Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Finkelstein Hopes for Resolution of Conflict on ‘Reasonable’ Terms
P.S. Response to several issues raised in Norman Finkelstein’s Question and Answer session at his appearance at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee on March 26th, 2008, sponsored by Milwaukee Students for a Democratic Society:
Walt and Mearsheimer
Finkelstein contends that AIPAC only influences US foreign policy affecting the “narrow” Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not the greater region. Uhm, Mr. Finkelstein, you’re an intelligent guy, and well read on matters Israel, you surely must have heard of the Clean Break strategy. The strategy was prepared in 1996 for Israel by prominent, American dual-citizen, zionist policymakers. It called for Israel to “shape its strategic environment,” beginning with the removal of Saddam Hussein and the installation of a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad, to serve as a first step toward eliminating the anti-Israeli governments of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Mr. Finkelstein, that “narrow” Israel-Palestinian conflict minimally encompasses all of Israel’s immediate neighbors in the region. And it sure looks like the invasion of Iraq is a beginning phase of the Clean Break plan.
Finkestein makes fun of the thought that “second tier zionists” Feith, Libby and Wolfowitz could fool the crusty Rumsfeld and Cheney into a policy in the interests of Israel. Finkelstein points out that Cheney had collaborated with these zionists for 30 years, contesting that there’s no way they didn’t know each other well. “Would Cheney stack the defense department and VP office with agents of a foreign country? It makes no sense. It’s not believable, unless you believe Cheney and Rumsfeld were also secret agents of Israel,” Finkelstein contended.
No! Again, you’re an intelligent man, Mr. Finkelstein, surely you can understand the concept of a collusion of interests. Cheney and Rumsfeld’s selfish interests colluded with the interests of their zionist friends. It’s a two-headed monster: greedy, self-serving gentiles with zionists. And these self-serving gentiles know the zionists control the media, and having them with them, they are immune from public scrutiny. Mr. Finkelstein, don’t you think the media could destroy Cheney in a day, if it wanted to? I know, I know, an intelligent, reasonable man like you would never see that the US media is zionist, and that it has such power.
Mr Finkelstein didn’t answer the question of how so many justice activist jews can support zionism. Instead he took zionism off the table of debate completely, stating that one shouldn’t be “sloganeering” and using “terminology that alienates people and creates divisions.” Instead more simple terms and concepts “that distill the essence of the conflict" should be used.
Pointing out that he wrote his dissertation on zionism [did he denounce it as "preposterous," I wonder] and that his friend Noam Chomsky was a zionist since he was six years old, Finkelstein asked, “Whether Comsky is or isn’t a zionist, is it really important for trying to reach consensual principles for resolving the conflict?”
Why yes it is, Mr. Finkelstein. It gets to the very essence of the problem, which you alluded to later in stating that the concept of population transfer was a “formative issue for the conflict” and "in-built in the zionist idea” regardless whether it was left or right zionism. Mr. Finkelstein, again, you’re an intelligent man, what kind of conceptual principles will be included with zionists in resolving the conflict?
Mr. Finkelstein failed to answer the question of why in the US media one hears so much about “islamofascism” and “radical islam” but not a peep about zionism. Mr. Finkelstein, was the reason you didn’t answer that question because the answer is obvious and you don’t want to highligtht it for your US-media controlled American audience. Is that also the reason, Mr. Finkelstein, that you didn’t fight harder for your tenure, because it too would’ve highlighted the strength and influence of zionists in America?
Reaction to One-state Concept
Finkelstein says he “doesn’t dread” the prospects of sharing equal rights with Palestinians. Yet his amazing reaction and response to the question of a one-state solution belie that statement. Finkelstein begins his response saying we’re “heading towards trouble” then goes on to say that Hezbollah –not Hamas– is “very serious” –as in seriously dangerous, as if zionism shouldn’t have an serious response to it, as if zionism [Jewish apartheid] were a benign or humane concept above questioning, and not the dehumanizing cancer on mankind that it is.
Mr. Finkelstein states alarmingly: “If Israel goes after Iran, it’s going to be a very big problem. “ If supporters of Israel don’t want to see Israel “destroyed” [converted to one-state in which all of its inhabitants are equal?], they should work to resolve the conflict on “practical, reasonable terms”. Apparently Mr. Finkelstein thinks the one-state solution is a devious plan from Hezbollah for destroying aparthied Israel. Again Mr. Finkelstien, you’re an intelligent man, what would be “reasonable terms” with zionists for resolving the conflict?
Comparing USA with Israel
Answering the question of why we should believe Israel wants peace, Finkelstein says, “we shouldn’t.” Then he adroitly switches the focus on America and asks, “But why should we believe America wants peace?” He goes on to describe America’s criminal behavior in Iraq and he conveniently points out that it is far greater than Israel’s ciminal behavior against the Palestinians [of course none of America's criminal behavior is in Israel’s behalf or interests] and he asserts, “but that doesn’t mean that the US should not exist,” cleverly equating calls for ending the apartheid state of Israel with calling for end of the United States of America... "a preposterous idea". Finkelstein asserts instead that we should “work within the framework of our society to make things as just as we are able to.”
Mr. Finkelstein, I’m highly insulted by your equating Israel with America. At least America has codified noble principles to live up to. What are Israel’s principles? Answer: zionism [jewish supremacism, jewish exceptionalism, jewish apartheid]. And working within that "framework," how can things get better?
And Mr. Finkelstein, if America were to live up to its principles, wouldn't one of the first things it would do is drop support for zionism?
Finkelstein ends his question and answer session describing the life a Palestinian friend who “hasn’t experienced one happy day in his life” living under the thumb of Jewish occupation. Finkelstein states: “I see it… how peoples lives have been destroyed… if we do what we should be doing, we can succeed in bringing some happiness to suffering people in the world.”
Unfortunately for Mr Finkelstein’s Palestinian friend, ending the indignity of zionism isn’t “practical” in his lifetime. Nor is it “reasonable.” Isn’t that right, Mr. Finkelstein?