Norman G. Finkelstein (born December 8, 1953) is an American historian and author. He was previously assistant professor of political science at DePaul University and is known for advocating controversial positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for criticizing the way the Holocaust is handled by most parties and organizations. He is the son of Holocaust survivors and the author of five books, of which the most prominent are Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering and Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History.
Sourced statements on the Middle East
- That said, sometimes I feel that Israel has come out of the boils of the hell, a satanic state.
- Norman Finkelstein: Israel is committing a holocaust in Gaza - Today's Zaman
- Since the mid-1970s, there's been an international consensus for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict. [...] It's called a two-state settlement, and a two-state settlement is pretty straightforward, uncomplicated. Israel has to fully withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza and Jerusalem, in accordance with the fundamental principle of international law, [...] that it's inadmissible to acquire territory by war. The West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, having been acquired by war, it's inadmissible for Israel to keep them. They have to be returned. On the Palestinian side and also the side of the neighboring Arab states, they have to recognize Israel's right to live in peace and security with its neighbors. That was the quid pro quo: recognition of Israel, Palestinian right to self-determination in the West Bank and Gaza with its capital in Jerusalem. That's the international consensus. It's not complicated. It's also not controversial.
- What were the offers being made on each side of the Camp David and in the Taba talks? [...] if you frame things in terms of what Israel was legally entitled to under international law, then Israel made precisely and exactly zero concessions. All the concessions were made by the Palestinians.
Other sourced statements
- There are a large number of claims circulating about rampant anti-Semitism on college campuses. When you go actually go through the records, talk to the schools, speak to the deans and so forth, all of these claims turn out to be fraudulent. There’s just no record of this so-called rampant anti-Semitism on college campuses. The most striking example is Columbia University where [...] pro-Israel outsiders were disrupting the classrooms of these professors [falsely accued of anti-Semitism], secretly video-taping their lectures and being turned, as the Columbia Report put it, into informers for the pro-Israel lobby. The real story was the harassment of professors who were critical of Israeli policy.
- http://www.peuplesmonde.com/article.php3?id_article=381 Interview with Norman Finkelstein]
- To my thinking the honorable thing now is to show solidarity with Hezbollah as the US and Israel target it for liquidation. Indeed, looking back my chief regret is that I wasn’t even more forceful in publicly defending Hezbollah against terrorist intimidation and attack.
- Frankly, part of me says…‘you know what, we deserve the problem on our hands because some things Bin Laden says are true’. One of the things he said on that last tape was that ‘until we live in security, you’re not going to live in security’, and there is a certain amount of rightness in that.
- “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: A Conversation with Professor Norman Finkelstein,” CounterPunch, December 13, 2001 by Don Atapattu
- Articulating the key Holocaust dogmas, much of the literature on Hitler's Final solution is worthless as scholarship. Indeed, the field of Holocaust studies is replete with nonsense, if not sheer fraud.
- "The Holocaust Industry" p. 55
- ‘If everyone who claims to be a survivor actually is one,’ my mother used to exclaim, ‘who did Hitler kill then?’
- “The Holocaust Industry,” p. 81
- My parents -- we lived in Brooklyn, NY, we owned a house -- my parents were difficult people, they didn't get along with anyone. Actually, they didn't even get along with each other. So, on the one side were the Golds and on the other side were the Kasslers and they did not get along with the Golds and they did not get along with the Kasslers, so they built a fence. And it was within their right to build a fence. But, as everybody knows, when you build at fence, at any rate in New York, you first have to hire a surveyor. That's a fact, I'm not joking. You have to hire a surveyor and you have to make sure that fence is right down the line on your property because if that fence is literally one quarter of an inch on the Golds' side or on the Kasslers' side, they have the right to tear it down. Under law, that's it. Now, let's take Israel's wall. What happens if my parents decide to build a fence that's not only on the Kasslers' side but goes right around their swimming pool? Well, some people will begin to wonder "are Mary and Harry Finkelstein trying to protect their property? Or are they trying to steal the Kasslers' swimming pool?"
