January 1, 2006
Editor’s note: Finkelstein’s segment starts at 1hr 5min. (show total: 3hrs 54min). Show archive from the This Is Hell radio show.
MP George Galloway, author of the new book, “Mr. Galloway Goes To Washington: The Brit Who Set Congress Straight About Iraq” (New Press).Mr. Galloway is the Respect Party’s Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow in London, a seat he won after being expelled from the Labour Party following thirty-six year of membership. The Party expelled George for opposing the war in Iraq. You may remember George from his amazing testimony before the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs relating to his alleged and unsubstantiated involvement in the oil-for-food “scandal.”
Norman Finkelstein, author of “Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History” (University of California Press), is assistant professor of political science at Chicago’s DePaul University.
Barbara Ehrenreich, author of “Bait and Switch: The (futile) Pursuit of the American Dream” (Metropolitan Books) as well as a contributor to Harper’s and The Nation. Barbara has also been a columnist for both The New York Times and Time magazine.
Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, discussed the work of his group including their recent report on oil company profiteering. We also touched on FTCR’s work regarding insurance companies and Hurricane Katrina.
Chuck Mertz: Norman, I have to admit, when covering this topic, whenever I have done it in the past, … when you’re talking about being critical of Israeli policy it doesn’t matter who I’ve talked with on this show or what aspect of being critical of Israeli governmental policy or being critical of the Sharon administration, I’m always a little bit nervous, I’m always kind of uncomfortable with using the words, and I know this is just words, using the words like “Jew” and “Zionist” both from someone… because I’m not Jewish, I was raised Roman Catholic, I’m white so is there some kind of like.. is this kind of like white liberal christian guilt? Is it common place? Is this part of the reason that criticism of Israeli policy is not open for discussion within the public because of even the fear of using words like Zionist within conversation?
Norman G. Finkelstein: Well, I think that you point to an interesting problem and nobody’s ever asked me this question so I think this is a good opportunity to explore it. I think the best way to go about these things is simply not to use those terms. I don’t think being a Jew or being a Zionist has any relevance whatever in trying to examine Israeli policy. Israel is a state and it’s bound by the same rights and responsibilities as any other state in the world. Israel has citizens some of whom are… most of whom, are Jewish but a large number of whom are not Jewish. So raising the issue of Jew, also to my thinking, is irrelevant. The question is whether Israel is acting in a manner that conforms to international law. That’s the only relevant question. Jew, Zionist, those are interesting questions. I wrote a doctoral dessertation on the theory of Zionism and I found that topic interesting. That’s an area of, you know, intellectual exploration. It has nothing whatever to do with applying to Israel the same standards as you apply to any other country in the world.
CM: Norman, when I just started doing this show I was approached by someone who is Jewish in the peace activism network here in Chicago and they wanted me not to do anything on the show, or they warned me, I should say, not to do anything on the show that was critical of Israeli policy. This activist told that I should “be careful about criticizing Israeli policy” and “because knee-jerk supporters of Israeli government policy can cause a lot of trouble for those who criticize Israel.” Now that hasn’t stopped us from allowing this program to be an open forum for those who are critical of Israeli policy, whether it’s Mordechai Vanunu, Mustafa Barghouthi, Uri Avnery, the parents of Rachel Corrie, former members of the Israeli military, or folks from a number of Jewish peace and human rights organizations within Israel or Arab peace and human rights groups within Palestine..
NGF: Oh, I have to just stop you and say, that’s a terrific line up. Rachel Corrie’s
parents, I’ve met them on several occassions, are really wonderful human beings.
Mustafa Barghouthi is a terrific and very smart fellow. I think you should feel
very proud that you brought some exemplary human beings onto your radio program.
They’re tremendous. I have to say one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met
is Rachel Corrie’s mother, Cindy Corrie. She’s a real trooper.
CM: And you know what, just on Mustafa Barghouthi, his opinions and his views of what
the future of Palestine can be are unfortunately views on the future of Palestine that
are being completely ignored here in the United States as far as a different way for
the Palestinian people to go forward rather than embracing something like Hamas or
NGF: I totally agree with you and he happens to be a very intelligent person.
