This Wednesday, November 30th at 7:30pm in Morse Auditorium Boston University’s Students for Justice in Palestine will be hosting Norman Finkelstein to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While we may disagree with his political viewpoints, we are not writing to you about the complexities of the Middle East conflict. Rather, we would like to address Norman Finkelstein’s rhetoric.
We strongly believe that Boston University’s campus should be an environment in which a variety of opinions are free to be expressed. However, we oppose hate-speech that is damaging and malicious. We believe that this hatred needs to be challenged.
As Presidents of Boston University Students for Israel (B.U.S.I.) and Boston University Hillel, we are deeply troubled by the anti-Semitic rhetoric and ideology held by Mr. Finkelstein. Regarding the Holocaust he espouses: “Most [Holocaust] survivors are bogus
” and “In recent years, the Holocaust industry has become an outright extortion racket
.” As two groups that are embedded in the Jewish identity, we are pained by his disrespect for the six million deaths of the Holocaust and for his blatant disregard for the gravity of the Holocaust. Of our own professor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, Mr. Finkelstein states, “he is the resident clown of the Holocaust circus
As we enter a generation of individuals that will not know a Holocaust survivor, it is our duty to stand up for those that are unable to. The fact that Mr. Finkelstein is Jewish does not justify his minimization of the Holocaust. Inviting Mr. Finkelstein to our campus validates his dismissal of Jewish suffering, perpetuation of hatred and distortion of truths. His rhetoric has the potential to instill lies and anti-Semitism into a new generation of individuals.
We are asking you, as Boston University students, to take action. Our undergraduate student fee is used to bring Mr. Finkelstein to campus as well as university space and resources. Please respectfully contact our Boston University leadership and communicate that we do not support bringing Mr. Finkelstein and his use of hate-speech and anti-Semitism to our campus. We have the power and ability to ensure a positive academic environment at Boston University.
Ariel Bengio, Meggie Wyschogrod
President, Boston University Hillel President, Boston University Students for Israel