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Norman Finkelstein: The Holocaust is not an excuse to oppress Palestinians


Submitted by Amir “MR”

This is dedicated to the victims of the Israeli invasion and bombardment of Gaza a year ago this month.

Dr. Norman Finkelstein at the University of Waterloo


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The above clip is from the movie, “American Radical: The trials of Norman G. Finkelstein“. I suggest everyone to go and watch it and share it with your friends and family.

Sadly, members of the American government are willing to go against their own president in support of Israel. Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain were in Israel supporting the expansion of settlements in Palestine. You can read about it here. I pray that more Americans will watch this clip and the documentary to learn about the injustice Israel commits with many of their actions towards the Palestinians.

Who is Dr. Norman Finkelstein?

Norman G. Finkelstein received his doctorate in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. For many years he taught political theory and the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is currently an independent scholar. Finkelstein is the author of five books which have been translated into more than 40 foreign editions: Beyond Chutzpah: On the misuse of anti-Semitism and the abuse of history (University of California Press, 2005; expanded paperback edition, 2008) The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the exploitation of Jewish suffering (Verso, 2000; expanded paperback edition, 2003) Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (Verso, 1995; expanded paperback edition, 2003) A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen thesis and historical truth (with Ruth Bettina Birn) (Henry Holt, 1998) The Rise and Fall of Palestine: A personal account of the intifada years (University of Minnesota, 1996) He has just completed a new book entitled A Farewell to Israel: The coming break-up of American Zionism, to be published in 2009.

Source: Official Website of Norman G. Finkelstein


As this is my first post on MM, I’d just like to thank the MM team for inviting me to join them. I’d also like to thank the entire Muslim blogosphere, both readers and bloggers, for supporting my blog whether positively or negatively over the past decade. I guess coming on board with MM is what some will say pulling a Michael Jordan (coming out of retirement).  We’ll see what Allah has in store for me on MM.

As many may or may not know, my blogging style is mostly sharing information and interesting finds that tend to be controversial and challenging. I’m not sure if I will write any original pieces for MM but you can expect “MR” style posts on MM (if approved of course in order to respect MM policy). :D

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Muslim American born in Brooklyn, NY with Guyanese parents currently living in Virginia working full-time as a web developer.



  1. mofw

    January 30, 2010 at 5:13 AM

    First time I heard the holocaust card used to defend the Palestinians. Somebody should send the F-dawg some baklava.

    Hmmm … maybe MuslimMatters should organize a thank you letter writing campaign for figures like F-dawg. Especially since he’s been through rough times. He was denied tenure for his views.

    • Sincerity

      January 30, 2010 at 8:27 AM

      Agree , should organize something along those lines.

      • Muhammad Sheikh

        January 30, 2010 at 11:07 PM

        Forget just tenure.

        The man hasn’t been able to get a job on any college campus since the whole Dershowitz debacle.

        I don’t think he would really care for a thank you letter, but I guess it couldn’t hurt either.

  2. Amatullah

    January 30, 2010 at 7:37 AM

    Wow. Nice.

  3. TheAlexandrian

    January 30, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    The khutba at MAS in Brooklyn yesterday was a reminder not of the unbearable hardships that the Palestinians have endured for decades, nor of the unimaginable destruction that befell Gaza one year ago, but of the trials and torments that they continue to encounter on a daily basis.

    Dr. Finkelstein was spot on:

    If you had any heart in you, you would be crying for the Palestinians…

    Please remember our brothers and sisters in your duas and, if you can, go to Islamic Relief and donate some money to help them out.

    May Allah grant them patience and ease their suffering. Ameen.

  4. Syed J.

    January 30, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Assalam alaikum,

    To all. “If you had any heart in you, you would be crying for the Palestinians…”

  5. Ammar

    January 30, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    Bravo. What a brave, honest response.

  6. Umm Bilqis

    January 30, 2010 at 7:11 PM

    Brave man may Allaah honor him with Islaam Insha’Allah! Say Ameen.

    I am not surprised at the leadership of the non Muslims, their false standards are apparent to All now not just the few…..

    It is the level of treachery displayed by some Muslims that is a wonder!
    What excuses will they hide under on the Day of Judgment I wonder?
    May the eyes of cowards never sleep.

