends because he is Jewish. Double standards…?

    The same guy told me he had a tough time believing that South African Jews actually fought against apartheid. I wonder if Finklestein could do a little improv and speak about the role of Jews in South Africa.

    P.S. Does Norm ever go to shul? It must drive him crazy hearing about Zion and Jerusalem all the time. Do you suppose he has any thoughts on perhaps revising Judaism too?

  • He was well received when he spoke at our campus. His detractors do not like it that he is armed with the facts whereas they can only attack him with smears.

  • No, Lance, we attack him for his hypocrisy, his mistakes and his inability to consider anything in this area without such a profound bias that it distorts a good amount of his conclusions and dissemination of those conclusions. Sorry.

  • themiddle Says:
    April 14th, 2008 at 12:46 pm
    No, Lance, we attack him for his hypocrisy, his mistakes and his inability to consider anything in this area without such a profound bias that it distorts a good amount of his conclusions and dissemination of those conclusions. Sorry.

    ——

    So, is it safe to assume that you take Israel and Zionists to task when their hypocrisy merits it, or is it just that they never act in a hypocritical manner? Furthermore, if his bias distorts a “good amount of his conclusions”, do you feel those conclusions that are accurate and not a product of bias or distortion have been addressed sufficiently? What I have found is that detractors usually go straight to ad hominem in order to bypass those elements of his argument that are not so easily countered. Dr. Finkelstein’s position on the whole holds up quite well IMHO and many times assertions he has made about a particular situation have later turned out to be right on the money. One such instance that illustrates this nicely is what happened in regards to Israel Singer, Edgar Bronfman and the WJC.

    [ http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=3&ar=81 ]

    These are exactly the type of Holocaust hucksters Dr. Finkelstein was referring to and is the very definition of a ‘Holcaust industry’. Somehow, it is ignored that Dr. Finkelstein was right about these individuals and this organization all along. Instead, there is the continuous line-up of those wishing to cast the first stone.

    Sorry, his conclusions (with or without and any attendant bias) are clearly supported by the facts.

  • LanceThruster:

    dude you don’t think a guy with a banner ad on his website entitled “In Defense of Hezbollah” has a bit of a credibility problem when he starts talking about the Holocaust?

    the guy is a polemicist, plain and simple. no serious historian of either the Holocaust or the Arab-Israeli conflict rides for him. his value lies solely in his ability to shock.

    I’ve had my own personal run-ins with him that I won’t recount here. suffice it to say I am suspicious of anyone who fancies himself some sort of dual Holocaust/Arab-Israeli conflict historian. and in the case of Finkelstein, those suspicions are wholly justified. if the website you posted looks like that of a serious academic then I would be amused to know where you went to school.

    PS are you Norm Finkelstein by any chance?

  • thanks for the Finkelstein web address, though. I had forgotten about that site. LMAO right now as I look through the links.

    A choice gem from Norm’s appearance on Lebanese (!) TV (and no I am not making this up):

    “The basic facts are these. Number 1, most Jews before World War II were very, very poor. They lived in little villages in Eastern Europe. The villages were called shtetls. Most Jews were poor. Number 2, beginning in the early 1930s there was a worldwide depression, which means, even if you had money, you lost it during the depression. Number 3, if you had the money and you kept it, then you managed to escape during the Nazi holocaust…When you add those 3 facts up: #1, most Jews were poor, #2, there is a depression, and #3, the rich Jews escaped, which means logically there could not have been very much Jewish money in the Swiss banks. This was all made up by the Holocaust blackmailers.”

    wow. BRILLIANT deductions.

    one need only read the back cover of Tom Bower’s (or countless others’) books to dispense with this nonsense: http://www.amazon.com/Nazi-Gold-Fifty-Year-Swiss-Nazi-Conspiracy/dp/0060175354

    in fairness I suppose you’d have to wade through the whole first half of the first chapter to see Finkelstein’s entire body of “work” obliterated.

    just pace yourself though; a few pages a day and before you know it you’ll have read a whole book!

