Finkelstein in Gaza

Israel/Palestine

normanThis month OR Books publishes Norman Finkelstein’s important new book about the Gaza conflict, ‘This Time We Went Too Far.’ What follows is an excerpt from the book, Chapter 5, "Inside Gaza." (all rights reserved to Finkelstein and OR Books.)

To preserve my sense of purpose, and keep the Palestine struggle from becoming a lifeless abstraction, I need periodically to recharge my moral batteries by reconnecting with the actual people living under occupation and by witnessing firsthand the unfolding tragedy. From each trip I invariably carry away a handful of stark images that I fix in my mind’s eye to dispel the occasional hesitations about staying the course. When the memories begin to fade I know it is time to return.

And so, in June 2009, six months after the invasion, I joined a delegation that journeyed to Gaza for a brief visit. Though I had been to Gaza before, most of my time during previous trips to the region was spent with friends in the West Bank. Israel has prohibited me from entering the country for ten years, thereby making it impossible for me to visit the West Bank, allegedly because I am a “security” risk. An editorial in Haaretz titled “Who’s Afraid of Finkelstein?” cast doubt on the decision’s premise—“Considering his unusual and extremely critical views, one cannot avoid the suspicion that refusing to allow him to enter Israel was a punishment rather than a precaution”—and went on to argue against banning me. Nonetheless it is unclear if or when I will be able to see my Palestinian friends again. In the meantime, going to Gaza via Egypt at least enabled me to get some feeling for developments on the ground. 

Having just spent several months perusing Mahatma Gandhi’s collected works, and deeply inspired by his commitment to living the life of the impoverished masses, I had resolved to rough it in Gaza. But this was easier said than done. Along with several other delegates I volunteered to stay at a Palestinian family’s home rather than a hotel. Dressed to the nines, hair gelled, and reeking of cologne, several Palestinian youths met our group to select their home-stays. They departed with first one young female member of our delegation, then another, then another. The only candidates left hanging at the end of the evening were middle-aged men. We checked into the hotel.

It would be untrue to say that I was terribly jolted by the devastation that I encountered everywhere in Gaza. During the first intifada I had passed time with families in the West Bank living in tents beside the rubble of their former dwellings. Israel would routinely detonate the family residence of an alleged activist in the dead of night after giving the occupants just minutes to evacuate. Soon after the 2006 war I toured Lebanon. Many of the villages in the south had been flattened. The Dahiya district of Beirut resembled photographs from bombed- out cities during World War II: large craters where apartment houses and offices once stood, the occasional shell of a building in the distance. So by now I have become somewhat inured to Israel’s calling card to its Arab neighbors. 

Nonetheless a few memories from that trip to Gaza remain etched in my mind with particular sharpness. I remember an 11-year-old girl peering out of thick-lensed glasses while she lingered beside the American International School that had been demolished. Speaking in perfect English (her father was a physician and her friends ranked her the top student in the class) the girl wistfully remembered that it had been the best school in Gaza. I also recall the evening we met with government officials in a tent beside what had previously been the Palestinian parliamentary building and was now just a pile of smoldering rubble. Although the devastation was apparently designed not just to subdue Hamas but also to humiliate it, the representatives seemed oblivious to any slight to their dignity from having to convene in such reduced circumstances. And I can still see the huge rectangular depression in the heart of the Islamic University campus where the science and technology building once stood. An administrator recalled with pride tinged by melancholy that, just prior to the attack, the university had installed cutting-edge equipment for biological research in the building.

No Palestinian I met evinced anger or sorrow at what happened. People appeared calmly determined to resume life, such as it was, before the invasion, although the continuing blockade plainly weighed heavily on them. A young hijab-clad guide sitting next to me on a bus one night casually mentioned that her fiancé had been killed on the last day of the invasion, and then punctuated her statement by staring, dry-eyed, into my pupils. It was neither an accusation nor an appeal for pity. It was as if Israel’s periodic depredations were now experienced as a natural disaster to which people had grown accustomed; as if Gaza were situated in the path of tornadoes, except that in Gaza every season is tornado season. Some demented mind in an air-conditioned Tel Aviv office conjures up poetic names for its numberless “operations.” Why not a little truth in advertising just this once and call them “Operation Attila the Hun,” “Operation Genghis Khan,” or “Operation Army of Vandals”?

The female head administrator of a children’s library housed in a magnificent edifice that would be the envy of any major city in the United States offered some painful reflections. (Watching the children hard at work in the library, I secretly breathed a sigh of relief that whether wittingly or by miracle Israel had not inflicted on it the same fate as the American International School’s.) She was one of seven siblings all of whom had obtained advanced degrees, and, apart from her, had left for greener pastures abroad. She had studied in Great Britain but against her parents’ recommendation decided to return to her home. She recalled questioning her decision when, on her way to work one day, Israeli soldiers forced her to wade waist-deep in mud to get past a checkpoint. 

Our delegation consisted mostly of Americans. Originally I assumed that I was the only Jew on the delegation, but after making several discreet inquiries I began to wonder whether anyone on the delegation was not Jewish. So far as I could tell Gazans did not care much about our pedigrees, although, to my mortification, the rector at the Islamic University introduced me as a “Holocaust survivor.” I politely corrected him: “tenure battle survivor.” Did I really look 90 years old?!

Hamas has a fearsome reputation, but it met its match with the feisty feminists leading our delegation. Among their complaints, forthrightly expressed, was that Hamas did not allow the delegation sufficient freedom of movement at night. Although Hamas eventually gave ground my sympathies went out to them, and not just because in these verbal bouts they appeared the underdogs. It is not as if Gaza had a lively nightlife. Furthermore, Israeli ships still fired on Gaza every night, and Hamas feared that Israel (or its Palestinian underlings) might create an incident to discredit it. It is also not as if Hamas’s security concerns lacked plausibility: after all we were Americans, and U.S. intelligence agencies have been complicit in the repression of Hamas.

I had several meetings with Hamas officials and cadre. It was later conveyed to me that those I met were mostly from Hamas’s “moderate” wing, although I cannot say exactly what distinguished them from members of the “hard-line” wing, and a lot of the speculation on this matter appears poorly informed. In his dispatch from Gaza the New Yorker’s Lawrence Wright knowingly told readers that Gaza-based Hamas leader and Prime Minister Ismael Hanniya is a “moderate” who has “spoken of negotiating a long-term truce with Israel,” whereas Damascus-based head of the Hamas politburo Khalid Mishal is a “hard-liner” who is “more likely to initiate radical, destabilizing actions.” But Mishal, the “hard-liner,” has repeatedly called for a diplomatic settlement with Israel.

At each of the parleys with Hamas members I repeated the same message: the current diplomatic posture of Hamas seemed in alignment with representative political organizations, respected juridical institutions, and major human rights groups. Many Hamas members appeared genuinely surprised when I rattled off the “pro-Palestinian” positions espoused by these mainstream bodies. If I was correct, then Hamas should couch its political platform in their language because the chink in Israel’s armor is its diplomatic isolation. Hamas must hammer away the critical point that Israel is the real outlier in the international community and obstacle to peace: not “Hamas says,” but “the U.N. General Assembly resolution supported by 160 nations says”; not “Hamas says, but “the International Court of Justice says”; not “Hamas says” but “Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say.”

My interlocutors seemed earnest and willing to listen. (They even heard out in good humor the head of the delegation when she implored them to shave their “scary beards” to improve Hamas’s image in the West.) Although Hamas sought to emulate Hezbollah’s victory in 2006, after the massacre it perhaps sunk in that Israel cannot be defeated by shooting firecrackers and Roman candles at it. When I was leaving Gaza, U.S. President Barack Obama had just arrived in Cairo to deliver his landmark address. Hamas sent a letter to him partly informed by our conversations. (A copy of this letter can be found in the appendix of this book.)

For most of the time in Gaza, our delegation was guarded by young Hamas militants. As we parted ways at the end of the visit I felt moved and obliged to state publicly that in my opinion none of them was deserving of the death Israel has attempted to inflict on them. I am aware that according to the “laws of war” they are “legitimate” military targets. But in a rational world the locution “laws of war” would make as much sense as “etiquette of cannibals.” It is probably true that violent conflicts would be more lethal and destructive in the absence of these laws, but it is also true that, in their pretense of neutrality, they obscure fundamental truths. Whether from conviction, frustration, or torment, these young men have chosen to defend their homeland from foreign marauders with weapon in hand. Were I living in Gaza, still in my prime and able to muster the courage, I could easily be one of them.

