Monday, August 27, 2007

DePaul University Lynches Norman Finkelstein

Norman Finkelstein is a controversial historian. He has both criticized Israel's role in the Israel-Palestinian Conflict and also asserted that the Holocaust is being exploited for pro-Israel political ends at the expense of its actual survivors. He even had the gall to defend President Carter's book on the Palestinian problem.

All of that has made him quite unpopular with many pro-Israeli scholars and pundits. In June, they managed to persuade DePaul University in Chicago, where Finkelstein teaches, to deny him tenure. But merely denying Finkelstein tenure has not been enough for his many enemies who apparently want a proper lynching. Fortunately, DePaul University has obliged. From the Democracy Now website for Monday, August 27, 2007:

On Friday, DePaul administrators announced they’ve canceled Finkelstein’s remaining classes for the upcoming fall quarter. Finkelstein has one year left on his contract with DePaul. Both classes were filled to capacity. ... Critics say DePaul administrators caved to pressure from outside groups opposed to Finkelstein’s vocal criticism of Israeli government policies.
I personally don't know enough about Finkelstein's work to offer an opinion about it's merits. But I do know that DePaul's lynching of Norman Finkelstein is an outrage against academic freedom. It is an immoral, unfair and underhanded attempt to silence a critic. The perpetrators of this lynching are no better than inquisitors and fanatics: They deserve nothing but contempt.

UPDATE: The American Association of University Professors is urging an immediate reinstatement of Norman Finkelstein.

UPDATE II: In an email interview, Finkelstein said, “If the university attempts to impede my movements I intend to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience and go to jail. If incarcerated I intend to go on a protracted hunger strike until DePaul comes to its senses. It is regrettable that I have been driven to such drastic actions to defend basic principles of academic freedom and my contractual rights, upon which DePaul has been riding roughshod for so long.”

UPDATE III: For those interested in following this struggle for academic freedom, Norman Finkelstein's website is here.


Webs said...

Wow, all for saying the obvious. What a shame.

Paul said...

Very true, Webs.

Anonymous said...

Finkelstein is a profoundly ignorant islamofascism prostitute and pathological liar, must be stripped off all degrees and removed from academy forever. His publications recollect me 1930s Nazi and 1940s KGB publications.

Mark Bernadiner, Ph.D.

Paul said...

Hi Mark! Welcome to the blog. I think the issue here is whether the University has a right to violate a professor's academic freedom simply because the University Administration and certain outside groups disagree with the professor's opinions. Finkelstein could be a real jerk for all I care, and I would still say the University had an obligation to treat him to due process and respect its contract with him. And I imagine the courts will say the same thing.