  • rootlesscosmo Says:
    April 15th, 2008 at 8:45 pm
    LanceThruster:

    dude you don’t think a guy with a banner ad on his website entitled “In Defense of Hezbollah” has a bit of a credibility problem when he starts talking about the Holocaust?

    —————

    No. It is a non sequitur to conflate his position on Hezbollah, right or wrong, with his position on the abuses of those capitalizing on the Holocaust.

    And it is a fallacy to state that no serious historian views his work favorably. It has long been a claim of Zionists to say that anyone not falling in line with their official narrative is not a serious historian. In fact, just the opposite is true.

  • Lance, you’ve gotta be kidding. First you give us an article about the WJC problems that DOES NOT prove anything Finkelstein says unless you mean that a Jewish millionaire giving up millions of dollars to pursue justice is a “huckster” (and an argument could be made about whether Singer also acted improperly). Second, of course his positions on Israel matter with respect to his views about the Holocaust. He is a critic of anything in the mainstream of Judaism and supports only the enemies or opponents of Jewish mainstream life including Israel. That’s how he ends up defending the “poor” Swiss who illegally kept Jewish funds that weren’t theirs as if they’re the victims of some Jewish cabal.

    Finally, there are plenty of historians who take the works of Avi Shlaim or Benny Morris seriously, and their work isn’t friendly to Israel or Zionism. They, however, are respected. Finkelstein isn’t.

  • I guess we should be flattered that Norm Finkelstein took time out of his busy lecture schedule to post here.

    Why he chose to use the creepy alias “Lance Thruster” I’m not sure though….

  • Your claim that I am actually Dr. Finkelstein shows you are either clueless, a liar, or most-likely, seriously humor-impaired. Considering you have “rootless” in your nickname, I can understand why you might be intimidated by a “LanceThruster”. I also imagine that any mention of “sword swallower” causes dark, shameful thoughts to bubble up from your psyche but my advice is for you to just accept who you are.

    Further material to support my contention that you conveniently ignore the facts are these excerpts on Raul Hillberg (serious historian) who is supportive of Dr. Finkelstein’s assessment of the Swiss banks as well as having his own issues with “main current of Jewish thought.” You’ve ceased adding anything meaningful to the discussion so you’ll forgive me if I decline to continue with your foolishness.

    [from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raul_Hilberg ]

    [begin excerpt]

    Raul Hilberg (June 2, 1926 – August 4, 2007) was an Austrian-born American political scientist and historian. He was widely considered to be the doyen of the postwar generation of Holocaust scholars, and his three-volume, 1,273-page magnum opus, The Destruction of the European Jews, is regarded as a seminal study of the Nazi Final Solution.

    Hilberg was damning of Goldhagen’s scholarship, which he called poor (“his scholarly standard is at the level of 1946”) and he was even more critical of the lack of primary source or secondary literature competence at Harvard by those who oversaw the research for Goldhagen’s book (“This is the only reason why Goldhagen could obtain a PhD in political science at Harvard. There was nobody on the faculty who could have checked his work.”), a remark that has been echoed by Yehuda Bauer.

    Conversely, he was supportive of Norman Finkelstein’s The Holocaust industry, which he endorsed “with specific regard” to Finkelstein’s work showing that the money claimed to be owed by Swiss banks to Holocaust survivors was greatly exaggerated.[28]

    What is most contentious about Hilberg’s work, the controversial implications of which influenced the decision by Israeli authorities to deny him access to the Yad Vashem’s archives,[3] was his assessment that elements of Jewish society, such as the Judenräte (Jewish Councils), were complicit in the Genocide.[29][30] and that this was partly rooted in longer-standing attitudes of European Jews, rather than attempts at survival or exploitation.

