Finkelstein was very deceptive during question-answer at Stanford
Norman Finkelstein is a disciple of Noam Chomsky. Noam Chomsky by his own admission was raised as a Zionist and he has retained his Zionist emotional attachment to Palestine, and he had in fact planned to move to Arab Palestine to live there as a colonizing Ashkenazi Zionist Jew. Norman Finkelstein is on record having said the following regarding his mentor, Chomsky:
- Actually, as I grew older, she (Finkelstein's mother) resented that Professor Chomsky had begun to dominate as my main influence.
- From Professor Chomsky I got my method of reasoning.
- Regarding his (Chomsky's) personal character traits the most outstanding is that he is absolutely faithful, which is something very few people possess... Professor Chomsky will never betray you, never, it is impossible.
But Chomsky does indeed betray the Palestinians people!
If I had any doubts left regarding Norman Finkelstein, they vanished as soon as I heard his question and answer session at Stanford. His answers were convoluted, bizarre, disconnected and they made no sense at all. The professor found himself being asked a question that a Zionist could not answer with candor. I will be commenting on Finkelstein's ridiculous and bizarre answers.
Finkelstein: Now I'm gonna ask professor Barghoum a favor. I was very impressed when I watched on the Internet the presentation by Jimmy Carter, that after his presentation the most difficult and controversial questions were put to him. For those of you who watched it, there were no softballs, or as somebody put it, this was not batting practice. So I'm hoping that professor Barghoum will show no deference to my sensibilities and will put to me the hard questions and the tough questions and we'll see where it comes up.
Audience members: well, how about opening it up? Open it up to the floor.
Finkelstein answers: I'll tell you the truth, I would prefer... Allow me... Had I been asked, I would've said I prefer that. On the other hand, I have to respect the decisions made by the organizers. They invited me. One last comment. I trust that professor Barghoum will not make this a rigged session. I have faith in him. Maybe I'm wrong but I do. Let's see what happens.
Question: Alright, first softball question, Norm. "Are you a Jew attempting to gain the love of those trying to destroy the great little country of Israel?"
Finkelstien answers: Number one, I obviously am Jewish. Number two, I have no doubt, let's speak honestly, let's not play games, that I get special kinds of credibility because I am Jewish and because of what my parents passed through during World War 2. And I'm not going to deny that. On the other hand, I do think people have the capacity for weighing arguments and judging, regardless of my background. Am I making a convincing case? This is, after all, not a circus. It's Stanford University. You're quite capable of saying, yes, he's Jewish, yes, his parents passed through this and that, but no, I don't think he's right. And throughout my remarks I tried as best I could to stick to the factual record and not try to load my argument with my ethnicity or my family background. On the other hand, I'm not about to disown it. I am the son of my late parents and I take great pride in that fact. And not for a moment would I deny it.
Question: Softball question number two. "If the human rights for Arabs in Israel are so terrible, why do they prefer to live there, rather than go back to their original Arab countries?
Finkelstien answers: First, on the technical point. None of my remarks this evening had any bearing on the question of the Arabs in Israel. I was talking about the Arabs under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. Number two, it's as if to say to African Americans, "if things were so bad under slavery, why don't you go back to Africa?" It seems to me that the obvious moral response is to recognize the courage and the dignity of those who refuse to leave but prefer to remain and fight to improve their lives. That's honorable.
My Response: How absurd does the professor get with his answers? The most glaring two words the professor conveniently skipped over were: 'go back'. That is called, 'deception by omission'. By failing to address it, he left the impression that the indigenous Arabs did in fact come from somewhere else, while the European Ashkenazi Jews who resemble George Bush had always been residents of Palestine! I also noticed that when confronted with a difficult question, Finkelstein seems to have a habit of not making sense at all. When it does not make sense, it is often not true. How he attempted to make a connection between the former slaves of America and the indigenous Palestinians of Palestine is beyond me. There is no connection, no relation. One is a colonized people by European Jewry and the other one was hauled away from their homes for slavery. Does Finkelstein mean to imply that the slaves in America would have preferred the comforts of slavery rather than the dignity and freedom of being in their own African environment?
Question: You have argued against Mearsheimer and Walt's thesis that the US' close ties to Israel is no longer in our country's national interest. Should the US cut all ties to Israel and how worried are you that this would affect our national interest in the Middle East?"
Finkelstien answers: I won't go into the Walt Mearsheimer argument right now, I'll just make a brief comment. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it was the paper which acquired a certain amount of notoriety when it was published in the London Review of Books. Professor Walt was at the time the Dean of the Kennedy School at Harvard, professor Mearsheimer is a distinguished chair at the University of Chicago and basically they argued that Israel is a liability for the United States, the US national interest. And that this liability remains so effective because of the Israel Lobby. In a nutshell, that's what they were saying.I don't agree with that on many counts. Just to take the case of this past summer. Walt and Mearsheimer subsequently said that Israel's disastrous war in Lebanon and all of its awful repercussions for the United States prove once again that Israel is a liability for the United States. I agree with the analysis of the head of Hizbullah, Mr. Nasrallah. During the war he repeatedly said:
- this is not an Israeli war,
- this is an American war.
