I recently saw the film American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein (by filmmakers Nicolas Rossier and David Ridgen), at the documentary film festival in Montreal. I too am a filmmaker but I was appalled by the message of this film.
Film making can take a very narrow window on any issue and do it very convincingly.
Can we forget the films of Reifenshtahl, the Nazi propagandist filmmaker? Can we forget that it was the intelligentsia that believed in and promoted the Nazi ideology for many years prior to the Third Reich carrying out their extermination plan.
American Radical, the film about the life of Norman Finkelstein, claims that Finkelstein was not granted tenure at two different universities because of the “Jewish Lobby“. One of the reasons cited in the documentary is a letter from Allan Dershowitz. Dershowitz, a Harvard educated lawyer who is heavily maligned by the Left wing lobby for being pro-Israel and pro-Jewish. He himself was discriminated against for being Jewish and has written about it in is book Chutzpah.
The Jewish Lobby is a loaded term. It is the name of a book written by Walt and Mearsheimer, that has been adopted by Middle Eastern Departments hostile to Israel all over North American Campuses. It references the fraudulent book: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which was also promoted and studied, as if factual, in German classrooms after the Nazi Party came to power in 1933, and in America as well, (despite having been exposed as fraudulent years before). In the opinion of historian Norman Cohn, the Protocols were Hitler’s primary justification for initiating the Holocaust — his “warrant for genocide”. The fraudulent book, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion has since the early 19th century been the chief source for the fraudulent claim that Jews form an International Lobby whose aim is to dominate the world.
Finkelstein is a Jewish son of Holocaust survivors, who is a brilliant but disturbed academic, as is exposed by this documentary. He has been the darling of the virulent anti-Israel campaign mounted by the Left, the same left that supports the Israel/apartheid week on campuses, promotes the Israel boycott movement all over the world and touts Israel as one of the worst human rights violators. Here, he is promoted as a “radical hero” speaking up for the Palestinian cause.
Anti-semitism is a dirty word: But not facing it is worse. Since Jews live all over the world, including in Israel, and have every political persuasion, it is not difficult to find Jews such as Finkelstein who espouse anti-semitic and anti-zionist positions. The film maker may be excused for misunderstanding the issues, that Finkelstein espouses. Finkelstien and the Pro-Palestinian left identify the Palestinians with Holocaust victims and this is just as inaccurate as identifying the Palestinian situation with apartheid in Africa. This demonization of Israel and the distortion of the facts needs to be exposed. This film embraces a view of the Palestinian situation through the distorted lens of Norman Finkelstein. It paints the Israel/Palestine situation through the perceptions of one man, and supports him using other left wing anti-semitic academics including Noam Chomsky, Walt, and Mearsheimer. It succeeds in promoting the anti-sematism that is currently thriving in the Muslim world, an anti-semitism that is shrouded in anti-Israel rhetoric.
I wrote this post a little while ago but I have updated it with more news from the front regarding current reports of anti-semitism and Holocaust denial as noted in this article: Why Anti-Semitism Is Moving Toward the Mainstream. Note the references to the usual suspects, Mearsheimer, Atzmon, and Noam Chomsky.
I wrote the above a few months ago and now I am adding a link to an article about the most recent statements by Norman Finkelstein, which will surprise, you as it surprised the world. But at least it shows that Finkelsltein has not checked his integrity at the door of support for the Palestinian cause. He points out the Lie in the BDS movement.