    In his own words:

    “I had to examine the Jewish tradition of trusting God, princes, laws and contracts […] Ultimately I had to ponder the Jewish calculation that the persecutor would not destroy what he could economically exploit. It was precisely this Jewish strategy that dictated accommodation and precluded resistance.”[31]

    The result of his approach, and the sharp criticism it aroused in certain quarters, was that, as he records in the same book:

    “It has taken me some time to absorb what I should always have known, that in my whole approach to the study of the destruction of the Jews I was pitting myself against the main current of Jewish thought.”[3]

    [end excerpt]

  • The statements by Raul Hilberg are easily verified regardless. That you chose not the address the substance of the information shows that you have no response. Wikipedia has many issues regarding credibility and agenda yet is still useful for basic information (much like an actual encyclopedia). Not everything the Z-team megaphone disseminates can totally ignore the facts (though not for a lack of trying).

  • OK so you defend Finkelstein by citing the fact that Hilberg (a serious Holocaust historian I admit) *once* made a positive remark about his work. Is that all you got? (“with specific regard” — the devil is in the details; Hilberg has rejected nearly the entire body of Finkelstein’s work).

    and then you careen into a total non-sequitor about and the Judenrat…by quoting Hilberg. WTF? we’re talking about Finkelstein here remember? would you like to cite some more of Hilberg’s totally unrelated remarks? Goldhagen? you seem to have difficulty staying on message here, Lance.

    (and dude if you had actually read Hilberg (I have!) you would know that despite his charges of Judenrat complicity with the Nazis, he nonetheless qualifies their involvement by pointing out the extreme duress they were under and the historically unique situation they faced. but hey, don’t take my word for it: how about you try actually reading Hilberg’s work rather than relying on Finkelstein’s self-serving distillation of it?)

    and I LOVE your sly backhanded defense of Wikipedia. could it be that Wikipedia is in fact your main source of Holocaust “scholarship?” in which case I’m sure you’d love to think it’s a reputable source…dude READ A BOOK.

    At the end of the day, you tried to defend the work of a 2nd rate polemicist using an isolated quote by another historian, and then by adding some TOTALLY unrelated remarks about Professor Hilberg and his political differences with the leadership at Yad Vashem.

    in short, you lost homie. go home.

    yours truly,

    rootlesscosmo, captain of the Z-team

    PS that you would make fun of my name is rich indeed. have you considered a career in the adult film industry? your name is perfect.

  • No Lance, I just didn’t take your comment seriously. It didn’t make much sense and suddenly we had Goldhagen in there as well as the Judenrat, all wrapped in the thin veneer of that well of personal bias and charlatanry, Wikipedia.

  • All points were relevant. The Swiss banks were discussed (and referenced by Hilberg, regardless of his views of other of Dr. Finkelstein’s positions), Hilberg IS a serious historian (negating the claim that no serious historian backs Dr. Finkelstein), and the comment was made about the being outside the mainstream of Judaism and this serious historian (Hilberg) talks about the flack he received when his conclusions upset “main current of Jewish thought”. You set yourself up to be shown wrong when you use qualifiers such as “no” serious historian, rather than “most” or “some” or “many”. Try not to make the same mistake next time.

    As far as Wikipedia bias, I though Robert Lindsay did a pretty good job exposing it for what it is (good and bad) here:

    http://robertlindsay.blogspot.com/2006/04/wikipedia-ziopedia-or-judeopedia.html

    There are other sites with their own agendas, and many neo-con sites argue it is decidedly anti-Israel. I feel it is more a case of working the refs to claim an anti-Israel bias in order to keep the pressure on to be biased in the other direction. That is what entities such as the Megaphone project are about to swoop on any factual information that pro-Zionists find troubling. Can’t let the truth get out as it is so hard to put the genie back in the bottle.

  • you keep coming with this “we’re afraid of truth,” “Zionists silencing criticism,” “Can’t let the truth get out as it is so hard to put the genie back in the bottle,” blah blah blah.

    dude no one on this website is afraid of the truth. you are in a room full of people (figuratively speaking) ready and willing to talk about this stuff. you are not some brave dissenter. serious people that seriously care about Israel argue about this stuff everyday. on this very website even. so you can stop with the phony bravery.

    you stepped up trying to defend Finkelstein and all you could muster was (1) Hilberg’s beef with Yad Vashem and (2) one isolated quote where he suggests that the original Swiss claims figures were too high. none of these are deep dark secrets that the Zionists are keeping under wraps. we have engaged you in a forthright manner and you’ve failed to make a point here.