And that’s why those on the other side don’t want him to be seen. They want it to
look like Israel is just facing a bunch of irrational, fanatical terrorists.
And when you have someone like Dr. Barghouthi on the program it causes one to rethink
those stereotypes. He’s perfectly rational, very intelligent and very reasonable.
CM: So my question is: “was it anti-Semitic for someone, despite being Jewish, to warn
me of the power of pro-Israeli-government organizations in Chicago? Or was the power
pro-Israeli-government organizations simply overexaggerated by the activist?”
NGF: No, I think that’s a real phenomenon. I’m right now trying to get on to a Chicago
television program. Out of deference to the producer I won’t name the program. I was
originally invited to be on enthusiastically. And as always happens, so I don’t fault
this producer at all, I’m told I’ll be on imminently, days elapse, I’m not on, so I
call up curious what happened, but knowing full well what happened. I’m told I’m
controversial. And because I’m controversial, that is I don’t toe the party line on
Israel, because I’m controversial they have to have on somebody who will represent the
other view, to which I say fine, that’s terrific, bring the person on. Nothing happens
for several days. I call up again, so what’s the story? ‘Well, nobody wants to
appear with you from the other side.’ And therefore, the other side effectively has a
veto on all dissenting voices because they simply say ‘he’s controversial, he can’t
be on alone but we won’t appear with him.’ And then the radio station, the television
program, they say, ‘ well, sorry, we can’t let you on alone, you can’t be on.’ And
I’ve had that happen so many times. It still fills me with a mixture of bitterness
and frustration but I can’t say it comes as a surprise for me. That’s how the other
side works. They know perfectly well if they pigeonholed you as controversial then
the station feels the obligation to have the alternative point of view and you never
get on because then they say they won’t come on. The funny thing, the irony of all
of it is, in fact, by any rational standard, I’m not controversial at all. I got
my degrees, my graduate level degrees, from Princeton. I’ve written 5 books, one of
which was named a notable book of the year by the Sunday New York Times Book Review.
Another one of my books has been translated into 19 languages and was an international
bestseller. If you look at my recent book, the one that just came out, Beyond Chutzpah,
which is supposedly the most controversial of all.. if you just turn to the back cover
you’ll see blurbs praising the book from the Chair of the department at the Hebrew
University in Jerusalem, from Oxford University, from Harvard University, from
Berkeley and from M.I.T. And as it happens all of the persons endorsing the book
are Jewish. But notwithstanding, the book came out from a university press, all of the
endorsers are Jewish, all of the endorsers are the leading scholars in the field,
at their respective leading universities in the world (Hebrew University, Oxford,
Harvard, M.I.T.). Notwithstanding all of that, I’m the one that’s deemed controversial.
Whereas, one of the main subjects of my book, namely Alan Dershowitz of Harvard…
Professor Dershowitz has written what I claim and I extensively document to be a fraud.
He plagiarizes from a hoax. And Professor Dershowitz went as far as the Governor of
California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to try to block publication of my book. This
coming from a renowned civil libertarian. Nonetheless, Professor Dershowitz is never
deemed controversial. If he wanted to appear on a television program in Chicago there
would never be the standard that an alternative point of view has to be presented.
Professor Dershowitz last week had a large Op-Ed piece in the Chicago Tribune. Was there
any standard that there had to be a dissenting view on the same page? I submitted
an Op-Ed to the Chicago Tribune, I’m still waiting to hear. I have a very good idea
of what the answer is.
CM: Norman, you know, this made me think about how we have had people on our show
in the past who have said that the public forum, as far as being critical of Israeli
policy, is far more vigorous, there is far more criticism of Israeli governmental
policy, the policies of the Sharon administration in particular, within the Israeli
media than there is within the media here in the United States. I know that there
are probably some people who are listening to this show right now who think that your
opinions, your criticisms of Israeli policy are not being put on the air here
in the United States because of this hateful remark that I’ve heard so many people
say, that “the Jews control the media.” So why do you think that there is… first of all,
do you think that there is a more vigorous debate within the Israeli media and, secondly,
why do you think you are not allowed, or as invited into, the mainstream media here in the
United States to discuss your criticism of Israeli foreign policy or policy in general?
NGF: There was probably more vigorous debate on Israeli policy in the settlements in
Gaza than there is in the United States. I’m serious, I mean this place is pretty
monotonal. It’s really a Johny-One-Note on the question of Israel; “who can be a
bigger cheerleader than the next.” So I think the talk about the range of debate when
it comes to the United States, it’s just… you’re on another planet. Let me just
give you a simple example. In any other country in the world where there are human
rights violations the standard procedure is you go to mainstream human rights
organizations and you ask them ‘what’s going on in Indonesia?’ You ask Human Rights
Watch. What’s going on in Colombia? You ask Amnesty International. That’s the standard.
You go to the human rights organizations and then you also ofcourse go to the reputable
local human rights organizations in those countries. That standard is completely ignored
when you come to Israel and the Palestinians. You’ll never hear what Amnesty International
or Human Rights Watch have to say on the topic or the local human rights organizations. For
2 weeks the media was bombarding us with all of these images of Israel withdrawing anquishly,
withdrawing from Gaza and making a major concession towards ending the conflict. And as
you perhaps know, yesterday Sharon said that ‘we’ve withrdrawn from Gaza’, at the United
Nations, ‘we’ve withrdrawn from Gaza and now it’s time for the Palestinians to make a
major concession.’ However, just go to any human rights organization and see what they
wrote. On August 19th Human Rights Watch issued a statement. The title of the statement
said ‘disengagement does not mean the end of occupation.’ And it stated, that if you
take, I’m now giving you the paraphrase, if you take jailers and you remove them from inside
the prison and put them on the perphery of the prison and the jailers have all control over
who goes in, who goes out — in the case of Gaza, the airspace and the coastline — they say,
it’s still a jail. Nothing has changed from the point of view of international law. All
that happened was, the jailers threw the keys into the cells, told the inmates they’re now
free to walk around inside the jail but we’re shutting tight the gates of the jail. Nothing
changed under international law. Go to B’Tselem (the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights
in the Occupied Territories). It’s the main human rights organization in Israel monitoring
human rights in the West Bank and Gaza. It put out a huge report entitled appropriately enough
‘One Big Prison’ about Gaza. And it reached the same conclusion that so long as Israel
controls all of the entry and exit, the movement of goods and people, under international
law, they said, the claim that the occupation is over is questionable. Now, I wonder if
any of your listeners, even one, had heard that point of view? Is that an extremist point of
view? Is that Hamas’ point of view? Is that Kadafi’s point of view? Is that Iran’s point of
view? No. It’s the point of view of completely mainstream reputable authoritative human
rights organizations but in the American media it’s a complete taboo. You can’t hear it.
My latest book, if you skim through it, and just look at the bottom of the page because we
decided to use footnotes instead of endnotes, what you’re going to find is all I cite, all I cite,
are mainstream human rights organizations: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem,
the Public Committee Against Torture in Irael, Physicians for Human Rights in Israel. That’s all
I cite. Is that controversial? Yes, in the United States. But anywhere else it’s not considered
controversial and what’s more… on any other place in the world it wouldn’t be considered
controversial but when it comes to Isreal and the Palestinians you are not allowed to cite
mainstream sources. All you’re allowed to do is the following. You’re allowed to say:
‘the Israeli government says X, the Palestinians say Y, who knows where the truth is.’
We don’t use that standard anywhere else. We go to monitoring groups to find out what’s
going on. But here we can’t do that and there’s a very simple reason. Because what they say is
going on is very much at variance with what our media want to report is going on.
CM: Well, why is it a taboo? Why does the media not want to report on this issue?
I mean, this isn’t the only issue that the media does not have a public forum about, there
are other issues but… and not very many, and certainly not to the degree of criticism of Israeli
policy and especially Israeli, not just internally or domestically, but Israeli policy towards
the Occupied Territories. So why is it that..?
