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New School should honor its tradition by inviting Finkelstein, who’s actually been to Gaza, to Goldstone panel

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Next Tuesday, the New School in New York is holding a forum on the Goldstone report (press release below). I sense that there’s going to be some Goldstone-bashing and equivocation: "3 experts will reflect on the flaws and achievements of the report…"

Notice that flaws is the first word. Hmmm. My big question about this panel: How many of them have actually been to the place they’ll be talking about: Gaza?

The three panelists include a representative of B’Tselem, which has been somewhat critical of the report, and two people associated with Human Rights Watch, which did excellent work on the Gaza war.

No one from the National Lawyers Guild, which went further than Goldstone. No one from the Arab League report, which also went further.

My vote: I think they should invite Norman Finkelstein to participate in this "critical discussion." Finkelstein would surely support Goldstone’s conclusions and extend them. He has standing: He’s about to publish a book on the Gaza war, he knows all the human rights reports backward and forwards, he’s been to Gaza and observed the conditions–I heard him talking about Israel as a vandal state as we went through the rubble of Gaza’s former industrial zone– and by the way he’s for the two-state solution and against the right of return (i.e., a lot of Zionists should be reaching out to this guy right now).

One other thing: Finkelstein is an internationally-known scholar who has been punished/exiled by American institutions that trashed the idea of intellectual freedom. The New School came about as a refuge for European scholars who were being ethnically cleansed by fascism, and a refuge for American scholars pursued by nationalists post WWI. The New School would honor this great tradition by berthing the brave and prickly son of Brooklyn.

Promo for the event after the jump:

Debating the Goldstone Report
A critical discussion

6 pm, Tuesday February 9, 2010
Wollman Hall, The New School
5th Floor, 65 West 11th Street, NY, NY

The September 2009 UN-sponsored report by Richard Goldstone concerning the
Gaza conflict has generated considerable controversy. Were war crimes
committed? What are the limits of self-defense?

In this forum, 3 experts will reflect on the flaws and achievements of
the report and on the difficulties of human rights fact finding in an
intensely politicized and polemicized conflict.


David Kretzmer, Professor Emeritus at the Hebrew University Faculty of
Law and Chair of the Board of Directors of B’Tselem, The Israeli Information
Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

Ruti Teitel, Ernst C. Stiefel Professor of Comparative Law at New York
Law School and Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics

Fred Abrahams, Senior Emergencies Researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Moderated by Nehal Bhuta, Assistant Professor, The New School Graduate
Program in International Affairs

An event sponsored by the New School Graduate Program in International Affairs

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