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Audio of Norman Finkelstein & John Dugard at UC Berkeley, 10/15/08
by Joseph Anderson
Thursday Oct 23rd, 2008 7:07 PM
Norman Finkelstein's talk in Berkeley on Feb 13, 2008* generated much controversy because of his arrogant dismissal of the moral cause for a secular *re-unified* state in Palestine, and his support for Western imperialism's apartheid 2-state "solution" and an 85% territorial fait accompli for Israel. This time, 8 months later, Finkelstein arrogantly tells the oppressed, the Palestinian people, that they and their human rights supporters shouldn't even mention -- let alone criticize, condemn or debate -- Zionism, the racist European Jewish colonial ideology that has brutally attacked, oppressed and displaced millions of indigenous families in Palestine, Lebanon and now, in part, even in Iraq (Israel is there too). Some of NF's Q&A answers were, as before, much more negatively revealing, to anyone beyond a liberal, than his lecture itself.
Durations of current audios: 64:40 and 51:12.
* Audio of February 13 event is at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/02/16/18479491.php
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[The audio quality is again unfortunately only fair, and may require a higher playback volume due to the placement of the recorder [I'll get it better next time], but fortunately it's almost fully comprehensible.]
_________________________________________

So, there you have it: "Zionism" the newest "taboo" word (after "Israel lobby") -- for everyone but Jewish & Christian Zionists. Finkelstein quotes Gandhi (who called Zionism "a crime against humanity") at the beginning of his lecture, but ironically doesn't see how Gandhi's quote about not giving up fundamental principles applies directly to Finkelstein himself these days, amazingly *since* his firing from DePaul University. Or, is it that Norman Finkelstein (like, especially, Noam Chomsky and most other *such* Jewish "progressive" national lecture circuit icons), who also opposes any *practical* (even nonviolent) means, support and tools of resistance (like anti-Zionist boycotts, divestments and sanctions movements) for the indigenous Palestinians against Israeli Zionism, now even opposes the *practical* terms and tools of debate?

Finkelstein, in his 'MY WAY IS THE *ONLY* WAY' arrogance, calls even mentioning the word Zionism -- as well as, before, mentioning terms like Apartheid and Jim Crow -- as "stirring up some sort of demagogy", sloganeering, unrealistic (yet what bearing on Palestinian *reality* has his suddenly new approach had?), not being serious, no way to reach people, only talking to yourselves, untimely, and engaged in leftist cliches (projecting his self-confessed behavior, "back when I was a young man", as well as his hypocritical rudeness)! Furthermore, Finkelstein, a white man of his age, unbelievably and unembarrassingly proclaimed, with all his intellectually racial/racist callousness or dishonesty, "I never for the life of me understood what the expression 'Jim Crow' meant!"

So, I guess Finkelstein thought that Martin Luther King, in condemning American "Jim Crow" apartheid, and Nelson Mandela, in condemning South African apartheid, were "stirring up some sort of demagogy", sloganeering, unrealistic, not serious, didn't reach anyone, and were only talking to themselves.

Or, as I said, prefacing my question to Finkelstein, "The KKK, from the right, cursing white liberals as race traitors did not prevent Martin Luther King, from the left, criticizing white [Christian and Jewish] liberals when appropriate". White liberals who -- especially like Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky today -- even opposed nonviolent direct action and then called even King's direct language unwise, untimely, and his goals unrealistic, and the liberals always said, "now is not the time", like Finkelstein says today. King said that, "the white moderate preferred order, over justice".

And that's why the liberal so-called "peace movement" in Israel is called "Peace Now", but not "Justice Now!" And like all liberals, Finkelstein wants to criticize the *symptoms* of brutal Zionist racism, but not the *disease*: he doesn't even want us to *name* the *disease*! The disease that explains all the symptoms -- and explains, for all those who don't understand, *why* this virulent disease does what it does. Switching metaphors, now that Israel's house of inequality has been constructed in Palestine, they can take down the scaffolding (how it was built) and the house remains: the Zionist liberals/apologists want it prettified, and Finkelstein wants, now that it's safely built, its new tenants to not only settle down, but to stop being so ugly.

