In recent years, one of the worst segments of the huge Destroy-Israel
Lobby operates on behalf of the unemployed ex-faculty member Norman
Finkelstein. You may recall that DePaul
University last year joined the growing list of academic institutions in which
the anti-Semitic hate-mongerer Finkelstein has gotten himself fired, and Finkelstein
has been unemployed ever since. The
Finkelstein Lobby refused to surrender to common sense since then, and in fact recently
tried, unsuccessfully, once again to get its guru of terrorism hired at yet
Norman Finkelstein is a leading anti-Semite and Holocaust mocker and
trivializer. In spite of having been
born to Jewish parents, he tried to build an academic career on turning out
anti-Jewish hate, misrepresented as "scholarship." The New
York Times dismissed Finkelstein's scribblings as comparable to the czarist
forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Finkelstein is
renowned not only for smearing and obscene mocking of Holocaust survivors, but
also for his obsessive vulgarity and juvenile insulting of serious academics. He is also notorious for his devoted service on behalf of
Hezbollah and Islamofascism.
Finkelstein has proclaimed Holocaust denier
David Irving (who insists there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz) a great
historian and his role model. Finkelstein's
personal web site is a collection of hate and bigotry, including death threats
and pornographic cartoons, as well as countless smug denunciations of all
Holocaust survivors, whom he accuses of stealing money from Germany and victimizing
the Germans. Finkelstein's
"books" have been dismissed as pseudo-scholarship by nearly every
serious historian to review them. He
maintains the most intimate ties with Holocaust Deniers and he is himself
considered by the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and many
others to be a Holocaust Denier.
The Finkelstein Lobby, which operates on his behalf, is a hodgepodge of
anti-Semites, including Middle East jihadniks, ranging from David Duke and the
Holocaust Deniers on the ultra-right to the Neo-Stalinist cheerleaders of the
jihad in Counterpunch on the left.
The Finkelstein lobby is as devoted to historical revisionism when it
comes to the career of its hero as Finkelstein himself is devoted to Holocaust
Destroy-Israel Lobby seeks to attribute Finkelstein's career failure to the
all-but-nonexistent "Israel Lobby," while overlooking the bizarre
alliance of hatred and bigotry comprising the Finkelstein Lobby.
Finkelstein apologists run about the globe and
the cyber-world proclaiming that Finkelstein was the "victim" of a nefarious
sinister conspiracy. They claim a
sinister cabal of Jews is suppressing academic freedom in America and
elsewhere, denying freedom of speech to critics of Israel.
The "narrative" of the firing of
Finkelstein by his lobby is maliciously wrong about what actually happened on
each and every point. Such a collection
of deliberate disinformation would be hard to find anywhere else. Finkelstein was fired not only by DePaul, but
by three schools in the New York area before that – all for the same reason – a
complete lack of serious scholarship and academic publications. Such a record makes clear that Finkelstein is
not a scholar at all, but a propagandist.
The fact that he published books hardly makes him a scholar or academic
researcher. David Irving, the notorious
British pseudo-historian and Holocaust Denier, has published books, as have
David Duke, and Alexander Cockburn.
Publishers choose which books to publish based on their commercial
potential, and Bash-the-Jews books always sell well. No serious academic institution would count
the sort of hate propaganda peddled by Finkelstein as research or
scholarship. That of course does not
mean that unserious institutions are reluctant to hire hate propagandists from
the Left as academics.
that is really the lesson of the Finkelstein saga at DePaul. That university decided to get serious about
enforcing academic standards and tests of academic excellence when
Finkelstein's apologists decided to try to get him tenure there. Finkelstein was fired because he has no academic
credentials, with not a single article published in a bona fide academic
journal. Indeed, he was hired in the
first place by the entrenched far Left at DePaul University,
which has managed to hornswaggle the administration there into granting other
pseudo-academic leftists tenure. But
Finkelstein's career of vulgar hate and anti-Semitism had drawn too much
attention to be ignored by university leaders.
More generally, the problem in American
academia is not suppression of academic freedom by some imaginary Israel Lobby,
but rather the orchestration of campaigns of support on behalf of incompetent
far-leftist pseudo-scholars as acts of solidarity by the entrenched Campus
Tenured Left. Those campaigns have
resulted in charlatans and buffoons who do little more than mouth anti-American
and anti-Israel slogans getting hired and promoted, often in spite of their
having no serious academic accomplishments whatsoever. The Anti-Israel Lobby is the enemy of
academic excellence and plays a destructive role in this attempt at subverting
American academic standards.
The bulk of the outside interference in
Finkelstein's promotion proceedings was by his supporters, not his detractors. A media myth has arisen about the role of
Alan Dershowitz in all that, but Dershowitz merely expressed his well-documented
opinion when it was solicited by DePaul.
