27 thoughts on “Finkelstein Arrested and Deported by Israel – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.

  1. Richard,

    (NB: Something went wrong with uploading this comment, so if it appears twice please feel free to delete this one.)

    As a writer and activist, you know so power of semantics and word choice. According to the article you reference as a source, Finkelstein was denied entry to Israel which is very different to being arrested and deported. That aside, my feelings are ambivalent on this one. Although I agree with much of what Finkelstein espouses, particularly his views on the Holocaust ‘industry,’ much of what he says and how he says it leaves me cold. But as far as I am concerned he is of course free to say whatever he wishes and in whatever way he wishes.

    For this discussion and his refusal of entry I would reference two things he said in an interview on Lebanese TV (see http://peoplesgeography.com/2008/02/19/a-little-mucho-too-much-macho-norman-finkelstein/). One of his views was that Israel needs to suffer a military defeat in order to move things forward in the Middle East. Obviously this opinion would be one which is especially sensitive and provocative in Israel. The question arises then if a country should allow someone with such a view to showcase such opinions in their own country. He also expresses in the same interview, quite emotionally and emphatically, his amazement that Bush is welcomed in Lebanon as opposed to being declared persona non grata. In that sense one could say what’s good for the geese is good for the gander.

    In addition, I don’t see his refusal in Israel to be an indictment of Israel’s form of democracy. There is enough and more appropriate fodder for that indictment. Rather it reflects Israel’s lack of self confidence and paranoia for challenging points of view. You know, like in the childhood playground chant, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.”

  2. Alan Derschowitz must be laughing out loud. Just how stupid can Israelis responsible for Finkelstein’s arrest and deportation be? They only bring more attention to their injust treatment of not only the Palestinians, but of anyone who dares criticize their policies.

    I believe Richard Silverstein’s idea is a good one. Since we diaspora Jews all have the “right to return”, those of us who have a bone to pick about Israeli policies should organize a temporary mass immigration to help local dissidents protest. Perhaps organizations such as the new JStreet and APN and other individuals such as Pappe, Chomsky and others could help.

  3. You say that your a progressive Zionist. But I defy you to direct me to a single web posting dealing with the conflict that was either not critical of Israel or conversely supportive of the Arabs. What is the definition of being a progressive Zionist because it appears to be inhabiting a world where Norman Finkelstein is a hero and Doron Almog is a war criminal. Do I have that correct?

  4. The racial imperialistic attitude taken here is surprizing. A citizen of the US or a Jew or a Jewish ctizen of the US has no imperial rights in Israel. Israel, like the USA, like the UK Spain and France, not to talk about all ME states often denies entery to undesired characters. Israel is free to make this decisions as any other state. Calling it names or preaching to it while acceping this practice from any other state and all nations is a racist practice. For example the other day Egypt denied entery to a group of Egyptian born Jews because it was Egypt right to do so. About 10-20 % of the people asking for a US visa are denied it. KSA denies by law the entry of Jews.
    The Gentlemen visited the Hizb. a recognized terror organization. He have identified him selfself with them. Any Person who have had friendly association with Bin Laden will have problem entering the US. The gent. is a trouble monger and Israel owes him nothing.

  5. Finkelstein defended Hezbollah in the last Lebanon War, 2006 (see link below). This may have been too much for the powers that be in Israel to tolerate. So, though we do not know what is behind this deportation and it does seem alarming in terms of the Israeli government’s ability to tolerate harsh criticism (it gets plenty from elsewhere and within) I don’t think this is the whole story or the end of it.

    Anyway I thought this more recent interview of Finkelstein was interesting:


  6. May I suggest that no country is obligated to allow visitors that may pose a threat to the country or has had meetings with its enemies. Finkelstein is an American citizen and can do all his criticizing he wants from there. We are not obligated to give him a pulpit to spew his lies. De Paul University seemed to agree and denied him tenure. If there is any Chutzpah it is Finkelstein’s attempt to create another ambush at our expense. No Thanks and good riddance.