  7. Muhammad Sheikh

    January 30, 2010 at 10:55 PM


    One of the most moving things Finkelstein has said in his talks I have been lucky enough to see was this in one of his closing statements:

    “If together we stand by truth and justice, if anyone does, we don’t lose, we all gain. We should not be anti-Jewish. We should not be anti-Israel. We should not even be anti-Zionist. The prize on which our eyes should be riveted on is human rights, human dignity, and human equality. We should not be asking questions like, ‘Are u now, or ever been, Zionist?’ It is a useless question.

    Instead, we should be asking, ‘Are u for or against ethnic cleansing, torture, house demolitions, Jewish only roads, and Jewish only settlements, and discriminatory laws?’ If the answer comes against, against, against, shouldn’t we then say, ‘keep your ideology, whatever it may be, there is room for everyone at the rendezvous for victory?’

    May we all, seekers of truth, fighters for justice, yet join the forsaken people of Palestine at the rendezvous for victory.”

    This being such a sensitive topic, we often get wrapped up in our arguments and forget the sense of humanity we are fighting for.

    We have to combat all the mud slinging with faith and trust in our understandings of the truth, in the sources, and in the documentary record.

  8. a hussein

    January 31, 2010 at 9:07 AM




  9. Pingback: Sunday Open Thread – 01/31/10 – Remembering Gaza | Calling out Israel |

  10. Abdulrahman

    February 1, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    That totally rocked my world!

  11. Nat Hussein

    February 2, 2010 at 10:15 AM


    Film on American Academic banned from Israel to open in NY soon!


    New York, January 10, 2010 – Ridgen and Rossier’s new compelling documentary about controversial Jewish-American academic Norman Finkelstein is to open soon at Anthology Film Archives. The film has already played in prominent festivals around the world including the Palestinian Film Festival in Boston, IDFA in Amsterdam and the Jewish Film Festival in Jerusalem.

    American Radical is the definitive film about controversial Jewish-American academic Norman Finkelstein. A devoted son of holocaust survivors, staunch critic of Israeli and US Mid-East policies and author of six provocative books – including The Holocaust Industry, Beyond Chutzpah and the upcoming title, This Time We Went to Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion. Finkelstein has been at the center of many intractable controversies. Called a lunatic and a self-hating Jew by some and an inspirational, street-fighting revolutionary by others, Finkelstein is a deeply polarizing figure whose struggles arise from core questions about freedom, identity and nationhood. The film provides an intimate portrait of the man behind the controversy, giving voice to both his many critics and his supporters, while following him around the globe as he labors to change peoples’ minds.

    American Radical is produced and directed by accomplished documentary filmmakers David Ridgen (Mississippi Cold Case) and Nicolas Rossier (Aristide and the Endless Revolution). Say Ridgen and Rossier, “We were fascinated by the idea of fighting fire with fire. Strong offense. Eye for an eye. Polarizing forces that create understanding in their collision, like filmmaker Eisenstein’s cells. That it takes a radical to tame radicalism, or perhaps to end it. Norman Finkelstein embodies this duality. For us, he is a case study for it in fact. Some important voices say he is full of sound and fury signifying nothing. Others say he is a street fighter for the downtrodden. But what is the real politick of his words and actions and existence? These are the questions we wanted to answer. The more one considers Norman and those in his realm, the more one recognizes that no radical is without sin or innocence. There is worth in being a modern firebrand, and there are great costs. And both may lie where you least expect to discover them.”

    Completed in 2009, American Radical was picked up for US distribution by Typecast Releasing. Typecast will make American Radical available for broadcast, theaters, festival screenings, DVD and digital distribution in the USA.

    For ticket and schedule information click below:

    For more information contact:

    Nicolas Rossier and David Ridgen

    John Sinno and Alex Williams at Typecast Releasing

  12. Umm Bilqis

    February 3, 2010 at 11:44 PM

    Masha’Allah Dr Finkelstein on Gandhi and Palestine . Well done!
    May Allah honor him with Islaam.

  13. Bushra

    March 21, 2010 at 5:57 PM

    Masha’Allah, great post! Finally, someone with the guts to tell the truth!

  14. Tiriolo

    March 21, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    II don’t believe that 6 million Jews were killed during the holocaust, so I can’t respect Mr. Finkelstein for perpetrating that number on to so many unassuming people. The Palestinians did lose multiple wars they fought against Israel, and anyone who has study history knows the losers of wars aren’t treated with kid gloves. If every piece of land won in a war was given back to the original inhabitants the world would be in total chaos. The Palestinians mistake was losing a war against Jews.

