Norman Finkelstein continued his ongoing criticism of Israel in a recent appearance on the BBC’s Hardtalk program. He started off by saying that surveys show that American Jews are “distancing themselves from Israel” although recent evidence proves otherwise. He then mentioned David Remnick and Peter Beinart as anecdotal evidence of Jewish criticism of Israel. Finkelstein failed to mention that both individuals represent the extreme left of the political spectrum and their views do not reflect those of the mainstream American Jewish community.
When the BBC interviewer mentioned another poll, indicating that 75% of American Jews agreed that caring about Israel was an important part of Jewish identity, Finkelstein kept referring back to the anecdotal evidence.
Finkelstein has worked as a lecturer at several U.S. universities and is the author of multiple books that are critical of the Jewish state. He was denied entry to Israel in 2008 and was subsequently banned from entering the country for 10 years. Both his parents are Jewish holocaust survivors, although Finkelstein refers to himself as an atheist.
Finkelstein called Israel a “lunatic state” citing its defensive wars against Hezbollah in 2006, and Hamas in 2008 and its threats to use all necessary measures to prevent a nuclear Iran. He also claimed that its leaders were cheer-leading the 2003 Iraq war while failing to provide any evidence of their involvement in George Bush’s decision in 2003. He also failed to mention repeated Iranian threats to destroy Israel, frequent Hamas rocket attacks against the Jewish state prior to the 2008 war in Gaza, and the deaths of several Israeli soldiers in a Hezbollah attack inside Israeli territory that preceded the 2006 war in Lebanon.
Finkelstein claimed that President Obama is now backing down from his tough stance towards Israel in the face of “the Israel lobby” and blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government for the current failure of the ‘peace process.’
Finkelstein repeated his accusation that Jews were exploiting the holocaust. He then said he doesn’t feel any connection with Israel, although as the interviewer rightly pointed out Finkelstein has spent the past three decades criticizing Israel.
The full video can be viewed below.