  7. The story’s been picked up by the Israeli media now and there’s a bit more detail than there was yesterday when I read the monsters and critics article.

    The Shin Bet said Finkelstein “is not permitted to enter Israel because of suspicions involving hostile elements in Lebanon,” and because he “did not give a full accounting to interrogators with regard to these suspicions.”

    However, in e-mail and phone interviews with Haaretz after leaving Israel for Amsterdam, Finkelstein said, “I did my best to provide absolutely candid and comprehensive answers to all the questions put to me. I am confident that I have nothing to hide. Apart from my political views, and the supporting scholarship, there isn’t much more to say for myself: alas, no suicide missions or secret rendezvous with terrorist organizations. I’ve always supported a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. I’m not an enemy of Israel.”

    Finkelstein visited Lebanon a few months ago and met with Hezbollah operatives there, and subsequently published articles.


    Finkelstein said he was asked whether he had met with Al Qaida operatives, whether he had been sent to Israel by Hezbollah and how he intended to finance his stay in Israel.


    The question about financing a visit is a standard question for visitors to a country, but alongside the other questions, it’s just plain stupid. If they think Finkelstein’s stay was going to be funded by al-Qaida or Hezbollah, they’re seriously wacky and must have been doing some channelling of Dershowitz….


  9. Israel has the right to bar people from the country. Especially a sick bastard like Norm Finkelstein. And who knows what his agenda is when he is in the counttry. This is a Hamas/Hezbollah guy. Two British tourists were responsible for blowing up a cafe in Tel Aviv. He, like Phil Weiss, And frankly speaking Rich Silverstein are perfect examples of the “wicked son” right out of the Haggadah.

  10. It is sad to have to defend Richard’s love of Israel. But there are always people like Bill Pearlman who charge disloyalty to anyone who does not support the right wing policies that many of us regard as harmful to Israel and the US. Having known Richard for over 40 years, I can attest to his love of Judaism and Israel. But as someone in Israel said, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk, and the US has been letting Israel drive drunk for many years.” Richard saw the dangers of the occupation and the settlements and has been informing Americans that these policies are detrimental to the future of Israel, the Palestinians and Americans. Even PM Olmert has expressed this view — is he also a “wicked son”?

  11. Richard,

    “There is a difference between being a critic of Israeli policy and opposed to Israel’s existence. There is a difference between criticizing Jewish groups and leaders who have done well by the Holocaust and denying the Holocaust.”

    Very well put. I admire your ability to get to the kernel.

    Jeanne Capozzoli,

    “the right wing policies that many of us regard as harmful to Israel and the US”

    You’re certainly onto something there, and it’s unfortunate that more people fail to realize that these policies ARE INDEED harmful to not only the US, but Israel itself. I feel that action against these policies will not materialize until it becomes clearer how detrimental these policies are to both nations. The policies will eventually cause a backlash in the US, and as usual, the target will not be the usual suspects – Perle, Wolfowitz, Abrams, etc, – but instead Jews as a group. It will be a sad day indeed, if Foxman and his ilk’s “New Antisemitism” ever becomes a reality.


  12. @Bill Pearlman:

    You have half of it right. Doron Almog should be tried for war crimes (I don’t claim he IS a war criminal–I’ll let a court determine that). Norman Finkelstein is not a hero. But he is a legitimate representative of legitimate ideas on the Israeli-Arab conflict. I don’t agree with a good deal of what he says. But I’ll be damned if I’ll let some Shin Bet agent determine that Norman Finkelstein is a dupe of Al Qaeda.

  13. Fair enough, Richard, but, according to my own knowledge and experience, the Israeli border authorities have been exercising a suchlike behaviour towards what they see as potential or de-facto enemies of the state for ages. Everyone going to Israel and planning to spend some time in the Occupied Territories should be silent about the latter fact. On being asked what you want to do when in Israel you are compelled to lie and fabricate something resembling a propaganda tour all over Israel. I have no idea if this is all different for people coming from America…

  14. Israel begins to resemble more and more the other Middle Eastern countries. Israelis have with success adapted the corruption mentality in the region and now they are adapting the methods of local dictatorships how to treat people with “wrong” opinions. So much of “Middle East’s only democracy”.

    Finkelstein should as a test apply fast for the Israeli citizenship. It would be interesting to see the “result”. If the citizenship would be denied it would show that Israel has become a “home” for Jews with “correct” opinions. If citizenship is approved Finkelstein could make a test are citizens with “wrong” opinions any more allowed to enter Israel.

  15. @danni: Give me a break. “Imperialistic?” What are you on about?

    I don’t accept the U.S. denying Tariq Ramadan entry & I don’t accept Israel denying Norman Finkelstein entry. I don’t accept any country denying entry to someone because of their political beliefs. If someone is an actual danger to the country–sure ban him or her. Otherwise, what are Israel and the U.S. afraid of in banning these people??

    The analogy bet. Hezbollah & Al Qaeda is preposterous. They are entirely different with diff. agendas, different strategies, diff. ideologies.

  16. @ Richard
    If in fact Finkelstein did meet in Lebanon with Hezbollah and made statements attributed to him that supported Israel’s defeat, then he becomes a foreign agitator creating a liability and a danger to the State. Besides, If you would like I can share many statements made by him that is at best revisionist and historically inaccurate. If you need to use statements made by Pappe to prop up the truth about Israel then there is nothing to discuss. He has stated clearly that his personal need to support the Palestinians by creating a fictitious narrative to make his point is perfectly fine. So it appears that his need to provide a narrative that denies Israel’s right to exist and share as the truth is academia run amok. I am all for difference of opinions including Jews supporting the elimination of Israel but there is no reason in heaven to allow them to enter Israel. It is a priviledge not a right to be allowed to come and visit our country.

  17. @Steve Ornstein:

    I don’t know where to begin. Finkelstein suppported Hezbollah’s right to defend Lebanese soil against Israeli invasion. That is an entirely legitimate political position even in an Israeli context.

    I’m absolutely uninterested in having a cat fight about Norman Finkelstein’s alleged vices in yr view. In fact, continuing in that vein will make your time here very short. I don’t use Ilan Pappe to support anything. If you want to comment on my views the only source you can use to do so is me and not external ones.

    Finkelstein has NOT created a “fictional narrative.” Those are yr terms aided & abetted by groups like CAMERA, Campus Watch, Frontpagemagazine, etc. Once again, Finkelstein supports Israel’s right to exist & yr claims are the ones that are fictitious, even fraudulent.

    I’m sorry but it is a RIGHT for a Jew to visit Israel, not a privilege. Israel is supposed to be the homeland of the Jewish people. If it is, then it has no right to deny any Jew that right unless he plans direct physical harm to the state or its citizens.

  18. @ Richard.

    Well this is where we agree to disagree. “my time here is very short”? Is this a threat or are we having a dialogue. Richard your intense desire to support the most extreme positions on Israel has more to say about the man rather than the positions you take. I remember when Jerry Rubin,, myself and several others hid in a farm house not far from Fort Dix, New Jersey and planned the first demonstration ever on a military base. It was exciting and we were full of self-righteousness. It succeeded beyond our expectations and resulted in my arrest by the military police. We did it and it hit the national news protesting the Vietnam war. However, after meeting with the so-called National leadership in Washington DC it became all too clear that our top leadership was just as crazy and self-promoting as the nut cases in the government. May I suggest that many of the so-called “spokespeople” for the suffering of the oppressed and the Palestinians fall well into the former category.

    Your last point and I quote, “I’m sorry but it is a RIGHT for a Jew to visit Israel, not a privilege. Israel is supposed to be the homeland of the Jewish people. If it is, then it has no right to deny any Jew that right unless he plans direct physical harm to the state or its citizens.”

