April 14, 2018

In Letters To Finkelstein

Dear Professor Finkelstein,
I would like to issue my profoundest thanks and regards to you for an incident that occurred 10 years ago (23rd January 2008 at SOAS, University of London). I stood up to oppose you. Trembling and shaking, my words were wholly inadequate. You saw this, and I remember your response to me. (My comments and your response were conveniently expunged from the transcript of the day).
“I don’t agree with you. But I would like to start of by acknowledging your courage for standing up, in a hostile crowd where no-one agrees with you, to make it. That is not an easy thing to do.” You then proceeded to tear apart my argument.
I will never forget the way you treated me that day – it was an act of chessed (kindness) that I shall always appreciate.
10 years later, I understand your ban on visiting Eretz Yisrael will finally be lifted. I hope you take the opportunity to visit Israel as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of our independence. I hope you take the opportunity to place a prayer for peace in the Western Wall at the heart of Jerusalem, under Jewish sovereignty now and for all eternity. That prayer of peace should be for the redemption of our people, for a final and just peace with the Palestinians, alongside all our Muslim brothers and neighbours.
Professor Finkelstein. I don’t agree with a word you say, but I respect your right to your opinions. I have not the oratorical eloquence or historical understanding to debate you. That said, I would be delighted to meet with you one-on-one any time you are in London. It is my humble prayer, that you find peace and reconciliation with the Jewish people, and return to us, as a messenger of peace. May the L-RD bless you, and keep you. May the L-RD make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the L-RD lift up His countenance upon you, and grant you peace. G-d bless you, Norman Gary, son of Zacharia. Wishing you hatzlocha rabo in all that you do, Harrison Bar-Shimon

“Return, O Israel to Hashem, your G-d”, for you have stumbled because of your sins” (Hosea: 14:2-4)