- This is American financed,
- American planned,
- American executed
- and Israel's just doing the bidding of the United States.
I think that's a more accurate depiction.
It is not the tail that's wagging the dog, it's the dog that's very much wagging the tail.
Question: "Israel as a State was founded in 1948 on stolen land which was occupied by force and massive bloodshed. International law deems that it's inadmissible to keep land acquired by force. Can't your argument lead to the conclusion that all of Israel is occupied territory?" (applause)
Finkelstein answers: I'm going to answer that by saying that I think that's another one of those complicated questions (audience laughs!) It is! It is true, I think, that under international law - and it's a complicated subject - but under international law, by 1948 it probably was correct to say "acquiring territory by war - it is a complicated question, scholars disagree it was illegal. You have to remember, the law changed very radically in the 20th century. Up until 1928, up until what was called the Kellogg-Briand Pact, war was legal. You are allowed to wage war, a State was allowed to legally wage war to achieve its aims. There were some constraints put on that principle by the League of Nations Covenant but the League of Nations Covenant did not abolish war as a right, raison d'etat, as a reason of state. It first begins to be abolished around 1928 with the Kellogg-Briand Pact. As a matter of fact, it was a very controversial question at the time of the Nuremberg trials for the Nazis, whether or not they could be tried for Crimes Against Peace because it wasn't fully clear whether war, a crime against peace, was legal or not. And the same question arises with this matter of acquiring territory by war. It's a complicated legal question, I can only say what's factually known, that a complicated question had arisen by 1947, and the sentiment of the United Nations General Assembly was to resolve that complicated situation, which was the result...
You have to remember, the law changed very radically in the 20th century. Up until 1928, up until what was called the Kellogg-Briand Pact, war was legal. You are allowed to wage war, a State was allowed to legally wage war to achieve its aims. There were some constraints put on that principle by the League of Nations Covenant but the League of Nations Covenant did not abolish war as a right, raison d'etat, as a reason of state. It first begins to be abolished around 1928 with the Kellogg-Briand Pact. As a matter of fact, it was a very controversial question at the time of the Nuremberg trials for the Nazis, whether or not they could be tried for Crimes Against Peace because it wasn't fully clear whether war, a crime against peace, was legal or not. And the same question arises with this matter of acquiring territory by war. It's a complicated legal question, I can only say what's factually known, that a complicated question had arisen by 1947, and the sentiment of the United Nations General Assembly was to resolve that complicated situation, which was the result of force, the force of the British Mandate to resolve it by means of two states in Palestine, and the fact of the matter is , when Palestine formally put forth the demand for a two state settlement, they 1anchored it in UN Resolution 181. Unsurprisingly, the partition resolution. because international law moooooooves very slowly, it changes glacially, it is very conservative and I don't see any point in conjuring fantasies or engaging now in kinds of moral indignation. It happened, it was wrong. I think it is silly to dispute it. It happened, it was morally indefensible. But that is what we have to work with and I think the basic - I am not a great advocate or defender of international law, there are parts in it that I find repellant, I have to say. On this particular issue, I think the position of the int'l community is reasonable, sensible, and since it includes virtually everyone, I don't see now the usefulness of trying to revise it and repudiate it. I can understand it if it were a borderline issue, but all of int'l law now, as it bears on the p/I conflict starting from the premise of two states, and I can't see any rational purpose in trying now to undo that.
My Response: At the bottom of this page, you will find links to Finkelstein's Stanford. For those who would take the time to watch the video, what comes across before the question/answer session is a well-rehearsed Finkelstein, confident, even funny. You will also notice that Finkelstein would use the expression 'uncomplicated' many times in regards to the Arabs and the European Ashkenazi Jews who have invaded their land. But then the question was asked if the so-called 'Israel' is not stolen land according to International law? That question made Finkelstein very nervous, all his well-rehearsed speech took for a flight and he found himself stuttering, fumbling, faltering, and like a drowning man, he clutched onto the word 'complicated'! In a span of a few seconds, we hear Finkelstein clutching on to the word 'complicated', 6 times.
- Complicated questions
- Complicated subject
- Complicated question
- Complicated legal question
- Complicated question
- Complicated situation
Question: Israel is outnumbered by the Muslim countries 57 to 1. How can you take UN resolution seriously with this unfair balance of power lined up against Israel?