And he wants the Western imperialists who fund Israel to tell the IDF and the armed-to-the-teeth Jewish fundamentalists to stop hoo-ridin' through, and bombin' and shootin' shit up in, the Palestinian ghettos: to be happy with 85% of the land, 95% of the resources, and a hyper-squiggly trifurcated so-called "Palestinian state" on what's left over, and call it "fair & square" & a day! After all, Finkelstein has declared that he is "fundamentally loyal to the state of Israel" as a Jewish state -- which the Zionist morons who protest him don't understand, that he, Chomsky, Avnery, Halper, Bennis, Palast and other such 'progressive Zionists' (a contradiction in terms) are trying to *save* from white apartheid South Africa's fate: political and ideological decolonization (although not the end of *economic* apartheid there), and geographical reunification.

King said that, "Shallow understanding from people [supposedly] of good will [like those who applauded NF's most inane and intellectually non sequitur answers] is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will." He said that milquetoast white liberals were "the greatest stumbling blocks" of all, and I'd bet that he said that true justice and direct speech were *always* "untimely" and "unrealistic" to them. (See, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", by Martin Luther King, Jr. -- and that'll tell Finkelstein what Jim Crow was, since he still doesn't know.) And King said that, "Peace is not merely the absence of violence, but the presence of justice!" Now, I could quote Malcom X too about getting justice -- because he really didn't pull any punches -- but I know that liberals prefer Martin over Malcolm. (Btw, 'they' shot Martin too.)

Finkelstein poo-hoo'd the idea of a reunified Palestine, back in his February lecture, as the call of outlandish utopian Berkeley Marxist armchair purists. Interesting epithet. Back during American slavery, the conservatives said, "Keep slavery the way it is"; the liberals said, "Abolish slavery?: that's unrealistic, a nonstarter, now's not the time -- keep slavery but don't make it quite so brutal"; but the "purists" demanded, "Abolish slavery all together, forever!"

Finkelstein said that "the Zionists succeeded because they were more hardworking, disciplined, and committed in their message to the people" -- totally ahistorical, rather than that the imperialists found them happily useful at the time. But this is the guy who said his lawyer said that he would probably win Finkelstein's tenure denial case -- [a case that would have been the tenure equivalent of Brown vs. the Board of Education! -- a victory that would go wayyy beyond one person -- a victory that would have been *a major defeat* against the Israel lobby, the greatest domestic enemy of justice for the Palestinian people] -- but it would take about 6-8 years, or you (NF) could take a financial settlement, take the money and run, now -- suddenly, then, abandoning his tenure supporters (including his university student supporters).

Would Finkelstein say that people should have stopped protesting -- or the Vietnamese stop fighting -- the Vietnam War 6-8 years after it began? Would he have said that the Palestinian people should have stopped resisting 6-8 years after Zionism took over Palestine? Would he have said that Blacks should have stopped resisting slavery, Jim Crow or Apartheid 6-8 years after they began?

Isn't it obvioius?: anyone who says that progressives should stop critcizing Zionism, or minimizes or dismisses the Israel lobby (which Prof. Dugard told me was a critical impediment), is not (at least not any longer) an anti-Zionist.

Finkelstein, always lecturing us "unrealistic utopian purists" about discipline, commitment, doing the hard work, and principles, went for the money, because he didn't have the stomach for 6-8 years in such a tenure case of such major implications (and it's not like he would have been in prison; he'd have been an international progressive cause celebre the whole time, writing and being invited to speak all over the world, that much more!) -- in a case he said that his lawyer said he probably would have won!

My good lefty attorney housemate said, "You'd be surprised how many people who always talk the most about principles just quickly take the money and run."

(At least then Prof. Marcy Wong, denied tenure at UC Berkeley in the 1990's, fought 6-8 years for a cool $1 Million Dollars plus attorney fees! -- didn't suddenly abandon her supporters in the meantime -- wouldn't even sign a secrecy agreement about the amount! -- and wouldn't take a penny less! -- while it sent a major public message to the university!)

And one person later said, "And to think that we ["progressives"] are still arguing about the use of the term Zionism? Egads...! Is there some rule that the term can only be used within the boundaries of greater Israel? The term is ubiquitous there among Jews, as well as among Jews in pro-Israel lobbies in the US."

A Black progressive grassroots media activist friend of mine said it best and most succinctly: "White liberals get offended anytime you directly identify the *root* of the problem."

Or, as one Arab American said, "Why did Norman Finkelstein sacrifice his university career just to become a Zionist apologist?"

