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SHOULD THIS ACADEMIC FRAUDSTER BE ENTERTAINED AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY?

Holocaust denial comes to Stanford By Amichai Magen The Stanford Daily January 25, 2007

The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East (CJME) and its splinter group, Students Confronting Apartheid in Israel (SCAI), are at it again; pulling no punches in their relentless campaign to demonize the Jewish People and delegitimize Israel. Tonight, the two student groups are stooping to new lows and aligning themselves with the most radical elements in the Middle East by hosting Norman Finkelstein on this campus.

Finkelstein is an academic joke, and a bad one at that. The 54-year-old Assistant Professor at DePaul University, Illinois, has been hired and let go by several middling schools, before gaining his current (untenured) position in 2003. The New York Times Book Review has described his work as "juvenile," "arrogant" and "stupid."

He is an American-born son of two Holocaust survivors who began his career as an anti-Israel political agitator - circumstances which on their own make his claims to objective historical scholarship on the Holocaust highly suspect. Finkelstein can neither read nor write German. Being unable to access many of the sources that are the foundation of sound research in this highly complex and sensitive field has not prevented Finkelstein from passing sweeping, tendentious and twisted judgments on one of the saddest, and most important, episodes in human history.

In essence, Finkelstein's argument is as follows: The Jews, in a fiendish conspiracy, have fabricated a "Holocaust Industry" in order to portray themselves as victims, cynically exploit their suffering and consolidate Israel as a power set on regional domination. If the Holocaust had never happened, the Jews would have invented it themselves, since the Holocaust served their diabolical quest for money and global imperialism.

This thesis is a hodge-podge of pathological paranoia, ignorance, malice and brutal disrespect to the memory of the millions of human beings systematically murdered by the Nazis (Christians, Jews and Muslims). If we applied Finkelstein's warped logic, we would conclude that Blacks "exploit" the history of slavery to obtain civil rights gains or that in the 20th-century, women have created a "Feminism Industry" in a cruel attempt to gain power and subjugate men. How many Einsteins, how many Kafkas, how many Menuhins, how many lives (born and yet to be born) were lost forever in the furnaces of Auschwitz? The world will never know. But to suggest that the Jewish People, or anyone else on this planet, has "profited" from the extinguishing of so many souls - each of infinite value in its own right - is monstrous beyond belief.

Finkelstein's brand of Holocaust denial is all the more pernicious for its relative subtlety. Unlike David Irving - who claims the gas chambers never existed and that Hitler was the Jews' greatest friend - Finkelstein (who calls Irving "a good historian") admits that it did happen, and then proceeds to turn the Holocaust into a tool with which to attack its primary victim. In the Finkelstenian mind, the Jews, and the Jews alone, are prohibited from collective mourning. Jewish insistence that the Holocaust be remembered becomes an act of unforgivable Jewish aggression, for which Israel must be "censured," to use one of his favorite expressions of attack. This Holocaust erosion is at once more subversive and more dangerous than the outright factual denial practiced by the likes of Irving or Iran's President, Ahmedinejad. It insidiously assaults our moral imperative to remember the Holocaust and eats away at its chief lesson to humanity: Never again!

Not surprisingly, Finkelstein has become the house favorite of neo-fascists in America, Europe and the Middle East; the dream-Jew of the post-Holocaust anti-Semites. David Duke - the white supremacist and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klax Klan - endorses him warmly on his Web site (http://www.davidduke.com/). German neo-Nazi queen, Ingrid Rimland, has intimated that Finkelstein's writing makes her feel "like a kid in a candy store." And Finkelstein's own enthusiasm for Osama bin Laden and Hezbollah have made him a welcome guest on the radical Shiite militia's official satellite TV station, Al-Manar.

Finkelstein is an American citizen and thus at liberty to express his odious views. But free speech is not at issue here. The real question is should this academic fraudster be entertained at Stanford University? Does Finkelstein's message of hate enhance or diminish our academic standards and community? And is it legitimate for CJME, a Stanford funded student organization, to offer its uncritical, enthusiastic endorsement to a man who defames an entire people and its six million murdered innocents purely for the purpose of making Israel look bad?
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