Prevailing in This Epic Struggle: A Finkelstein Collage

Regarding [Israel’s] methodical breaking of Palestinian bones, Wiesel courageously chose silence:  ‘I refuse to see myself in the role of judge over Israel.  The role of the Jew is to bear witness; not pass judgment.’  At any rate, on Jews.  Wiesel does not miss a beat when it comes to passing judgment on Arabs, Russians, Germans, Poles.
—Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Israel won sympathy and masked its systematic violations of human rights in no small part by exploiting the memory of the Jewish people’s martyrdom.  To mute criticism, it claimed to be acting in our name and in the name of our tragedy.  Many decent people, Jews and non-Jews, deferred to that claim, turning a blind eye to the suffering of the Palestinians.  Jews who chose silence therefore passively collaborated in Israel’s crimes, for their silence left Israel unchallenged and unimpeached.
—Norman Finkelstein, The Rise and Fall of Palestine: A Personal Account of the Intifada Years

Indeed, fixating as it does on the pathologically criminal, Hitler’s Willing Executioners  fails to even grasp, let alone resolve, the central mystery of the Nazi holocaust: how, under particular historical circumstances, ordinary men and women, as well as the “civilized gentlemen” who lead nations, can commit history’s greatest crimes.
—Norman Finkelstein and Ruth Bettina Birn, A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth

The current campaign of the Holocaust industry to extort money from Europe in the name of ‘needy Holocaust victims’ has shrunk the moral stature of their martyrdom to that of a Monte Carlo casino.
—Norman Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering

Yet the biggest fraud  is the title itself. [Alan] Dershowitz hasn’t written a case for Israel. How could anyone genuinely concerned about the Israeli people counsel policies certain to sow seeds of hatred abroad and moral corruption within? What he has in fact written is the case for the destruction of Israel. Letting others—Palestinians as well as Jews—pay the price while he plays the “tough Jew”: isn’t this what Dershowitz’s chutzpah really comes down to?
—Norman Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah:  On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History 

In other words, Israel was able to pinpoint its targets on the ground and, by its own admission, could and did hit these designated targets with pinpoint accuracy. It thus cannot be said that the criminal wreckage resulted from mishap or from a break in the chain of command. What happened in Gaza was meant to happen—by everyone from the soldiers in the field who executed the orders to the officers who gave the orders to the politicians who approved the orders. “The wholesale destruction was to a large extent deliberate,” Amnesty similarly concluded, “and an integral part of a strategy at different levels of the command chain, from high-ranking officials to soldiers in the field.”
—Norman Finkelstein, ’This Time We Went Too Far:’ Truth & Consequences of the Gaza Invasion

Self-suffering might move a loved one to mend his ways. It might also awaken the conscience of a public otherwise passive in the face of injustice. But as a rule it will not deter persons driven by righteous fury and defending perceived interests. Only a Gandhi could possess such overpowering spiritual force; it loved and died with his person. This was his great personal triumph, but also his great political failure. The tactic has no generalized value.
—Norman Finkelstein, What Gandhi Says About Nonviolence, Resistance, and Courage

A young, liberal and idealistic Jew does not want to have to defend flooding south Lebanon with four million cluster submunitions, or firing white phosphorus shells reaching a temperature of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit on hospitals in Gaza any more than he or she wants to defend the legality of Israeli settlements against the considered opinion of every member of the International Court of Justice. If you are the son of a Rush Limbaugh or the daughter of a Sean Hannity, you might not recoil at such a public posture. But it’s just not a Jewish thing.
—Norman Finkelstein,  Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel Is Coming to an End

My Promised Land does acknowledge many uncomfortable facts about Israeli history and society but, besides love (indeed, a superabundance of it), the book is also shot through with exculpatory propaganda and contradictions. The question is whether Israel can yet again inspire American Jews after Shavit’s inspired repackaging of no-longer-evadable facts. The answer is probably no. It both recycles too many shattered myths and confirms too many ugly truths to exhilarate anyone outside the depleting  (and aging) ranks of Zion’s worshippers.
—Norman Finkelstein, Old Wine, Broken Bottle:  Ari Shavit’s Promised Land

One can only imagine the potential of a movement that taps the dormant talent and ingenuity of its ever-expanding ranks; of a committed leadership that harnesses this restless but diffuse energy and doesn’t let petty jealousies, turf wars and ego aggrandizement  obscure the common objective; of one two, three many flotillas determined to beak the cruel siege, once and for all. energizing as these prospects might be, one must simultaneously hear in mind the magnitude of the will that is required, how concentrated, tenacious and sustained this collective will needs to be, in order to extract even the most meager concession from those ruthlessly wielding power.
—Norman Finkelstein, Method and Madness:  The Hidden Story of Israel’s Assault’s on Gaza

Perhaps one day in the remote future, when the tenor of the times is more receptive, someone will stumble across this book collecting dust on a library shelf, blow of the cobwebs, and be stung by outrage at the lot of a people, if not forsaken by God then betrayed by the cupidity and corruption, careerism and cynicism, cravenness and cowardice of mortal man.
—Norman Finkelstein, Gaza: An Inquest into Its Martyrdom

In any event, this volume apply attests that, notwithstanding her decision, the Chief Prosector herself cannot be trusted to faithfully perform the functions  of her office, especially as she will come under ferocious pressure from Israel and the United States not to issue an indictment. Israel will no doubt activate the full gamut of its overt and covert agencies to stop the Chief Prosector, just as it almost certainly forced Judge Richard Goldstone to retract his eponymous UN report on Israeli crimes committed in Gaza.  Indeed, it’s cause for wonder whether the Chief Prosector acquiesced in opening an investigation so as to recoup face after her iniquitous performance in the Flotilla Incident, in the foreknowledge (even connivance) that the Pre-trial Chamber will preemptively kill it. 

 The battle has been joined. It is imperative to stay vigilant. The evidence amassed in these pages make it clear that the Prosecutor will not be persuaded by facts and reason but, instead, by the political forces at play behind closed doors and in the court of public opinion. Whereas Israel will bring to bear every squalid and sordid instrument in its arsenal, the forces arrayed against it will be able to draw on the mighty weapons of Truth and Justice. All eyes are now riveted on the Chief Prosector as the unfolding drama decides which side will prevail in this epic struggle.
—Norman Finkelstein, I Accuse: Herewith a Proof beyond Reasonable Doubt That ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda Whitewashed Israel

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