Steven Plaut has written an article for David Horowitz’s FrontPageMag.com that defends the arrest and deportation from Israel of Doctor Norman Finkelstein as he attempted to enter the occupied territories via the Ben Gurion Airport. He quotes accurately my depiction of Dr Finkelstein’s exclusion as an “outrage.” He links one of my posts which was critical of such authoritarian and arbitrary treatment of an American national.
Professor Plaut, an economics professor at Haifa University who has been convicted in Israel for libeling Israeli Professor Neve Gordon as a “fanatic anti-semite,” [AND UPHELD IN AN APPELLATE COURT WITH A REDUCED FINE] argues that Dr Finkelstein should not be permitted entry into Israel. His argumentation seems to mainly emanate from the fact that the professor harbours animosity toward Dr Finkelstein. Even though the latter is construed as a major scholar in the United States, Europe and the Middle East-albeit controversial and provocative–Mr Plaut argues he has no academic publications and his denial of tenure at DePaul was based on an absence of scholarly productivity. Even DePaul acknowledged he was an “outstanding teacher and prolific scholar.” It is almost demeaning for me to address such drivel but I suspect if Mr Plaut had a monograph accepted by the University of California Press, which published one of Dr Finkelstein’s numerous monographs, Beyond Chutzpah, he would be quite pleased.
In another post Mr Plaut accuses the Israeli newspaper Haaretz of pimping for Dr Finkelstein. The title of the piece is “Haaretz Streeetwalks for Neo-Nazi Norman Finkelstein.” In the article Dr Finkelstein is called a “professional anti-Semite” and is referred to repeatedly by the demeaming and unprofessional nickname of “Finkie.” Besides calling Dr Finkelstein a “neo-nazi” he is also referred to as embracing “Holocaust denial.” Dr Finkelstein’s parents were survivors of German persecution of the Jews during World War II and their son has written pathbreaking books claiming that some Jews have exploited the Holocaust for financial and state-nationalistic purposes. Dr Finkelstein’s passion and mission were burnished to a large extent by the suffering of his parents and for Mr Plaut to claim, however circuitously, that he is a holocaust denier is heartless and defamatory.