American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein

American Radical is the probing, definitive documentary about Jewish-American political scientist Norman Finkelstein.

A devoted son of holocaust survivors, an ardent critic of Israel and US Middle East policy, Finkelstein has been steadfast at the centre of many intractable controversies, including his denial of tenure at DePaul University.

Called a lunatic and self-hating Jew by some and an inspirational street-fighting revolutionary by others, Finkelstein is a deeply polarising figure.

From Beirut to Kyoto, the filmmakers follow Finkelstein around the world as he attempts to negotiate a voice among both supporters and critics.

 

From The Web
Join The Conversation
  • James

    It has always baffled me that people do not see the deep hypocritical sentiment involved in naming hostile Palestinian activity in Israel as “terrorist”. Neither side is justified, in my opinion, to the violence that forms the very essence of the Israel-Palestine debate, yet when rockets are fired into Israeli territory and the armed forces are used to retaliate, it is acceptable. Why, then, when tanks fire shells into hospitals and schools and playgrounds and killing thousands of innocent civilians with the aim of neutralizing so-called “Islamist” insurgents, is it not referred to as an act of terrorism? I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Finkelstien’s assertion that Hamas is a terrorist organization if the Israeli government is one as well. I was particularly stunned with David Olesker mentions the attacks against Israeli civilians with no reference to innocent Palestinians killed over the course of this conflict. In my eyes, that snub represents an almost de-humanization of the Palestinian men, women, and children who have lost their homes and have died reclaiming it.

    This is not all that I have understood from this documentary, but merely an aspect of it that hit home particularly hard. I am also at a loss as to how people do not see that by labeling this man as a “self-hating Jew” and a proponent for Antisemitism, it is they who have turned the Israel-Palestinian issue into an Arab-Jew conflict, not Finkelstien. Since September 11, 2001, there has been a concerted effort, enhanced by the Western media, to undermine not only the Arab people, but the Muslim population as a whole as being backward and inherently fundamentalist. Again, is the hypocritical nature of such beliefs not clear?

    I am by no means a Jew-hater. However, it has become more and more clear to me as I grow older that there is a different set of rules that apply when it comes to the topic of Israel and Judaism as compared to any other contemporary socio-political issue. It is obvious that the hate for Finkelstien stems from his unwillingness to simply embrace all that is Jewish and show an almost irrational love for Israel that the majority of the Western world is privy to. As he says in the documentary, Israel has every right to exist, but so does a sovereign and independent state of Palestine for the Palestinian people, who have lived in that region for hundreds of years, before and after the influx of Jews into Europe during 14th century.

    • Ellie

      I enjoyed this documentary and what I liked about Norm Finkelstein is his endurance and persistance to defend not only the innocent human beings who are being killed, but also the innocent human beings who are enduring inhumane living conditions due to this “conflict”.

      And what really gets me regarding this issue is the financial and political support that Israel receives from the United Sates. How can anyone possibly convince themselves this destruction of human lives is acceptable? This is ANOTHER example of the abuse of wealth and power that continues in this world.

      My hope is that we all may have a little bit of “Norm” in us and that we inform people we know in our circle of life of this injustice as we will obviously not hear the truth in our main stream media.

    • Dragoon38

      James, Thank you very much for posting your thoughts on the Norman Finkelstien documentary. It seems to be a lonely and hostile universe when you start to question certain official assumptions about how the world works. I wish I was a brave and as gracious as Findelstien.

      Warmest regards,

      D38

  • Anonymous

    Treatment of Jews in Arab/Islamic Countries: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths/mf15.html

    Since 1945, the number of Muslims killed by other Muslims outnumbers those killed by Israelis by a factor that far exceeds 100-1. source: http://www.nysun.com/pf.php?id=55137&v=9335610811

    I am Israel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZprVPKi-W6s

    Facts about Israel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeVvMJdvEX8

    • Tits

      you lose jew. Fight the new world order.

    • Recon

      propaganda!

