Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Finkelstein: Opponents of Israeli occupation are "cultic" and not pragmatic



Dear Norman Finkelstein

re: "Norman Finkelstein Interview with Frank Barat: BDS Campaign, Imperial College London" (England)

I watched your talk with Frank Barat from last February (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASIBGSSw4lI).

I don't disagree with everything you said, but Mr. Barat seemed overwhelmed by your passion and did not ask questions that should have been asked of you.

According to you, some of the opponents of the Israeli occupation, and of the Israeli state itself, are "cultic" and not pragmatic, and are bound to fail due to the fact that their legal arguments are hypocritical. Therefore they are lacking in appeal to the masses of people because they want the law upheld with regard to the Israeli occupation but not with regard to the Israeli state's right to exist.

Mr. Barat should have asked you, what masses are you talking about, if not the Western masses? Surely the fall of the Fourth Reich in Jerusalem would have enormous appeal to the region's 100 million Arabs, but for some reason they don't seem to comprise a meaningful constituent in your realpolitik. Why?

A haven for Judaic persons can be guaranteed in the pre-1967 borders without that haven being based on racist Zionist laws of return that give residency rights to Judaics from New Zealand and Brooklyn over the children of native Palestinians.

The Nazi/Talmudic Israeli government can be legally overthrown without overthrowing a guaranteed safe haven for Judaic people now resident in Palestine. What would be wrong with such an overthrow? If it worked for South Africa why can't it work for Palestine?

Your reference to the "law" of the United Nations smacks of a divine mandate. There is nothing divine about the U.N. and if the Divestment and Solidarity people were to drop references to U.N. law and harken to appeals to the immemorial law against colonial empires and racist reichs, then the hypocrisy you excoriate would be resolved.

You are willing to support the right to exist of the racist Zionist regime on the basis that its "rights" were established by the UN (at the behest of Stalin and Truman). You don't want the fate of the Israeli Arabs to trump considerations of the survival of the Zionist system since many other countries subjugate their minorities, so why single out the Israelis for doing it?

And by extension, your argument implies, why try to stop this oppression by overthrowing the Israeli government and creating a new government with an equalitarian constitution?

One thing that makes the Israeli oppression different from your example of the Dalits ("untouchables") in India or another flagrant instance, that of the Shiites in Bahrain, is that those governments don't run morality pageants and daily "Holocaust" museum tours showcasing the supreme ethics of their nations over the rest of humanity, with "lessons" for all mankind that no should ever forget. Whether or not this Talmudic megalomania plays in Peoria should not be the main criterion for whether or not we should call it to account.

Unlike some of your Leftist critics, I accept the fact that you are basically honest and that you have arrived at your latest views from a  desire to be politically effective and fair to all.

I see some serious holes in your position however, and I hope that at some point you will address my questions in some forum.

Sincerely,
Michael Hoffman
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3 comments:

James said...

Excellent commentary Mr. Hoffman. Your questions definitely deserve a clear forthright answer.

As an aside, I would be curious to know whether Norman Finkelstein has ever entered into a public debate on the question of the claimed Jewish holocaust by the 3rd Reich and if not why not. If he has I'd be most interested in seeing the transcript of same.

James Phillips

Michael Hoffman said...

Dear James

Why would Dr. Finkelstein be obligated to engage in a debate on the “claimed Jewish holocaust by the 3rd Reich?”

He is already stigmatized as an alleged "self-hating, neo-Nazi Judaic" for the work he has done on the political and commercial exploitation by the Zionists and the “Holocaust' Lobby" of the suffering of Judaic people during World War II. Should he burden himself in public with additional “heresies” which will add to a further curtailment of his influence and the audiences willing to take him seriously?

Should anyone volunteer for such martyrdom? I believe that airing in public doubts about the existence of homicidal gas chambers in Auschwitz takes a special charism. These doubts are not something that can be used as a litmus test of a person’s authenticity as a truth-teller, because we need to have some leaders and thinkers who can have some voice in the mass media. At least some of us have to choose our battles and be pragmatic.

Finally, I object to your sloppy use of the crude phrase “claimed Jewish holocaust.” This is exactly how the rabbis hope you will speak in a public forum. You are employing a Newspeak word that has no clear denotation but does have a broadly branded connotation. To many people, whether or not Judaics were gassed in “chambers” in Auschwitz, the fact that tens of thousands — or hundreds of thousands -- of innocent Judaic persons were murdered by the Nazis does indeed constitute a “holocaust.”

Using phrases like “claimed Jewish holocaust” at the very least connotes a sense that Judaics were not at all brutally repressed and victimized during World War II.

As I have been saying for 30 years, be more precise in what you are questioning concerning the vast history of WWII and do not fall into the trap of using the very Orwellian Newspeak trap intentionally prepared for you.

James said...

I never said or even implied that Dr. Finkelstein was "obligated" to engage in such a debate.

Furthermore, although it was not expressly stated, I assumed he would have taken the side in a debate, if there ever was one, not on the side of debunking the conventionally accepted version of the holocaust, but rather of more or less supporting such version since I was of the impression that he does support the conventional or shall we say "official" version (more or less) of the holocaust.

I hope that clarifies my position. Knowing your background to some degree, I assume from your answer that Dr. Finkelstein has not engaged in any such public debate as regards the extent of that which is commonly referred to as the Holocaust, claimed or otherwise. Having said what I've said, I wonder why not.