Aint Nothin’ Like a Big Jew Row

I just came across an argument, a literal verbal fisticuffs, regarding Israel (of course) which harked me back to many a pleasurable Friday night dinner. There I once was dunking my chollah into a small pile of salt, trying intensely hard to block out my then girlfriend’s dad’s putrefying views about Arabs (one wouldn’t mention the P word in civil conversation), repeating the mantra to myself, ‘He’s thick but powerless just try to impress him, he’s thick but powerless…’, when suddenly I snapped, entered the fray, and before I knew it I’d been sent upstairs by my girlfriends dad on our first Shabbes together before I’d even got past the chicken soup. I’m not the only person to find myself reliving those arguments over and over whenever amongst mainstream Jews, right?

I admit this is old hat, but the video that triggered that wonderful memory was the conversation between Alan Dershowitz and Norman Finkelstein on Democracy Now! Radio 2003.  By proxy of Noam Chomsky’s rebuffs, I’ve kind of grown up on Dershowitz. To watch such a powerful man squirm for a whole hour when faced with Finkelstein’s accusation of double fraud – plagiarism of a fraudulent book – is sheer delight.

[For some reason you might need to refresh your browser to make this video show. If you can’t see it, here is its page]

As a consequence of this debate it was not Dershowitz who lost his academic position, but rather Finkelstein himself. I won’t make any jokes about how that’s a bit like being thrown out of a Shabbes dinner for standing up to racism…

A documentary about Finkelstein is now touring, American Radical. And just so I don’t get accused of plagiarism, my original source for this debate came from Electronic Intifada.

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4 thoughts on “Aint Nothin’ Like a Big Jew Row

  • Wow and Wow again!!! This Finklestein guy is mega. A great contribution alta. He really shows this dershowbizwitz character up for what he really is – a big FAKE.
    The same kind of slimy fakery displayed against the black community here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvRstI2DSLo
    The zionist macho posturing has had its day and will soon shrival up and slip away in a coma like their old terrorist leader shaza.
    What do you reckon to Finklesteins Holocaust Industry book, have you read it?

  • Hey Tim,

    Thanks for the video link, it made me laugh and cringe and the same time! I think the relationship between jewish communities and others in the UK could do with a good look into, though perhaps they’re not as pronounced as in such highly segregated areas of New York. My experiences in NW London – the most ethnically diverse part of London according to wikipedia – are mostly, to be honest, pretty peaceful. Aside from the daily bomb threats to my school that is… It would be really interesting to hear other experiences.

    Regarding Finkelstein, well I haven’t read Holocaust Industry, I have to admit. I read around it a bit, reviews and a went to a talk by Finkelstein at my university. From what I know, in my general ignorance, is that but I think my feelings towards him are a little mixed.

    I agree with him the holocaust is generally abused to ‘prove’ the necessity of a Jewish state. Every conclusion in our holocaust classes at my school had emphasised that point, and so do, very obviously, ‘pro-israel’ groups like aipac (which Dershowitz champions), for example: http://www.aipac.org/25954.asp

    But the ‘industry’ side of Finkelstein’s critique I find troubling. I think its a form of critique that is easily turned against Jews themselves.

    Basically, I think that the idea of a ‘Holocaust Industry’ fits in too well with the anti-Semitic stereotype of Jews wanting to make money out of their supposed suffering. And it has precisely in that way been picked up by neo-nazi organisations:
    www. davidduke .com/general/watch-dr-norman-finkelstein-blast-apart-the-holocaust-industry_2914.html
    (remove the space, I didn’t want to add a direct link to a dd’s page)

    Yes, I think its terrible that there is a profit motive involved in our understanding of the Holocaust, but I put the blame of that on capitalism, not, as I am concerned Finkelstein does, on certain Jewish bodies. Yes, the Holocaust is glitzed with endless Hollywood films which make massive amounts of money and often take troubling pro-zionist pro-capitalist stances, but with power centered around nationalists and capitalists in our present political economic system, this is to be expected.

    As Moishe Postone argues, incomplete critiques of capitalism creates paths towards anti-Semitism and Nazism, even when made from the left. I don’t think Finkelstein deals with that problem properly. I know he wrote the book under the best of faith, but the fact that it is used as ammunition for the ideologies which perpetrated the Holocaust, shows that there is a severe problem in his critique. I identify that problem under his not having taken a stance against capitalism itself.

    Back to Dershowitz, here he is again harassing the people at J Street recently, an interesting video in many ways: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1158133.html

  • Yeah I can see that Finklesteins stance could and is used to further the holocaust denial brigade, but, so what. Facts are facts, and if a certain part of the jewish community takes the piss and exploits the suffering of people during world war 2, they need exposing and blaming for supporting the far right and others. The zionists have been at this game for a long time and it could be argued are not jews at all, as their antics bring the whole jewish belief system into disrepute.
    Finklestein deals with the ”playing into the far right…” in this interview:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaeMT44yX2M&feature=related
    I think it’s well worth watching all the parts from the beginning as it gives a nice profile of this
    coran characters raisen d’etre, to serve his zionist pay masters. There are a few gems in there that I’m sure will make you smile, similar to the dershowbizwitz stooge.
    I didn’t check out the dd link yet as I think it’s a forgone, that those slime balls, like the bnpiss really are a creepy bunch. That said, suppose it’s necessary to fully understand your point.
    Hey, just on a side note, I challenged Stamfordhillbilly on his thread to find any good shit the zionists had done for the Palestinians, and i would do the same(sincerely), but i tell ya, i’m really struggling – got any suggestions where to look. I’ve even trawled zionist forums, nothing, zilch. The closest I got was a picture of the idf giving a Palestinian prisoner water from a bottle but it appeared staged.

  • Is it me, or does norm finkelstein, just seems like an arrogant self righteous piece of work? I mean if you look at the video, you have a 1 hour discussion and finkelstein doesn’t let the discussion get past whether or not the references are plagarised or not, let alone discuss any of the arguments of the book. C’mon, grow up. Anyway, I have never read D’witz or Funkenstein, so cant contribute anything much, but that was just my impressions from the wideo.

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