American Radical: Dr. Norman Finkelstein in Waterloo in 2003

SFPR Waterloo is proud to say that a clip from the Dr. Finkelstein lecture we organized in 2003 is featured in his documentary, “American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein”.

Dr. Norman Finkelstein at the University of Waterloo

3 thoughts on “American Radical: Dr. Norman Finkelstein in Waterloo in 2003

  1. BRILLIANT. LOVE THIS MAN. WHY CAN’T EVERYONE HAVE A BRAIN LIKE HIM. Finally, someone who’s not a sitting duck (just like every other person here( united states, canada, europe. He’s someone that has courage, and knowledge and stands up for the truth. Hopefully, i’ll be lucky enough to take one of his courses this summer. Words cannot describe how much I admire him. Très bien fait! Je vous adore et vous etes absolument géniale! Mcmaster University needs more profs like thesee!

  2. I would like to say I have some mixed feelings about this clip.

    The young woman who challenged Finkelstein is most probably not Jewish, but German. If one listens carefully to her question to Finkelstein, she can be heard clearly saying that his comparison of Israeli Jews to Nazis is offensive to Germans. So I am not sure that his answer, which leapt to the conclusion that she was tearfully opposing any criticism of Israel based on the Holocaust having happened, was entirely appropriate, especially since this young woman–a member of your student body–must now face her humiliation being shown again and again and cheered by people with whom she might sympathize in some measure politically, while commentators on YouTube repeatedly characterize her as Jewish, Zionist, etc., with remarks like “Give it to her hard, Norman, fuck the Jew-bitch.” People know what she looks like and she is a hate object for most of the anti-Zionist world. The ethics of exposing her to this might be up for question if her views could be described accurately as being what Finkelstein assumed them to be, but if they are not, they become questionable.

    Finkelstein himself has admitted that she was probably not Jewish but German on his website, though he still is sure her remarks were Zionist in intention.

    I personally have reservations about Finkelstein’s repeated Nazi and German analogies because they tend to accomplish just what he doesn’t want–that the Nazi Holocaust is taken to be the high watermark of human evil against which everything else is to be measured without reflection, knowledge or scholarship, and used as a rhetorical club regardless of whether it fits historically. While I would hope not to say so tearfully, if that is what the young woman in question meant she had a point, and it is then unfair–not just unfortunate–that being “verbally fucked” by Finkelstein (a chilling direct quote from YouTube) should be her moment in history. Finkelstein’s comments were cogent; but they may have been better saved for someone else for whom they were an exact match.

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