    Look at yourself: you have been reduced at the end of this talkback thread to arguing the difference between “no historians” and “all historians but one.”

    Basically a pathetic shell of what you obviously felt was some bold argument when you first stepped in here. you fail. sorry little dude.

  • Sorry but “No serious historians” means NO serious historians where all I have to do to negate your premise is to show that there is at least one to counter your false assertion. Plus, it was on the particular topic you were mocking Dr. Finkelstein for in the first place. Game, set, and match. You lose.

  • Whether or not the Judenrat was “complicit in the genocide” all depends on how you look at it. “Complicit” can be assumed to mean either that they went along with it willingly like collaborators who wanted the Jews to be killed, which certainly cannot possibly be true, or that they were compelled to cooperate, which is clearly what actually happened.

    This was, really, the heart of the issue, and the problem that was faced by every Jew: do we try to make it through this as best we can as we have always done or do we fight back? Which approach gives us the best chance at survival? This is a legitimate question, and it is really only in hindsight, after the enormity and the unprecedented nature and scope of the genocide became clear that it was obvious that the approach the Judenrat had taken was mistaken.

    But seriously: if you were unarmed and defenseless and surrounded by Nazis armed to the teeth who said “give us 100 Jews a day or we kill you all right here, right now”, WTF would you do?

    I mean, you’ve seen “Sophie’s Choice”, right? Give me a fucking break.

  • As usual by design or lack of critical capacities, you misunderstand the Hilberg reference to the Judenrat. As ‘rootless’ pointed out, the conditions were such that it would be hard for any of us to know for sure what we would do in similar circumstances. That was Hilberg’s point as well yet even the mere examination of the particulars drew much ire from the mainstream. It appears that historical accuracy must bow to the feelings and official narrative of those profiting from the tragedy.

    As far as the bogus claims of not fearing the truth, which applies in here as much as at some of the more egregious sites, I give you an earlier encounter of mine with Jewlicious. ‘themiddle’ was downright proud of his/her revisionism and unapologetically continued to change the text of my posts. For those claiming to be able to rebut any challengers, it is the ultimate in cowardice and hypocrisy.

    [see: https://jewlicious.com/?p=2472 ]

  • FWIW, I agree with Hilberg’s comments on the Judenrat. I just question whether “complicity” is the right word to describe what they did and why, since it makes it sound as though what they were doing was somehow voluntary.

    However, if one thinks that “complicit” can be defined as “forced to cooperate by having a gun put to their head”, then I suppose once could concede the point.

  • Actually, Lance, that wasn’t me. That appears to have been our junk spam filter at work and I suspect the person who modified your name at one point is no longer here at Jewlicious.

    However, I have removed and modified anti-Semitic comments by visitors. I allow the spewing of anti-Semitic crap for a short while so that people can see what a dickhead the person is, but then at my discretion I will remove or edit their comments. My reasoning is that Jewlicious won’t serve as a vehicle for anti-Jewish hate. If you’re that interested in voicing hate for Jews and your free expression is important to you, go to one of the other several million blogs on the Internet and post there.

    So far in this conversation, you haven’t acted in any way that would be considered offensive and as you can see, you’ve had free rein to post whatever you’ve wanted.

    There’s no rule out there that says I need to be nice to anti-Semites.

  • If the allegation is that complicity with genocide occurred– a crime, obviously, murder on a vast scale– then complicity surely requires a finding of state of mind. Murder is an intentional crime. So, absent a showing that Judenrat members intended to help the Nazis kill Jews– and no one would reach that conclusion–they can’t be accused of being complicit in the Final Solution, seems to me.

    Would LanceThruster deem statements critical of the US made by an al-Qaeda hostage with a knife to his thoat, as amounting to the hostage’s free act and deed?

  • By the way, Lance, it’s a pleasure to watch Rootless clobber you. Please send our congratulations to Finkelstein that he got a serious scholar to accept one of his theses.