Joseph Anderson

Berkeley, CA

§Finkelstein-Dugard Q&A
by Joseph Anderson Thursday Oct 23rd, 2008 7:07 PM
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by JA
Friday Oct 24th, 2008 8:57 AM
My many thanks to Aaron Aarons, of Berkeley, CA, for his assistance in converting the audio and uploading these files to the website.
So, here is the question I asked, based on the question my Michigan Arab American friend wanted me to ask:

JA: You [NF] now say that Palestinians and their supporters shouldn't even talk about or criticize Zionism -- calling that "a Starbucks discussion/debate". Would Nazi, neo-Nazi, pro-Apartheid and other white-supremacist 'solidarity activists' or even white liberals have had or have the right to tell *Jews* or *Blacks* not to condemn and debate the ideology of white-supremacy and Nazism, slavery, Jim Crowism, Segregation and Apartheid -- based on your Dissident Voice interview and your recent lecture in Michigan?

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NF: I guess the obvious response is do you want to talk to *yourself* or do you want to talk to the *rest* of the world? If you want to talk to yourself you can use any slogan [some applause] you want! But, if you're *serious* about trying to enlighten people and get people to act on the basis of reason and facts, then you try to use a language which people in their ordinary conversation on the basis of their own ordinary moral intuition will understand.

When I was a young man I used to insist[?] that everybody who I disagreed with as a fascist pig. But I don't think that... -- That made me feel great...! [audience laughter] But I don't see that it converted many people and, frankly, I don't think that sort of language *should* convert many people, because you're not talking about revelations..., or not talking about sudden...sudden conversions.

We want people to act on the basis of reason, and facts, and logic, and good solid moral judgement. And it's just not very useful, if you *want* to get people to act on the basis of that, and not stir them up with some sort of *demagogy*, it's not useful to use slogans. And that comes from somebody who for a large part of his life used slogans. [Big audience applause]

____________________________________________________________________________________

[Of course just because Finkelstein was, according to his own "young man" story, so arrogant -- and I'd say that he hasn't lost that strong arrogant streak -- doesn't mean that everybody *else* is so arrogant or spoke only/primarily in slogans -- and where in my question did *anyone* say/yell "fascist pig", or "that sort of language", or anything of the kind? Finkelstein's intellectually non sequitur response -- actually, intellectually nonresponsive to the question -- is called "a strawman argument". I've read many formal articles (Jeffrey Blankfort, anti-Zionist Jewish-American journalist, writer, public speaker and activist, among the best) and I've written a few formal commentaries of my own over the years (all those articles available online and many of them available at DisssidentVoice.org, the best online progressive journal) analyzing and criticizing Zionism as a racist colonial ideology -- not a single one of them ever used the phrase "fascist pig" or even "Zionist pig". So, *who's* engaging in "demagogy" here? Or is Finkelstein *projecting*?]

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Then, later, my UC Berkeley Boalt Law School graduate, attorney housemate asked:

I'll address this to Professor Finkelstein... You say in the beginning of your talk that you felt that the standard of international law is the really only standard left these days to judge the situation [Palestinian oppression] by, and yet Professor Dugard went through a litany of resolutions and international court decisions that by his own descriptions have been largely ignored and in fact the situation has gotten worse and worse. It seems to me that the...the international law in this sense is just as rhetorical as the kind of rhetoric [analysis examining/criticizing Zionism itself, or even using the word Zionism] that you were dismissing as useless: that being, calling Zionism Zionism, the way you would call Jim Crow Jim Crow, or Apartheid Apartheid. It's a label that's given to a colonial ideology and as such it's just as legitimate [an analysis] as the kind of analysis that you're doing with international law.

-

NF: I'll tell you just as a personal note... Uh, I studied African American history as an undergraduate (that wasn't my major; that was my minor) and I never for the life of me understood what the expression "Jim Crow" meant. It was the case of people using a phrase rather than a content. And I'm not saying that I disagree with the content of the idea, I'm simply saying that if you want to *communicate* with people it doesn't make it useful to say "Zionist subversion" [one person in the audience did use that term in a perfectly civil intelligent question], "Zionist pig", or it is as useful as the previous generation using the expression "fascist pig" [NF was the only person in the entire audience of several hundred people (many, anti-Zionists) ever repeatedly using that term in his *strawman* reply arguments]. It doesn't get you very far in trying to do what purportedly you want to do -- namely, enlighten people so they can act.