- Source: Talk at Santa Cruz, CA, October 23, 2006
- Since completing this memoir in 1995 I've returned to Palestine every year. In fact, apart from traveling abroad to lecture, Palestine is the only place I've been since I first journeyed there 15 years ago. I sometimes fantasize vacationing in Greece or Italy but never do. If I have time and cost isn't prohibitive, I always return to Palestine. I do so mostly from a sense of duty - do I have a right to be elsewhere? - relieved by the authentic affection I've developed for friends. I cannot say I enjoy going back. From the moment I arrive, even before arriving, I count the minutes left before I depart. The eminent Hebrew University sociologist Baruch Kimmerling has described Gaza as "the largest concentration camp ever to exist." The West Bank ranks only a mite less awful. Once the Israeli wall currently under construction is finished, the West Bank will replace Gaza with top honors. Bordered on both sides by four meter deep trenches, fortified with guard towers at regular intervals, and topped with barbed wire, this massive barricade will stretch across fully 347 kilometers - twice the size of the Berlin Wall.
- Postscript to German edition of The Rise and Fall of Palestine
- Whenever Israel faces a public relations debacle such as the Intifada or international pressure to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict, American Jewish organizations orchestrate this extravaganza called the 'new anti-Semitism.' The purpose is several-fold. First, it is to discredit any charges by claiming the person is an anti-Semite. It's to turn Jews into the victims, so that the victims are not the Palestinians any longer. As people like Abraham Foxman of the ADL put it, the Jews are being threatened by a new holocaust. It's a role reversal – the Jews are now the victims, not the Palestinians. So it serves the function of discrediting the people leveling the charge. It's no longer Israel that needs to leave the Occupied Territories; it's the Arabs who need to free themselves of the anti-Semitism.
- Speaking as a devout atheist, thank God in his Almighty wisdom that he made us mortal.
About Norman Finkelstein
- Noam Chomsky: "I'm delighted to hear that I'll be followed shortly by Norman Finkelstein and would very strongly advise you to come listen to him. Not only [is he] an old personal friend but a person who can speak with more authority and insight on these topics than anyone I can think of. So that should be a memorable occasion and I urge that you not miss the opportunity."
- Source: Public Forum at the Vancouver Public Library, 15 May 2004 (http://www.workingtv.com/finkelstein.html)
- Raul Hilberg: "I would now say in retrospect that he was actually conservative, moderate and that his conclusions [in "The Holocaust Industry"] are trustworthy.... I am by no means the only one who, in the coming months or years, will totally agree with Finkelstein's breakthrough."
- Raul Hilberg: "It takes an enormous amount of academic courage to speak the truth when no one else is out there to support him. And so, I think that given this acuity of vision and analytical power, demonstrating that the Swiss banks did not owe the money, that even though survivors were beneficiaries of the funds that were distributed, they came, when all is said and done, from places that were not obligated to pay that money. That takes a great amount of courage in and of itself. So I would say that his place in the whole history of writing history is assured, and that those who in the end are proven right triumph, and he will be among those who will have triumphed, albeit, it so seems, at great cost."
- Avi Shlaim: "I think very highly of Professor Finkelstein. I regard him as a very able, very erudite and original scholar who has made an important contribution to the study of Zionism, to the study of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, in particular, to the study of American attitudes towards Israel and towards the Middle East."
- Daniel Jonah Goldhagen: "Finkelstein’s work is, from beginning to end, a tendentious series of inventions. …[T]he examples from his article that are deemed to be the strongest are thoroughly misleading and without merit. Finkelstein’s writing is the sort of transparent political polemic that—had others not cynically propped him up as an expert and a champion of truth—would not even merit a response. This is a man who has made a career of attacking Israel’s legitimacy…. His documented inventions about my book, it is worth noting that Finkelstein has never before written anything on the Holocaust or German history and cannot read German…which means that he cannot read many of the sources on which he is passing his ‘expert’ opinion…. [A] man who has arrived overnight to a scholarly field made up of massive scholarly literature, not to mention all the documents, who, to boot, cannot read most of the sources because they are in German.”
- A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth”