Norman Finkelstein, one-time professor who was fired from DePaul University, and now travels the world giving anti-Israel speeches labeled as "independent scholar with a PhD from Princeton", is a kook who embarrasses himself at every appearance with his off-the-wall behavior. I have seen him speak three times, twice at UC Irvine and once at Cerritos College. You can read my reports on those appearances here, here, and here. Suffice to say, Norman is always good for a few laughs with his hysterical style.
Now he has teamed up with someone named Jamie Stern-Weiner in the curiously-named magazine, Jacobin, to write an article on the Israel-Gaza conflict. It seems that no matter how many rockets Hamas launches into Israel, no matter how many Gazans try to storm the fence into Israel, where, if successful, innocent people would no doubt die, Israel has no right to defend itself, according to Finkelstein and Stern-Weiner. Before you laugh, check out the article itself because that is exactly what these two characters claim.
And what is Finkelstein if not an abstract thinker?
"But the fact is, Israel cannot claim a right to use any force in Gaza — whether moderate or excessive, proportionate or disproportionate; whether protesters are unarmed or armed, don't or do pose an imminent threat to life. If it appears otherwise, that's because the current debate ignores critical caveats in international law and abstracts from the specific situation in Gaza."
If you read the above three links I have posted on Finkelstein over the years, it is clear that he has no regard for how many Israels-or Jews for that matter- are killed by the very people he supports.
On the first occasion, I brought up documented facts, supported by actual videos of pro-Palestinian supporters in the US calling for the deaths of Jews while invoking the specter of Adolf Hitler and the ovens. (It was a written question passed to the front.) He merely waved it all off by denying it and said that people who brought up such talking points (I am paraphrasing) should "pull themselves out of their navels", an exact quote.
On the occasion I heard him speak at Cerritos College (That's the time he called President Obama "a murderer"), I reminded him of the above question and asked him given the fact that time had allowed him to check those accusations, if he had any second thoughts. Again he denied that the people he collaborated with had any such inclinations.
Finally, there was the time he again spoke at UC Irvine. It was at a time when Jewish faculty members had written a letter to the university administration complaining about the rampant anti-semitism being brought to campus by the Muslim Student Union and their annual speakers during the events every May dedicated to condemning Israel. I told him about the letter and asked him to sign, which he refused to do-again denying the very problem existed while launching into a long, rambling discourse, even bring upon Richard Goldstone of all people.
Suffice to say, Norman Finkelstein is a quirky guy with a deep hatred of Israel-even though he himself comes from a Jewish background with Holocaust survivors in his own family. He delights in humiliating young critics who come to his events with opposing questions, once bringing a coed to tears with his caustic comments while laughing at her distress. Yet, with a minimum of homework and the right questions, it is easy to drive Norman over the edge, as shown here. He has reached the point where no university will hire him-and that is saying something given the sad state of affairs in academia these days. That said, his speaking events are not to be missed. While Norm doesn't try to be funny, entertainment and laughs are guaranteed.