    I am really sorry to disappoint you but in spite of what you were told, it is not the right of a Jew to visit |Israel it is a privilege .Nor is it the Homeland for all Jews. Just those that are willing to live here and die her,God forbid, to defend our right to be here. This country has every right to say no to any person it deems a threat real or existential under the current circumstance as far as I am concerned. It is the Jews living here that have all rights and privileges under the protection of our Democracy to say just about anything you may want to say including the stupid outbursts by the far-right and far-left. At least they put there beings where their words are and mean it in their actions.

    I truly believe living in the US or abroad as Jews warps the reality you see from there both real and/or imagined regarding Israel. So I am not taken by all the critics and supporters of one position or another on Israel from abroad.

    Just because you are Jewish you do not have a right or are privilege at the attempt to delegitimize our country, We have too many other enemies, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran that want Islamic hegemony over our tiny piece of land to worry or concern ourselves with the likes of the ivory-tower types living abroad who have the need to distort, lie and to revise the truth to their liking.

  19. @Steve Ornstein:
    No, Steve, we’re not having a dialogue. You don’t bother to read or understand my real pt of view. Instead you refract & distort it through yr own narrow prism of Israeli or Jewish experience. I neither “have an intense desire” not any desire to “support the most extreme positions on Israel.” This is yr problem, Steve. Not mine. My views are entirely within the American Jewish & Israeli political consensus. It is YOUR views which don’t reflect that consensus.

    May I suggest that the so-called “spokespeople” for the Israeli government fall into that “self-promoting” category you describe. Why confine yrself to denouncing Palestinians?

    If you believe that Israel is NOT a homeland for all Jews then you are not a Zionist. I don’t know what you are, but you’re certainly not a follower of Herzl, Chaim Weizman, etc. They saw Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people. Not some of the Jewish people. Not just the ones who chose to make aliyah. But all of them. Sorry to disappoint you Steve, but you’re a fake Zionist. A charlatan.

    You have just accused me of “de-legitimizing” Israel and lying. Your “time” here is now officially over.

  20. Censorship is your desire. A fascist at best. I am sorry for you and your foolish one-sided narrow perspective. It is chutzpah to think that because one does not agree with your views we are narrow. Foolish deluded man. I am out of here. It is a waste of time for sure. Blinded my stupidity and arrogance.

  21. @Steve Ornstein: It has nothing to do with censorship, Steve. It has to do with following the rules. If you want to lie about my views and beliefs I’m not going to give you a platform to do so. If you call me anti-Israel and say I’m a liar, which you’ve done, you’ll have to do that elsewhere.

    There are thousands of comments here disagreeing with my views. I’m willing to debate the issues till the cows come home. But I’m not willing to have people lie & mischaracterize my views. Your problem is you’re just too lazy to actually read & confront my real views. You’d rather create a a fictional version because then you don’t have to do any work to actually follow what I say & believe.

    I love when the pro-Israel crowd throws around epithets like “fascist.” They howl when anti-Zionists use the same term to describe Israel (I’ve actually just deep-sixed two such comments published by another commenter). But they’re only too willing to use it in just as fraudulent circumstances against people they don’t like.

    I’ll repeat something I’ve written here often before. A blog is not the town square. It’s not a venue for absolute free speech. There are things you cannot do or say in this blog. You can argue, but you can’t deliberately lie. You can’t threaten me or anyone else. A blog is the property & vision of the owner. If you don’t like the rules, go elsewhere.

  22. Okay, whoever compared Richard to the “wicked son” has absolutely no idea what the point of the wicked son in the story is! The Wicked Son in the Hagada was one who distanced himself from the G-d of his parents, saying “what has YOUR G-d done for me?” A comparable case is the attitude that (l’havdil) Israel is “over there” and does not affect any Jews here – something held by most diaspora Jews by and large, but certainly not Richard, who has spoken from a perspective of Israel affecting his life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *