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A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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 Norman Finkelstein ArchiveBlogview
Norman Finkelstein, May 2, 2017, in his apartment in Brooklyn. Photo by Phil Weiss.
The Six-Day-War and its mythology
On May 2, James North and Phil Weiss talked with Norman Finkelstein in his Brooklyn home about the Six Day War, its history, its mythology and its impact on US Jewish life. Finkelstein then revised the transcript of that conversation. Weiss: How important was the Six-Day War in your neighborhood when you were a kid?... Read More
‘Cameron is much closer to Netanyahu’s thinking than people realise’
British Prime Minister David Cameron has long professed himself a ‘passionate friend of Israel’. He is also a passionate supporter of the Conservative Friends of Israel, whose meetings he has repeatedly addressed and whose long-time director, Stuart Polak, he awarded with a peerage. Cameron is reputed to be an intimate friend and ally of Israel’s... Read More
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We interviewed Norman Finkelstein, the noted scholar of the Israel/Palestine conflict, in Brooklyn on April 8 and followed up with email exchanges. The following text contains both oral and written responses to our questions. PART 1: SANDERS Q. You’ve been canvassing for Bernie Sanders. Tell us why you’re so excited. I’ve witnessed three great social... Read More
Benny Morris: History by Subtraction (Part 5)
When Benny Morris was a historian (the “old” Morris), he documented that, if Palestinians opposed Zionism, it was because the Zionist movement intended to dispossess the indigenous population. But when he transmogrified into a Court Historian (the “new” Morris), Morris reversed cause and effect: he depicted the indigenous Palestinian population as jihadi anti-Semites and the... Read More
Benny Morris: History by Subtraction (Part 4)
When Benny Morris was still an historian (the “old” Morris), he documented how the Zionist objective of creating a Jewish state in Palestine by ethnically cleansing it engendered Palestinian resistance. But after he metamorphosed into a State propagandist (the “new” Morris), Morris reversed cause and effect: he purported that Palestinian jihad-ism engendered Zionist intolerance. Coming... Read More
Benny Morris: History by Subtration (Part 3)
When Benny Morris was still a historian (the “old” Morris), he anchored the resistance of Palestine’s indigenous population in its rational fear that Zionist settlers intended to “transfer”—i.e., ethnically cleanse—it (see Part 2). The “new” Morris, however, has a very different story to tell. He drastically reduces the salience of transfer in Zionism; locates the... Read More
Benny Morris: History By Subtraction, Part 2
The conclusion of Righteous Victims, Benny Morris’s sweeping “history of the Zionist-Arab conflict,” opened with a quote from Zionist leader (and Israel’s future first prime minister) David Ben-Gurion. The “conflict”with the Arabs, Ben-Gurion said in 1938, “is in its essence a political one. And politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves.” Morris then... Read More
From Clerk to Kook
Israeli historian Benny Morris played a pivotal role in molding the current scholarly consensus on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Until his generation of scholars came along (the so-called new historians), the dominant depiction of the conflict, even in academia, amounted to little more than a footnoted version of Leon Uris’s potboiler, Exodus. The current consensus casts... Read More
Is There a New "New Anti-Semitism"? Part 10
The historical record shows that Israel’s rights have not been prejudiced but in fact privileged by the international community. It has been not the victim but the beneficiary of a global double standard. Therefore, the thesis that a primal hatred of Jews accounts for its current pariah status cannot be sustained. Still, hasn’t Israel been... Read More
Is There a New "New Anti-Semitism"? Part 9
When the Palestine struggle reemerged after the 1967 war, the international community paid special deference to Israeli rights. Whereas the UN rejected South Africa’s bid to create a majority White state beside Black homelands (Bantustans), it upheld a Palestinian state only in the West Bank and Gaza beside, not in lieu of, Israel, thereby affirming... Read More
Is There a New "New Anti-Semitism"? Part 8
Far from singling Israel out for criticism, the international community has repeatedly turned a blind eye to its breaches of international law. The superficially most compelling case for a lurking new anti-Semitism is the comparative one. It is said that the world is replete with worse cases of oppression and repression; if the international community... Read More
Is There a New "New Anti-Semitism"? Part 7
Although it’s often alleged that anti-Semitism lurks behind criticism of Israel, the evidence adduced to support this claim is unpersuasive. The main act of the New Anti-Semitism roadshow homes in on Israel’s critics. It is alleged that Jew-hatred lurks behind much of the denunciation. One influential definition[1] points up these examples of anti-Semitism masquerading as... Read More
Is There a New "New Anti-Semitism"? (Part 6)
The allegations of a new “new anti-Semitism” have not only been directed at Europe. American college campuses are also said to be awash in anti-Semitism. The New York Times reported a “surge of hostile sentiment directed against Jews at many campuses in the country.”[1] As if in corroboration, a recent survey of Jewish college students... Read More
Is There a New "New Anti-Semitism"? Part 5
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami denies a causal nexus between spikes in Israeli violence against Palestinians and upticks in anti-Semitic violence. But that’s what all the data collected over many years demonstrates.[1] Each time Israel launches another of its murderous assaults, anti-Semitic incidents peak in Europe, often perpetrated by disaffected, angry Muslim youths. (Far-rightists/neo-Nazis... Read More
Is There a New "New Anti-Semitism"? Part 4
Among other anti-Semitic manifestations, the Tel Aviv University report ticks off “Russia still does not recognize the uniqueness of the Holocaust”; the leader of a right-wing party in the Ukraine “claimed that the Jews automatically dismiss anyone they do not like as an antisemite”; a Brazilian caricaturist “published a series of cartoons claiming that antisemitism... Read More
Is There a New "New Anti-Semitism"? Part 3
