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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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Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians slams Canadian Jewish Congress exclusion

PRESS  RELEASE          For immediate Release            2007-07-03
 
The Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians responded today, to the decision by the Canadian Jewish Congress to deny membership to the progressive Jewish group. The CJC issued a letter which gave no reason for its decision.

“The decision by the Canadian Jewish Congress to exclude the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians illustrates the sectarian orientation of the forces controlling that organization,” declared ACJC Administrative Secretary Abraham Weizfeld. “The rejection of our application to become a member of the Canadian Jewish Congress and the refusal seat our delegates at the CJC Plenary on June 17th amounts to a refusal to acknowledge growing Jewish opposition to the Israeli occupation and siege of the Palestinian territories.”

“CJC’s refusal to include all tendencies in the Jewish community should be seen as a futile attempt to marginalize growing Jewish opposition to Israel’s behaviour and to the exclusive character of the Israel State,” Weizfeld continued.

 He contended that this refusal also motivated the decision by the June 17 plenary of the Canadian Jewish Congress to annul the process of conducting elections to the Board of Directors. As a result of this decision, the Board will now have 25% of its seats reserved for the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy which controls the CJC funding agency, the United Jewish Appeal. Weizfeld explained that these organizations provide unquestioning support to Israel, regardless of what it does.

The resulting vote on a resolution to amend the CJC constitution with regard to election of officers may not have passed if the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians’ delegates had been included.

“We do not share in the uncritical support for Israel,” Weizfeld stated. “It is our position that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, which began in 1967, must end immediately. This is the view that the ACJC wanted to bring to the Canadian Jewish Congress and that the CJC leadership was determined to ignore.” The refusal to hear our independent voice is proof that the CJC is not a body representative of diverse currents in Canada's Jewish population.

“It is essential that Israel and the Palestinians – including the duly elected Prime Minister Haniyeh – begin negotiations to conclude a lasting peace without prior conditions from either side. Only this approach can put an end to this ongoing tragedy for both the Palestinian and Israeli communities,” he concluded.

Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians
Alliance de Canadien/nes juif/ves concerné/es
68, av. Duluth est
Montréal QC H2W 1G8 Canada
(514) 284-6642

ACJC2006@yahoo.ca
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ACJC2006

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