      • Johnny

        I can’t help but think of what I had once dismissed as the rantings of a lone mad-man but which makes so much sense these days it’s scary –

        The Jewish Utopia – By Michael Higger – 1932

        http://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Utopia-Ph-D-Michael-Higger/dp/B002P2VBSQ/ref=pd_rhf_shvl_1

        ‘”Hence, Israel and the other righteous nations will combat the combined forces of the wicked, unrighteous nations under the leadership of Gog and Magog. Assembled for an attack upon the righteous nations in Palestine near Jerusalem, the unrighteous will suffer a crushing defeat and Zion will thenceforth remain the center of the Kingdom of God. The defeat of the unrighteous will mark the annihilation of the power of the wicked who oppose the Kingdom of God and establishment of the new ideal era.

        This struggle will not be merely the struggle of Israel against her national enemies but the climax of the struggle between the two general opposing camps of the righteous and unrighteous. A saying in the name of Rab states that the descendant of the house of David will appear as the head of the ideal era only after the whole world will have suffered, for a continuous period of nine months, from a wicked, corrupt government, like the historical, traditionally wicked Edom.”

        Now I know some people say that it was actually Bush, but Higger clearly states:

        “First, no line will be drawn between bad Jews and bad non-Jews. There will be no room for the unrighteous, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, in the Kingdom of God. All of them will have disappeared before the advent of the ideal era on this earth. Unrighteous Israelites will be punished equally with the wicked of other nations. All the righteous, on the other hand, whether Hebrew or Gentile will share equally in the happiness and abundance of the ideal era.”

        There are still “bad Jews” and “bad non-Jews” that oppose Zionism today, but they shall have “disappeared” BEFORE the advent of the “ideal era”. Therefore we can not be in the “ideal era” now, it is still to come…not that I would live to see it…

        I truly hope this Zionist conspiracy tale is in fact the work of a lone mad-man that just coincidentally aligns with randomly occurring modern events, as if it is true we the “Goyim”(Gentiles, beasts, non-Jews, “bad Jews”) shall pay dearly.

        Just in case you may want to build a bunker and set your tin-foil hat to “righteous Zionist” mode…

        A more “up to date” book of interest to studiers of Zionism as well would be ”
        The Rothschild Octopus” by
        Vlada Sindjelic. And here’s a Hollywood classic of Zionist propaganda from pre-WWII(1934) that is far more truthful than today’s while still being just as ridiculous: The House of Rothschild

        -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIoQ6v07hXMA comment by user Mersk100 on part 9 sums it up nicely – ”
        Aww, isn’t that cute. They twist the truth just enough to be hero[e]s. How nice for them.”

      • Johnny

        I can’t help but think of what I had once dismissed as the rantings of a lone mad-man but which makes so much sense these days it’s scary –

        The Jewish Utopia – By Michael Higger – 1932

        http://www.amazon.com/Jewish-Utopia-Ph-D-Michael-Higger/dp/B002P2VBSQ/ref=pd_rhf_shvl_1

        ‘”Hence, Israel and the other righteous nations will combat the combined forces of the wicked, unrighteous nations under the leadership of Gog and Magog. Assembled for an attack upon the righteous nations in Palestine near Jerusalem, the unrighteous will suffer a crushing defeat and Zion will thenceforth remain the center of the Kingdom of God. The defeat of the unrighteous will mark the annihilation of the power of the wicked who oppose the Kingdom of God and establishment of the new ideal era.

        This struggle will not be merely the struggle of Israel against her national enemies but the climax of the struggle between the two general opposing camps of the righteous and unrighteous. A saying in the name of Rab states that the descendant of the house of David will appear as the head of the ideal era only after the whole world will have suffered, for a continuous period of nine months, from a wicked, corrupt government, like the historical, traditionally wicked Edom.”

        Now I know some people say that it was actually Bush, but Higger clearly states:

        “First, no line will be drawn between bad Jews and bad non-Jews. There will be no room for the unrighteous, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, in the Kingdom of God. All of them will have disappeared before the advent of the ideal era on this earth. Unrighteous Israelites will be punished equally with the wicked of other nations. All the righteous, on the other hand, whether Hebrew or Gentile will share equally in the happiness and abundance of the ideal era.”

        There are still “bad Jews” and “bad non-Jews” that oppose Zionism today, but they shall have “disappeared” BEFORE the advent of the “ideal era”. Therefore we can not be in the “ideal era” now, it is still to come…not that I would live to see it…

        I truly hope this Zionist conspiracy tale is in fact the work of a lone mad-man that just coincidentally aligns with randomly occurring modern events, as if it is true we the “Goyim”(Gentiles, beasts, non-Jews, “bad Jews”) shall pay dearly.