About Norman G. Finkelstein

Norman G. Finkelstein received his doctorate in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. He taught political theory and the Israel-Palestine conflict for many years and currently writes and lectures. Finkelstein is the author of eight books that have been translated into 50 foreign editions, and is currently completing a book with Palestinian political analyst Mouin Rabbani entitled "How to Resolve the Israel-Palestine Conflict."

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  1. Richard Witty
    March 1, 2010, 11:54 am

    Sounds nice, but.

    Not a lot of critical thinking directed towards Hamas, more apology than examination from my read.

    • aparisian
      March 1, 2010, 12:55 pm

      Zionists started committing crimes long time before the creation of Hamas, all sort of atrocities, from ethnic cleansing to massacres. Hamas is an Israeli creation in order to put an end to all attemps of unity between Palestinians. Hamas must be held account for its crimes against civilians but before this Israel must also pay the price for its crimes and human rights violations. Zionism is pure racism and dangerous for the peace stability in the world.

    • James Bradley
      March 1, 2010, 1:28 pm

      What kind of critical thinking on Hamas do you require RW?

      Hamas is a resistance group.

      Their existence is a response to Israeli human rights abuse.

      Get used to it.

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 1:30 pm

        Get used to war, why?

      • Chaos4700
        March 1, 2010, 1:39 pm

        Because Israel is still ethnically cleansing non-Jews, increasing its military occupation and slaughtering civilians without remorse. Doesn’t seem like the judenreich war machine is going to stop of its own accord — of course, you wouldn’t know because you were apparently in a selective coma on November 4th, 2008 when Israel unilaterally broke the cease fire.

      • potsherd
        March 1, 2010, 2:42 pm

        Because Israel will never stop making war.

      • Amir Fahmi
        March 1, 2010, 4:02 pm

        If the main point of the blockade is because Hamas a terrorist group, then why :

        1. The blockade begins before Hamas was elected into office ?

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 5:09 pm

        Israel will certainly never stop insisting on real security and real recognition, war is a very different question.

        Liberal Zionists rationally conclude that even if Israel were to stop aggressions toward Gazans, that the aggressions towards Israel would not stop.

        When the intentions change, good is possible. Until then, likely only war, and idiocies like the right-wing Israeli plurality are likely.

      • Donald
        March 1, 2010, 5:14 pm

        “Liberal Zionists rationally conclude that even if Israel were to stop aggressions toward Gazans”

        Something that has never been tried. And as usual Israel’s sins are all the fault of someone else. (I won’t even get into the topic of the sins of liberal Zionists, a self-contradictory category in RW’s philosophical lexicon.)

        Try blaming Hamas for Hamas terrorism and blaming Israel for Israeli war crimes and you might look like someone with an ounce of moral and intellectual integrity.

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 5:18 pm

        Its not payment for sins that is needed, but reforms.

        Israeli reforms won’t happen until the world sees its actions in context clearly. And Hamas reforms won’t happen until the world sees its actions in context clearly.

        For Norman to present only criticism of Israel (important), is to present half a truth.

        My criticism here is not of Hamas (much to criticize), but of Norman, of dissent.

        And, of Phil for his lapses to even discuss Hamas’ actions last December and in his travels to Gaza. He, nor any that he reported on, indicated any sincere inquiry of them.

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 5:21 pm

        Its the same pattern as Zionists not criticizing Israel, that you refer to often.

        The same fear, the same respect, the same deferrence.

        Rather than the scholarship, the candor, the inquiry.

      • Donald
        March 1, 2010, 5:33 pm

        There are people on the left who don’t criticize Hamas as much as they deserve, no doubt. But the problem right now is quite the opposite–Hamas is denounced as a terror organization and that’s the end of the story. We need to have a more balanced view of them. Whether some lefties go too far the other way isn’t the main problem right now. I think we need some humanization of the people in Hamas. One can say this and also agree that Hamas is guilty of serious crimes, both against Israeli civilians and also fellow Palestinians.

        As for the rest, Richard, you’d do well to set the example yourself, but you won’t. You make too many excuses for Israel–you did it again in this thread. There’s probably no chance you’ll change.

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 5:45 pm

        I commented on the text presented, which appeared to me to apologize for Hamas, when much more accurate presentation is needed.

      • Donald
        March 1, 2010, 6:34 pm

        In fact he humanized Hamas, rather than demonizing them, something that needs to be done. I don’t know what the rest of the book is like, but it’s not as if there is any shortage of information in the US about Hamas atrocities.

      • Avi
        March 1, 2010, 6:46 pm

        Get used to war, why?

        Because, for Israel, making peace is costly, it would require adhering to international law.

        As we all know, international law is anti-Semitic by nature (tongue in cheek).

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 7:11 pm

        But, there has been a shortage of documentation in Norman’s work that is critical of Hamas.

        It is possible to humanize Israel and Israelis and be critical of them, and it is possible to humanize Gazans and Hamas (hopefully many at least) and be critical of them.

        I’ve never heard it from him, except for minor tactical criticism, in video, in person, or in correspondence.

      • Chaos4700
        March 1, 2010, 7:18 pm

        But, there has been a shortage of documentation in Norman’s work that is critical of Hamas.

        Maybe because Hamas hasn’t gutted any UN schools or humanitarian aid warehouses? Or attacked relief ships in international waters? Or used cluster and white phosphorous munitions? Or built structures to facilitate ethnic cleansing on occupied land in total defiance of the Geneva Conventions?

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 7:29 pm

        Only Israeli schools, cafes, hotels, bus stations.

      • Chaos4700
        March 1, 2010, 7:32 pm

        As opposed to Palestinians schools, cafes, hotels, bus stations, mosques, hospitals, apartment buildings, farms, factories, UNWRA facilities, fishing boats, ambulances, refugee camps, police stations, and peaceful demonstrations?

      • Donald
        March 1, 2010, 10:24 pm

        I think Finkelstein takes Chomsky’s lead on such things–that is, he takes for granted that Americans know that the official enemy (to use Chomsky’s phrase) has done bad things and so he doesn’t dwell on them, though Chomsky will mention enemy atrocities. I’d have to go back and read Norman carefully to see exactly what he does say on such things, but I don’t read him to learn about Hamas terrorism, but about Israeli crimes that get little attention here. One can disagree with his approach and still respect it. The danger is that some naive type might come to think that Hamas is actually composed of Boy Scouts who do nothing worse than shoot off some bottle rockets now and then, because they like fireworks. I don’t think it’ll happen that often though–in America, if you pay the slightest bit of attention to the I/P conflict you will hear soon enough about Hamas terrorism.

      • Donald
        March 1, 2010, 10:29 pm

        “It is possible to humanize Israel and Israelis and be critical of them”

        Yeah, it is, and we probably go too far in the dehumanizing department here sometimes. I don’t get too worked up over this–in American culture as a whole the problem is the exact opposite. We have so much “humanizing” of Israeli and American war criminals one barely hears anything about the war crimes, or to the extent one does hear about them they are excused and rationalized and whitewashed. Israeli crimes even more than American ones, something I would not have expected until I saw it happen during the Bush years. There are, as best I can tell, more American liberals willing to criticize Bush’s crimes than there are American liberals willing to criticize Israeli crimes (and often such criticisms will be accompanied by some demonization of Hamas. Bill Moyers did this, for instance, when he had Goldstone on.)

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 10:39 pm

        Its because of the history of Hamas terror that Americans rationally do not understand, and do not apologize for.

        The history of excessive response, Americans rationalize away indefinitely. Bombing of Japan until they surrendered (which they should have done much earlier, but didn’t driven by militant ideology). Bombing of Germany until they surrendered (which they should have done much earlier, but didn’t driven by militant ideology).

        You speak of double standards on human rights, but it is everywhere, in defense of the chosen ally.

      • Donald
        March 1, 2010, 10:50 pm

        “Its because of the history of Hamas terror that Americans rationally do not understand, and do not apologize for.”

        Try writing in English, Richard. That was nearly incomprehensible.

        Americans don’t know much about Israeli terrorism because it isn’t reported in clear unequivocal language and because Israeli apologists who make excuses for it tend to dominate the discussion, turning every bit of Israeli violence into either a justified response or at worst, a justified response that was maybe a little excessive (your view on Gaza). As for Hamas, there are clear descriptions of the horror of what they’ve done, and the victims are humanized.

        American politicians are even worse. Obama is no exception–his speeches about the subject are disgraceful.

      • Chaos4700
        March 1, 2010, 10:55 pm

        Its because of the history of Hamas terror that Americans rationally do not understand, and do not apologize for.

        Hamas terror as opposed to Israeli terror? Or do you not consider it terrorism when the victims are Palestinian, instead of Israeli? Or hell — even Jewish apparently, because apparently neither 9/11 nor Oklahoma City nor the anthrax attacks, and at least a dozen incidents taken against African Americans and supporters of civil rights during the Jim Crow era would qualify?

