Don’t Finkelstein On Me

Haim Watzman

Oooh, how I hate to be associated with Norman Finkelstein, the anti-Zionist Jewish political science with the foul mouth who gives criticizing Israel a bad name.

I cross-posted yesterday’s post (Black and Blue: Obama and Golda) on The Huffington Post, where a reader with the moniker CastleBravo1 commented:

Thank you for your comments.
This past year, I had the honor of taking a 90-minute bus trip each way on three consecutive days to hear Dr. Norman Finkelstein speak at Cal State Northridge.
Every reminder that the far right does not speak for Israel is a victory for truth.

I don’t know who Mr. or Ms. CastelBravo1 is, but he or she has unintentionally insulted me. Finkelstein is a critic of Israel, I said something critical about an Israeli leader in my post, ergo Finkelstein and Watzman are the same.

Finkelstein is a conspiracy theorist in academic guise. For a sample of his historical analysis, see his Introduction to the Israel-Palestine Conflict, on his personal website. It’s pretty typical–Israel is by nature sinful, everything it does is sinful, and even when Israeli leaders try to make peace they have sinister ulterior motives.

I’m a Zionist. I’m proud of being Israeli. I’m critical of my country and its leaders precisely because I love my country and believe in the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. Finkelstein hates Israel and his criticism is aimed not at correcting wrongs but at nullifying its right to exist. Please don’t mention us in the same breath.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Finkelstein On Me”

  1. How does it feel to be classified with me as an “far Right-winger?”.

    CastleBravo was the code name of one of the first American hydrogen bomb tests in the 1950’s.

    You are now confronting the ultimate logic of “progressive thought”. They will tell you that Zionism is inherently “un-progressive” no matter how much people like you try to square the circle and claim that one can be a Zionist and a “progressive” at the same time. They will tell you, with a straight face, that Jews are not entitled to self-determination, even though the Palestinians are. They will tell you to go back to where you came from, you have no business stealing land from the Palestinians. They agree with the Muslims that the Bible is a “Fraud” (G-d forbid). Good luck!

  2. As opposed to Zionists, who will tell you that Jews are entitled to self-determination and Palestinians aren’t.

  3. Haim, I don’t know what you get so excited about. Finkelstein embraces more or less the mainstream Palestinian narrative, “original sin” and all that, and I haven’t noticed you having any problem with Palestinians doing so. As a non-Israeli, he owes Israel or its state doctrine no more loyalty than the Palestinians do. You have of course the right to embrace any ideology you like, and by all means, disagree with him all you want. I wouldn’t have thought though that you’ve bought into the fraud, or the idolatry, that seeks to make Zionism the quasi-mandatory ideology of Jews.

  4. To W. Burns: Well, I’m a Zionist and I think Palestinians are entitled to self-determination.
    To Fiddler: Finkelstein is free to believe whatever he wants. I just don’t want my views to be identified with his.

  5. “As opposed to Zionists, who will tell you that Jews are entitled to self-determination and Palestinians aren’t.”

    This is something made up by people who want to advocate for Palestine-in-place-of-Israel.

    I’m a Zionist. I don’t know any Jew in Jerusalem (granted I don’t know everyone) who feels that the Palestinians aren’t entitled to self-determination.

    The rub is that their leadership, in various guises, has decided that destroying my country and killing my kids is a bigger priority than building their own country—because, after all, why bother building a nation when you can steal the one next door by conquest?

    So any hesitation you see in Israeli leadership about concessions, peace plans, et al, has its roots in Palestinian rejectionism, the continued education of their children in ‘Palestine-from-the River-to-the-Sea’ rhetoric, and the outlay of more money for arms than for hospitals and other modern infrastructure.

  6. Aliyah,

    Oh spare me. Israel has killed more Palestinian kids than the other way around, and has made it clear that it recognizes no Palestinian rights to land that Israel or Israelis want. The current regime on the West Bank has reduced violence to close to zero, and all it’s gotten is more settlements and checkpoints. And the idea that Palestinians are the ones stealing the nation next door via conquest indicates a refusal to accept reality that borders on the insane. I have more respect for people like Bar Kochba and Y. Ben David, who are honest imperialists, than I do for liberal Zionists who think that what they do is somehow justified as self-defense. People like you and Watzman claim that you recognize the rights of the Palestinians to self-determination. Big deal. Actually existing Zionism, not so much.

  7. “…why bother building a nation when you can steal the one next door by conquest?”


    Thats the most ludicrous thing Ive heard in a while.

    The”one next door” just so happens to be the exact same piece of land on which sat Palestine (whether as a sovereign country is irrelevant, it was PALESTINE), just a few short decades ago.

    So er, perhaps the better option would be to recognise ourselves as thieves and liars and return the land to its respective owners?

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