The Brooklyn Library Must Not Allow Norman Finkelstein to Lecture on Israel
by Ronn Torossian
Those who oppose Israel should not be given open forums in New York City’s publicly-funded venues.
But — as New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind recently uncovered — the Brooklyn Public Library is offering a ten-week class taught by Norman Finkelstein, whom the ADL has deemed a “Holocaust denier” and anti-Israel propagandist.
Who is Norman Finkelstein?
In his book, The Holocaust Industry, Finkelstein argues that “Jewish elites” have created an “industry” to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust as a ploy to extort money and to gain influence, as well as a tactic “to crush any dissent, any criticism, of the State of Israel.” The New York Times’ review of the book described its premise as a “novel variation” on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the fraudulent essay concocted to expose a Jewish “conspiracy” to take over the world.
In a 2000 article for Salon, Finkelstein described Elie Wiesel as a “resident clown,” and charged that he was responsible for creating a “meaningless version of the Nazi Holocaust.” Finkelstein also criticized Wiesel for only exposing “genocides that serve the interest of the US and Israel.”
Finkelstein has also praised Hezbollah. In a letter posted on his website, he states, “I did make a point of publicly honoring the heroic resistance of Hezbollah to foreign occupation. … Their historic contributions are…undeniable.” He appeared on the official Hezbollah television network al-Manar, because, he said, “If I’m willing to appear on CNN — the main propaganda organ for America’s terrorist wars — why shouldn’t I appear on al-Manar?”
The ADL has described Finkelstein as a “known Holocaust denier and anti-Israel propagandist.” They note that in his book, Finkelstein argues that the Holocaust “has become a straight-out extortion racket.” Finkelstein also claims that Jews have exploited the Holocaust to make money, and said that, “I can’t imagine why Israel’s apologists would be offended by a comparison to the Gestapo.”
Finkelstein has written that “the Zionists indeed learnt well from the Nazis. So well that it seems that their morally repugnant treatment of the Palestinians, and their attempts to destroy Palestinian society within Israel and the occupied territories, reveals them as basically Nazis with beards and black hats.”
In a December 2001 interview with CounterPunch magazine, Finkelstein said: “If you understand terrorism to mean the targeting of civilian populations in order to achieve political goals, then plainly the US qualifies as the main terrorist government in the world today.”
When asked whether he thought that “the West was in some way responsible for the tragedy of September 11,” Finkelstein replied: “Regrettably, it’s payback time for the Americans . .. Frankly, part of me says … ‘you know what, we deserve the problem on our hands because some things bin Laden says are true.’”
And according to the Columbia Spectator, Finkelstein has also characterized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a “contrived and fabricated controversy.” He has declared that “regardless of intent, Israel is in effect guilty of state terrorism.” He also said that the “only difference between Israel terrorism and Hamas terrorism is that Israeli terrorism is three times as lethal.”
Simply put, Finkelstein’s classes at the Brooklyn Public Library should be terminated. The general public should show up to 10 Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn for his next class on March 22 at 730 PM , or call 718-230-2100 to demand its cancellation.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, one of America’s largest independently owned PR firms.