        I love the fact that Witty sees the very concept of justice or human rights as a threat to Israel, and so therefore he must tear it down.

      • Shmuel
        March 2, 2010, 3:34 am

        Donald: I think Finkelstein takes Chomsky’s lead on such things–that is, he takes for granted that Americans know that the official enemy (to use Chomsky’s phrase) has done bad things and so he doesn’t dwell on them

        Gideon Levy has explained his focus on Palestinian suffering and Israeli responsibility in a similar fashion: dozens of Israeli journalists cover Israeli suffering and Palestinian responsibility, while only a handfull show the other side of the coin.

      • Richard Witty
        March 2, 2010, 6:34 am

        Because the Hamas (and others) terror was directed at civilians, NOT at resistance or guerilla actions, there is no possible rationalization for it by modern stable masses. (Maybe those that are ideologically motivated, and those that are in active anti-colonial struggles might sympathize, but even that sympathy paints the dissenters as supporters of inhumanity).

        Israeli military actions, even the excessive and unilateral ones, are then perceived as responses, and to the extent that they can document restraint, they retain that posture.

        Then, NOT terror, even if civilians get caught in the crossfire.

        The Israeli proposals to modify international law to address concerns about extra-state organizations would have two effects:

        1. It would permanently make it more difficult for insurgents anywhere to oppose states, whether fascist or populist (or both), as they would be exposed to the consensus of international law in addition to suppressive local law. It would give Iran the power to suppress dissent, as well as give Israel the power to suppress dissent. They are collaborators in that effort.

        2. It would permanently make it more difficult for Israel to use the rationalization for excess, that the excess is not distinguished from the reasonable military response. Right now, because of the incongruity of a state fighting an opportunistically quasi-state, Israel’s military excesses are not seen, not distinguished.

        That doesn’t make Phil’s or Norman’s analysis of what constitutes excess accurate necessarily. They are still fulfilling primarily partisan roles, advocates currently, more than scholars or probing inquirers (except for what supports their advocacy).

      • Shingo
        March 2, 2010, 7:19 am

        “Israel will certainly never stop insisting on real security and real recognition, war is a very different question.”

        The Novemebr 4th ceasefire violation have nothign to do with real security or real recognition.

        Liberal Zionists supported the war that Israel intitiated and started.

        “Until then, likely only war, and idiocies like the right-wing Israeli plurality are likely. ‘”

        Yes, I agree that I too would describe your position as idiocy Richard.

      • Shingo
        March 2, 2010, 7:24 am

        “Because the Hamas (and others) terror was directed at civilians, NOT at resistance or guerilla actions, there is no possible rationalization for it by modern stable masses.”

        As the goldstone Report revealed, Israel’s terror was directed at civilians too. The differnce is that Israel started it.

        “”Israeli military actions, even the excessive and unilateral ones, are then perceived as responses, and to the extent that they can document restraint, they retain that posture.”

        Perceived, meaning, that is how they are proapgandized, but we all knwo that Israel’s military actions were not responsive at all dont we Witty?

        ‘Then, NOT terror, even if civilians get caught in the crossfire.”

        You make it sound like the crossfire was innneviatable and couldn’t have been avoided, even though Israel started the war and rejected calls for a return to a ceasefire.

      • yonira
        March 1, 2010, 2:30 pm

        If that is the case James, then Hamas needs to get used to their resistance being crushed, just like Syria did the to Fatah in Hama, just like the Sri Lankans did to the Tamil’s in Sri Lanka.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        link to tamilnet.com

        Resistance movements aren’t crushed w/ lollipops, they are crushed w/ operations like Caste Lead. Compared to the two events I mentioned above, Israel might has well given the Gazans lollipops w/ their carnage, because it was child’s play. Actually it was proof that Israel went to greater lengths to protect the civilians of Gaza than both the Sri Lankans and Syrians.

      • cvillej
        March 1, 2010, 3:06 pm

        Hamas needs to get used to their resistance being crushed

        How’s that working out so far?

      • aparisian
        March 1, 2010, 3:13 pm

        yonira you are a fucking liar, you said yesterday that you were against Cast Lead, strange huh?
        Click here to learn about yonira lies

      • Citizen
        March 1, 2010, 3:19 pm

        Hey folks get a load of what yonira is advocating Israel should do to the Palestinian resisters–torture, whimsical terrorism, mass imprisonment:
        link to tamilcanadian.com

        The USSR had such strong men as yonira in 1956, when the Hungarian resistence
        was crushed.

        Lollipop, lollipop, oh lol-li POP, badumdump, call my baby Lolipot, and here is why, kisses sweeter than apple-pie: Old song sung by the German troops surrounding the Warsaw Ghetto back in the day.

        Syria did well too–rounding up and jailing all the resistence leaders.

        Arm chair hawks are all alike. Bunch of on this thread today–hasbara style!

        Oh what fun it is for the young IDF girls today, the ones playing video games with real automatic guns every time their metal tulip opens–killing those Pals
        who dare to set foot near their own land they are cut off from–the cheerful young ladies brag on their cell phones to their friends about the joy of being
        at war.

      • annie
        March 1, 2010, 4:07 pm

        stop lying yonira. israel went to great lengths to use international law to commit war crimes (LAWFARE), not to evade civilian death. Lawfare in Gaza: legislative attack

        ‘The technologies of warning’ choice quote:

        “An officer at the international-law division explained to Yotam Feldman the
        logic of these warnings: “The people who go into a house despite a warning do not have to be taken into account in terms of injury to civilians, because they are
        voluntary human shields. From the legal point of view, [once warned] I do not
        have to show consideration for them. In the case of people who return to their
        home in order to protect it, they are taking part in the fighting.” By giving
        residents the choice between death and expulsion, this military interpretation of
        international humanitarian law shifted people between legal designations – one
        phone-call turns “non-combatants” into “human shields”, who can thus be defined as “taking direct part in hostilities” and shot as “legitimate targets”
        .”

      • Amir Fahmi
        March 1, 2010, 4:10 pm

        As the Israel are the occupiers, both Hamas & Fatah have the rights to resist and that rights will always be recognised by the Geneva Convention even if the Israelis kill every Palestinians in Gaza.

        Example : When Nazi invade Poland, the Polish resistance will always be recognised in law even if the Nazis kill every Polish citizens in WW2.

        Hence, the rights cannot be taken away by force.

      • DICKERSON3870
        March 1, 2010, 4:11 pm

        RE: “…just like the Sri Lankans did to the Tamil’s in Sri Lanka.” – yonira
        MY COMMENT: Yes, with considerable help from the Israelis!

        SEE: “Gaza II” unfolding in the East, By Wayne Masden, 05/04/10
        (EXCERPT)…However, there is more to the comparisons between Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip and Sri Lanka’s attack on the narrow strip of the Jaffna peninsula. In May 2000, a day after India refused to give Sri Lanka any military assistance in its war against the Tamil Tigers, Sri Lanka and Israel resumed diplomatic relations. Although the corporate media is focusing on Sri Lanka’s military assistance from China, little mention is being made of the island nation’s military links with Israel.
        After the establishment of diplomatic ties between Jerusalem and Colombo, Israeli military technicians arrived to maintain Sri Lanka’s Israeli-made Kfir fighter-bombers and Russian MiG-27 aircraft and provided Sri Lanka with Dvora fast naval attack craft. Israeli arms and ammunition also began flooding into Sri Lanka.
        Soon, Israeli military advisers and “consultants” were regular visitors to Colombo’s new Access Lanka Building, owned by relatives of Sri Lanka’s top military officers. Among Israel’s security exports to Sri Lanka was state-of-the-art electronic and imagery surveillance equipment. Israeli air force pilots reportedly flew Sri Lankan attack aircraft against Tamil Tiger targets on the Jaffna peninsula. Israeli military personnel were also reported to have taken part in Sri Lankan military attacks on Tamil units…
        …During a March 2009 trip to Israel by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, talks were held with Israel’s leading arms suppliers on increased military aid by the Israelis to Sri Lanka.
        Israel continues to supply Sri Lanka with arms and military training even after the United States and Britain cut off military supplies to Sri Lanka over the government’s human rights violations.
        SUBSCRIBERS ONLY – link to waynemadsenreport.com

      • JSC
        March 2, 2010, 9:45 am

        Well well, Yonira is calling for more massacres. What does this say about him?

    • ahmed
      March 1, 2010, 4:16 pm

      RW misses everything else, the poor, wistful students, the bombed out schools, the youths, the DAILY BOMBING FROM ISRAELI SHIPS, but focuses in on one thing. Nothing changes, huh.

