Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Zionist Power Prevails At DePaul University; Dissident Jewish Professor Norman Finkelstein Forced To Resign

The long-running confrontation between embattled professor Norman Finkelstein (pictured at left) and DePaul University ended today without incident. Instead, he read a statement announcing his resignation this morning (September 5th, 2007) on the university's main quadrangle before about 120 supporters announcing that he and DePaul had resolved the controversy. The terms were kept confidential. Full story published in the Chicago Tribune. Additional report published on the KSL Channel 5 website.

In the statement, Finkelstein said he believes the tenure decision was "tainted" by external pressures but praised the university's "honorable role of providing a scholarly haven for me the past six years." However, the school's portion of the statement called Finkelstein "a prolific scholar and an outstanding teacher."

Finkelstein called that acknowledgment the most important part of the statement. "I felt finally I had gotten what was my due and that maybe it was time, for everybody's sake, that I move on," he said at a news conference after a morning rally staged by students and faculty who carried signs and chanted "stop the witch hunt." Finkelstein also said, "DePaul students rose to dazzling spiritual heights in my defense that should be the envy of and an example for every university in the United States."

The professor would not discuss financial terms of the resignation agreement, which he said was confidential, but noted that it does not bar him from speaking out about issues that concern him, including "the unfairness of the tenure process."

Finkelstein, a scholar praised and damned alike not only for his strong criticisms of Israel, but also of his exposure of the promotion, protection, and commodification of the Jewish Holocaust by Organized Jewry, was denied tenure in June. In July, Finkelstein's own department of political science had recommended that the 53-year-old professor be put on "non-residential" leave as a result of allegations that Finkelstein had physically and verbally confronted university officials after his tenure denial.

Nevertheless, Finkelstein's classes remained in the university's course schedule until abruptly canceled a little more than a week before fall term classes began on the school's Lincoln Park campus. At that point, Finkelstein also was notified that he had been put on administrative leave for the 2007-08 school year. By long-standing academic tradition, a professor denied tenure is entitled to one last year in the classroom of his home university.

Unlike many prominent individuals who run afoul of the Zionist lobby, Finkelstein received considerable support. The American Association of University Professors had previously complained to the university that Finkelstein's summary discharge violated standards of academic freedom. Among the 120 supporters who showed up at his resignation conference included representatives from a host of left-wing organizations, including the National Lawyers Guild, the Socialist Workers Party, the Revolutionary Communist League and Jewish Voice for Peace. Many wore shirts with the inscription "We are all Professor Finkelstein".

Norman Finkelstein has authored three books. The first book was entitled "Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict". The second book, entitled "The Holocaust Industry", focused primarily on the political weaponization and financial commodification of the Holocaust. The third book, "Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History," is largely a rebuttal of Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz's book, "The Case for Israel." In his book, Finkelstein argues that Israel uses perceived anti-Semitism as a weapon to stifle criticism. As a result, Dershowitz led the quest for Finkelstein's removal, which basically proved Finkelstein's point.

Dershowitz himself reacted to Finkelstein's decision. He was also critical of the school. "DePaul looks like they caved into pressure," he said in a telephone interview. "The idea of describing him as a scholar trades truth for convenience. He's a man who is a propagandist and is not a scholar."

However, with typical Talmudic vengeance, Dershowitz drove the knife home and twisted it. "I'm happy he's out of academia. Let him do his ranting on street corners", Dershowitz concluded.

Nevertheless, the fact that Norman Finkelstein is the son of two Holocaust survivors preserved much of his credibility and prevented his complete marginalization. Click HERE to visit his personal website.

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