Finkelstein answers: Well, the logic of that particular question eludes me and I don't mean it insultingly. Because logically what the person is saying - given that there are 57 times Arabs and Muslims in that region as Jews, you can't take the UN resolution seriously. So logically, that must mean we have to reduce the ratio somewhere close 1 to 1 before we can take the resolution seriously. It seems to me either of two things: you want to carry out a mass extermination or expulsion of Arabs to get down 1 to 1 or the other possibility is Israel is not bound by int'l law. The only country on earth for which there has to be an exception - and I think that is morally unacceptable. Both actually as morally unacceptable. The first for obvious reasons, and the second for obvious reasonable reasons. Either there is a rule of law that applies to everybody or it applies to nobody.
My Response: Actually, Finkelstein's answer to the Zionist's stupid question eludes me. The colonizers of Palestine are European Ashkenazi Jews. When the Italians arrived in Ethiopia to colonize it, they were outnumber by the indigenous people, so were the British in Kenya, Egypt and India, just to mention a few. The European Ashkenazi Jews almost colonized Uganda (See the 'Ugandan Scheme' to settle the European Jews). Actually, the area referred to as 'Uganda' was a huge territory within present day Kenya. Had the Ashkenazi European Jews succeeded in colonizing Kenya (or Argentina, or Cyprus), they would have been outnumbered by the colonized indigenous people. I have no idea what Finkelstein was fumbling about when he talked about reducing the ratio 1 to 1? It looks like it is Finkelstein's trademark to appear disconnected when the question being asked is a difficult one for a Zionist to answer. So many of his answers are just so bizarre.
Finkelstein: I would also urge you - and this is a reading audience (referring to the Stanford student as the audience) it would also urge you to look at (inaudible) book, "defending the Holy land'. He makes a lot of interesting points, and one of the points that I found most interesting, he said:
People constantly make this comparison between the Arab states and Israel, and how the ratio is so much against Israel, and so on and so forth (similar to that question). And he goes through the numbers and he says the fact of the matter is - he says if you look at the actual numbers…there is a lot of rumors coming out of the Arab world, it certainly has, and it serves domestic purposes … bit what he says is: look at the actual numbers, the Arab world has never even come close to begin to mobilize the kinds of resources it would need to actually put its rhetoric into action. And he looks at the percentages, for example, he looks at the defense budgets in the various countries, in the neighboring countries of Arabs with Israel, the defense budgets, he looks at things like - if they really ever wanted to threaten Israel, he says, they don't even have to attack. All they have to do is:
- mobilize larger percentages of their populations for the army,
- spend large amounts of their budget for weapons
- impose an economic boycott, and a secondary boycott, a primary and a secondary boycott on Israel
and he says, without firing a shot, they can completely bankrupt Israel. Just trying to keep pace with that level of mobilization, given the vast discrepancy in population and resources, between Israel and its neighboring states. He says, but if you look at the actual numbers, they never did it, because they were never serious about it. It is just a lot of empty rhetoric, which never actually threatened Israel. It is a complete myth.
Without firing a shot, huh? Just like that, huh?
But the stupid Arabs are never serious about the most lethal enemy in their midst, huh?
Finkelstein never tells his Stanford students why the Arabs are not serious when faced with the greatest peril? Why would the Arabs behave differently towards their current colonizers, the European Ashkenazi Jews than they did with the British or the French? The current Ashkenazi colonizers are more brutal! What explains why the Arabs are not being serious about ridding themselves of the cancer in the heart of the Arab world? Finkelstein never explains that, does, he? In fact, he makes the Arabs look like a bunch of ignorant people who do not recognize their worst enemy of over six decades!
Finkelstein also manages to slip in a malicious lie that the interests of the Arab regimes are the same as that of the Arab people. The Arab people could easily have vanquished this new colonizer, the European Ashkenazi Jews, if it were not for the fact that the Arab regimes are on the side of the colonizer.
I will conclude this by quoting Hassan Nasrallah to make my point. He said during his Victory Rally speech in Lebanon on September 22, 2006:
"The people of Lebanon gave strong proof to all the peoples of the world. The Lebanese resistance provided strong proof to all Arab and Islamic armies. Arab armies and peoples are not only able to liberate Gaza and the West Bank and East Jerusalem, they are simply capable of regaining Palestine from sea to river by one small decision and with some determination. The problem is that when one is torn between two choices and is asked to choose between his people and his throne, he chooses his throne. When he is asked to choose between Jerusalem and his throne, he chooses his throne. When he is asked to choose between the dignity of his homeland and his throne, he chooses his throne."
"What is distinct about the resistance movements in Lebanon and Palestine is that they chose the dignity of their people, holy places, and freedom and offer their leaders, sons, and dear ones as sacrifices to join the throne of God Almighty."