Friday, July 24, 2009

Finkelstein and fellow travellers

I'm prompted to post the following excerpts from Monday, April 23, 2007, by Steven Plaut , by the fact that a Jewish-Issues-Watchdog commentator, using the pen name "Mack Dwight" has relied on references to Finkelstein's writings to attack the author of an article posted in this Blog. (See this to read my heavly-edited verisons of Mack Dwight's attempt to defame.)

And now to Finkelstein et al:
...The most notorious example in recent days of corruption of the [academic] promotion process has been the attempt by radical leftist faculty members at DePaul University to obtain tenure for the pseudo-scholar and Holocaust trivializer Norman Finkelstein. The Finkelstein affair is unusual in that the politicization has been exposed so thoroughly in the media and is now so obvious and explicit. In part, this has been thanks to the fact that Finkelstein himself, or his close followers, have published the supposedly classified secret documents related to his promotion on the web.

How can it be that someone like Finkelstein was hired in the first place, especially by an institution with ties to the church and committed to Catholic ethical standards? Ironically, the answer was provided inadvertently by Finkelstein and his followers when they publicized (probably illegally) these key documents related to his tenure bid. These documents show how easy it is for extremists with no scholarly credentials to recruit on their behalf respected academics who share their political agenda.

Finkelstein, the assistant professor in political science at DePaul University best known for his cheerleading the Hizbollah and his endless smearing of Holocaust survivors, has a completely empty record of academic publication. He has never produced a single paper published in a refereed scholarly journal. Instead, he turns out one anti-Semitic book after another, as well as hate screeds for propaganda magazines and web sites. His "books" are published by firms making editorial decisions based on commercial considerations rather than the quality of their scholarship.

Finkelstein's long history of Jew-baiting is by now well known, as is his history of vulgarity and juvenile smear mongering. Finkelstein has proclaimed Holocaust denier David Irving (who insists there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz) a great historian. Finkelstein's personal web site is a collection of bigotries, including death threats and pornographic cartoons, as well as countless smug smears against all Holocaust survivors. Finkelstein's "books" have been dismissed as pseudo-scholarship by nearly every serious historian to review them. He has used his position at DePaul University in Chicago to promote his open celebration of Middle East terrorism. He maintains the most intimate ties with Holocaust Deniers and he is himself considered by the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and many others to be a Holocaust Denier.

It would be hard to find a more illuminating lesson about the dark side of campus hiring and promotion than the Finkelstein affair. [I'd love to see a really thorough analysis of Noam Chomsky's professional appointments - SL] From the classified documents that Finkelstein himself has illicitly (and probably illegally) published about his promotion, anyone can see the obvious political forces at work. Finkelstein was hired in the first place because his crude anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism endeared him to academic radicals generally and to those who dominate the political science department at DePaul in particular. Despite the fact that Finkelstein's antics have served to make DePaul into something of an international laughingstock of higher education, the political science department recommended granting Finkelstein tenure by a vote of 9 to 3. Were Finkelstein pro-Israel, he would not have stood a chance of getting tenure with his existing "academic record."

The syllabi of Finkelstein's courses have appeared on the web and they consist of nothing more than one-sided political indoctrination. Naturally, his courses are popular among his students, who just happen to be the radical and jihadi DePaul students, not driven away by his in-classroom harangues. The politically conscripted tenure committee at DePaul lauded his "teaching popularity" on such a basis. Even more amazingly, it cited Finkelstein's frequent anti-Semitic speeches and racist public incitements, including his famous collaborations with the Hizbollah and with neo-Nazi organizations, as valuable "service to the university."

To achieve their goal, his political science comrades saw to it that only two outside "experts" wrote letters of evaluation for Finkelstein's tenure consideration. These two happen to share Finkelstein’s anti-Israel and anti-Semitic agendas. The first was John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, whose tract written with Stephen Walt maintaining that the American media and America’s foreign policy is controlled by a Jewish cabal has made him infamous. His assault on Israel and American Jews has made him a propaganda favorite of radical Islamic groups like CAIR, and he makes no secret either of his antipathy for Israel nor his desire to see America weakened and "deterred."

The second academic reference for Finkelstein was provided by Professor Ian Lustick, of the University of Pennsylvania, who has hosted Finkelstein several times at Penn, is a far leftist, anti-America and unabashedly anti-Israel. He earned some notoriety for his expressing regret that America did not lose more soldiers in the campaign to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan. Lustick likes to describe America's foreign policy as being under the control of a "cabal" (his word)....
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