Norman Finkelstein’s metamorphosis

It’s nothing short of Kafkaesque: when Norman Finkelstein, a veteran hero of Israel-haters left and right, criticized the BDS campaign in a recent interview, his erstwhile admirers turned on him with a ferocity that is positively delightful.

The +972 blog – which the New Israel Fund supports in order to help it become “sustainable” – posted this scathing verdict (which is real fun because it starts off with what can only be described as a Freudian typo):

Normal [sic!] Finkelstein has made a career out of being the son of holocaust survivors who doesn’t shy away from picking a fight with Israel’s backers, and who unabashedly defends the rights of Palestinians. […] Everything about the interview is classic Finkelstein: his demeanor, his tendency to raise his voice, his adversarial, passionate approach, everything, that is, except for the things he’s saying. In a bizarre turn of events, he comes off as a Zionist bully, or for that matter, any other angry right wing pundit.

[…] Finkelstein even resorts to the desperate tactic of denial. When the interviewer puts forth his contention that the BDS movement is growing in popularity, Finkelstein rejects the idea out of hand, comparing the movement to some Maoist group he apparently was affiliated with at some point in his more idealistic youth.

Here you have it: Norman Finkelstein transformed into a “Zionist bully”…

It really shows you how little it takes in the world of +972 – or, for that matter, of Mondoweiss, which approvingly linked to the +972 post – to earn the label of “Zionist bully”.  Norman Finkelstein most definitely doesn’t deserve it…

Just one additional note: for the author of this +972 post, it is apparently a sign of “idealism” to have been affiliated with a Maoist group — but it’s the sort of ideological “idealism” that isn’t much bothered by the fact that one expert on China’s modern history has argued that Mao “qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history.”


4 responses to “Norman Finkelstein’s metamorphosis

  1. Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘interview’ and saw it as much more than a slap in the face to BDS. More like a kick in the groin with a further kick in the ribs while they are down.

    Finkelstein is still a pompous ass though. (Either my way or no way). And I somehow feel that the matter hasn’t ended by a long way yet. There will be further installments.

    I don’t think that Norm will be invited to anymore anti Israel, anti Zionist celebrations.

  2. Margie in Tel Aviv

    Who would have thought that reading about Finkelstein could have been so diverting?

    Interesting too that NIF ‘sustains’ 972. The New Israel they want certainly isn’t the current pragmatic Israel I’m living in.

    Kudos as ever, Petra.

  3. This is so typical of the way these factional groups split over the “purity” of each factions ideology. Nothing could reinforce Finkelstein’s comment that the BDS movement is a cult than this attack on him by “true believers”.

    The sad thing was to see how far superior he was intellectually to the little twerp interviewing him, and think of that talent and brainpower wasted, as he himself admitted, on marginal and ultimately failed and foolish causes such as Maoism and attacks on Israel rather than being put to some beneficial use as the friend he mentioned who worked for Ralph Nader on the seat-belt issue etc. managed to do,

  4. Anybody who wants to read more about how the New Israel Fund is stoking the flames of the conflict should check out Edwin Black’s “Financing the flames”.

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