NGF: I think it’s a combination of things, 2 elements and depending on your analysis of it
you attack more weight to one or the other. I can’t tell you which is the more important element
but the 2 elements are clearly that Israel is a strategic asset of the US in the Middle East
and accordingly it enjoys the same sorts of immunities to criticism as American policy generally
does. It will come as no surprise to your listeners to hear that the American media generally
are supportive of US government policy regardless of who happens to be in office. Whether that’s
right or not, I’m not going to judge but I think it’s a fact that any rational person is going to
recognize. And then there is the 2nd component and the second component is a powerful lobby
which can do real damage to those who buck the lobby. I don’t think anybody disputes that
and frankly, in many instances, the lobby itself boasts about its power. Nobody would deny,
for example, the power of the National Rifle Association. They would say, yes, it’s a powerful
lobby. And so why should we be shy from saying, especially when the Israel lobby itself about its
power, why should we be shy from simply echoing their boast and saying yes, they have profound
powers of intimidation, they have lots of money, lots of political clout and people are
afraid of them. And we should be honest, they’re also very well organized. After having me on the
program you’re going to be deluged with letter. You know, that’s not going to be a surprise.
And you’ll be deluged with criticism and they’re going to say ‘how can you have that Holocaust
denier on your program?!’ Nevermind that my late mother and late father passed through the
Nazi holocaust. Nevermind that they were in the Warsaw Ghetto from 1939 to 1943. Nevermind that
my mother was in the Majdanek concentration camp and 2 slave labor camps. Nevermind that my
father was in Auschwitz, in the Auschwitz death march. Nevermind that every single member
of my family was exterminated on both sides. That doesn’t stop these people. You will get a
deluge of calls and emails stating that you had a Holocaust denier on your program and if
there’s any doubt they’re gonna say, ‘go to the Internet, look at what Professor Dershowitz has to
say on the subject, of Harvard University, the Felix Frankfurter Chair at Harvard, he’s even written
that Finkelstein thinks his mother was a Nazi collaborator.’ That’s what Dershowitz writes.
Nevermind that’s a complete fraud and Professor Dershowitz is a very ill liar. That’s all
irrelevant. That’s how they work. They take off the kid gloves. This is, you know, taking out
the wrench and breaking your knee caps. That’s their style.
CM: The name of your book again, we’re sitting with Professor Norman Finkelstein, he’s author of
Beyond Chutzpah: on the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. He’s Assistant
Professor of Political Science at Chicago’s DePaul University and a very good friend of mine,
who I was mentioning earlier on this morning’s show, and he’s going to be one of our
contributing correspondents in the very near future, Danny Muller, who used to work for
Voice in the Wilderness, he said that you are… these are his exact words, he said that he
wants to have your baby, if that’s actually biologically possible. [laughter] So Norman, you know, one of the
things that… I gotta admit that I am not concerned about your criticism but I am concerned about
the concept of anti-Semitism. You talk about how people who are pro-Israeli government, who are
completely uncritical of the Israeli government, who are knee-jerk supporters no matter
what the policies of the Israeli government are, you say that they exploit anti-Semitism
in order to deflect criticism from the Israeli government. But because you’re talking about
the exploitation of anti-Semitism, I think that people imply from that that you either don’t
believe that anti-Semitism exists or that they imply from that the fact that you are
critical of.. or you’re saying that anti-Semitism is being exploited for some political
reasons that there would be the under-estimation of the impact of anti-Semitism
within this country or around the world. Are you concerned when you are critical of
the use of anti-Semitism, the exploitation, by those who support the Israeli government in
order, as you say, to deflect criticism from the Israeli government that it could lead to
people ignoring actual acts of anti-Semitism and actual biggotry and hatred against Jews?
NGF: I think just the reverse is true. The fact of the matter is, when you keep crying
anti-Semitism in the face of its absence and you keep labeling critics of Israel,
legitimate critics of Israel, as anti-Semitic, you’re cheapening the currency. That’s why
Chapter 3 of my book is entitled Crying Wolf. Crying Wolf doesn’t mean that there’s no
wolf out there. Actually I had a debate with my editor whether to call the third chapter,
this alleged New anti-Semitism in the US, wether to call it Crying Wolf or
The Sky Isn’t Falling — the Henny-Penny story, for those of you who remember the childrens’
story — and she said, ‘no, we should call it Crying Wolf, because we’re not denying
the phenomenon exists but we’re talking about the fact that people claiming it in instances
where it’s not there.’ It’s just legitimate criticism of Israeli policy. Everybody knows
from the story, Crying Wolf, what happens when the real wolf comes along. And that’s why
one has to be rational and careful and circumspect and cautious in using terms like that
because, not only is it morally irresponsible to fling that label on people who only want
to abide by international law and the human rights of all people in the area, not only is
it morally irresponsible but it’s politically wreckless because you cheapen the currency,
and if and when that phenomenon does resurface you won’t be taken seriously.
