Finkelstein goes to Syracuse and the opposition stays home

Israel/Palestine
on 18 Comments

After the attempt the previous week to cancel Josh Ruebner’s speaking engagement (author of SHATTERED HOPES) by concerned Syracuse University faculty, I expected similar push back for Finkelstein’s scheduled presentation on April 23, 2015, about the Gaza assault of last summer. The evening before Ruebner was to speak, the Dean of the Maxwell School received a letter signed by several professors,  indignant that Ruebner was given venue and honorarium to present his racist diatribe.  The audience was expected to include visiting middle-eastern scholars, activists, and journalists, SU students, and the public, who would be unfairly swayed by hearing a one-sided, hate-filled dissertation on events in Israel.  The professors’ attempt to silence were unsuccessful and Josh gave an insightful presentation.  Only a couple of the dissenters attended, and one made a try at a challenge which fell flat and was easily parlayed by the speaker.

I attended Dr Norman Finkelstein’s event Thursday afternoon, pad in  hand, ready to record the rantings of the dissenters – those champions of scholarly discourse, moral outrage, and the policies of the government and people of Israel.  
Who could stay home when this self-hating, Jewish-people-hating, delusional ex-professor would address malleable ears?  Selfishly, I eagerly anticipated hearing the challenges of those who must rise to counter Norm’s claims. Sadly, with a couple of exceptions, those standing by Israel’s policies chose to stay away.  
Finkelstein delivered his talk with factual details about human rights reports, pertinent historical background on the conflict, and death, injury, and property damage statistics from Israel’s latest assaults on Gaza.  As in the past, I was inspired by Dr Finkelstein’s unwavering moral compass. which, like his mother’s, prevents him from the taking the easy path in life away from this tortuous issue.  Afterward, he asked for comments/questions from those who were most angered by his presentation.  Sadly though, with a couple of exceptions, those who would have provided us a certain amount of entertainment afforded by a NF challenge, chose to stay away.  

During Q & A, I asked Dr Finkelstein about the silencing on college campuses and he answered that it is getting so easy to defend the case for Palestine and impossible to defend Israel.   He mentioned that there is an increase in the number of “Open Hillels” which allow debate.  And while this would seem to indicate a positive turn, the Israel defenders are turning to more ugly methods including the discrediting, bullying, and silencing of those who would defend the human rights and self-determination of Palestinians.  
For myself, whose activism is around educating on the issue, it is becoming increasingly a “preaching to the choir” scenario at many of our events. But on May 12, I’m hosting Alison Weir (If Americans Knew) in my quaint little village of Cazenovia, New York, and expect we’ll raise some eyebrows with an uninitiated audience.  Hopefully the “heroes” of our university system can not touch us at the public library.
About Pat Carmeli

Pat Carmeli lived in Israel 12 years and is married to a sabra. She lives in Cazenovia, N.Y. and is very involved in conflict resolution and the movement for freedom for Palestinians. She is a founding member of CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel

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18 Responses

  1. amigo
    April 26, 2015, 3:51 pm

    And I thought the zionists did not believe in boycotts.

    Seriously though, they do sound like they are on the run or as the good Professor says,they are resorting to dirtier tactics.Fascism is alive and growing in the zionist camp.

  2. Kathleen
    April 26, 2015, 6:24 pm

    “As in the past, I was inspired by the man’s unwavering moral compass” Have so respected this man for decades. He was out on the front lines of this issue when it was NOT easy. He took serious personal hits from those who oppose facts. His books, his website, debates with Dershowitz at Democracy Now all worthwhile to spend time reading and watching.

    Would be interesting if the Mondo crew set up an interview with Vanessa Redgrave who was out on the front lines of this issue back in the mid 70’s. How her public stances on this issue affected her acting career, etc. She has a series of interviews on line about this conflict

  3. pabelmont
    April 26, 2015, 7:06 pm

    “self-hating, Jewish-people-hating” — well, which is it? “Self-hating” was always a weird locution, absurd on its face, maybe a power-play by whoever said it (“Look, I can mouth garbage at this guy, I am really powerful and he is really not”). On the other hand, “Jewish-people-hating” makes perfect sense — it is part of the definition of “antsemitic”. It also was rather wierd when applied to self-identifying Jews, but who ever require logic of Zionists?

    It was always a shorthand for this:

    It is an invariable rule among the Jews I hang out with that a Jew (in our group) is the loyal servant of “The Jewish People” as represented by Israel and never, never, never says a cross word about Israel. we Jews watch each other’s back. AND YOU DO NOT, YOU DISLOYAL CUR.

    But to say it that way reveals that there is something rather arbitrary going on: that a group that a person does not declare himself a part (Jewish people as represented by Israel) of can demand his loyalty and damn him if he fails to give it. so of course, the long version is never given, just the short-hand (“self-hating”).

    • Mooser
      April 26, 2015, 7:43 pm

      “It was always a shorthand for this:”

      Excuse me, is the text in the block which follows a quote? I was unable to find it the article, nor do I see a link. If I need new glasses I might as well know about it.

    • JWalters
      April 26, 2015, 8:08 pm

      Finkelstein is clearly a “self-respecting” Jew, and in no way “self-hating”. A person who hates himself is weak at the core as a result. Only the inner strength that comes from a reality-based self-respect enables someone to stand up to the enormous social pressures Finkelstein has withstood.

      The “self-hating Jew” charge is pure garbage, parroted by the spineless.

