Those who stand against Israel should not be afforded open forums uncontested in New York City publicly-funded venues. As New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind recently uncovered, the Brooklyn Public Library is offering a ten-week class taught by Norman Finkelstein whom the ADL has deemed a “Holocaust denier” and Anti-Israel propagandist.
Who is Norman Finkelstein?
- In his book The Holocaust Industry, Finkelstein argues that "Jewish elites" have created an "industry" to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust as a ploy to extort money and to gain influence, as well a tactic "to crush any dissent, any criticism, of the State of Israel." The New York Times' review of the book described its premise as a "novel variation" of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the fraudulent essay concocted in the late nineteenth century by the Czarist secret police which purports to uncover a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.
- Finkelstein has described Elie Wiesel as the "resident clown," and charges he is responsible for creating a "meaningless version of the Nazi Holocaust" and for only exposing "genocides that serve the interest of the US and Israel" (Salon.com, Aug. 30, 2000).
- Finkelstein “…lavishes praise on the terrorist group Hezbollah. In a letter posted on his Web site he states, "I did make a point of publicly honoring the heroic resistance of Hezbollah to foreign occupation ...Their historic contributions are...undeniable." He appeared on the official Hezbollah television network al-Manar, because, he said, "If I'm willing to appear on CNN – the main propaganda organ for America's terrorist wars–why shouldn't I appear on al-Manar?"
- The ADL describes Finkelstein as a “known Holocaust denier and anti-Israel propagandist, Norman Finkelstein.” They note that In his book, “The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering,” Finkelstein argues that the Holocaust “has become a straight-out extortion racket.” Finkelstein is well known for his anti-Israel rhetoric and his claims that Jews have exploited the Holocaust to make money. He has said that he “truly honored” Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon for “having inflicted an exceptional and deserving defeat on their foreign occupiers,” and that, “I can’t imagine why Israel’s apologists would be offended by a comparison to the Gestapo.”
- Finkelstein has written, “The Zionists indeed learnt well from the Nazis. So well that it seems that their morally repugnant treatment of the Palestinians, and their attempts to destroy Palestinian society within Israel and the occupied territories, reveals them as basically Nazis with beards and black hats.”
- In a December 2001 interview with CounterPunch Magazine, Finkelstein said: “If you understand terrorism to mean the targeting of civilian populations in order to achieve political goals, then plainly the U.S. qualifies as the main terrorist government in the world today …”
- When asked whether he thought that “the West was in some way responsible for the tragedy of September 11,” Finkelstein replied:"Regrettably, it’s payback time for the Americans and they have a problem because all the other enemies since the end of World War Two that they pretended to contend with . . . were basically fabricated enemies. . . . Frankly, part of me says ... ‘you know what, we deserve the problem on our hands because some things bin Laden says are true.’
- According to The Columbia Spectator, Finkelstein (at the foregoing event) characterized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a "contrived and fabricated controversy"; he declared that "regardless of intent, Israel is in effect guilty of state terrorism"; and he alleged that the "only difference between Israel terrorism and Hamas terrorism is that Israeli terrorism is three times as lethal."
- At UC Irvine, Finkelstein said "I have no interest whatsoever in Hezbollah as a political organization. I have only one interest: ... Do the Lebanese people or does Hezbollah have the right to resist foreign occupiers? ... Every victory of Hezbollah, I celebrate." In response to this, the audience cheered loudly and shouted "Allahu Akbar" ["God is great"].
The general public can protest Finkelstein’s propaganda by calling The Brooklyn Public Library at 718-230-2100 and/or protesting his upcoming classes in person at 10 Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, which begin on March 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, one of America’s largest independently owned PR firms.