CM: You also write in Beyond Chutzpah that “allegations of new anti-Semitism is
neither new or about anti-Semitism. It’s not to fight anti-Semitism but to exploit
the historical suffering of Jews in order to immunize Israel against criticism.”
In a sense it’s like playing the anti-Semitism card. But the right, the right wing
in this country, has been able to effectively dismiss the question of race by
saying stuff like: “there you go again, playing the race card.” So why isn’t that
considered racist but if someone said “there you go, playing the anti-Semitic card again”
that would be considered anti-Semitic.
NGF: Well, I think that’s a very fair question and then you have to judge in each
individual case whether we’re dealing with a real phenomenon or we’re dealing with
its exploitation. Let’s take the case of
When he went through the Senate hearings for his confirmation he said that what he was
undergoing was a high-tech lynching. I think it was fair, in that circumstance, to say he
was playing the race card because he was coming under legitimate criticism and real issues
were being raised about his conduct in the past. It wasn’t race, it was whether or not he
was being candid about claims that were being alleged against him. But he decided to drag in
the issue of lynchings and the South. Ok, in that case, I would say he was playing the race
card. In general, if you were to ask me whether Black people who claim they face discrimination
in the United States in all walks of American life are playing the race card, I would say
flat out no. I live in the real world. I know the racism all around me and frankly, to be
perfectly candid, I know the racism within me, not just around me. So I’m not going to pretend
as if it’s not an issue. And it’s an issue that Blacks have to face in every area of life and,
most significantly, in the areas of employment and education, which are the ones which affect
most your right of opportunity. Let’s turn to the Jews in the United States. Do Jews in the
United States face significant or even trivial obstacles any longer in education or employment?
Are law firms any longer not employing Jews? Is the medical field in any way closed to Jews?
Is university life closed any longer to Jews? Yes, there was a time when it certainly was
the case but would anyone in his or her right mind say that Harvard is closed to Jews? Or
Princeton is closed to Jews? Or the faculties are closed to Jews? That’s nonsense. And so
we have to have a realistic assessment of the condition of Jews in the United States now.
You know, you read for example, the current editor of
the main Jewish periodical, his name is Gabriel Schoenfeld. And Gabriel Schoenfeld wrote
a book a year ago, it was called The Return of anti-Semitism, and he begins on a
very portentious note. He says “Jews in the United States are targeted for murder.” Does
that sound like the United States you live in? I don’t walk out of my house with a
bulletproof vest. I’m not looking over my shoulder for snipers and pogromists. Does this
have any bearing on the real world in which you, I and your listeners live? No. But if
you were to say to me “Black people face discrimination in the United States and there’s
a lot of racism in the United States,” that sounds like the world in which I live. So the
question is not whether or not you have the right to use those labels, the question is
whether they’re being appropriately used.
CM: We’re speaking with Norman Finkelstein. He’s the author of Beyond Chutzpah:
on the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. He’s also Assistant Professor
of Political Science in Chicago’s Depaul University. Just 2 more questions for you Norman and
speaking of your role as Assistant Professor at Depaul University… You recently have been
attacked for your view points in a way that threatened, I believe, your advancement in
your academic career and we touched on
Bill of Rights that would basically bring lawyers into the classroom so students can
file grievances against any perceived liberal bias in universities. You know, this could
lead to all sorts of problems but it’s surprising that from Conservatives, who are so
anti-lawyer… that they would embrace a concept that would bring lawyers into the classroom.
You write about these threats to academic freedom using the case of Columbia University,
where there was a perceived anti-Semitic bias, and you say that “the real revelation of
the Columbia episode was not that the claim of anti-Semitism was a fraud but how
defacto agents of a foreign government have, in service to their Holly State, conspired
to muzzle academic freedom in the United States.” If the Academic Bill of Rights is agree to
by universities here in the United States universally, will criticism of Israeli
government policy, even of Sharon administration policy, be stricken from all curriculum?