      • ziusudra
        April 27, 2015, 3:24 am

        Greetings JWalters,
        Finkelstein is so unique that he needs no label.
        He’s an adorable sweet man with manifested menschkeit, basta.
        We have those among us that simply must apply labels.
        With labels they think , they have one over one by applying one.
        Ox paddies.
        Any Jew or non Jew simply need conjure up the Image of Finkelstein & Dershowitz & see, i needn’t tell you what to think, you sense the difference.
        ziusudra
        PS E. A. Poe once quipped: take on the facial expression of one looking at you, & you’ll know what he’s thinking (of you!)

  4. pabelmont
    April 26, 2015, 8:49 pm

    Mooser: It was in here, in the essay:

    I attended Dr Norman Finkelstein’s event Thursday afternoon, pad in hand, ready to record the rantings of the dissenters – those champions of scholarly discourse, moral outrage, and the policies of the government and people of Israel.

    Who could stay home when this self-hating, Jewish-people-hating, delusional ex-professor would address malleable ears? Selfishly, I eagerly anticipated hearing the challenges of those who must rise to counter Norm’s claims. Sadly, with a couple of exceptions, those standing by Israel’s policies chose to stay away.

    • Mooser
      April 27, 2015, 6:37 pm

      “Mooser: It was in here, in the essay:”

      Thank, you, very much. I thought, “okay, pabelmont just failed to include quote marks for the blocked text beginning: “It is an invariable rule among…” But I couldn’t find it. And I thought I looked.
      Okay, my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I’ll use the ‘find on page’ function, which will highlight what I’m looking for, from now on. Thanks for responding.

  5. Sycamores
    April 27, 2015, 12:02 am

    great video

    Mr Norman Finkelstein was in fine form. couldn’t help smiling at his jokes and near the end you could see why dissenters might be afraid to attend his presentation.

    Only a couple of the dissenters attended, and one made a try at a challenge which fell flat and was easily parlayed by the speaker.

    when he said “excuse me sir! EXCUSE ME SIR!” i knew that guy was in for it.

  6. Lillian Rosengarten
    April 27, 2015, 11:20 am

    Hi Pat,
    So nice to read your article. Write to me at [email protected]
    Solidarity and love,
    Lillan

  7. RockyMissouri
    April 27, 2015, 11:34 am

    Thank you for a marvelous interview with someone I greatly respect.
    I look forward to your conversation with Alison Weir. That is very exciting.

  8. Kay24
    April 27, 2015, 11:36 am

    Interesting developments, but how far will the White House go or not go? I mean, haven’t we seen them bend over backwards for the zionist nation?

    ‘US will find it hard to support Israel at UN’

    Under-Secretary of State Wendy Sherman warns Israel that the US will find it difficult to block international initiatives on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict if the new government does not show that it is committed to the two-state solution.

    Sherman was speaking at a conference of the Reform Movement in Washington, DC, according to Haaretz. She said the US always supported Israel in the international arena and will continue to do so, but added that during the campaign comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised questions regarding his commitment to the two-state solution.

    Sherman’s comments on Monday carried a veiled threat that if Israel does not show in some manifest way its commitment to the two-state solution, it may lose US support at the UN.”

    The Times of Israel

    • amigo
      April 27, 2015, 12:18 pm

      “Sherman’s comments on Monday carried a veiled threat that if Israel does not show in some manifest way its commitment to the two-state solution, it may lose US support at the UN.” -” Kay 24

      Never mind his words.Loot at his actions for as long as he has been pm.More and more houses are destroyed to make room for zionist squatters.More and more illegal tenders are created on a daily basis.Obama and co need to focus on Israel,s actions.

      • Kay24
        April 27, 2015, 5:53 pm

        I agree. It seems the WH does not have to look far to find the atrocities and arrogant actions by Israel. How many illegal settlements have gone up since Obama took office? They cannot be as naive as they sound. This is a never ending suffering caused by the zionist state.

  9. pabelmont
    April 27, 2015, 12:36 pm

    just watched the video. NF is magnificent when he analyzes anything, and, here, especially when he analyzes (1:00 – 1:22 ?) the ‘choices’ that international law as interpreted by HRW and AU and I suppose Israel and USA allow Gazans: the choice between dying slowly and dying immediately, because their fighters are restricted to fight ONLY from unpopulated places in that most densely populated place AND are not allowed to fire into Israel any weapons available to them (such as the ‘enhanced firecrackers’ which both Israel and Hamas, each for its own propagandistic reason, call ‘rockets’ ; and mortar shells) because these weapons cannot be aimed and thus impermissibly endanger Israeli civilians. It was a powerful analysis, and I was left breathless. (BTW, is Israel allowed to fire mortar shells?)

    • eljay
      April 27, 2015, 12:41 pm

      || pabelmont: NF is magnificent when he analyzes … the ‘choices’ that international law as interpreted by HRW and AU and I suppose Israel and USA allow Gazans: the choice between dying slowly and dying immediately, because their fighters are restricted to fight ONLY from unpopulated places in that most densely populated place AND are not allowed to fire into Israel any weapons available to them … ||

      It’s sort of like giving the victim chained in the rapist’s basement a choice between:
      – using the palm of her hand to slap the rapist; and
      – lying back and enjoying it.

      (Hevven forbid that the victim should harm the rapist…even as he continues to keep her chained in his basement and to rape her!)

      Meanwhile, the rapist is permitted to use his fists and brass knuckles on her.

      Zio-supremacists would refer to this as “nuances”…or maybe “morality”. Or maybe both.

  10. Curatica
    April 27, 2015, 9:23 pm

    The “morally outrageous” people will not come and listen to Prof. Finkelstein. He and they are two immiscible elements. And they will always find seemingly reasonable grounds for defending the indefensible, notwithstanding the truth and notwithstanding the eloquence of this honest man and articulate academic.

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