All entries for Monday 09 January 2006
January 09, 2006
It seems that Norman Finkelstein has really found his niche since writing The Holocaust Industry. He has become the formost rebutter of Pro-Israeli works, carving his way as one of the leaders of the generation following the Two Greats (who supported the fundamental right of the Palestinians to determination and who have fought tirelessly against extreme Zionist propaganda for years): Noam Chomsky and Edward Said.
This work follows in a series which rebut specific works or the works in general of certain authors. For example, Image and Reality , The Goldhagen Effect
In Beyond Chutzpah he goes on to effectively combat Alan Dershowitz, a fairly famous American lawyer, who came out last year with his mundane piece - seemingly lifted wholesale from various Pro-Israel websites, such as US-Israel.org, the ADL, masada2000 and, as Finkelstein goes into in great detail, Joan Peters' From Time Immemorial - The Case For Israel.
He doesn't just cover The Case For Israel but also uses Dershovitz's previous works such as Letters to a young lawyer and Chutzpah (which is where Beyond seems to borrow its title), often to damning effect.
Anyone familiar with Finkelstein's post-Industry works, will feel immediately comfortable with his continued style. Once again, he thoroughly examines the scholarship behind Dershowitz's claims, such as:
1) The Palestinians were "Recent" immigrants from other Arabic countries.
2) The European settlers had made "the desert bloom".
3) Nearly every Palestinian killed in second Intifada was either a terrorist or killed by Palestinians, while nearly all Jewish Israelis killed were women and children.
4) Israel doesn't use torture and in fact has banned torture! (etc.)
In every case, he examines D's sources, shows why they were lacking, often humiliating D in the process, for example, showing how one of his sources was a link to a high-school chronology, and another was a link to a Sony website for a movie when referencing a historical fact. He also makes – and then proceeds to back-up – a very serious claim; Dershowitz is a Plagiarist. His appendices at the book of the book, replete with tables and even highlighted scanned images, prove to be damning evidence.
In addition to his book, he has consistently updated his website with debates with Dershowitz: www.normanfinkelstein.com .
Indeed one of the most humourous moments in the book is in the transcript of an exchange between F and D which essentially follows:
Finkelstein: On p.xxx you use the phrase "Orwellian turnspeak".
Dershowitz: Yes I do.
F: And on p.xxx you use the phrase "Orwell's turnspeak".
D: Yes I do.
F: Mr. Dershowitz… Turnspeak was a phrase invented by Peters... Orwell used the term Newspeak
F: Mr. Dershowitz… do you even know who George Orwell is?
D: Ah… Um… Hmmm..
Gotta love it.
Go out, read the book, read his website. Nothing beats a scholar trouncing spurious scholarship.
As a final note, it would have been the cherry if Finkelstein had addressed his claim about Israel returning territory gained in a defensive war in 1967. There is a persistent claim that Egypt had attacked Israel first in 1967, a claim which has filtered into the American consciousness and has cropped up in, for example, The West Wing Season 6 where one of the characters says something to the effect of "Israel doesn't have any faith in UN Peacekeepers since they allowed Egypt to invade in 1967". Whether or not you argue that '67 was a JUST war, is a whole different thing. But it cannot be argued that it was a defensive war, no matter how much some would like to believe.
Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view
A lot of people seem to have a strong hatred for George Galloway. Some hate him because he beat Oona, others because he's a lefty and they're the last remnents of the Toryboys of old. And still others because… well he speaks so damned well.
Now I'm not going to spend much time at all on Galloway, if you don't like the guy you're not going to. Especially not since his entry into the Big Brother house pukes (Tony Blair next?). But one thing I do want to comment on is this idea that because he enjoys smoking a cigar, he must be:
a) A bastard.
b) A hypocrite.
c) A very, very, nasty man.
A cigar is more expensive than a cigarette, by far, but will generally take 30mins-1 hour to smoke (depending on which size you buy) and are not smoked 20 a day… So in the end it is a somewhat more expensive habit than, say, a 30 a day cigarette habit… but that is presuming he smokes one of the top Cuban brands (so Rome y Julieta, Monte Cristo, Cohiba etc.) but he's paying huge tax… possibly making up for his poor voting record :P.
In conclusion, I guess my point is that cigars are cheaper in Europe and never try to sell your cigars as collectables on Ebay because, whilst the logic is sound, unless you can prove that your cigars came from Cuba before the US sanctions, then you are subject to the ridiculous, draconian laws impeding the buying and selling of anything to do with Cuba.