Norman Finkelstein has been arrested and is due to be shortly deported from Israel. He is banned from the country for ten years. Dr Finkelstein, one of the world’s leading scholars on Israel, Palestine and the Holocaust, was denied tenure at DePaul University in 2007 largely because of external protest of his seminal writings on the Middle East. Dr Finkelstein who is a strong opponent of colonialism, apartheid and extreme elements of violent Zionism, was on his way to Israel-occupied Palestine when he was detained in a Tel Aviv airport.
We are told Israel is a democracy and friend of the United States. Yet they arrest a distinguished American scholar and deport him for his writings, not for any action taken against Israel. It is interesting that presidential candidates have to pass a “pro-Israel security” litmus test more than a pro-American litmus test. A nation such as Israel, which possesses nuclear weapons, has the most modernised and powerful military in the Middle East, and is a wealthy affluent society, hardly requires excessive paternalistic protection from the United States.
Dr Finkelstein’s arrest belies the notion of an Israeli democracy. It certainly confirms the limits to free speech in that country and should be an affront to all Americans. To think a distinguished scholar cannot enter Israel and be afforded protection with a United States passport is most disturbing. I imagine a traitor or spy such as Jonathan Pollard would be welcomed into Israel but not a brilliant, courageous humanitarian American such as Doctor Norman Finkelstein.
Shame on Israel and your violent persecution of Palestinians and now an egregious, execrable treatment of an American citizen!! You should embrace Dr Finkelstein and listen to his message of peace, tolerance, respect for racial diversity and reconciliation. Hatred of Arabs, persecution and mass murder of civilian populations in Gaza and in Lebanon are worthy of debate and challenge. To be silent is to lie and to silence Dr Finkelstein is to lie about the abysmal violation of human rights that Israel is guilty of.
This is the report from Democracy Now:
Israel Arrests Outspoken Academic Norman Finkelstein
“And the American academic Norman Finkelstein has been arrested and ordered deported from Israel. Finkelstein arrived in Tel Aviv earlier today on his way to the Occupied Territories. He was immediately detained and told he is banned from Israel for ten years. He’s expected to be deported tomorrow. Finkelstein is known one of the most prominent academic critics of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.”