NGF: I don’t really know the details of the Academic Bill of Rights. What I can tell
you is, well short of the Academic Bill of Rights it is… University life is already
quite carefully, may be for better or for worse, I don’t wanna pass judgement, but it is
quite carefully policed. The notion that a professor can say whatever he or she wants
in a classroom is just sheer nonsense. Careful professors… I’m speaking now of the Social
Studies not of the Natural Sciences, are very careful about what they say in the classroom
because they’re fully aware that all sorts of grievances can be filed against them for
the things they say. So this notion that you need an additional policing of the classroom
I think comes from people who have no concept of what classroom life is like right now.
I don’t think it’s incorrect to say that there is a kind of reign of political correctness
and that political correctness extends across the spectrum. It’s not just being sensitive to
the concerns of minorities and women, and so forth. For example, I often think twice and
three times before — and I don’t mean just at DePaul University, even at secular universities
where I’ve taught — about saying to the class that I’m an atheist. You know when I was
growing up, I’m now 52, when I grew up being an atheist was alsmost what everyone was. But
somehow, some way our culture has changed and being an atheist is now the same as once
saying you’re a communist. And I think twice and three times about saying it and, you know,
people claiming they’re offended by it, so I think already we are pretty politically correct.
And I teach… DePaul is the first university in my entire teaching career that’s allowed me to
teach the Israel-Palestine conflict. I’m very careful about what I teach. You know the internet
is a quite powerful weapon. And so they’ll have up right away on the internet, the other side,
will have up right away, your reading list to try to show there are biases in the books that
you read. This is without any Academic Bill of Rights. And, you know, if they can demonstrate
a bias in your reading list, that’s gonna be a problem for you. The Chair will call you down
on it. And complaints will be filed. so I think there’s a certain amount of — may be it’s
malicious naivete, may be it’s an unwitting naivete, I don’t know — but there’s a certain
amount of naivete that right now it’s pretty much a free-for-all where a professor can
say whatever he or she wants. That’s not what the classroom looks like now.
CM: Norman, one last question for you. We’ve been speaking with Norman Finkelstein. He’s
author of Beyond Chutzpah: on the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. It’s
printed on University of California Press and if you go to our website ThisIsHell.net, you
click on the University of California Press link that we have at our website it’ll
take you to their website and you can purchase the book directly through the website at his
publisher. One last question Norman, it’s what we call our “question fro hell”, the
question we hate to ask, you might hate to answer, who knows how this is gonna work out.
One of the things that I have seen within, as you point out in your book, within
the judicial system, within the justice system of Israel, is what amounts to a kind of a
reflection of a culture of fear within Israel, a fear that the country of Israel will end,
that Israelis will be pushed to the sea. We see it here in the United States, a culture of
fear that the Bush administration embraces, and by embracing this culture of fear you lead
people into thinking that we’re gonna be attacked at any time and that we’re willing to give
up our freedoms in order to make sure we don’t have another 9-11. But you write that
with Dershowitz supporting the infringement on so many different freedoms, supporting
the idea of torture, the idea of hostage taking, stifling of political dissent, the oppression
of the perceived enemies of the State, and those who live, in the case of Israel, within the
Occupied Territories, you write that “Dershowitz has not made a case for Israel. How could
anyone genuinely concerned about the Israeli people council policies certain to sow
seeds of hatred abroad and moral corruption within? What he has in fact written is
the case for the destruction of Israel.” But what you call the “tough Jew” stance would
presumably be that of a constant aggressor… as far as what would happen in Israel if
Dershowitz had his way, of a constant aggressor, of a militrized, freedom-deprived State,
all in the name of the fear of terrorism and actual terrorism as well. So even under this
twisted view of the future of Israel are you feeding.. first of all, is the destruction of
actually a possibility if the Dershowitz plan is being followed? And are you feeding
the same fear of the destruction of the state of Israel in essence but from a different
direction than Dershowitz is?