  • Yeah ‘themiddle’, I’ve seen already that anything that goes against the ‘official narrative’ is eventually deemed anti-Semitic or hate speech. I should be pleased that you haven’t to this point doctored my comments as has been done so shamefully here before, regardless of which gutless wonder did it. ‘rootless’ has already conceded that he/she was incorrect in declaring a consensus about what serious historians think of Dr. Finkelstein. I could offer more examples in addition to other Jewish/Israeli historians who view the Nakba in a more unbiased light. [ a particular favorite from Tom Negev here: Looting, Looting, and More Looting – http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Palestine-Remembered/Story680.html ]

    My work here is pretty much done as you all continue to backpedal on those assertions you made with such confidence (at least till those pesky facts got in the way!)

    Shalom!

  • Oh, poor Lance, victim of Jewlicious. Nobody here gets edited for going against the “official line.” I actually recall the previous incident with you, which is why I suspect I know who changed your name to Goatthruster. It was well earned, as I recall. We have plenty of robust debates here, including with piggish anti-Semites. You must have done something special to warrant the treatment you received.

    The rest of your rant has me baffled. You haven’t made any case regarding Finkelstein other than that one scholar agreed with him once. A moment ago you were talking about Judenrat and now you’re on to the Nakba (it’s Segev, btw, not Negev) and you even managed to get a link into one of your sites. It’s all a little jumbled in that head of yours, it seems. Don’t worry, we understand that you don’t know exactly what you’re angry about but you’re really angry at somebody. Reminds me a little of Norman Finkelstein. Of course, now he’s really angry, having lost his tenure fight. Too bad.

  • My mistake. You are correct; it is Segev (thoughtless typo on my part). I’m less concerned about your ‘rationale’ for doctoring posts than the fact that you (Jewlicious) do it at all. Aside from being immensely childish it violates ones of the basic protocols of internet discourse in that a person’s viewpoint should be established by what they actually have said or written and not by the sour grapes of someone who can’t actually come up with a credible response. It is the same attitude that goes for a dig at a net nickname and then cries about someone responding in kind and acting as if I drew first blood (scroll up if you remember differently).

    The only thing anyone here has ‘earned’ is the reputation for retreat under fire. And your anti-Semitism accusation is just more confirmation of that canard being the last refuge of a scoundrel.

    As usually is the case, you tend to declare “Victory!” when nothing of the sort has transpired, but if it makes you feel happy, suit yourself.

    The dig against Dr. Finkelstein is yet more sour grapes but as the people I consider credible (Jews and Gentiles alike) feel, “Zionism ends where people of character begin.”

  • LanceThruster: do Indian cinema next! no, no — Basque cooking! man is this fun! here’s one: the production of fly ash as a byproduct of coal combustion! okay, GO!

  • Lance, you already said goodbye and now you’re back.

    Don’t worry about me coming up with credible responses. If and when you come up with something worth a response, you’ll get it.

    As for people of character, you’re the one defending Norman Finkelstein. If I laughed any harder, I’d choke to death.

  • Hmmm, would any serious scholar really think that agreeing with a person on one or few select issues equals to fully supporting the latter’s views? I’d likely agree with Stalin on that Kazakh shashlik and carrot salad are delicious, but I couldn’t be farther from a fascistoid Communist.

  • Am I addressing ‘themiddle’ that does unethical things but is no longer here or the one that does but is still here? Hard to tell with the constant waffling of what you do and do not do. Amazing how a spam filter somehow magically allows one to change identities at will. Much like your assertions that must be qualified (or ignored) at every step.

    Thankfully, through the efforts of Dr. Finkelstein, and Walt and Mearsheimer, and Anthony Lowenstein, and Jonathan Cook, and Uri Avnery, and Mordechai Vanunu, and others…the crimes of our little buddy in the Middle East are coming to light and with any luck, they’ll be forced to commit their aggression on their own dime. It’s a numbers game and, Israel’s nuclear weaponry aside, the future does not bode well for someone who’s brutalized its neighbors so completely, for so long.