In a recent video interview with a Palestinian Solidarity activist, Norman Finkelstein, a leading anti-Israel agitator, spoke frankly about the BDS and Palestinian Solidarity movements. He described these movements as cultish and dishonest and essentially agreed with our long standing criticisms of these movements – that support for the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement is basically a call for the destruction of the State of Israel. The video was originally posted on YouTube and then pulled at Finkelstein’s request. Frank Barat, who interviews Finkelstein in the video, posted the following on Facebook:

Norman Finkelstein contacted me (a common friend was also involved in discussion) and asked me to delete video from youtube account because “video did some harm” (his words). I agreed to do so because I think that, at the end of the day, video ended up creating a fuss/controversy but not much else and my intention was never to divert some people minds from what is really important: daily solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The video has been reposted on Vimeo, and I present it here to you while it’s still up. It must be seen by anyone who cares about the rule of law, the Israel-Palestine conflict and honest political discourse. Should it be pulled again, I am fairly certain that it will somehow keep popping up:

I know the video is over 30 minutes long, but these revelations, coming from a supporter of BDS, are nothing short of explosive. I took the liberty of transcribing some of Finkelstein’s more salient statements:

We have to be honest, and I loathe the disingenuousness. They [BDS Movement] don’t want Israel. They think they’re being very clever, they call it their three tier – we want the end of the occupation, we want the right of return and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they’re very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is what? What’s the result? You know and I know, what’s the result? There’s no Israel… there’s no Israel, full stop… If you want to eliminate Israel that’s your right but I don’t think you’re going to reach anybody. I think it’s a non-starter.

Finkelstein seems to be advocating a more pragmatic approach. He doesn’t say that he necessarily opposes the destruction of the Sate of Israel. He simply states that that position will not generate results:

We have to free ourselves of illusions… how many people are you really reaching? Are you reaching a … mainstream public? I don’t think so… The solidarity movement has the right tactics. I support the BDS. But I said it will never reach a broad public until and unless they’re explicit on their goal. And their goal has to include recognition of Israel, or it’s a non-starter. It won’t reach the public, because the moment you go out there, Israel will start to say “What about us? And they won’t recognize our right.” And in fact that’s correct. You can’t answer the Israelis on that, because they’re making a statement that’s factually correct. It’s not an accident, an unwitting omission, that BDS does not mention Israel. You know that and I know that. It’s not like they’re “Oh, we forgot to mention it.” They won’t mention it because they know it will split the movement, because there’s a large segment of the movement … which wants to eliminate Israel.

Finkelstein reviews the historical record of the BDS movement and admits that their successes have been greatly exaggerated:

You talk about BDS, they make all these claims about their victories. Well you know what? You see these ten fingers? These more than suffice to count all their victories. There are superfluous fingers here, to count all their victories. It’s just, it’s a cult. Where the Guru says we have all these victories and everyone nods their head and nobody sits down to do the arithmetic on their own. I see Veolia mentioned like 20 times a year. They keep repeating it as if it’s a new victory. How many victories are there? Let’s not get carried away! I hear them say BDS is the most successful tactic. Yes it’s had some victories. No question about it. But the way people promote it, as if it’s proven itself, and it’s on the edge, on the verge of a victory of some sort, it’s just sheer nonsense. It’s sheer nonsense. It’s a cult. And I’m personally, I’m tired of it.

Finkelstein also notes that support for BDS within Palestinian civil society is not as strong as BDS activists and Palestinian NGOs claim:

Who are these organizations? They’re NGOs in Ramallah. One person operations, and they claim to represent … Palestinian civil society. If they really were Palestinian civil society as they claim, then why can they never organize a demonstration of more than 500 people? … Have you ever seen a statement by BDS that doesn’t have the first subordinate clause “BDS, the largest civil society organized protest in dadadadada … endorsed by 26 trillion, five hundred and fifty five million, billion you know, organizations. They’re just Ramallah NGOs, represent absolutely nothing … if it were what you said, where are the demonstrations there? … It’s a very strange thing when the people there who claim to be the leaders of civil society, they can’t organize a demonstration of 500 people among themselves but they’re telling everybody else abroad what to do. That’s a weird inversion. When I was first involved in the Gaza Freedom March … they said they were going to bring out 50,000 people in Gaza. 50,000 people! And you know how many they brought out? They brought out 300.

Finkelstein continues his criticism of the BDS and Palestine Solidarity movement by calling it a cult:

It’s a cult. You make up numbers, you fantasize and all the followers are supposed to nod their heads. Well you know what? I’m 58 years old, I’ve been involved in this 30 years … I gave my life to the cause, and I’m not going to be anybody’s fool. I’m not wasting time anymore. I’m tired of it, I really am. I’ve lost patience with it. I’m tired of gurus and I’m tired of cults.

He then concludes:

You know and I know exactly what we’re talking about because if we end the occupation, and we bring back 6 million Palestinians and we have equal rights for Arabs and Jews, there’s no Israel. That’s what it’s really about. And you think you’re fooling anybody? You think you’re so clever? That people can’t figure that out for themselves? No, they understand the arithmetic perfectly well. Are you going to reach a broad public which is going to hear the Israeli side “they want to destroy us?” No, you’re not. And frankly you know what? You shouldn’t. You shouldn’t reach a broad public. because you’re dishonest … it’s dishonesty, and I don’t want that kind of leadership. At least be honest with what you want: “We want to abolish Israel, and this is our strategy for doing it.” Ok, be straight forward about it. But this kind of duplicity and disingenuousness “Oh we’re agnostic about Israel.” No, you’re not agnostic, you don’t want it. Then just say it! But they know full well that if you say it, you don’t have a prayer of reaching a broad public. That’s where the public is now. You’re not going to reach them, and it’s a waste of time.

This is a truly remarkable set of statements. Strategically, it’s about the worst thing that could have happened to the BDS movement – to be spanked so thoroughly by one of the leading Palestinian activists in the West. Finkelstein is forcing BDS advocates to clearly state their position on the existence of the State of Israel. If they agree to accept the right of the State of Israel to exist, the movement will splinter. If they don’t they will lose public support. Either way, they’re screwed. Many people are critical of Israel, but how many want to destroy the State? Justice for Palestinians is one thing; eliminating a legally constituted state is quite another.

Judging by the comments all over the Interwebs, it’s clear that BDS activists are having a difficult time trying to spin Finkelstein’s bomb shell, difficult because it can’t be spun. Finkelstein hasn’t left the movement, he hasn’t renounced any of the beliefs that have motivated his 30 year career as a critic of Israel and supporter of the Palestinian people. He just called it like he saw it.

And how is that? What does it boil down to? That when someone supports BDS, they are supporting a movement that primarily advocates Countrycide – the destruction of the State of Israel. If they tell you otherwise, they are lying and they are not above lying for the sake of promoting their agenda. Which is, again? Yes. The destruction of the State of Israel.

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • If BDS activists are smart, they’ll pull out all the attacks on Finkelstein, such as the ones we’ve written over they years, and recycle them. 😉

  • CK don’t worry I have downloaded a copy and will repost as well…thanks for the article ..need to show the bds for what it really is…oh and thanks Norman

  • brando, strange is you. Look at your resource, you apparently didn’t even understand what he is saying in that heavily edited video. The first thing that idiotic link says;

    “1.Israel left southern Lebanon in 2000,after 18 years of occupation,as a gesture of peace.”

    You don’t leave as a gesture of peace after a brutal and bloody occupation of 18 years!! They were forced out of Northern Lebanon Secondly even that so called end of occupation is a myth, Israel STILL occupies Lebanon (Sheba Farms). See the documentary ‘Defamation’ for a slightly higher understanding of Prof. Finkelstein’s view on the issue. For a complete understanding, see his numerous lectures and you will know, he is the most consistent and reasonable man around. Stop with the sound bites!!

    • Finkelstein is not reasonable at all, he’s either a nutcase or a congenital liar. See, for example, how he wrote a book about what he labels a Holocaust industry in the Jewish community even though his father received a quarter of a million dollars (back when that could buy a number of houses) for being a Holocaust survivor. He is, however, consistent in his hatred of Israel. Feel free to put his name into our search box, we’ve written a bit about his BS, such as the time he was interviewed on Lebanese TV and was exhorting the Lebanese (Hizbullah in particular) to attack Israel. Or the book he wrote about the Gaza War where he accused Israel of one big massacre. His premise? That Israel killed mostly civilians. Bummer about that admission by Hamas that the IDF numbers of dead Hamas fighters were accurate.

      • You are the nutcase!! Research a bit, his father received the compensation from the German government. His mother on the other hand was part of a class action law suit that won billions. Then his mother was denied her rightful due. IIRC she had to go to court for the pittance she received. The Jewish council admitted that she was disabled, but they ruled that the disability was not caused by her years in the Warsaw Ghetto, uprising, Auschwitz or Majdanek and the death march, but was caused by her stressful life in the US.

        Holocaust is an industry!! These b@$#@rds live of the misery of others!! The founder of the field of Holocaust studies and the recently late Raul Hilberg is on his side, you can spew your lies all you want. The truth is there for those who look for it.

        Gaza and Lebanon was a massacre, only brain dead idiots deny that. Long live Prof. Finkelstein!!!

        • Prof. Finkelstein’s website has audio of his mother in her own words describing her orders during the Holocaust and the final insult at the hands of the crooks who made billions in the name of the suffering of others by inflating the number of survivors (consequently reducing the number of casualties). Now THAT is holocaust denial!!

          On top of it all they didn’t even give liveable amount to survivors but either stole it or spent on propaganda projects like Birth right Israel.

          Watch the documentary The Final Insult.

          This is my last response here, anyone looking for the truth can search for it, as for the brain dead; Go to hell!!

          Justice will be done, colonies will end, occupation will be over, refugees will get their right of return. Israel will pay for its crimes, each and every single one of them. Nothing has been forgotten, nothing will be forgiven!!

          • Bravo, look up Finkelstein and dog and pony in our search box to learn more about Finkelstein and his mom in the early part of his career.

