American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein

By Mamoon Alabbasi – London
hat tip: Palestine Chronicle

Professor Norman Finkelstein’s admirers are familiar with his views, which they share to one degree or another. His critics are unhappy with the ‘tone’ in which he criticises Israel. As for his foes, they charge ‘anti-Semitic’ and ‘self-hating Jew’ – but backed by little evidence.

However, the newly released documentary film American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein sheds much light on the true character of the man who is often found in the middle of controversies.

He is seen as controversial because of the issues he raises and the way he raises them. Finally; a documentary that tells us why.

From early on in his academic life, he challenged the faulty conventional wisdom regarding the Middle East conflict in the US, by showing Joan Peters’s widely praised best seller, “From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine”, to be not much more than a work of fiction.

After reading Finkelstein’s long and detailed review of Peters’s book, Professor Noam Chomsky told the then young Norman: “[This article] is very solid. It’s a very good topic to study. But if you go into it, do it with eyes open. You are not only going to undermine this book and show that it’s a fraud but you’re going to undermine the whole US intellectual community.”

A pretty controversial start from the outset, one would argue. But why the harsh tone when criticizing Israel?

The answer is in the fact that both of his parents were Holocaust survivors, whose family members were exterminated by the Nazis.

Read the rest of the article at the Palestine Chronicle.

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