        Just in case you may want to build a bunker and set your tin-foil hat to “righteous Zionist” mode…

        A more “up to date” book of interest to studiers of Zionism as well would be ”
        The Rothschild Octopus” by
        Vlada Sindjelic. And here’s a Hollywood classic of Zionist propaganda from pre-WWII(1934) that is far more truthful than today’s while still being just as ridiculous: The House of Rothschild

        -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIoQ6v07hXMA comment by user Mersk100 on part 9 sums it up nicely – ”
        Aww, isn’t that cute. They twist the truth just enough to be hero[e]s. How nice for them.”

  • JP

    Broken Link

  • Kip_kringle

    I wish they would just hurry up and kill each other. I am sick of hearing about it. Either side just do it, win, whatever, I dont have any feeling for Jews or Muslims as I am neither…I am completely indifferent….just one side hurry up already.

  • Kip_kringle

    I wish they would just hurry up and kill each other. I am sick of hearing about it. Either side just do it, win, whatever, I dont have any feeling for Jews or Muslims as I am neither…I am completely indifferent….just one side hurry up already.

  • Johnny

    Sadly I must make the hopefully insane and paranoid prediction of a big war coming within the next 2 years, possibly WWIII.

    Main reasons(recently):

    – Obama comes to power and cancels deals for fighter jets to Israel and replaces them with Apache’s, far less effective for defending against a foreign regular military force but good for slaughtering Palestinians in a large cage to keep increasing tensions.

    – Obama and Israel push a ‘revolution’ in Iran that never really had a chance of victory but did succeed in hardening Iran’s Islamic leaders official line against Israel and driving up anti-Israel sentiment in the Arab world.

    – A new push is being made in the U.N to recognize Palestine as an independent nation and U.N member state, which the U.S for the moment is indicating it will not veto(like all the other times) and which is supposedly pushing Israel into a corner – accept peace or lose everything after 1967… or manipulate another big war to give the excuse to take over the rest of “Greater Israel”.

    – American installed dictators in Egypt and Libya are being toppled, in Libya by equally U.S armed ‘rebels’ that are anti-Israel.

    – In Egypt already one of the biggest issues is re-evaluating the peace deal with Israel.

    – Now Hamas and Fatah are working to unify the Palestinian political and social systems,

    – The Israeli government fully supports that unification precisely because they have already made it clear they wont negotiate with any government involving Hamas and have terminated peace talks.

    The stage is being set for war… and just like the last few wars Israel will be “forced” into “defending itself” in a manner that will see to the creation of the ultimate Zionist goal – Greater Israel.

    I truly hope I am wrong, it would be nice to know the revolutionary actions in the Mid-East are true to their cause and not being controlled by foreigners yet again.

    But I have a bad feeling that that which is currently being spun as a victory for the Arab people may be a trap to drive them right into their own complete defeat later on.

    But time will only tell
    .

  • Johnny

    Norman Finkelstein sets a Jewish girl straight when she tries to use the Holocaust card to criticize him:

    Bravo Norman, don’t put up with their crap anymore.

  • http://twitter.com/panthera_f panthera f

    Great docu, Norman is about the only one who tells it like it is. 
    Respect.

  • Anonymous

    What a remarkable Being.

    Resolve such as this unequivocally emanates from a very deep sense of Humanity.

    He unwaveringly challenges with a banner of Morality and Ethics in one hand and Factual Truths in the other.

    Such a Noble individual, to stand against many of those within his own religious faith, knowing them to be Wrong.

    This can only be true Righteousness.

    Whether he is of Jewish faith or not, appears to be far less relevant to him than are his guiding Moral Values and Ethical Principles.

    A true ‘Rebel’ is one who selflessly challenges Injustice, regardless.

    His profound sense of Humanity was undoubtedly nurtured early in life by his mother and what she came away with from her own persecution under the Nazis.

    As with all genuine rebels, he will be hailed and remembered long after he has gone.

  • Cjjonesy7

    Wow. This guy’s not affraid to speak up and spit in the face of convention. Love the way he cuts that woman down to size. hahaha. What a public speaker!

  • Daryl

    You can find the full doco here now (correct as of 2nd Oct 2012):