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Home arrow Censorship arrow We support Norman Finkelstein
We support Norman Finkelstein PDF Print E-mail
Jun 30, 2007 at 05:23 PM

June 21, 2007

On the eighth of June, DePaul University in Chicago denied tenure to one of the world experts on the Israel/Palestine conflict, Norman G. Finkelstein. There's been a great uproar on campus and worldwide because it is well known that Prof.Finkelstein's contract was terminated as a result of intervention from outside the university, and ultimately because of the power of his ideas. In a book entitled, The Holocaust Industry, Dr. Finkelstein argues that since 1967 Zionist organizations and certain Jewish leaders have capitalized on the memory of the Holocaust to generate wealth and power for themselves and to silence criticism of Israel's [war] crimes against Palestinians. Professor Finkelstein's ideas are dangerous, and he has paid the price, losing his position in academia despite his tremendous intellectual productivity -- 5 books in 12 years.

We, Jews for a Just Peace, write this statement because we are disturbed by the events at DePaul. We have been impressed by Dr.Finkelstein's incisive analysis and passionate defense of human rights and international law in the context of Israel/Palestine. We take this opportunity to share our thoughts about the relationship between his dismissal and the struggle to which we are committed.

Prof. Finkelstein's case reveals some of the contours of academic freedom in North America. Without denying the specificity of this situation, his dismissal confirms the growing consensus that sustained criticism of Israel and the Israel Lobby represents a risk for scholars, not to mention journalists and others. The fact that an academic of Dr. Finkelstein's calibre worked as an adjunct professor for over a decade before finally landing a tenure-track position is even stronger evidence for this assertion...

Jews for a Just Peace, Vancouver, BC

June 21, 2007

On the eighth of June, DePaul University in Chicago denied tenure to one of the world experts on the Israel/Palestine conflict, Norman G. Finkelstein. There's been a great uproar on campus and worldwide because it is well known that Prof.Finkelstein's contract was terminated as a result of intervention from outside the university, and ultimately because of the power of his ideas. In a book entitled, The Holocaust Industry, Dr. Finkelstein argues that since 1967 Zionist organizations and certain Jewish leaders have capitalized on the memory of the Holocaust to generate wealth and power for themselves and to silence criticism of Israel's [war] crimes against Palestinians. Professor Finkelstein's ideas are dangerous, and he has paid the price, losing his position in academia despite his tremendous intellectual productivity -- 5 books in 12 years.

We, Jews for a Just Peace, write this statement because we are disturbed by the events at DePaul. We have been impressed by Dr.Finkelstein's incisive analysis and passionate defense of human rights and international law in the context of Israel/Palestine. We take this opportunity to share our thoughts about the relationship between his dismissal and the struggle to which we are committed.

Prof. Finkelstein's case reveals some of the contours of academic freedom in North America. Without denying the specificity of this situation, his dismissal confirms the growing consensus that sustained criticism of Israel and the Israel Lobby represents a risk for scholars, not to mention journalists and others. The fact that an academic of Dr. Finkelstein's calibre worked as an adjunct professor for over a decade before finally landing a tenure-track position is even stronger evidence for this assertion.

Terminating Prof. Finkelstein's contract is meant to set an example, to scare other scholars into biting their tongues. To the extent that this occurs, we are saddened. However, we are certain that many scholars will be inspired by his courage. In addition, Prof. Finkelstein's vulnerability leads us to reflect on the importance of research that is produced by networks of scholars, activists and others who support each other and cannot be so easily dismissed.

Although we recognize that Dr. Finkelstein himself may suffer hardship as a result of this decision, we are confident that he knew the risks of his work, and that he will continue. We also believe that in the future his writing will be taken even more seriously, since people around the world will recognize that only powerful ideas could provoke such a desperate attack.

As an organization focusing on human rights, we recognize continuities between an attempt to silence a professor and the conditions that make it difficult for marginalized people all over the world to express their political beliefs. Prof. Finkelstein's dismissal leads us to reflect on Palestinians living in West Bank and Gaza who risk more than tenure when they choose to speak truth to power.

We recall that scholars tend to study what they love. Although Dr.Finkelstein is a formidable critic of Israeli policies,and certain Jewish leaders and organizations, we believe his work is inspired by a great passion for justice and a desire to see the institutions he criticizes become worthy of our respect.

At this historical moment, we applaud Dr. Finkelstein’s supporters among the faculty and students, and call on DePaul University to reverse this unfortunate decision and grant Prof. Finkelstein the tenured appointment that he richly deserves.

Finally, we stand in solidarity with Dr. Norman Finkelstein, confident that his analysis will continue to illuminate our work in the years to come.

Jews for a Just Peace, Vancouver, BC

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Vancouver panel says: "Enough!"
Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

It is the conviction of Canpalnet that there are many and varied pathways that can and do bring Canadians to a simple conclusion; namely, that Israel's occupation must be ended, for elementary justice, and to salvage the humanity of all.

To illustrate this, a diverse and distinguished panel of speakers assembled in Vancouver at a press conference on June 6th to express their opposition to Israel’s 40 year occupation of Palestinian lands, and to call for the government of Canada to take action against that occupation and in support of human rights and international law. The conference took place in the Bank of Nova Scotia Room at Simon Fraser University’s Harbour Centre campus in downtown Vancouver.

Dr. Naseer Aruri, noted Palestinian intellectual and prolific author, was a special guest. Born in Jerusalem, now Emeritus Chancellor Professor at the University of Massachussetts, he has been a member of the international board of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (USA), and Palestinian human rights groups. His most recent work is Dishonest Broker: The U.S. Role in Israel and Palestine.

A statement of support was sent by the all-party parliamentary group in Ottawa, the Canada Palestine Parliamentary Association.

That message and the statements of the panelists (listed below) are posted on this site.  

  • Svend Robinson, long time member of Parliament.
  • Sister Elizabeth Kelliher, of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.
  • Murray Dobbin, journalist, broadcaster, and author of books on Canadian politics.
  • David Diamond, founder and artistic director of Headlines Theatre and recipient of the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Harmony Award.
  • Lee Lakeman, organizer of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter and a representative for the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centers.
  • Carl Rosenberg, editor of Canadian Jewish Outlook Magazine.
  • Terry Greenberg, recently retired member of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs.
  • Reverend Brenda Faust, Minister of Port Coquitlam Trinity United Church.
  • Henry Krause, pastor of Langley Mennonite Fellowship.
  • Cynthia Flood, prize-winning Canadian short-story writer.
  • Dr. Ivar Ekeland, Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Economics at UBC and former President of the University of Paris-9.
  • Ken Davidson, head of the International Solidarity Committee of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees).
  • Thekla Lit, founder and president of BC ALPHA (Association for Learning and Preserving the History of World War 2 in Asia).

To see podcast of press conference:

40 Years of Occupation(Part 1) Press Conf. WM video - 9 mins - June 6, 2007

40 Years of Occupation(Part 2) Press Conf. video - 9 mins - June 6, 2007

 

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