Well, we have discussed this person a lot over the years here on Jewlicious. I thought it would be good to remind us all.

My favorite is:
Norm Finkelstein’s Personal “Holocaust Industry”

This is a bit outdated because it is reported that his current speaking fee is $25,000 per talk. He had 30 talks lined up in 2008 after not receiving tenure at DePaul.

According to Norman Finkelstein himself, his book, “The Holocaust Industry” has been translated into 24 languages. We know from reports that 130,000 copies were sold in Germany alone in its first three weeks on sale in that country. If one extrapolates this sales figure and even assuming far lower sales in other countries, Finkelstein must have cleared at least six figures and possibly even 7 figures in royalties thus far. He’s already published two editions, by the way, and I believe a third is in the works.

In addition to his book sales, Finkelstein is a frequent public speaker, and although he seems to be willing to speak to some groups for honorariums of several hundred dollars, the AJC has claimed that when he came to speak at UC Irvine, his fee was $5000 plus expenses. Needless to say, even with the smaller honorariums, when he is speaking outside of Chicago, his travel expenses are covered, which is a nice way to see the world.

This, of course, is not to address the fact that his parents received $253,000 in reparations back when that kind of money could buy several houses or the fact that Norman is obviously relying on the notoriety and popularity of this book as a significant part of his application for tenure at DePaul. These issues are beside the point.

Nope, even excluding those facts, the joke appears to be on the Jewish community and organizations he accuses of benefiting from the Holocaust. It seems a key beneficiary of the Holocaust is actually the maker of his own little Holocaust empire decrying the “Industry,” Mr. Finkelstein himself.

Our Muffti wrote a fine post about Finkelstein and Tenure during the height of the battle, which Finkelstein properly lost.

Notice, however, interestingly that the Dean’s comments relate to Finkelstein’s tone; he explicitly praises Finkelstein’s teaching abilities and says very little about the level of scholarship. Sadly absent from the discussion is a thorough discussion of Finkelstein’s abilities as an academic. While Muffti isn’t in any position to make such judgments (he doesn’t judge historians and hopes that they don’t judge philosophers), there are some rather unkind words for his work from others in the academy:

In the New York Times, Prof. Omer Bartov (Brown University historian) described Finkelstein’s book on the Holocaust as a “novel variation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the fraudulent essay concocted in the late nineteenth century by the Czarist secret police. He also described Finkelstein as “juvenile,” “arrogant,” and “stupid” (Aug. 6, 2000). Professor Marc Saperstein described Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah: On the misuse of anti-Semitism and the abuse of history as a “prolonged diatribe,” replete with “outrageous ad hominem attacks” and written in the “rhetorical style of the arrogant academic pit bull.”

The eminent historian Daniel Jonah Goldhagen has dismissed Finkelstein as an anti-Semitic crackpot, as a pseudo-scholar, and as an apologist for the Hamas terrorists. The historian Israel Guttman dismissed Finkelstein’s book as an anti-Semitic buffoon. Professor Hans Momsen from Germany described it as “a most trivial book, one that appeals to easily aroused anti-Semitic prejudices.” University of Chicago Professor and author Peter Novick dismisses Finkelstein’s writing as “trash”. Novick has written,
“Such an examination reveals that many of those assertions are pure invention… No facts alleged by Finkelstein should be assumed to be really facts, no quotation in his book should be assumed to be accurate.” [1]
He adds,
“I had not thought that (apart from the disreputable fringe) there were Germans who would take seriously this twenty-first century updating of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’ I was mistaken.” (Offene Fenster und Tueren,’Sueddeutsche Zeitung, February 7, 2001)

Yikes. So probably on account of the Dean’s poor choice of focus and lack of external review, Finkelstein will get tenure (at this point he has threatened to sue the university if he doesn’t) and probably for all the wrong reasons.

Muffti was wrong. There was no tenure to be had. The discussion that follows that post is worth reading, but my favorite part is ck’s comment at the end where he writes:

Look, Finkelstein is just a schmuck. I’ve listened to him speak more times than I care to admit. I remember back in the day when he used to bring his Mom along to lectures. he would never introduce her as such and when his lecture ended, she would be one of the first called upon to comment. She would get up and with her very Jewish accent, tell the crowd that she was a holocaust survivor and that she knew, from personal experience, that what the Israelis were doing to the Palestinians was worst than what the Nazis had done to the Jews. I saw this little dog and pony show on several occasions. This hateful little bubbe, I’d call her a fucking kappo, but that would dishonor the memory of the kappos – like the guys that blew up the smokestacks at Auschwitz.

Ah yes, those were the days. Back when we didn’t plug the books of Israel’s most bitter opponents.

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  • We’re not plugging the book. Sheesh. Do please note that the first anti-Finkelstein post related to the ad was written by me. In that post and in subsequent comments, I don’t hide my loathing of Finkelstein. I just could not resist the delicious irony of his funds being used to advance things that he would loathe. And I love your barrage of Finkelstein posts! I know you’re pissed at me, but trust me. This is good for the Jews. 🙂

  • come now, kids. can’t we just all be friends? oh wait, we’re Jews. OK — agree to disagree?? 😉

  • I’m new to Jewlicious, just having met Rabbi Yonah and Eric Rosen last night. When I first saw this site this morning and saw the ad for Finkelstein’s book, I was REALLY surprised. And NOT in a good way!

    I’m glad to see there’s at least a controversy! Here’s my 2 cents:

    I get that ck loves the “delicious irony of his funds being used to advance things he would love.” I really do. I’m sure it feels good to take his money. Just as I’m sure Ahmadinejad loves the irony of taking money from Western countries to fuel what he hopes will be our destruction.

    However, we must remember that everything that ever was began with an idea. Hateful ideas lead to hateful results in the real world, and if any one individual mistakenly thinks Jewlicious wouldn’t mind reading Finkelstein’s book and thereby reads it, and mistakenly believes that Finkelstein’s hateful ideas have some legitimacy, it is not worth the money.

    And in my opinion, it is not good for the Jews.

  • Jeffrey, we are in agreement and I should note that it’s been a week and the ad was supposed to have expired but is still with us. It is ridiculous that we are promoting the book in any way and even if we’ve used the ad as a reason to publish a number of critical posts about Finkelstein, ultimately he receives publicity and as you note, this is about ideas and his ideas are garbage that should be left outside.

    Having said that, welcome to Jewlicious. Here, you will find a few thousand posts going back a few years, many with interesting and vibrant discussions that follow in the comments. There’s a search box on the upper right hand side of the site and it will bring up posts with the relevant search words.

  • You know what I think?

    Maryla Husyt Finkelstein must have come across some fine German soldiers during her service as a kapo, because I’ve never been so attracted to a jewish man in my life!