      • Donald
        March 1, 2010, 5:09 pm

        Yeah, it was nice not having him around. Now back to the usual combination of peaceful sounding rhetoric with double standards on human rights.

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 7:13 pm

        I’ll be gone again shortly.

        “Double standards on human rights”?

      • Chaos4700
        March 1, 2010, 7:16 pm

        Characterizing the starved, bombed, blockaded and demonized Hamas as “extremist” while defending as “Jewish” and “democratic” the white phosphorous lobbing, pirating, cluster bombing, civilian targeting “moderates” of Kadima, for starters, Witty.

      • Donald
        March 1, 2010, 9:36 pm

        ““Double standards on human rights”?

        Don’t act stupid Richard if you can possibly help it. We’ve had this conversation countless times and you know damn well what I’m talking about, unless there is something physically wrong with you.

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 10:27 pm

        I do know what you mean to an extent.

        I disagree with your conclusion.

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 10:33 pm

        Goldstone asserted that based on what he saw and inferred, that both Hamas and Israel had committed war crimes, that he recommended a legal process comprising a proposed remedy.

        Israel conspicuously opposed his assertions on the basis that the collection of evidence was incomplete to prove intent (by their assertion), but Hamas neglected to entertain the question at all.

        There were two statements a couple weeks ago in which Hamas said something indicating that they would inquire, then a couple days later rejecting the idea that any limitation on the manner of their resistance was itself “illegal”.

        You didn’t criticize Hamas for that, but you did criticize Israel. Is that a single or a double standard on human rights inquiry?

      • Chaos4700
        March 1, 2010, 10:50 pm

        Answer us straight, Witty — how many hospitals has Hamas attacked, let alone destroyed? How many Israeli children are starving, or without school or medicine or even homes, because of Hamas? How many Israeli civilians are held in Hamas prison camps? Do tell.

      • Donald
        March 1, 2010, 11:10 pm

        Who is that ” you didn’t criticize Hamas for that”?

        If it’s me you’re lying. I’ve always put Hamas and Israel on the same level here. I don’t expect either to do a serious job investigating their human rights violations. If they did, the investigation would probably go to the very top and cause a political crisis. The same is true of the US. Serious war crimes investigations that leave no stone unturned are only for defeated dictators (and even then, only if the investigation won’t embarrass as former ally). Israel’s investigation has been farcical, meaningless. Hamas is no better and no worse.

        You have a double standard on human rights, Richard, because unlike me and quite a few other folk who try to be consistent on such things, you are very forthright in your condemnation of Hamas (using terms like “evil”) but when it is Israeli crimes your criticisms turn into vapid procedural mush. All of a sudden there’s fog and doubt and the inability to know motives from actions, and no way to know if this act was intentional or if that action was sadistic–most likely there was “excessive targeting”. You become a veritable cornucopia of Orwellian cliches, bad writing, and turgid pseudo-pacifism strangely mixed with apologetics for Israeli war crimes. You basically have a tribal morality blended in with some desire for peace–it’s a grotesque combination.

      • aparisian
        March 2, 2010, 5:05 am

        This photo is for Witty click here to see witty

      • Richard Witty
        March 2, 2010, 6:43 am

        What I described as evil was more specific than to describe Hamas as evil.

        You know that well, and as you do, to misrepresent my words intentionally, is something less than consistent, less than just.

        You seem to measure my “double standard” by the balance of number and tone of criticism of Hamas and Israel. I pointed out that in a critical definition, Hamas indicated that it would not even internally inquire into its behavior during the conflict (it was a conflict until the excessive and carelessness, that is after-the-fact analysis). You neglected to comment on that.

        Your “not expecting” Hamas to inquire, is different from your condemnation of Israel in not inquiring. You might seek to hold others to a single standard, but you don’t adopt it yourself, by my observation.

        I’ve appreciated that you consider Hamas’ behaviors in your math, and likely we might have very similar goals substantively.

        I agree with your conclusion that Israel can and should reform, that there is too much human cruelty that it is ignoring and rationalizing. But, I prefer to state that in social rather than political terms, as I see the changing of that resulting from changes in social attitudes towards others, moreso than political agitation.

      • Richard Witty
        March 2, 2010, 6:45 am

        aparisian,
        You prove my point more than your own.

        “I shot a rocket, BACK” is a rationalization, equally a rationalization to the Israeli “we are only defending ourselves”.

      • aparisian
        March 2, 2010, 6:49 am

        not true because Israel is the aggressor and the notion of defence related to the proportionality. When the self defence is disproportional it becomes aggression.

      • Richard Witty
        March 2, 2010, 6:51 am

        “Israel is the aggressor”.

        Good posturing. Shooting rockets at civilians is not aggression?

      • aparisian
        March 2, 2010, 6:54 am

        Yes remember Nov the 4th? Israel never respected ceasefire, Hamas is retaliating, self defence.
        Shooting rockets at civilians is bad but let justice punish those responsible, this is what we are advocating here, on the other hand you don’t agree. You keep rejecting UN resolutions and Gold STONE!

      • Shingo
        March 2, 2010, 7:30 am

        “But, I prefer to state that in social rather than political terms, as I see the changing of that resulting from changes in social attitudes towards others, moreso than political agitation. ”

        Yet, you want the UN to take over Gaza and leave Israel alone.

        So in other words, you are fine with political agitation, so long as it doesn’t include Israel.

      • Shingo
        March 2, 2010, 7:32 am

        “Good posturing. Shooting rockets at civilians is not aggression?”

        An agressor initiatiates conflict and condfrontation. That’s what Israle did.

        Agression does not imply initiation. A rape victim coudl agressively defend herself. You clearly see that as unjustfied.

      • Chaos4700
        March 2, 2010, 8:26 am

        Witty, do you condemn the Warsaw uprising as equally as you condemn Nazi troops quelling it?

        Well, do you?

      • Donald
        March 2, 2010, 2:18 pm

        “What I described as evil was more specific than to describe Hamas as evil.

        You know that well, and as you do, to misrepresent my words intentionally, is something less than consistent, less than just.”

        You describe specific actions of Hamas and Palestinian terrorists as evil–comparable atrocities committed by Israelis are rationalized, whitewashed, discussed in the way Orwell described in “Politics and the English Language”–with bland euphemisms designed to take away the emotional impact. And I think you know that too.

        “You seem to measure my “double standard” by the balance of number and tone of criticism of Hamas and Israel. ”

        You constantly turn discussions of Israeli atrocities in Gaza into a discussion of Hamas’s alleged responsibility for Israeli atrocities. You describe Hamas atrocities as evil–you describe Israeli atrocities as carelessness or excess. That’s double standards at work.

        “I pointed out that in a critical definition, Hamas indicated that it would not even internally inquire into its behavior during the conflict (it was a conflict until the excessive and carelessness, that is after-the-fact analysis). You neglected to comment on that.”

        Wrong. I said Hamas and Israel are both going to bullshit on this–Israel goes through the motions of self-investigation to make people like you feel better about the cause you support. In human rights terms it’s meaningless–in PR terms it makes support for Israel more palatable for people who romanticize their sacred state (as Chomsky calls it).

        Not that you’re unique in this regard. People commonly “choose sides” and then make excuses for the side they think are the good guys. It happens on the left, the right, the center, everywhere. That’s what makes Orwell’s essays of timeless value–people are constantly doing this and you only have to change a few names to see it happen over and over again. You have a particularly obnoxious case of it, combining your double standards with a lot of peaceful-sounding rhetoric in a way that is especially jarring.

    • Shingo
      March 2, 2010, 7:16 am

      “Not a lot of critical thinking directed towards Hamas, more apology than examination from my read.”

      It was Israel that started the warm, not Hamas. Why blame the victim?

      • Chaos4700
        March 2, 2010, 8:28 am

        Simple — Witty has a vested interest in exonerating the rapist.

      • Richard Witty
        March 2, 2010, 8:30 am

        Thats subject to question.

  2. aparisian
    March 1, 2010, 1:00 pm

    just bought the book i will read every piece of it! Thank Norman!

  3. Richard Witty
    March 1, 2010, 1:23 pm

    Good title. Who is the “we”? Who’s voice is first person?

    • Chaos4700
      March 1, 2010, 1:40 pm

      If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

      Likewise, if you can’t handle language comprehension, get out of the debate.

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 1:41 pm

        No answer, just ridicule again?

      • Chaos4700
        March 1, 2010, 1:49 pm

        Have you read the book? Did it occur to you that the answer’s in there? Or were you just planing to swift boat it, like your treatement of Goldstone?