    • Muhammad Sheikh

      March 21, 2010 at 8:17 PM

      Yeah, the Palestinians lost wars against Israel, but the land gain and loss is something that defined wars of a previous era, not anymore.

      Now, in this century, invading and occupying a sovereign nation unanimously agreed upon as against international law.

      Do you think the Nazi’s only crimes internationally were the Holocaust? No, they were also tried for invading the sovereign nations surrounding them, and paid for those decisions with their lives.

      • Tiriolo

        March 21, 2010 at 10:39 PM

        The first sentence doesn’t make sense to me. The Palestinians fought a war with the Jews in 1948 and lost it, as many people throughout history have done. The only people entitled to a land are those strong enough to hold it. If the Palestinians were strong instead of depending on the goodwill and aide of strangers they could take the land back. The problem is the Palestinians like their elaborate weddings, kebabs, TV’s, cell phones, and tobacco more then they love fighting for land.

        Israel was sanctioned by the UN.

        The Nazi’s did a lot of bad things, but what they did was nothing new to the history of man. People have been invading countries for forever. I don’t think the Nazis wanted to exterminate the Jews, if they did, they did a horrible job, because every Jew of a certain age claims to be a holocaust survivor. If six millions Jews were killed there would be mass graves or something, if 4 out of every 5 New Yorkers were killed we would have concrete proof.

        • Muhammad Sheikh

          March 21, 2010 at 11:08 PM

          It’s a simple enough statement.

          America goes to war with Iraq. Do they have the right to Iraqi land?
          America goes to war in Afghanistan. Do they have the right to Afghani land?

          If you argue yes, then you’re in disagreement with international law. Plain and simple. There are now standards of morality when engaging in international warfare where there previously was not. This morality was probably spurred by the increases in casualties due to modern day technological advances in warfare.

          Nevertheless, I don’t see how you’re argument is justification. Do you think it’s morally acceptable Americans successfully killed off Native Americans for this land, solely because they were not strong strong enough to hold it?

          “If the Palestinians were strong instead of depending on the goodwill and aide of strangers they could take the land back.”

          So Israel stands alone? Israel receives 14 billion dollars in annual American aid with no strings attached, all in a 1 lump some. No other country in the world has that kind of special treatment from America. A huge chunk of that money goes back to the US in exchange for weapons.

          When the Palestinians finally do decide to put down the “kebabs and cell phones”, what do you propose they do?

          Also, no one argues going back to the 1948 borders. Any noteworthy speakers/activists/scholars that have anything to do with the Israel/Palestinian conflict argue a return to the 1974 borders.

          • Tiriolo

            March 23, 2010 at 5:38 PM

            To compare the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the situation in Israel/Palestine is disingenuous. The history and makeup of the conflicts couldn’t be more different. The Jews had a presence in Palestine, and they fought a civil war with the Arabs. They weren’t outsiders who invaded the country like the US did in Iraq or Afghanistan.

            The Native Americans weren’t killed off they still exist. Do you think it is morally acceptable the Turks systematically killed and raped Armenians and stole their land, and incorporated into modern day Turkey? Do you think the Pakistanis should give back the Sikh temples back to the Sikhs when they were forced out of the Western Punjab. If you think the Palestinians deserve their land back, then you have to support the Armenian and Sikh examples too, if not you’re a hypocrite. Just about every inch of land has been conquered and lost by different groups. Why should one people deserve to get their land back and not others? See how sticky the situation is, it what create complete chaos in the world. That is why land only belongs to those who are strong enough to hold it.

          • Muhammad Sheikh

            March 23, 2010 at 6:25 PM

            Yes, they are absolutely different conflicts. You are correct about this.

            But in the very general sense that I made a point in, they share the same qualities. One extremely stronger force vs. another under the guise of a morale agenda, when in reality for the sake of strategic gain and/or wealth.

            Yes, the Native Americans still do exist, but at a insignificant fraction of what their community once was. This is off topic though.

            Why do you think I’m an immoral person? Why would I not see fault in the Turk genocide in Turkey? Why would I not see fault in the genocide in Cambodia, in Laos? In Rwanda? In Darfur? Why would I not see fault in the Holocaust? I don’t understand what you’re trying to get at.

            I guess I have to keep going back to this point. It’s against international law to do what Israel is doing. Therefore, they should be punished and the land should be returned to the Palestinians. It’s that simple.

