6 thoughts on “M.J. Rosenberg Supports Finkelstein Deportation – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Richard, I hate to publicly disagree with you but I have to.
    I concede that I have no problem with Israel banning Finkelstein. My own country routinely denies entry to people it deems represents a risk to the United States. I would imagine that in very few, if any, of those cases has the denied person publicly expressed solidarity with those who have killed Americans.
    Finkelstein, on the other hand, has repeatedly proclaimed solidarity with Hezbollah which is a terrorist organization responsible for the murder of innocent Israelis and diaspora Jews. It planted bombs that killed hundreds of Jews and non-Jews (including many children) in Buenos Aires at the Israeli embassy and the JCC.
    Has Finkelstein ever said he hates Jews or Israel? I doubt it. He simply expresses his solidarity with Hezbollah, which has as its goal the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews.
    That’s enough.
    If someone in 1936 expressed solidarity with Franco, I’d have dismissed him as a fascist. If someone defended Hitler’s right to invade Poland, I’d have called him a Nazi lover.
    Using the same yardstick, I consider Finkelstein an enemy of Israel and of Jews. And Israel has every right not to allow someone with such hostility to it, and who regularly meets with those who want to destroy it, free access to the country for security reasons.
    I think Israel did the right thing. But, as I wrote, I’d ban right-wing inciters as well.
    If the left cannot unambiguously reject all those who defend the murder of innocents or who, at the very least stand in solidarity with them, it has lost its mind.

  2. @mj rosenberg: Here is the problem with your political position once again. Israel said that it deported him because of his critical views of Israel in addition to its visit with Hezbollah. So in effect you’re endorsing excluding people fr. this country & Israel purely because of political views. This is a view that impoverishes free speech and human rights, not to mention closes off political discussion within the excluding country.

    For some reason you make a distinction between Hezbollah & Hamas that is inconsistent. I believe you are in favor of Israel negotiating with Hamas. If so, are you in favor of the U.S. barring Hamas representatives from the U.S.? We just had a visit fr. Ahmed Youssef a Hamas representative. Should he have been thrown out like Finkelstein? We also revoked Tariq Ramadan, in part because Daniel Pipes lied about his views and said he favored terror. Were we right to do that?

    You make a serious mistake in not distinguishing the reasons for Finkelstein supporting Hezbollah. He did so because he believed Israel waged a war of aggression against Lebanon. He supported Hezbollah’s DEFENSE of Lebanon. Not its attack on Israeli civilians. BTW, I’m sure you feel sympathy for the 1,000 LEbanese killed during that war, over half of whom were civilians. But why such anger at Finkelstein and not so much with Israel itself for what it did?

    Hezbollah has denied the Buenos Aires terror attack and no irrefutable evidence has connected it to it. No legal proceeding has ever proven a connection. The Nation recently published a pretty convincing peace slicing & dicing the Hezbollah angle on this. I”m not saying Hezbollah did NOT do it. But unlike you, I like to be careful before I attribute blame to people for such acts. Do you have evidence I haven’t seen on this?

    Your understanding of Hezbollah is not complete. Nasrallah has in the past expressed a desire to see the end of Israel. But more recently he has expressed a goal of liberating Lebanese land from Israel and a willingness to curtail the conflict once that happens. You make the same mistake right-wingers make about Hamas. You point to statements which prove yr own pt of view of them & ignore statements that are more recent & more operative that contradict you.

    Hezbollah is neither Franco nor the Nazis. It is simply an Islamist movement working within the Lebanese political system where many ethnic groups are doing pretty much the same thing it is. Contrary to Franco, who overthrew a recognized government & became a dictator, Nasrallah has specifically & very carefully said he does NOT want to take over Lebanon and does not want to become the sole ruler of the country. Besides, Nasrallah couldn’t do that even if he wanted to unless Syria agreed & given current circumstances they couldn’t even if THEY wanted to.

    You make Hezbollah out to be demons and anyone who expresses any sympathy for them to be demons as well. Right-wingers do that to us all the time because of our views of Israel negotiating with its enemies. I’m surprised that your mind isn’t capacious enough to understand that Hezbollah and groups like Hamas fall into the same category. We don’t like them. But we realize they are part of the political mix & must be dealt with whether we like it or not.

    Again, Finkelstein has not “defended the murder of innocents” & you are twisting his record. I’m frankly surprised that your mind shows such brittleness and insularity in confronting an issue like this. I think you’re betraying values I know you hold dear. Perhaps some day you’ll re-evaluate these views. Perhaps not.

    No, the left does not reject Norman Finklestein despite the harshness of some of his views. If it did, it would be turning its back of values of human rights & liberty which it holds dear, & which you should too EVEN for someone like Finkelstein.

  3. @ MJ Rosenberg
    It doesn’t take more than a rudimentary knowledge of history to see that such parallels are laughable.
    Hezbollah is not primary an Islamic movement. If you are addicted to historical analogies, try marquis or partisan. Hezbollah is an illegitimate child of Israel’ warfare, a reaction to occupation in the early 80ies and the war crimes committed by IDF and the phalagists.

    Your claim that Norman Finkelstein “hates” Israel is without foundation. Such assertions belongs in the loony bin along with all the anti-Semite labels thrown at people who’s fed up by IDF’s killings and treatment of the Palestinian population.
    I admire NF. For his intellect, his courage and his sense of justice. Yes, he can be provocative, but “sotto voce” is not enough to wake up US of Amnesia or people of Israel from their slumber party.

  4. Superb post, Richard.

    I agree with your view of Finkelstein. Speaking for myself, I find his books invaluable–“Beyond Chutzpah” was superb, except for the part about Dershowitz’s plagiarism. I think including that issue in a book on a very serious topic trivialized it somewhat.

    But Finkelstein does go for the jugular and often expresses himself in vitriolic ways that do harm to his cause. Which is unfortunate, because there still aren’t enough people in the US willing to tell the unvarnished truth about Israel’s human rights violations and when Finkelstein makes inflammatory remarks in favor of Hezbollah, it weakens his credibility. Why can’t people just say that both sides are guilty of terrorism (as, say, Chomsky does?) That’s true, and it’s still an uphill battle getting mainstream American politicians and pundits to admit this.

  5. I am sorry for MJ’s position, which I believe is just a gut reaction. He detests Finkelstein and that’s the core reason for what he writes. Would MJ agree with Israel if it barred Chomsky from entry? Chomsky visited Nasrallah shortly before the second Lebanese war. Read all about his support for Hizbollah at the CAMERA website
    http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=7&x_issue=11&x_article=1151
    Finkelstein’s position is no different from Chomsky’s on that one.

    As I wrote in my own post on the issue, I just don’t see how you can call yourself progressive and take a position opposed to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which has backed Finkelstein.

    But what intriques me most about MJ’s position — and let me for the record say that I am a great admirer of MJ and have been so for several decades — is that it confuses the security thing with the opposition to Israel thing. And that goes to the gut of the issue. A Jerusalem Post article cited sources that were upset about Finkelstein’s views; other sources have talked about his being a threat to security.

    Look, Israel may have had a legal right to do what it did — that is a question for the courts to decide, and even then I don’t have to accept their opinion. But it banned Finkelstein simply in order to harrass critics of Israel. By MJ’s logic, anybody meeting with the PLO in the seventies could have been legitimately banned from Israel, even if they didn’t accept its positions. Why were they less a security threat? By MJ’s logic, any one-stater today can be legitimately banned from Israel. Why are they less a security threat? Maybe Israel has a right to do all that? But where does this slippery slope lead to? And what does it say about the character of the Jewish state?

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