    • yonira
      March 1, 2010, 2:31 pm

      I thought the same thing Richard, Is Finkelstein now a voice for the Israelis? Or is he blaming all Jews for Gaza?

      • The Hasbara Buster
        March 1, 2010, 3:16 pm

        Richard and yonira, please don’t be unsophisticated. Also, review the use of quotation marks.

      • aparisian
        March 1, 2010, 3:24 pm

        Nope yonira h is not a voice for Israelis, this is a quote by one of the war criminals gang.

        is he blaming all Jews for Gaza?
        Because Israel represents all Jews?

      • DICKERSON3870
        March 1, 2010, 4:31 pm

        RE: “Is Finkelstein now a voice for the Israelis? Or is he blaming all Jews for Gaza?” – yonira
        SEE: The Nation Of Israel? Wait And See., By Bernard Avishai, TPM Cafe, 02/28/10
        (EXCERPTS) …On Wednesday, the High Court will announce a new decision in this case. Veteran analyst and peace activist, Uri Avneri, sent around a commentary on the case. Here are some excerpts:

        The Israeli Interior Ministry recognizes 126 nations, but not the Israeli nation. An Israeli citizen can be registered as belonging to the Assyrian, the Tatar or the Circassian nation. But the Israeli nation? Sorry, no such thing.
        According to the official doctrine, the State of Israel cannot recognize an “Israeli” nation because it is the state of the “Jewish” nation. In other words, it belongs to the Jews of Brooklyn, Budapest and Buenos Aires, even though these consider themselves as belonging to the American, Hungarian or Argentine nations. Messy? Indeed….
        …BUT THE white lie of Herzl had results he did not dream of, as did the compromises of Ben-Gurion. Religion did not wither away in Israel, but on the contrary: it is gaining control of the state. The government of Israel does not speak of the nation-state of the Israelis who live here, but of the “nation-state of the Jews” – a state that belongs to the Jews all over the world, most of whom belong to other nations.
        The religious schools are eating up the general education system and are going to overpower it, if we don’t become aware of the danger and assert our Israeli essence. Voting rights are about to be accorded to Israelis residing abroad, and this is a step towards giving the vote to all Jews around the world. And, most important: the ugly weeds growing in the national-religious field – the fanatical settlers – are pushing the state in a direction that may lead to its destruction.
        TO SAFEGUARD the future of Israel one has to start by removing the scaffolding from the building. In other words: burying the “white lie” of religion-equals-nation. The Israeli nation has to be recognized as the basis of the state….
        ENTIRETY – link to tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com

      • Chaos4700
        March 1, 2010, 4:49 pm

        So are you countermanding the notion of Israel as “the Jewish state,” yonira? Just for future reference.

        Oh! And because you simply must be interested — more “proof” by your reckoning that the assassins simply mustn’t be Israeli. Why, they fled to… the United States, too!

        link to online.wsj.com

        So, yonira, I take it you reject the “conspiracy theory” that the assassination was carried out by the Mossad, and will instead amend your hypothesis that it was the Palestinian Authority, the Iranian government and the CIA all working together instead? I mean, surely you’ve seen this already. You snarked at me “Well don’t you read?!” and even I found this.

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 5:13 pm

        Its a good hope that Israelis will conclude that. I think that is what Norman is implying.

        To ignore the actions and policies of Hamas is to neglect to study the situation.

        To describe Hamas as “moderates” anywhere is to miss reality.

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 5:56 pm

        I want to qualify that comment on Hamas moderates. I believe strongly that there are many Hamas members and officials that are primarily concerned with their community’s well-being and any resistance effort is a temporary means toward that end.

        For those, when objective conditions change, they can negotiate and reconcile hopefully.

        For others, ideology trumps commitment to the community’s well-being and are willing, eager even, to find a reason and means to make war on Israelis, and supporters.

        One is rational and good, the other is fanatic and evil.

      • aparisian
        March 1, 2010, 6:27 pm

        what a joke from a war crimes supporter like you. Zionists the real fanatics who emigrated from Europe to steal and ethnic cleansing Palestinians from their land, I hope Hamas will do more, i recommend they join Hezbollah in order to fuck up the cowards in TLV. Iran should support them because Apartheid Israel must be defeated.

        Wittty your empire is falling believe me, Iran is building the solution.

      • Donald
        March 1, 2010, 6:42 pm

        What on earth are you talking about? You hope Hamas will do more of what, exactly? If I’m reading you right, you’re fantasizing about some military alliance between Hamas and Hezbollah that will, with Iran’s help, “defeat” Israel. How, exactly? And with how many dead on both sides?

        Tell me I’m reading you incorrectly, please.

        As for Witty’s comment, it wasn’t totally unreasonable for once. There’s probably a mix of people in Hamas, some with good intentions and perhaps others with thoughts of revenge on their minds.

      • aparisian
        March 1, 2010, 6:53 pm

        Yes I hope Hamas will do more political alliances with Hezbollah and Iran, and i mean it. I m not fantasizing, i don’t see anymore why the hell the Pals are not allowed to have arms in order to protect themselves from the Israeli aggressions. Nuclear Iran will bring peace. How many dead on both sides? Nope its correct Donald, Norman Finklestein repeated it so many times, Israel must be defeated like Japan or the Nazis.

        Witty is a fucking liar…. he is blaming everything on the victims of this conflict so nothing is reasonable, don’t be naif.

      • Chaos4700
        March 1, 2010, 7:10 pm

        Remember, Donald, Witty characterizes as “moderate” the Israeli party of Kadima — who’d slaughtered thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese since 2006 and brought about suffering and destruction to millions more, from Beirut to Gaza.

        He has no business characterizing Hamas — or anyone, really — as fanatic in the face of his own extremist banner waving.

      • Chaos4700
        March 1, 2010, 7:11 pm

        And I defy Witty to find any example of anything Hamas has ever done that matches even the most “moderate” of Israeli governments in bloodlust, death and destruction.

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 7:20 pm

        A “war crimes supporter like you”.

        Such an odd and rhetoric driven description. I get that you assert that “Zionism is racism”, and that by extension anyone that supports Zionism in any form is racist, and that racists deserve “what’s coming to them”.

        Somehow imagining that anti-Zionism isn’t also racism.

        And, also somehow imagining that radical rhetoric is a substitute for practical proposal.

        You dropped speaking about the Baird proposal for UN mediated “airlift” in favor of the rhetoric.

        You twist the principle of “substance over form”, preferring angry form over substance.

      • aparisian
        March 1, 2010, 7:20 pm

        btw guys according to Israeli standards i m now a terrorist and can be massacred by Mossad. A legitimate target LOL haha fuck i don’t know how Pals stand this bunch of ungodly created Zioaliens.

      • Chaos4700
        March 1, 2010, 7:23 pm

        Actually, aparisian, as someone who donated aid to Palestinian relief efforts in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, I would meet the minimum requirements for Israeli “neutralization” as well. Expect Witty to have no comment on that abhorrent Israeli practice, either.

      • aparisian
        March 1, 2010, 7:38 pm

        Yes i assert Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination, this is what UN resolution 3379 has determined in 1975. In the meantime i dont think all Zionists are racists, simply because they don’t believe in the whole thing. Anti-Zionism = Anti-war crimes = anti- ethnic cleansing and home demolitions is not racist.

      • wondering jew
        March 1, 2010, 7:54 pm

        For historical accuracy sake: UN GA Resolution 3379 was revoked on Dec. 16, 1991 by UN GA resolution 46/86

        “The general assembly decides to revoke the determination contained in its resolution 3379 (XXX) of 10 November 1975.”

        The vote in 1991 was 111 to 25 with 13 abstentions.

      • aparisian
        March 1, 2010, 8:01 pm

        WJ, UN resolution 46/86 was made because Israel blackmailed the world, it put this as a condition to participate in Madrid peace conference and under pressure of the AIPAC.

      • wondering jew
        March 1, 2010, 8:05 pm

        As if the original resolution was purely based upon the evidence rather than politics.

      • aparisian
        March 1, 2010, 8:07 pm

        WJ, Who made Nakba? what about the Jewish only settlements? roads? laws of return based on racial or religious basis? Do you want me to list you the reasons why Zionism is racism?

      • wondering jew
        March 1, 2010, 8:22 pm

        aparisian- You could list all the reasons you want. (Although they should be historically accurate for 1975, when there were no Israeli only roads, which have existed only since the first intifadeh). But the UN resolution in 1975 was a political decision and not a moral decision and you should not cite it unless you are willing to cite the other resolution that revoked it. That way you can avoid any accusations of lying.

      • aparisian
        March 1, 2010, 8:34 pm

        Oh yeah beside the roads, what else is not historically accurate?

      • wondering jew
        March 1, 2010, 8:48 pm

        aparisian- You listed approximately 5 reasons to regard Israel as racist- two of which were historically precarious- Israeli only roads (which didn’t exist in 1975) and the UN resolution which had been rescinded. I guess an accuracy rate of over 50% is considered good.

      • Donald
        March 1, 2010, 9:48 pm

        “Yes I hope Hamas will do more political alliances with Hezbollah and Iran, and i mean it. I m not fantasizing, i don’t see anymore why the hell the Pals are not allowed to have arms in order to protect themselves from the Israeli aggressions. Nuclear Iran will bring peace. How many dead on both sides? Nope its correct Donald, Norman Finklestein repeated it ”

        Hezbollah drove Israel out of Lebanon. Hezbollah and Hamas together aren’t going to bring a one state solution to Israel/Palestine through violence. It’s just not going to happen. It would be a bloodbath if they tried, and most of the blood would be that of Lebanese and Palestinians, unless you’re imagining Iranian nukes being used. But that would be the ultimate insanity.

        As for a nuclear Iran, I don’t do predictions, but it’s as likely it’ll give either the US or Israel the excuse to start a huge conflict. Maybe it won’t–I don’t know. On the whole, I think there are enough nukes in the world. That doesn’t mean I support the Western hysteria about this, but I also don’t think the road to a democratic secular Israel is by way of an Iranian nuclear weapon. I don’t like Witty’s apologetics, but there’s more than one way to be crazy.

        Witty’s comment about Hamas seemed fairly commonsensical to me. It’s one of the few areas where he sometimes does make sense. That is, it’s likely that many in Hamas want the best for their people, but it’s also quite possible there are militarists who want more fighting. There are militarist jackasses in most societies–it’s hardly likely Gaza is exempt. Agreeing with Witty on this one point doesn’t mean I agree with him on much else–he gets a lot of criticism around here and I probably contribute as much as anyone on that score.

      • VR
        March 1, 2010, 11:07 pm

        Every single colonial enterprise is racist, every one, every single one WJ, there are no exceptions. They employ racist rhetoric, every one in the book to dehumanize their colonial prey. Now, the leaders actually are not racist, they just employ the dumb asses that listen to their targeted bile, and are of such low mental aptitude that they embrace it in many different forms – from those with direct governmental involvement, to the colonial settlers, to the jackasses that sit on the periphery and throw money and moral support to it from afar, like you and RW.

        Yes I know – I see you, I know what you are your equally twisted compatriots are trying to do here. From the brain dead pontifications of RW, spewing slogans like you are told from page two of the hasbara manual – lets look at some of the choppy, slogan like bullshit – “critical thinking – security – good is possible – reforms – context – clarity – sincere inquiry – scholarship – candor – double standards – good hope – rational – evil, etc – and oh, by the way in the meantime why I do not support racist jargon, I like and support Israel’s racist actions against the Palestinians.”

      • aparisian
        March 2, 2010, 5:03 am

        Thats good enough to prove that Israel is a racist state, if you want a documentary about how laws are applied based on race go to link to english.aljazeera.net

      • aparisian
        March 2, 2010, 5:17 am

        Hezbollah drove Israel out of Lebanon. Hezbollah and Hamas together aren’t going to bring a one state solution to Israel/Palestine through violence. It’s just not going to happen. It would be a bloodbath if they tried, and most of the blood would be that of Lebanese and Palestinians, unless you’re imagining Iranian nukes being used. But that would be the ultimate insanity.

        Not necessarily Donald, in the last couple of years we saw that they both respected the truce with Israel, it was usually Israel who started the war.
        I am an anti-war guy but having nukes and weapons is not equivalent to death and destruction it can be and must be dissuasive. Israel doesnt understand the language of laws, look at what happened in 1973, Egyptians succeed to make peace with the ungodly created Zionists after small defeat and the use of oil as a weapon.

        Witty’s comment about Hamas seemed fairly commonsensical to me. It’s one of the few areas where he sometimes does make sense. That is, it’s likely that many in Hamas want the best for their people, but it’s also quite possible there are militarists who want more fighting. There are militarist jackasses in most societies–it’s hardly likely Gaza is exempt.
        Donald, are you trying to tell me here that Hamas is fighting Israel because they had this in Koran or some godly created books?
        This is what the ungodly created Hasbara people try to tell everyone, in the reality Hamas is fighting because their country was stolen by a bunch of colonial Europeans.
        Hamas is legitimate whether Israel/US like it or not. I blame Hamas for not being able to avoid Israeli civilians, i criticize as well their religious based ideology but they are resistance.

      • Donald
        March 2, 2010, 11:32 am

        I said nothing about the Koran. I said most societies contain idiot militarists. It’s stupid to romanticize “freedom fighters”–they always turn out to contain a certain number of murderers.

        link

        And not all Hamas victims are Israeli civilians either.

    • VR
      March 1, 2010, 5:27 pm

      You mean like you use the “we” in your posting RW? If you are going to imply that Mr. Finkelstein speaks for no one, than neither do you. Do you like it?

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 5:46 pm

        An odd response. Norman is using the term conspicuously, intentionally conspicuously.

        To ignore that usage, would be to ignore an important message in the title.

      • Chaos4700
        March 1, 2010, 7:12 pm

        Yes, Witty, let’s focus on titles and headlines instead of talking about what really happened in Gaza.

        Goebbels would be proud, after a fact.

  4. seafoid
    March 1, 2010, 4:28 pm

    Amazon.com suggests This time we went too far” in books when I type in “this time” yet when I hit enter there is no finkelstein book.

    Has this work too been denied tenure chez amazon ?

    • ahmed
      March 1, 2010, 5:51 pm

      Bizarre, same thing happened to me. His website lists
      orbooks.com as the place to buy it from

    • marc b.
      March 1, 2010, 7:09 pm

      Yes, I would like an explanation from Amazon for this horse shit. I spend hundreds of bucks a year through Amazon but will happily take my money elsewhere if there isn’t a reasonable explanation. Perhaps I’ll try writing Finkelstein directly.

      • MRW
        March 2, 2010, 5:11 am

        marc b. Let me know Amazon’s answer, because I will follow you. I spend a fortune with them.

      • marc b.
        March 2, 2010, 9:36 am

        MRW, I emailed Amazon and Finkelstein about the (un)availability of Finkelstein’s latest through Amazon. If I get a response from either, I’ll post.

      • marc b.
        March 2, 2010, 9:40 am

        B&N doesn’t seem to have it either, although like Amazon it carries all of his other titles.

      • marc b.
        March 2, 2010, 10:44 am

        Hello,

        I searched Amazon.com for the book ‘This Time We Went Too Far’ by Norman Finkelstein’s, and it looks like it isn’t currently available in retail or marketplace at our website.

        When you use our search engine to look for items, our system attempts to find the products you’re most likely to be looking for based on the words you entered. Our search methods go beyond simple keyword matching and may also be using information not visible on the search results page, including attributes provided by the publisher or manufacturer.

        For books, results may be based on the text of each book, not just its title. That’s why you may sometimes see results you weren’t expecting.

        NARROWING YOUR SEARCH
        If you are searching across all departments, you may want to narrow your search by clicking on one of the department names (such as “Books” or “Toys & Games”) shown on the left of the search-results page, or by choosing the department name from the drop-down menu next to the search box.

        Once you are searching within a department, you’ll be able to refine your results further by selecting the desired attributes of the products (e.g.: brand, size, etc.) using the links shown to the left of the search results.

        In some departments, you may also choose Advanced Search from the navigation bar at the top of the Product home page. Advanced Search allows you to choose which attributes of a product (title, author, etc.) to search for.

        I hope this information helps. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

        Did I solve your problem?

        No. You didn’t.

    • JSC
      March 2, 2010, 9:52 am

      The OR Books website itself says the book is “available only from OR Books directly, not in stores.” I think this is just a publishing tactic; their other book, Going Rouge, was eventually released to Amazon and other outlets.

      • marc b.
        March 2, 2010, 10:46 am

        Thanks, JSC. Not a brilliant strategy for wide dissemination of the book, but the market rules.

  5. Richard Witty
    March 1, 2010, 7:21 pm

    Norman stimulates strong feelings. He likes that apparently.

    It must be hard on him.

    • Chaos4700
      March 1, 2010, 7:26 pm

      Witty: “IGNORE THE PALESTINIANS! IGNORE THEM!”

      You’re so transparent. Do you think we can’t tell what you’re trying to do with this debate, by swinging this conversation away from what Finkelstein wrote about to discussing (or in your case, attacking) the man himself?

      • Richard Witty
        March 1, 2010, 7:31 pm

        The opposite. Help the Palestinians. Find a practical way.

        Change Israeli consciousness.

        Reconcile. Live and let live.

      • Chaos4700
        March 1, 2010, 7:35 pm

        If you really believed that you would be the first one up there, demanding sanctions until Israel stopped murdering Palestinians and stealing their land. You’d be right there behind honoring Right of Return for ethnically cleansed Palestinians with at least as much vigor as for dilettante Jews from Russia or Europe or the US.

        You aren’t.

        You’re a prevaricating hypocrite, and some day in the future, Jews are going to look back on people like you with the same horror that Germans today look back at the Nazis.

      • aparisian
        March 1, 2010, 7:40 pm

        The “universal humanist”!

      • Shingo
        March 2, 2010, 7:39 am

        “‘Change Israeli consciousness”

        How is that supposed to happen Witty? Lighting candles, and incense sticks and making secret afforimations? If that’s your approach, it’s not working. Israel’s consciousness is becomming more extreme and more isolationist.

        I suggest we try BDS.

      • Richard Witty
        March 2, 2010, 7:47 am

        The threat of BDS is one of the very critical motivators of the right-ward swing of the Israeli electorate, in spite of practical recognitions that Palestinian citizenry is there permanently, and are fully and respectable human beings, peers.

        Consciousness changes by safe, caring, candid discussion.

        BDS is force. Your frustration, more than your good judgment.

      • Shingo
        March 2, 2010, 7:53 am

        “Consciousness changes by safe, caring, candid discussion.

        BDS is force. Your frustration, more than your good judgment. ”

        So let me get this straight Witty.

        You advocate the bllckade of Gaza but oppose BDS, thus you:

        1) recommend safe, caring, candid discussion for Israel
        2) force against the Palestinians.

        And you wonder why you are considered such a shameless hypocrite?

      • Richard Witty
        March 2, 2010, 8:13 am

        You are shifting topics.

        You stated that you prefer BDS as a means to change Israelis consciousness, with the implication that that will suggest to them to reform their policies and behaviors, rather than convince them that they are more isolated and reactive.

        Its a question of what is the most effective means to realize a desired end, with also the question of what is the desired end.

        My desired end is reconciliation, which is a combination of the assertion of the validity and humanness of both communities. I don’t see the effort isolate Israel through BDS as productive towards that end.

        I think the work is more difficult, perhaps uncomfortable for a dissenter, which is to respect the other, and convince them that of the humanity of Palestinians, and the prospect of safety in reconciling and pursuing democracy fully, though still in national jurisdictions.

      • Chaos4700
        March 2, 2010, 8:31 am

        Oh, we are shifting topics? This coming from the guy who refuses to acknowledge the facts on the ground, crimes against anyone if they have the misfortune of being Palestinian, and who wants to whine about the headlines and the book titles.

        You don’t give two shits about the Palestinians, Witty. You’ve already said you support the denial of right of return for them — and meanwhile you and your children get to take summer vacations to the same land they were ethnically cleansed from. You’re a hypocrite.

      • aparisian
        March 2, 2010, 9:14 am

        Witty, Fatah in the west bank conducted such policy “Consciousness changes by safe, caring, candid discussion.” Can you tell me how they were honoured? Israel kept stealing more lands and evicting Pals from their homes and nothing achieved. Witty you

      • Richard Witty
        March 2, 2010, 11:28 am

        A lot has been achieved and is in process, mostly as a result of Palestinians’ desire for self-governance.

        I strongly dislike the current Israeli government, and wish that a more peace-seeking government took its place.

        I am an advocate for the green line as basis of negotiation, with a preference that Palestine achieve MORE territory than in the original armistice. But, that that occur by negotiation, not by terror.

        It won’t happen with Netanyahu as prime minister, not because of his politics, but because of his slipperiness.

        You are under severe illusions if you think that BDS will induce the likud government to negotiate with Hamas for example.

      • aparisian
        March 2, 2010, 11:35 am

        Whats a lot for you? you mean more settlements and houses demolitions?

        The terror is all Israel and Zionism.

        Nope BDS will delegitimatise apartheid Israel, and push Zionists to stop their ambitions on Palestine, you know better than anyone here, that Zionists are big liars, all they try to achieve here is to build Yretz Israel.

      • Chaos4700
        March 2, 2010, 11:49 am

        Witty, tell us which Israeli government you have liked? Name names. Tell us a specific Prime Minister whose policies you approved of, and why.

      • Shingo
        March 2, 2010, 3:13 pm

        “A lot has been achieved and is in process, mostly as a result of Palestinians’ desire for self-governance.”

        What has been achieved that uyou are so proud of Witty?

        “I am an advocate for the green line as basis of negotiation, with a preference that Palestine achieve MORE territory than in the original armistice”

        Buy you know that Israel will never negotiate this arrangement. This is so ypicval of you Witty. You claim to support the pipedreams, but insist that onyl the status quo will achieve them. All we need to do is sit out out, be patient, and all the pieces will fall into place right Witty? The last 60 years were just what, an anaomally?

        “It won’t happen with Netanyahu as prime minister, not because of his politics, but because of his slipperiness.”

        The only politician who wasn’t slippery was Rabin, and Israel showed what happens to non slipperty policians.

        “You are under severe illusions if you think that BDS will induce the likud government to negotiate with Hamas for example. ”

        How do you know unless you try it Witty? Delusion is insisting that we contionued along the path of the last 60 years, and insist it will produce a different outcome.

        In fact, that’s the definition of insanity.

    • VR
      March 1, 2010, 11:18 pm

      “Norman stimulates strong feelings. He likes that apparently.

      It must be hard on him.”

      But you are not “stimulated” RW, it is impossible to stimulate the dead.

  6. VR
    March 1, 2010, 11:33 pm

    “…help…practical way…Israeli consciousness…Reconcile…Live and let live…” See my post March 1, 2010 at 11:07 pm for further identification. Repeat after me – nam myoho renge kyo. Simply –

    HOW CAN I DENY WHAT I SEE WITH MY EYES?

  7. Rehmat
    March 2, 2010, 6:08 am

    On June 1, 1947, when Mahatma Gandhi in response to the question, “What do you feel is the most acceptable solution to the Palestinian problem?” – had replied: “The abandonment wholly by the Jews of terrorism and other forms of violence” – quoted in Dr. Norman Finkelstein’s new book This Time We Went Too Far.

    A two-days (Feb. 27-28) International Conference on National and Islamic Solidarity for the Future of Palestine concluded on February 28 at Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran. Ten Palestininian Resistant leaders including Khaled Meshaal (Hamas), Ramadan Abdullah Shallah (Islamic Jihad), Ahmed Jibril (PFLP) and a number of Palestinian resistance figures and Iranian government ministers and clerics attended the conference. Iranian President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki addressed the conference while Iran’s Spiritual Leader, Ayatullah Ali Khamenei during a meeting with the leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PFLP called for the unity amongst various Palestinian factions to fight their common enemy, the Zionist-regime in the occupied Palestine.

    Iranian President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his address at the conference on Sunday blasted the Zionist regime’s inhuman crimes and said that era of the Zionist-regime and its allies is inching towards an end: “Your (ZOGs) time is over. You should respect the Palestinian people. You have no repute among the regional nations. You should recognize the regional nations are wise. The Zionist-regime will face no other fate than collapse if it continues its aggression.”

    Ahmadinejad emphsized that the Zionist-regime is on the decline and reached an impasse, calling on the Palestinians and regional nations to strenghten their unity to achieve victory over the Zionist-regime: “Unity and readiness of Palestinian people are the only way to control this evil demon (Zionist-regime) and send it to the bottom of hell”.

    The leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and PFLP paid a visit to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, the ultimate authority for the protection of Islamic Revolution in Iran on February 27, 2010. The Leader expressing his dismay at the Arab states’ approach to the issue of Palestine who regard it an ‘Arab issue’ but when it comes to helping Palestinian, they shun their responsiblites towards the Palestinians’ aspirations of recovering their stolen land. The Leader told the Resistance leaders: “Supporting Palestine is not a political tactics or strategy, but something of ideological value to the Islamic Republic and the nation as evidenced by Quds Day rallies”. The Leader also pointed out the futility of Palestinian compromise talks and stated: “those who seek compromise and abandon resistance, which is the only way to save the Quds and Palestine, are destined to humiliation”.

    Khaled Meshaal told the Leader: “Today, the resistance front, with the blessing of Allah and the brave stance of Islamic Republic of Iran earned several victories against the Zionist-regime which were impossible in the past”.