A vast complex of Jewish and philo-Jewish organizations (often affiliated with Israel) purports to document an explosion of anti-Semitic incidents. Consider the annual report issued by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center, Antisemitism Worldwide. It recorded 25 anti-Semitic incidents involving a weapon in 2013 among a global population of seven billion. In this writer’s living memory... Read More
A New "New Anti-Semitism"? Part 2
The available polling data does not reveal resurgent anti-Semitism. On the contrary, it suggests that anti-Semitism is a marginal, benign phenomenon in the West. The other evidence Shlomo Ben-Ami adduces is equally problematic. He gestures to a recent poll that allegedly found pervasive anti-Semitism among the British population.[1] But does this frequently cited poll prove... Read More
Whenever Israel commits another atrocity, its propagandists stage a revival of the “New Anti-Semitism” extravaganza to deflect or squelch global condemnation.[2] Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s megalomaniacal leadership, climaxing in Operation Protective Edge during summer 2014,[3] Israel has come to rank among the most hated countries on Earth. A 2015 survey of British public opinion... Read More
Keeping Human Rights Organizations Honest
In an 11-part series exclusive to Byline, Norman Finkelstein subjected Amnesty International’s reports on Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s summer 2014 assault on the Gaza Strip, to a forensic critique. But why is it important to keep organizations like Amnesty honest? Jamie Stern-Weiner, who is co-authoring a forthcoming book, HOW TO SOLVE THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT, with... Read More
Has Amnesty International Lost Its Way? Part 11
CONCLUSION It cannot be seriously disputed that Amnesty International’s reports on Operation Protective Edge lacked objectivity and professionalism. They betrayed a systematic anti-Palestinian bias amounting to apologetics on Israel’s behalf. They also marked a steep regression from the high standard Amnesty set in its reports on the Israel-Palestine conflict during the past two decades. Amnesty... Read More
Has Amnesty International Lost Its Way? Part 10
Failure to Take All Feasible Precautions International humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to take “all feasible” precautions/precautions “to the maximum feasible extent” in order “to protect civilians and civilian objects under their control against the dangers resulting from military operations.” One example is to “avoid locating military objectives within or near densely... Read More
Has Amnesty International Lost Its Way? Part 9
The criminal dimensions of OPE can be gleaned from the Breaking the Silence testimonies (see Table 5). TABLE 5 How Israel Fought OPE: A Selection of IDF Testimonies 18* When we left after the operation, it was just a barren stretch of desert…. We spoke about it a lot amongst ourselves, the guys from the... Read More
Indiscriminate and Deliberate Targeting of Civilians and Civilian Objects
Beyond indicting Hamas for the commission of war crimes because it used indiscriminate weapons, Amnesty also, and as a discrete line in its ledger, indicts Hamas for the commission of war crimes because it used these indiscriminate weapons to launch “indiscriminate attacks” and “attacks targeting civilians.” Article 51 of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva... Read More
Hamas War Crimes and Violations of International Law
The allegation that not just Israel but Hamas as well committed massive war crimes underpins Amnesty’s “balanced” indictment of both sides. Amnesty’s accusations that Hamas was guilty of “flagrant violations of international law”—that is, war crimes—fall under two heads: (1) its use of inherently indiscriminate weapons, and (2) its indiscriminate or deliberate targeting of Israeli... Read More
The Whole Point of OPE Was To Leave "Families Under the Rubble."
The ghastly truth of what unfolded in Gaza is captured, not in Amnesty’s effective whitewash but, instead, in the Breaking the Silence collection of testimonies of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers who served in Gaza during OPE (see Table 4).[1] TABLE 4 Property/Home Destruction in Gaza during OPE: A Selection of IDF Testimonies 1* [Did... Read More
A forensic analysis of Amnesty's reports on Operation Protective Edge
Amnesty’s biased evidentiary approach is also manifest in Families under the Rubble, which examines targeted Israeli attacks on inhabited civilian homes. It does find that the eight attacks on which it focused were on various grounds unlawful and possibly war crimes.[1] However, although it asserts that “the onus is on Israel to provide information concerning... Read More
A forensic analysis of Amnesty's reports on Operation Protective Edge
Hospitals (cont.) Shuhada al-Aqsa. Israel shelled Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital, killing at least four people and wounding dozens. Noting that Israel alleged it had targeted a cache of antitank missiles stored “in the immediate vicinity of the hospital,” Amnesty states that it “has not been able to confirm this” incident and calls for it to be... Read More
Amnesty’s citation of official Israeli sources produces skewed results that validate Israeli propaganda at Hamas’s expense. In some instances more credible contrary evidence is simply ignored. In its hyperbolic inventory of Hamas’s arsenal, Amnesty quotes the Israeli allegation that it intercepted a vessel carrying Iranian rockets “bound for Gaza.” It omits the widely reported finding... Read More
A forensic analysis of Amnesty's reports on Operation Protective Edge
To justify its unchecked violence in Gaza, Israel invariably spotlights the arsenal of rockets Hamas allegedly amassed. Amnesty echoes this story line. Thus, the reader learns from Unlawful and Deadly that, as far back as 2001, Hamas had been stockpiling short-range rockets; that it then “developed longer-range Qassam rockets”; that “in more recent years, armed... Read More
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How Amnesty International’s attempt at a ‘balanced’ approach at the conflict turns into an apologetic for Israel’s aggression against Gaza.
Amnesty International is among the premier human rights organizations in the world. Its pronouncements shape public opinion, while councils of state feel obliged if not to heed them at any rate to respond. A movement for justice aspiring to reach a broad public and inflect state policy can ill afford to ignore Amnesty if and... Read More
PastClassics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
While other top brass played press agents for the administration’s war, William Odom told the truth about Iraq—though few listened.
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?