            Your final sentence really lets us know about the kind of people who support Finkelstein.

            Bye bye.

        • Hahahaha.

          So let’s see. His father received a small fortune for being a survivor, just as I said, and the Finkelsteins, including the mother, lived off that money for many years, but the problem is with the “Holocaust industry,” not with writers who make small fortunes writing books about the “Holocaust industry” after suckling from the teat of the very reparations whose benefits and recipients they’re criticizing.

          Sorry bub, Finkelstein made a name for himself and a small fortune from his hypocrisy.

          With respect to Gaza, poor old Finkelstein actually had to write another “booklet” after Goldstone went back on his original assertions. However, I’ve heard the man (Finkelstein) actually argue that Gaza was a massacre because there were few combatants killed and mostly civilians killed by Israel. He quoted B’Tzelem and he talked about the policemen who were killed the first day of the war and he went on and on, confident and cocky as always, about how the numbers reflect the facts. Several months later Hamas acknowledged that it had lost hundreds more men in that war than the number Finkelstein was claiming. In fact, their number was eerily close to the IDF count. At that moment, Finkelstein should have issued a huge apology and retraction. But, you know how it is when you’re busy doing the lecture circuit for pay and you’re counting on the next book’s revenues already since all your other anti-Jewish or anti-Israel books have done so well for you…you kinda pretend like your entire argument hadn’t faltered and just plow ahead like nothing happened.

        • A massacre of Arab “fighters” hiding behind women and children. Long live the I.D.F.

    • Occupies Lebanon still? Put down the hookah, son. Even the Israel hating United Nations has certified that Sheba Farms is not occupied by Israel.

      • Israel does occupy Sheba Farms, I know because my friend in the IDF Reserves is stationed there when he goes to milu’im each year. What the UN certified is that Sheba Farms is part of Syria, not Lebanon, and until Syria makes peace with Israel, the Sheba Farms issue won’t be solved. Of course, Syria has to make peace with itself first. Small detail

  • TM: “Finkelstein is not reasonable at all, he’s either a nutcase or a congenital liar.”

    yet CK thinks finky is telling the gospel truth about BDS

    • What can I say? I have always had a very poor opinion of Finkelstein and I have a very poor opinion of BDS. Just because Finkelstein says something negative about BDS, I don’t necessarily have to retroactively accept anything else he’s written or said. He happens to be right this time. Big deal.

      The people who have a problem with this are the rabid pro-Palestinians who have to ask themselves whether if have they accepted what he’s written in the past did he suddenly go insane in bashing their little baby or is he right again? In fact, it’s a little laughable to see them going through this process on all the wacky nutjob pro-Palestinian sites like Mondo and 972. Since they don’t really have an option, unless they denounce BDS, they’ve turned on Finkelstein so quickly that you almost feel sorry for the guy. Almost.

  • BDS is a complete and utter failure already – Finkelstein knows this and he doesn’t risk anything for saying so loud and clear. Of course for the remaining radicalniks of this hate cult he’s not radical enough any more, so they turn against him.

    This movement is finished and when you read statements like those of bravo45 you can’t really wonder why.

  • These criticisms are quite rich coming from someone who has made it his life mission to undermine the existence of the state of Israel. Just one country-killing turncoat outing another. Good – I hope their ‘movement’ tears itself apart.


  • Let’s define Israel: A satanic cult of Talmudic Adherents who lie and call themselves Jews, hate Christians, want to dis-balance the demographics in the USA and keep a Jewish balance in Israel. What hypocrites. No honesty in their politics. They look for sympathy on the Jewish Holocaust but never mention the Christian Holocaust of sixty million Christians, they being the murders in the Bolshevik revolution. They never mention that their slogan is we shall speak in lies and deception. Yes bring this to the public forum. Then we can talk intelligently. I am not impressed with a cult that wants to murder the best of the gentiles and possibly all of them. Calling Jesus a bastard and His mother a street whore. No! I’m not impressed.

  • BDS is equivalent to “countrycide” only when proponents simultaneously call that country’s existence and legitimacy into question. Otherwise it is a means of collective punishment against a regime and its policies.

    In any case, the threat of boycotts and the like should not be the motivating factor for Israel to do what it needs to do, both strategically and morally. To remain a country which is capable of inspiring and attracting Jews in generations to come, Israel must pursue righteousness, seek to end the suffering of people who live within her borders, find a way for everyone to live together, and do so in a way that does not translate into national suicide.

  • It’s likely he was threatened or had his family threatened and he sold out. I’m not surprsed. But nobody except fanatical Jewish losers and their few supporters thinks that Israel isn’t an apartheid state – in fact most see it as a facist militaristic threat that should be dismantled. And will be. Or at least after the revolution Jews won’t allowed to support the facist state of Israel. Or be involved in poliitics. Think you’ve ‘bought’ the whole thing?


  • Could you send me a copy of NF interview ? I tried to download it, but missed…

  • Be careful getting too excited about this. Finklestien’s goal here is to get the BDS ideas into the mainstream. This will create problems within the BDS and solidarity movements, but ultimately his goal is clear.

  • Norman Fagglestein is the sexiest man alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!