            I don’t know how many times I have to go back to this point, but the Palestinians are still fighting for a return to the 1974 borders, not ’48. They are not fighting for the return of some cosmic intangible goal, of a war that occured centuries ago. In fact, many Israelis argue that it is their land from whatever thousand years ago, therefore it is right for them to uproot the Palestinians and reclaim their land. What do you say to that?

            The UN annually votes for a return to the 1974 borders. The international community is unanimous in this issue except for Israel, America, and one or two other insignificant bodies. With every single country in the world is arguing for the sake of Palestinians, why do you think it’s so intangible and dare I say, petty, for them to want their land back?

            Israelis are taking land right now. They are continuing to build settlements right now. Recently they have said they will build 1600+ more homes in Jewish only settlements. Is it just? I’m sure you can see why it’s an issue. But what I don’t understand is why you think it’s right, because it’s been continuously going on for 70 years.

            You still haven’t answered my question though. Your previous claim was that if Palestinians stopped eating kebabs, they could get their land back. I’d love to see what ideas you have for how the Palestinians alone can topple the Israeli occupation. I’m sure they’d be interested as well.

  15. Tiriolo

    March 23, 2010 at 9:55 PM

    I don’t believe in International law. It has no bearing here, people won a piece of land in a civil war are not going to just give it back, because some internationalist said to do so. The Israelis are hot super humans, they can be defeated. There is over a hundred million Arabs, and they as a people have unlimited funds. They can buy weapons and use their mass of humanity to attack and invade Israel. Stronger countries have been defeated throughout history. This isn’t a perfect world to argue what is just and what is not is pointless. This world is about one group of people competing with another group of people for limited resources. If you got kids and just enough food to keep them alive, and some international body says to give the food to another person and let your kids die of hunger, I doubt you or anyone else would. It’s a messy and complicated situation. The only way it will be resolved is one group is annihilated or exiled from the land. Neither side is going to give in an inch. Wasn’t it the Palestinians who rejected a peace deal that would have given them a certain amount of land when Clinton was the president and Arafat was still alive? Do you think both sides even one a resolution when they both benefit financially from the conflict? Israel is a welfare state, and the Palestinians are the most prosperous and pampered oppressed people in history I know of. The average Palestinian lives better then the average Detroiter or New Orleanian resident. Lets not even bring up how much better they have it compared to people in the conflict zones of Africa and Asia.

    • Muhammad Sheikh

      March 23, 2010 at 10:32 PM

      Well if you don’t believe that it’s not morally acceptable, then it’s just a matter of opinion at that point. There’s nothing that I can say to change your morals, so that’s fine. It’s obvious you believe that casualties are acceptable because it’s a fight over resources. The comparison you made about food is ridiculous if I may add. I hope I don’t need to explain why.

      You say there are a hundred million Arabs, as if the Arab world is united by any standard, when in fact they lack any cohesive properties whatsoever. Other Arab countries want absolutely nothing to do with the conflict.

      Even if they were united in their efforts to fix the conflict, Israel is the only country with nuclear weapons, and some US scientists say they could have up to 200 (BBC report). So be real, any activity against a nuclear state and you risk total annihilation.

      But it’s obvious you lack in understanding of previous peace talks. All previous resolutions presented to Palestinians were unacceptable if one were to look at the details. I’m not going to go over them here, there are plenty of sources discussing the talks. The one resolution that ALL credible scholars agree upon is the most acceptable (including Palestinians), was refused by Israel. Look up the Taba peace summit where they came close to a solution, but then Israel called off discussions. Also examine the Geneva Accords of 2002. Those are also unanimously accepted internationally, but refused by Israel.

      It’s painfully obvious you are unaware of the conditions in Gaza if you think the average civilian living in Detroit or N.O is living a lower quality of life. I hope you decide to read some reports on conditions in the occupied territories. B’tselem is Israel’s own human rights organization, check them out. Other than that, Human Rights Watch is the most credible source. Other sources are foreign correspondents like Robert Fisk who writes for the independent.

      Like I said at first, you don’t share the same moral dilemma most people experience with Israel’s occupation. Maybe you will after reading about the history of human rights violations. Who knows.

  16. rebe

    March 31, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    no proof of holocaust deaths or native ones–are you an idiot?

  17. Umm Bilqis

    April 20, 2010 at 11:06 PM

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  22. Rehsab Thgir

    November 21, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    I am appalled that these people in the audience are the same nationality as I am. Truly shameful.

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