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Monday, April 12, 2010

Holocaust denier given forum at UN

After I wrote the title of this post, I realized that Holocaust deniers speaking at the United Nations are actually nothing new. After all, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen have both spoken there. But still, there's something special about having a Jewish Holocaust denier speak at the United Nations, especially so close to Holocaust Memorial Day (which is being observed on Sunday night and Monday this year in Israel). Yes, Norman Finkelstein was given a forum to speak at the United Nations last week to promote his new book on Operation Cast Lead.
But the book’s publication is a small event, and given Finkelstein’s monomaniacal hatred of Israel and notorious penchant for incivility (he’s famous for wrongfully accusing Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz of plagiarism), it deserves to be.

Nevertheless, Finkelstein was at the United Nations’ headquarters on Wednesday plugging his book at a UN Correspondents Association event. And while the UN did not officially sponsor the talk, it is, on some level, bad enough that it even took place at the World Body’s headquarters. Widely discredited and still unemployed three years after losing his tenure battle at DePaul, Finkelstein was able to give a talk in the same room used for UN press briefings, with two UN flags standing in the background.

The chance to speak at the UN offered Finkelstein a shot at professional rehabilitation that he simply doesn’t deserve. In January 2008, Finkelstein appeared on a Lebanese news program and declared his solidarity with the Iranian-sponsored terrorist group Hezbollah. After a startled interviewer tried explaining to him that Hezbollah’s militancy represented an extreme position in Lebanese public life, Finkelstein launched into a characteristically crude tirade on the state of Middle Eastern affairs. He lauded Hezbollah for resisting foreign occupation before getting personal: “My parents went through World War II,” he said. “Now Stalin’s regime was not exactly a bed of roses … But who didn’t support the Soviet Union when they defeated the Nazis? ... If I’m going to honor the communists during World War II, even though I probably would not have done very well under their regimes, if I’m going to honor them, I’m going to honor the Hezbollah.”

After being denied tenure from DePaul, Finkelstein could conceivably have used his martyr’s status to secure some kind of creditable academic position. But, as Finkelstein made clear in his talk at the UNCA, he has little interest in being a respected academic again. During his over hour-long talk, Finkelstein did not cite a single first-hand interview with any of the participants in last year’s conflict. It seems he did not talk to a single Israeli soldier, while an excerpt from his book finds him admiring Hamas militants from afar, rather than, you know, interviewing them. Although, to be fair, Finkelstein claimed on Wednesday that “Hamas is not a military force.”


The question of whether Finkelstein actually believes what he’s saying—that a terrorist organization that fired over 3,200 rockets and mortar shells (which he refers to as “firecrackers and Roman candles” in the above-linked chapter) on a civilian population over the course of a single year is not a military force—is less interesting than the question of how such a pathological mindset got a speaking invitation at the UN to begin with. The invite was apparently the idea of Nizar Abboud, a reporter for Al-Alam, an Arabic-language subsidiary of state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. “I suggested to invite him, and all the UNCA people agreed,” Abboud said. Which means that the organization representing the UN press corps apparently thought that borderline paranoia and outright slander of the Jewish state was something from which their colleagues could benefit.
Your tax dollars at work. What could go wrong?


At 1:21 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

One wishes the mamzer was never born. I feel terrible that he bears my name and the sole comfort I can take is that I am nothing like him and I hate all he is and everything that he represents. Perhaps it is fitting indeed that Finkelstein's address was sponsored by Iran. Its a poignant reminder that the Jewish people's destroyers also come from within.

May G-d make an end of him!

At 2:00 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Finkelstein is so extreme an anti-Semite he was one of two Jews denied entry into Israel. The other was Richard Falk. Its not every day you meet Jews who identify so strongly with Israel's enemies and yet here you have them. And its nothing special they have they imprimatur of the vipers' nest of global anti-Semitism: the United Nations. One can't just never wish enough evil towards the Jewish people around Yom HaShoah.

And in the face of all this the world remains silent.

At 2:02 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Carl.
It says it all "a reporter for Al-Alam, an Arabic-language subsidiary of state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting".
Ahmadenejad can't pass a single occasion to deny directly or indirectly the Holocaust ,it's just precise moment that the speech takes place who shows this "Man" his true evil intentions.


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