The Left recruited Israel-hating propagandists at other universities to
come to the aid of Finkelstein and pressured DePaul to give him tenure. In one of the worst cases of academic
prostitution in recent years, Ian Lustick from the University of Pennsylvania
and the anti-Israel propagandist Avi Shlaim from Oxford wrote sycophantic letters of
recommendation on Finkelstein's behalf, hailing his
"scholarship." Noam Chomsky
also pitched in, as did even a few Israeli self-hating leftist extremists.
narrative of Finkelstein's firing by DePaul as told by the Finkelstein Lobby is
pure fiction. Finkelstein's apologists
claim he fell victim to academic politicization. But the simple truth is that Finkelstein was
one of the country's most obvious beneficiaries of academic
politicization and scholarly prostitution, and he would never have been hired at
DePaul without it. The lobby on behalf
of Finkelstein did inadvertently succeed in one thing - drawing light to the
fact that academia is crawling with pseudo-scholarly extremists who have made a
career out of ladling out political advocacy and extremist agitprop. The
recruitment of political support on behalf of such characters demonstrates how
dishonest and unscrupulous are the depths to which the Bash-Israel Lobby is
willing to sink.
That brings us to the latest developments
in the continuing Finkelstein mythology.
Since getting booted out of DePaul in the summer of 2007, Finkelstein
has been unemployed, although he continues to travel the speaking circuit,
offering his opinions to Hezbollah terrorists, jihadists of all stripes, and others. New York Magazine reports
that he is living in a dusty rent-controlled basement tenement owned by his
parents near Coney Island. But the newest campaign on his behalf by his
groupies has consisted of an attempt to get him hired
in Northridge, near Los Angeles.
Most of the initiative to get Finkelstein
a new job at CSUN seems to have come from a far-leftist professor of math
there, one David Klein. He has a track record of goofiness, such as claiming that Big
Business wants to prevent oppressed minorities from learning math and that the LA Board of
Education wants to suppress thinking and debate in schools.
After Finkelstein was evicted by DePaul,
Klein decided to rush to his rescue. Whether
Klein was motivated by mere stupidity, actually believing that Finkelstein is a
serious scholar fired because of Zionist pressure, or something far more
nefarious, is open to debate. Klein
demanded of his own university that they hire Finkelstein, if only as a
visiting professor. In a statement about his
efforts on behalf of Finkelstein, Klein writes: "There can be
little doubt that Finkelstein was fired (at DePaul) because of his criticisms
human rights violations against the Palestinian people, and for his fact-based
criticisms of the Israel
then adds: "An unstated axiom for U.S. universities is that
criticism of Israel by untenured faculty members is not allowed. Academic
freedom protects critics of the national policies of the U.S., France, England, and
every other country in the world, save one: Israel."
Starting in July 2007, Klein started haranguing his own university
officials to hire Finkelstein. In
February 2008, Finkelstein showed up on campus to give some agitprop guest lectures. Klein was joined by one Mehran Kamrava,
an Iranian professor in political science at CSUN, in marketing
Finkelstein. As usually happens when
Finkelstein speaks outside Arab terrorist encampments, his "lectures"
at CSUN triggered protests and hostility. Some local Jewish groups distributed a booklet
about "Stinky Finky." CSUN
officials got letters of protest and some threats to withhold financial support
if it hosted or hired Finkelstein. The
student paper at CSUN, the Daily Sundial,
ran pieces exposing Finkelstein as a hatemonger and opposing the visit. Jody Myers, Professor of Religious Studies and
Coordinator of the Jewish Studies Program at CSUN, opined: "We believe our
administration should be following its own stated mission and only invite speakers
who meet our high level of scholarship and who exercise academic responsibility...
He (Finkelstein) isn't a responsible scholar."
The tenured Left at CSUN, including the
entire "Women's Studies" department, wrote letters endorsing
Finkelstein and demanding he be hired.
Chomsky sent in a letter of support.
The same people so outraged when Dershowitz wrote a letter about
Finkelstein to DePaul have had nothing to say about this! Despite the juggernaut by the Finkelstein
Lobby, all the efforts failed. There is
simply too much material available now about Finkelstein and he could not slip
under the academic radar screen at CSUN, as his lobby managed to do with him
when he was hired at DePaul in 2000. The
CSUN university heads vetoed the idea of granting him a new academic podium
from which he could spew his agitprop.
Klein wrote his own provost
that the Israel Lobby is preventing honest discussion of the Middle East and of
Israel. Klein then wrote a long-winded
essay about cases in which the "Zionist Lobby" supposedly prevented
serious academics from speaking on campuses, such as the infamous
incident involving Robert Trivers. In
fact ultra-leftist Trivers was prevented from speaking at Harvard, but only
because he had threatened to murder Alan Dershowitz.
In recent years, it has gotten harder for
the Tenured Left to muscle campus heads into hiring and promoting Far Leftist
propagandists and pseudo-scholars. There
is no shortage of radicals among the faculty on most campuses, but those with near-zero
academic accomplishments and achievements in research are having a harder time
getting past the hurdles. Far leftists,
anti-American podium preachers, and foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Semites are
having their academic records scrutinized more closely, and that is what has
the Left in terror. Some leftist
pseudo-academics are finding their "academic careers" blocked by
universities which are at last getting serious about enforcing academic
standards, even for members of the Far Left.
And that is why the anti-Israel Lobby is in hysterics.