NGF: Well, let’s start from scratch. Jews are a very, very, very tiny minority
of the world’s population. May be 0.0000001 of the world’s population and when you’re
such a tiny percentage of the world’s population it’s not a wise thing to make
enemies of everybody around you, not just in your region but around the world. And
it’s not a wise thing to link all your fortunes with one country when that one country
acts on its own interests, which may at this moment coincide with yours but tomorrow
may not. But that’s basically what Israel has done. It’s thumbed its nose not just at
all the Arab regimes in the Middle East but it’s thumbed its nose at the whole world.
It goes about its business, ignores all United Nations resolutions, ignores the
International Court of Justice, ignores human rights organizations and it does so
for one simple reason: because it has the impunity of being connected or linked with
the United States. That’s not a wise thing for any country to do. First of all,
because it’s not a wise thing to alienate everyone around you and become the hated
neighbor. And number two, it’s not wise because you can’t always count on this
particular Big Brother. This Big Brother has at its head of state… as its executives,
people who are quite ruthless, very ruthless and act on their interests. And one day
that very very thin chord connecting you and the United States may be cut. So… morally it’s totally wrong and I would say politically it’s not very prudent the kind of strategy that Israel is pursuing. In the case of people like Dershowitz.. I don’t think he cares about Israel. For him it’s all theater. He gets to act out this role of “the Jew with Chutzpah” by putting forth these policies like torture, supporting, as he calls it, “the automatic destruction of a Palestinian village” after every terrorist attack. He’s putting forth these Nazi-like policies because it enables him to play a kind of role. A role, I think [..you described..] accurately a moment ago, he gets to play the role of the “tough Jew” but that role is totally independent of and uncaring of the Israelis. It’s a role that suits him and the image that he wants to project — the Jew who doesn’t give a damn what the
Goyim think, (the Goyim meaning non-Jews).
That’s the image he wants to project. That has nothing to do with Israel and that has nothing to do with caring about those people. How could anyone, as I say at the end of the book, the passage you quote, how can anyone who cares about the fate of the Israeli people constantly be counceling policies which are just creating hatred? He goes beyond, incidentally, just counceling policies. There were some courageous Israeli dissenters who said they refused to launch missiles into Palestinian neighborhoods anymore, what was going on during what was called the second Intifada, when the Apache helicopters were launching missiles. And there were several courageous Israeli members of the Air Force who issued a public statement saying that they won’t do it anymore, that it’s in violation of international law and it’s completely immoral, you’re targetting civilians in neighborhoods. You know what Professor Dershowitz did, the great civil libertarian? He went on a special mission to Israel to consult with the Israeli government about how we can combat and restrict the influence of this dissent. Isn’t that a paradox? Isn’t it a paradox when Israelis show the courage to dissent from policies which are clearly immoral and illegal, the great civil libertarian from the United States flies to Israel in order to figure out ways to repress them? That’s… you know, as we say, that’s his schtick, but let’s be clear, it has nothing whatever to do with
concern for Israelis.
CM: Norman, it’s been a pleasure having you on the show. I enjoyed
your book and I really appreciated the fact that it was so thoroughly footnoted through
out the book. There are 2 segments in this book, I just want to point out to everybody,
that there is the segment on the abuse of anti-Semitism and then there’s the
segment on using Dershowitz as an example on revealing what Norman believes is..
and through his documentation seems to support, his view of Israeli history. It can almost
be read as 2 separate books and both sections are very interesting. At the end of the book
when you compare the myth about Israeli history is to what history’s documents say it is..
I think it’s one of the most fascinating things I’ve seen concerning the history of Israel.
I really appreciate you being on the show this…
NGF: Well, you know what? Allow me to say I really appreciate you having me.
I thought you were an excellent interviewer. The questions were not generic. They showed
thought and I appreciate it. And my last words to you are… I wish YOU the best of luck.
CM: Alright yeah, well, hey Norman, by the way, thanks for all of the hate mail
I’m going to get… reeeaaally appreciate it. [laughter] Had I known you were a Holocaust
denier I would’ve never had you on the show..
NGF: [laughter] Oh, I’m not just “a Holocaust denier…” i think
“my mother was a nazi collaborator” [laughter]…
CM: Oooh, well, see, another reason I shouldn’t’ve had you on the show! Alright, Norman,
I really appreciate you being on.
NGF: My pleasure.