Note: This letter appeared in The Daily Pennsylvanian independent student newspaper on March 22, 2007.
Letters to the Editor The Daily Pennsylvanian
March 20, 2007
To the Editor:
The invitation to Norman Finkelstein to speak at the University of Pennsylvania this week does not represent one of Penn's finer moments.
Finkelstein is an outspoken foe of Zionism and the state of Israel whose rhetoric has distorted the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. His absurd allegations about Israel and Jews fuel disdain for Israel and undermine efforts to reduce anti-Semitism. Finkelstein does not encourage constructive and amicable discussion regarding the Middle East; instead, he serves as a tool for foes of Jews and Israel.
Finkelstein's rhetoric portrays Holocaust education and survivor compensation as representing a calculated attempt to conceal Israel's depravity and "immunize Israel from criticism" for alleged human rights abuses. He cynically and inaccurately claims that attempts to combat anti-Semitism are nothing more than efforts to "exploit" or "manufacture" claims of Jewish suffering in order to ward off criticism of Israel for its "racist" and "Nazi-like" treatment of Palestinians and its "unprecedented assault on international law." Finkelstein disregards Israel's legitimate security concerns, and is blind to the varied and potent forces that make anti-Semitism a continuing threat to Jews around the world.
Finkelstein's extreme and wild assertions are consistent with those made by anti-Semites who promote similar conspiracy theories that blame Jews for a variety of ills. They are antithetical to productive Arab-Israeli dialogue. Certainly, they offer little - insight, wisdom or truth - to educate college audiences.
Barry Morrison Regional Director Eastern Pennsylvania-Delaware Region
Media Watch ADL monitors electronic and print media reports about the Middle East