    Ahmed Jibril criticized PA chief Mahmoud Abbas for siding with the Zionist entity during the 23-day Gaza invasion: “Mahmoud abbas was waiting for Gaza to fall into the hands of the Zionist so that he and his allies can move back into Gaza”.

    Iran’s Majlis Speaker, Ali Larjani, told the conference that Iranian nation will always stand on the side of the Palestinian people. He pointed out that the Zionist-regime cannot survive without the active support of the US. He said that the US and Israel have been trying to portrait their “modern savagery” as peace overtures. He criticized the West for their chanting of democracy while not accepting Hamas victory in the fair 2006 elections.

    I hope Ali Larjani knows the reason why Zionist Occupied Governments prefer to deal with Fatah than Hamas – because it was US Secretary of States, Dean Rusk who urged Yasir Arafat in 1962 to establish a secularist-nationalist resistance organization (Fatah) to pre-empt the possible emergence of an Islamic resistance which could unite Muslim world behind Palestinian cause and defeat the Zionist-regime. Yasir Arafat had admitted his relationship with Dean Rusk in his biography written by Allan Hart. When Hamas took control of the intelligence department, it discovered a treasure trove of document revealing the close relationship between Fatah and the Zionists. Fatah has been acting as a spy agency for the Zionists.

    Iran’s Intelligence Minister, Heydar Moslehi, suggested to the participants of the conference that resistance movements should launch an all-out media and internet campaign to highlight the Zionist-regime’s atrocities in the occupied territories.

    2010 International Conference on Palestine
    link to rehmat1.wordpress.com

    • Richard Witty
      March 2, 2010, 6:49 am

      War advocated. Brilliant voice of Salaam.

      • aparisian
        March 2, 2010, 6:50 am

        Wars is the only language Israel comprehend.

      • Richard Witty
        March 2, 2010, 6:56 am

        Sadly,
        You two are arguing the neo-conservative point.

      • aparisian
        March 2, 2010, 6:58 am

        Witty i think you didnt understand what i said “I said sadly Wars is the only language Israel comprehend” that doesnt mean i m advocating military wars against it. I m more into BDS and non violent actions which you don’t support either!

      • Richard Witty
        March 2, 2010, 6:58 am

        Not a dispute to be reconciled, but a civilizational confrontation.

      • aparisian
        March 2, 2010, 7:01 am

        So BDS is not civilizational confrontation?

      • Chaos4700
        March 2, 2010, 8:32 am

        Remind us again whether you endorsed the use of military force against Gaza, Witty?

  8. jimby
    March 2, 2010, 7:34 am

    I don’t understand why anyone bothers with witty anymore. It’s a waste of time. All he does is an attempt to confuse any direct comment. He eats away at the fringes with phony concepts.

    • Richard Witty
      March 2, 2010, 7:40 am

      Phony concepts like aversion to war, like reconciliation of disputes, like full civil rights for citizens of Israel and of Palestine (including minorities).

      • Chaos4700
        March 2, 2010, 8:34 am

        You aren’t averse to war, Witty. You supported Israel’s use of military force on Gaza, and you advocate against the Palestinian’s internationally recognized right of return.

        You’re are a phony, Witty. You are nothing that you claim to be. It’s a matter of record at this point.

      • Shingo
        March 2, 2010, 3:15 pm

        “Phony concepts like aversion to war, like reconciliation of disputes, like full civil rights for citizens of Israel and of Palestine (including minorities). ”

        They are phony when you insist that maintaining the status quo, which has allowed all of the concepts to be violated, will miraculously produce the opposite effect.

    • JSC
      March 2, 2010, 9:57 am

      To play devil’s advocate, do you guys really want a comments section where everyone agrees except for two or three dumb trolls? I’m not saying agree with Mr. Witty, just that I’d rather see debate here rather than groupthink (even if I agree with the majority).

      • Chaos4700
        March 2, 2010, 10:23 am

        Plenty of that went on before Witty came back. And some of the banter between us on the same side can get pretty heated — Mooser and Citizen comes to mind. I’ve argued with several others before at many points: Citizen, Cliff, potsherd and Bruce.

        The problem here is Witty sucks all of the oxygen out of the room. Scroll down this topic — what percent of posts here are Witty’s? What percentage of thread starters, especially?

        He steals screen space on this blog the way a West Bank settler steals land and water from a Palestinian family.

      • potsherd
        March 2, 2010, 10:44 am

        Only because people respond to him.

      • Chaos4700
        March 2, 2010, 11:47 am

        Dude, he starts new topics compulsively. If you ignore him, he will simple start new topics on top of new topics. Like the one right below this one?

        Problems don’t go away if you ignore them.

      • aparisian
        March 2, 2010, 10:47 am

        See my debate with Donald above JSC ! The dumb trolls are important to show us how cruel Zionism is.

  9. Richard Witty
    March 2, 2010, 8:37 am

    “From each trip I invariably carry away a handful of stark images that I fix in my mind’s eye to dispel the occasional hesitations about staying the course. ”

    Norman is speaking about keeping his commitment to the Palestinians alive, to never forget that they are human beings deserving a decent life, and to never lax on active solidarity with resistance “by any means necessary” (including civil argument).

    It is the basis of determination, to keep ones “eye on the prize”.

    My question is “what is the prize?” factually.

    Norman has spoken about practical support for a two-state approach at the green line (there is no chance that Israel will give up the Jewish portion of the old city of Jerusalem, green line or not).

    That would imply that the “prize” is some status of co-existance, peaceful rather than aggressive, based on mutual recognition and mutual respect hopefully.

    He states that both Haniyeh and Meshal support a long-term hudna with Israel, not recognition of even Israel as a jurisdictional state, and that the future will bring what the future brings. But, he ignores their clarifications that they will never recognize Israel, and that they will never compromise their right to active resistance to realize a Palestine that is Islamic.

    So, I don’t get what prize he is advocating for.

    • Chaos4700
      March 2, 2010, 8:43 am

      So, I don’t get what prize he is advocating for.

      Israel slaughters 300 children in less than a month and Witty can’t understand why people — JEWISH people, particularly — are rallying against Israel.

      That’s very demonstrative, isn’t it?

    • Shingo
      March 2, 2010, 3:03 pm

      “It is the basis of determination, to keep ones “eye on the prize”.”

      Witty, you keep referrign to to the prize with the fraudulent assumption that your idea of thr proze is the same as everyone else’s, whic is clearly not the case.

      Our idea of the prie is an independent, sovereign, Palestinians state with fuill rights. Your idea of the prize is how to get Israel to avoid justice.

  10. Chaos4700
    March 2, 2010, 8:39 am

    If you ignore Witty, he will simple spam up the blog with hasbara and then link to his cronies to show how he “won” the argument. He isn’t going to go away if you ignore him.

    Anyway, notice how he only comes on the safe topics? He only came here to attack Finkelstein! He’s not even here to discuss the catastrophe that the Gazans are living — Witty doesn’t care. The Palestinians could all just jump into the sea (or be pushed there by the “most moral army in the world”) and Witty doesn’t care. Not one iota. Any time he speaks about Israeli crimes at all, it’s to offer half-hearted justifications of them.

    As degrading as it is to have to keep putting up with his B.S., Witty is the most articulate salesperson the Zionist enterprise has to offer. The fact that we can (and have to) run circles around him is demonstrative to the larger viewing audience.

  11. seafoid
    March 2, 2010, 4:27 pm

    Richard Witty March 2, 2010 at 7:47 am

    “The threat of BDS is one of the very critical motivators of the right-ward swing of the Israeli electorate, in spite of practical recognitions that Palestinian citizenry is there permanently, and are fully and respectable human beings, peers.”

    Bullshit. Israeli voters have been voting for torture of Palestinians for the last 42 years. BDS is neither here nor there.

    If Israeli voters respected the Palestinians as humans they wouldn’t send their kids to run the occupation and sit behind flash sunglasses at checkpoints humiliating elderly Arabs like they own the place.

    If Israelis respected the Palestinians as humans they’d give them THE VOTE. they will eventually but they will have to be dragged screaming to the decision. Via BDS.

    i Consciousness changes by safe, caring, candid discussion.

    Israel only knows violence when it comes to the Palestinians. As Gideon Levy says, Israelis are great people. They would help an old lady across the road. But they know different rules apply for the Palestinians. That’s Zionism in a nutshell.

    i BDS is force. Your frustration, more than your good judgment.

    BDS is money. The only language that will ultimately matter to Israel. The occupation wouldn’t ever have started if it were lossmaking. Many Israeli Jews make money and comfortable lives out of cruelty to Palestinians. That’s the dynamic of Yesha.

  12. Adam Shoop | linked to this.

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