[Exclusive] Dr Norman Finkelstein Freed From Israeli Jail: Speaks Out on its Meaning

Subject: Please Read:
Date: Sat, 24 May 2008 15:21:45 -0500
From: kirstein@sxu.edu
To: normangxxxxxxxxxx

Dear Norman:

 I know you are deluged but I have been covering this to the best that I can in what is otherwise an American blackout of this outrage. I have two questions:

1) Were you mistreated in any manner by the Israelis or physically coerced into a “confession” as it were?

2) Exactly how long were you in jail and were you fed food and given water?

 Any other comments.

 Best and your courage is exceptional,


From: Norman Finkelstein

Sent: Sun 5/25/2008 1:41 PM
To: Kirstein, Peter N.
Subject: RE: Please Read:

I prefer not to become a martyr on the basis of being denied entry anymore than I want to be a martyr on the basis of being denied tenure.  I want to be judged on what I do, not on what is done to me.


One has to be impressed with such modesty. Yet suffering whether induced by the denial of tenure or the loss of freedom in a foreign land as the result of persecution for words written or spoken, does merit our greatest concern and support. I do believe Dr Finkelstein is a heroic figure and when actions lead to such egregious consequences, then suffering becomes a public issue and its mitigation our concern.

What Dr Finkelstein did was attempt to travel to the occupied territories. What he did was risk his freedom by landing at Ben Gurion Airport. Part of assessing courage is not merely what one does but the consequences of those actions that are anticipated as possible in advance. Leaving aside the issue of martyrdom, which the former DePaul University professor abjured as well in the Haaretz interview, he certainly should be commended and lauded for his courage, risk taking and central mission of giving voice to the voiceless, hope to the hopeless and a homeland to the homeless.

I also find it most disturbing that the son of Holocaust survivors would end up in a jail at Ben Gurion Airport in the State of Israel for attempting to travel to the occupied territories that President Jimmy Carter described as subjected to an apartheid regime. Apparently the right of return does not apply to those who question Israeli foreign policy or refuse to subscribe to a blind xenophobic, Zionist fervour.

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