The language of international law and human rights happens to be for most people fairly accessable because it's based on ordinary moral intuition. At least in the current world torture is *wrong*, collective punishment is *wrong*, taking hostages is *wrong*: that's the language of international law; it's the language of human rights and it's the language which virtually everybody can, without being prudent[?] or without everyone being made privy to the secrets of your arcane language, can understand.

[I can't go on with listening to and transcribing NF's, 'MY WAY IS THE *ONLY* WAY!!', arrogant (he still is, from his "young man" days) twisted drivel from NF. It was bad enough listening to him the first time. Then NF goes on to say that 'the Zionists succeeded because they were more disciplined, more hardworking, more commited ineducating the masses to their cause. That sounds like something somone would hear a white teacher say in an American history class scene in "Leave It To Beaver".]

____________________________________________________________________________________

"Jim Crow" (for those a lot younger than Finkelstein, who's supposed to be an *historian*) was an actual body/system of laws, social constructs, customs and behaviors so pervasively, thoroughly and deeply imposed on every element and moment, and even the most ordinary aspects of generations of millions upon millions of African Americans from even before they were born, from the moment they were conceived, laws growing out of slavery and the Black Codes -- laws even permitting white citizen *terrorism*, like lynchings, burning alive, bodily mutilations, gunshot murders, church and home bombings, etc., against African Americans (even those who served in the military and returned, and were attacked, even in uniform) -- and then to trivially equate anyone criticizing that ideology, or merely using that term by name (and similarly objecting to the terms Apartheid and Zionism), as the equivalent of someone yelling some 'leftist kneejerk rhetorical cliche', like "fascist pigs" -- can anyone say that's not detestable (almost racist), *uniquely* wanton ignorance/denial? And how would those imposed body of laws and social constructs differ, anyway, from the racial aspects of the ideologies of historical fascism? Those laws (and associated common police and judicial practices) were certainly fascist to the people who had to suffer under them. As I said in the above commentary article, you can read Martin Luther King's similar description of "Jim Crow" in his historically famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" (available online).
by Estes (posted by JA)
Saturday Oct 25th, 2008 2:01 PM
NF: "The language of international law and human rights happens to be for most people fairly accessable because it's based on ordinary moral intuition."

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This is just flat out preposterous. It is interesting how Finkelstein associates the language of "international law" and "human rights". In fact, on the left, the language of "human rights" is derived from the struggles against imperialism. The same struggles, the same rhetoric that he now says "doesn't reach people".

On the right, as a number of people have observed, perhaps, Bourdieu, Linebaugh and Zizek (don't recall this very precisely), among others, the philosophy of: "human rights" has been created precisely for the purpose of substituting the notion of individual freedoms within a consumer society for the class stuggle that can never be extinguished within capitalism. For example, read Linebaugh's discussion of Tom Paine in his recent book, <i>The Magna Carta Manifesto</i>, wherein the "rights of man" are directed tied to the the creation of private property rights and the opportunity to exploit resources mercilessly. Finkelstein's remarks about torture, hostage taking and collective punishment being wrong are consistent with this perspective. It is a language that leaves the underlying relationships of power within a society unchanged. Or, just look at what the Carter Center and Human Rights Watch do.

Any self-identified Communist [as NF politically identifies himself] should know this. The troubling thing, when you read Finkelstein's remarks, is the extent to which he appears to have bought into his own Lakoff inspired need to transform his language to communicate with others. He talks as if most Americans are inherently self-centered and imperialistic, and cannot be reached unless you accept their discourse. Sadly, he may be correct in regard to speaking to a liberal audience, but it won't work very well elsewhere.
_______________________________________________________________________________________

JA [via email]: My UC Berkeley law school graduate, attorney housemate asked NF why using the word Zionism, or Jim Crow, or Apartheid, and respectively criticizing those racial ideologies, is/was, by N.F.'s arguments, any more "useless" than his and (Int'l Law Professor) Dugard's citing a whole litany of purely advisory, nonbinding "international law" opinions -- and thus far totally *ignored* -- *opinions* and UN resolutions which Israel and the United States (and even the UN Secretary General himself!) and every allied country of Israel's have completely *ignored*, while the Palestinian situation has gotten worse and worse and worse. Their almost abstract, ivory tower, naive, so far totally ineffective (as a practical matter) argumentations were a prime example of why my housemate, in general, just *hated* law school, and regarded at least half of the 3-year law school pedagogy as just academic masturbation.

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Estes: I work as an attorney. My co-workers seem to like me precisely because I don't subject them to this sort of thing, and speak to them directly and candidly. I guess that makes me a "mere practitioner".

Overall, I have never understood the fascination that liberals and some leftists have with "international law". The US still hasn't paid that World Court judgment back in the 1980s to Nicaragua, has it? Don't they understand that it is crafted primarily for the benefit of dominant capital interests and hegemonic powers? I can't help but recall that famous anarchist, Flores Magon, who said something like, to transform society, to successful eliminate its injustices, you can only be "illegal".

And to think that we are still arguing about the use of the term Zionist? Egads! Is there some rule that the term can only be used within the boundaries of Israel? The term is ubiquitous there, as well as among pro-Israel lobbies in the US.
_____________________________________________________________________________

I came across something very pertinent to this discussion, as I was reading Edith Meiksins Wood's book, Empire of Capital, and got to her passages about Hugo Grotius, the Dutch theorist who was apparently one of the creators of international law, during the Dutch Republic in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, and Wood says the following: "If Grotius is indeed the founder of international law, we may have to admit that international law at its inception had as much to do with advocating as [with] limiting war, and as much to do with profit as [with] justice."

See pp. 68-72, if you are interested.
by educating Finkelstein
Saturday Oct 25th, 2008 2:23 PM
In our discussions we need to bring, use, actually repeat as much as we can the word Zionism, its implications, its meaning, its usage and its results.

There is a liberal-intellectual "patronizing" the masses by "protecting" them from the ugly truth by baby-talking them away from the "complex concepts where the masses are too dumb to understand." This effort sugar coats the truth and prevents facing the reality.

"Imperialism" is such a word. Instead of dumbing down our arguments against the reality of imperialism, I think the right thing to do is to make people learn, understand and think about this word and fact. Many people, including intellectuals, or well-read people have not been exposed to the concept or only accept it as a distant and historical phenomenon related to others in the past and never to the US. Should we not mention "imperialism" and talk only about the "greed" or "bad Bush" or "mistakes the US makes"? THE SYMPTOMS! If you believe that Finkelstein is correct, that is exactly what we should do 'to avoid being isolated from the masses'.

Zionism is real. We see its tragic results everyday. People need not only look at its victims and decide, "oh, bad Israel government policies", or "How sad!", but people need to understand what nationalism, religious bigotry, imperialism, and capitalism all mean and how they manifest themselves in every day life. Learning Zionism is not an abstract discussion. It is also an education in the above subjects.

Zionism, as an expression of imperialism and nationalism, could be used to explain many things by leftists. It is far from being abstract. Starting with Zionism one could talk about imperialism in the 19th century, creation of national bourgeoisie, comprador classes, imperialism becoming an "internal affair", human rights, NAZI ideology, birth of nations in the era of imperialism, neo-colonialism, capitalist state, neo-colonial type fascism, ..., EVERYTHING! Actually, using Zionism, we had endless discussions with my Arab friends, which inevitably turned the discussion to imperialism and capitalism. They resisted these concepts (prior to Iraq war) and only wanted to concentrate on Zionism and Jews, but through this subject and long discussions they too started using these terms because Zionism is related to the broader subjects, whether you like it or not.

Using, forcing and pressing our words and concepts, will reveal the reality and truth. We need to oppose the current dominant culture, and its convoluted terminology and use our tools. This will also expose the double meanings used by the ruling classes (words like "democracy," "freedom," "dictatorship," "imperialism," "fascism" etc) which is a prerequisite to pull the masses from the grasp of a lying system and bolster an alternative culture, even though it may not be socialistic yet, in a society that is ripe for a change. Discussion of Zionism is pregnant with many rich other subjects that it embodies. I use it as much as I can in every opportunity.
by Joseph Anderson, Berkeley, CA
Thursday May 7th, 2009 4:41 PM
From: joseph anderson
To: [list: deleted for privacy]
Subject: *CORRECTION*!!: It was Cornel, not Dyson!! -- i.e., Finkelstein's 'a minstrel show' remark
Date: Thu, 7 May 2009 16:19:13 -0700


GEE IS MY FACE RED...!! It's a good thing that I never told Dyson what I *thought* Finkelstein called him -- because I just didn't want to 'burden' Dyson with that nonsense and distraction:

I was just looking up my past email debate with Finkelstein, to best characterize my answer to your question -- where I checked (as in chess) and checked and checked him at every intellectual turn until he was checkmated, because NF's (and Chomsky's) position was just intellectually indefensible, but they get their specious arguments past most white leftists. But, I think that with everyone else Israel lobby denial just makes these people look foolish.

Anyway, and this is really *embarrassing* (I'll have to clear this up with all my white leftist friends and associates): Finkelstein called *CORNEL WEST* a 'money-grubbing' minstrel show; *NOT* Dyson -- not that *that's* any better, it's actually even *worse*, especially since Cornel's status and venerableness is even higher than Dyson's. But, at any rate, NF certainly doesn't think much better about Dyson (and NF himself didn't correct me when I mistakenly asked him, in person, why he called Dyson a minstrel show): NF called Dyson an 'irresponsible' university class-cancelling jet-setter.

Again (and this is when we had basically wrapped up a strenuous --for NF-- debate about the Israel lobby, although I was very polite and amiable), NF didn't explain (literally not a single sentence) *why* he thought that Cornel was a minstrel show -- and (as I said, like ALL whites who say thes kinds of things to me) he didn't ask me my opinion AT ALLL! As I said, it was some white person *venting*, while I was supposed, or circumstantially constrained, to remain 'a potted plant': they obviously didn't care about my opinion, and left no space for it unless I wanted to force my response (and look all 'militant').

While I won't share private email (unless given permission) -- and originally, for a longgg time, I didn't even make this public. But I went public in characterizing it (though I had the wrong name), after NF, at the microphone during Q&A, publicly acted like A MAJOR ASS against me -- scathingly ridiculing me, *right after* he commmited himself to answering my question seriously, although he said that he disagreed with it -- when, at NF's Feb 2008[?] lecture in Berkeley, I *POLITELY* and analytically challenged his and Chomsky's liberal racism against the Palestinian people. [Sorry about any long, unweildy sentences.] But, I caught heat from most -- though certainly not all -- of the white folks in the audience for challenging Finkelstein -- although Palestinians/Arabs commended me afterwards.

This heat was including from my good and personally respected friend (at least that's how I think of her) Barbara Lubin who gave him an award on behalf of her organization, MECA -- although I don't doubt that she has 2nd thoughts by now (well, she *should* have). I then asked Barbara Lubin as to how much intellectual and moral trust she had in someone who would call Dyson [my being in error about the name] a minstrel show. I guess that when NF is in an intellectual and moral corner -- unable to elide that "left Zionist apologist", specious, and at least implicitly racist, bullshit past me in his lectures -- anti-Palestinian racism that even most white (Jewish or gentile) progressive/leftist audiences in the Bay Area don't seem to hear (and apparently, the few Palestinian/Arab members in the audience are afraid to publicly challenge at these events) -- then NF emotionally lashes out.

You know, I had more *concern* for NF than he apparently has for me: I also didn't publicize his minstrel show remark [confusing West with Dyson] at the time because NF was deep in the middle of his tenure battle at DePaul, and I didn't want to morally discredit him with what I felt was a rash (however stupid, and certainly intellectually unsupported) remark he made that I surmised was made out of academic jealously. Having said that, I know other things about NF that I won't even share verbally (unless he makes them public first, which he has to some degree), like what he personally owes Chomsky, that I lightly characterized as "mentorship", but it's much more than that: it goes deeper than that).

NF didn't tell me it (what goes deeper) was confidential, but I decided to treat it that way, because I felt it was in a moment of considerable openness (and, especially, confession) as to why he was maintaining an intellectually indefensible position (against anyone who is an *independent* thinker, not beholden to ideology or other's celebrity, and thus willing actually critically examine what he says). And it's NF's 'mentor' Chomsky's position at that: essentially/near denial of the Israel lobby -- and Amy Goodman won't even have anyone on Democracy Now to challenge Chomsky's denial, so I figure that Chomsky (who *is* supposely a millionaire, unless he took a big hit on, at least, his investments) is dropping mucho donation bucks to Democracy Now (Amy keeps *repeatedly* doing these homages to Chomsky; you'd think that Chomsky was terminally ill or already dead).

As it is (if I didn't tell you before), it was only after my long email exchange debate with NF that he shifted his position 30% on the Israel lobby, by saying that, 'At least when it comes to Palestine, the Israel lobby makes a crucial [negative] difference in the Palestinian situation and thus in the lives of the Palestinians, but not when it comes to the rest of the Middle East or anywhere else.' Well, that 30% is actually a very significant shift from absolute denial.

Another thing: I don't think I've had occasion to mention this before, but I am REALLY SURPIRSED at some of the at least implicitly (anti-Palestinian) racist things that some "leftist" Jewish-American icons (or American born, but now Israeli or dual citizenship) can get away with saying to white audiences and never be challenged on their anti-Palestinian racism.

The very few Palesinians in such an audience won't openly challenge such Jewish "liberals'/leftists'" implicit racism, because I guess they (the former) don't want to look ungrateful and militant, especially for the "liberal/leftist" Jewish conditional (I call them anti-Occupation *Zionists*) 'support/anti-racism' -- for a geographically corrupted, and probably politically unviable, rump, totally controlled, so-called Palestinian "state": 15% of the land, 10% of the water, 5% of the economy, and 0% of the borders, for about (maybe even still just over) *HALF* the population of historic Palestine [and that doesn't even include the Palestinian *exiles*, external refugees, and other diaspora], and call that "fair & square" and a day! ('Oh, thank you massa, you ssso goood to me!')

And the usual Jews (maybe anti-Occupation Zionists feel they're in enough hot water with their families and the Zionist Jewish community) and white gentiles in the audience that I *know* should be capable of challenging the implicitly racist remarks don't challenge them for whatever their respective reasons. Only then, I guess that it's up to me (I certainly can't sit quietly and listen to that stuff: I feel like vomiting). 'The conscience of Berkeley', one at least willing to publicly speak up, is a lonely position among all those good white "progressives/leftists".

But, the point is that I see that people are, for whatever respective reasons, *AFRAID* to publicly challenge racism -- well, I guess afraid to challenge *liberal racism* by an iconic (of some status/quarter) speaker. And all I could *safely* and briefly interject -- when NF said that '[he] *minored* in African American history, but that, "for the life of me", I could never understand what Jim Crow meant!' -- was "*I* can tell you!" I had to say *something*, however brief, just so that all the white people didn't think I acquiesced with such a denial.

I guess that everyone else in the audience was either too young, to remote from the South, not American-born, or too unread to understand the almost *intellectual depravity* of such a denial -- and especially at NF's age and, otherwise, ostensible intellectual station in life.

And the thing is NF would have *never* made such a remark in front of a predominantly, or even significantly, Black audience --unless he's "an educated *fool*", as older Southern Black folks would say. Anyway, I'm more and more realizing the phenomenon of "educated racists" (even advanced degreed racists -- something many older Blacks were/are deeply cognizant of), in my being exposed to "progressive/left Zionist", what I call "anti-Occupation *Zionist [I stress]*" Jews. I then think of all those Nazi-era anti-Semitic German (those who were anti-Semitic) gentiles with university, and even advanced, degrees. I slowly shake my head at both thoughts.


Take care,

Joseph


P.S. If you're a glutton for more 'punishment', you can read this:

"An Open Letter to Norman Finkelstein, and Barbara Lubin of MECA in Berkeley, et al"


by Joseph Anderson, Berkeley, CA
Friday Feb 15th, 2008 3:39 PM
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/02/15/18479413.php


And you can *HEAR* for yourself and read this (toward the end of the Q&A is where my brilliant female housemate poses the question to NF's stipulation about "not using the words Zionism, apartheid, racism", applied to Israel, is where you can hear him make the Jim Crow comment):


Audio of Norman Finkelstein & John Dugard at UC Berkeley, 10/15/08
by Joseph Anderson
Thursday Oct 23rd, 2008 7:07 PM
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/10/23/18546108.php


As I said before, not only do Chomsky and NF not want to lift a practical finger [well, I sometimes say that they're lifting *one*] for even nonviolent support of the Palestinians (nonviolent support that most Palestinians are asking for), NC & NF even want to deny the Palestinians the practical verbal tools -- in their list of forbidden words -- of analysis and criticism of the settler-colonial system of oppression that the Palestinians have suffered under for well over a half-century now, and still counting.

(My question would have been shorter, but I was had to to work in a question, too, by a very good Arab American female friend of mine in Ann Arbor.)

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