i’m going to be making a series of posts about Norman Finkelstein, everyone’s favorite token Jew used to deflect accusations of anti-Semitism. responses in the community have shown me that apparently everyone adores this man and believes that there is no potential way he could be a Holocaust denier or a revisionist, so i’m here to deconstruct at least some of those views. this is Part 1, covering some Holocaust denial, chapters 1 and 2 of The Holocaust Industry, some interviews, etc. to address some of my concerns with Finkelstein.
a quick disclaimer on this post: i agree with a lot of Finkelstein’s views, including the fact that Israel commonly exploits haShoah narratives in order to justify atrocities. i also agree with much of his anti-Israel statements (though i don’t endorse a two-state solution or complete condemnation of BDS). i am calling this out as a Jew calling out another Jew, not as a Zionist calling out an anti-Zionist or a pro-Israel calling out an anti-Israel. this exists outside of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, much as Finkelstein himself exists outside of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Finkelstein fucks up way more often than i can count, so i’m likely to miss some major things in this. forgive me for not covering anything. i’ll organize these into sections like interviews, specific books, etc. and hopefully manage to cover the scope of his shitty liberal, revisionist world view. he’s not my ally in any way, and i don’t enjoy seeing pro-Palestinian goyim tokenize him as a Good Jew when in reality he is a revisionist who furthers anti-Semitism and promotes lies.
The Holocaust Industry: Introduction, Chapter 1, and Chapter 2
"…one of the world’s most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, has cast itself as a “victim” state, and the most successful ethnic group in the United States has likewise acquired victim status…"
here, Finkelstein alleges that Jews are the most successful ethnic group in the United States. remember that Finkelstein is a white-passing Ashkenazi Jew whose experiences are largely Eurocentric, considering that the majority of his influences in his youth come from opposition of the Vietnam war based on his mother’s left-wing tendencies. his influence also comes from Noam Chomsky, whose views on linguistics are outstanding but whose views on politics often fall short (and also who invokes the Holocaust to justify his views on U.S. foreign policy, but maintains that the U.S. is the ‘greatest country in the world,’ as is fairly typical of privileged American males). for him to make the claim that Jews are the most successful ethnic group is ignorant to the extreme.
i am going to give him the benefit of the death and assume that ‘ethnic group’ means ‘ethnic minority’ and therefore is meant solely to mean that ethnic Jews as a group surpass other ethnic minorities—which would be true. the fact that Jewish Americans represent a model minority is just as true as the fact that Asian Americans represent a model minority.
this is problematic because it posits that model minorities—i.e., successful on the basis of economic success—do not face discrimination or oppression…coming from a white-passing Jew. to claim that since we are often financially successful (though not all of us are—i can guarantee that many of us are still very recent immigrants without proper credentials and are kept in poverty by racism and anti-Semitism) and therefore cannot be “victims” is ridiculous. read all of this and maybe you’ll get why people shouldn’t make claims that Jews are “too successful” to be victims. you can also read this page’s religious section (as i’ve seen this going around a lot in response to these statistics—this in no way makes Islamophobia a ‘myth,’ so don’t even come at me acting like it does. Islamophobia is still a huge fucking problem and anti-Semitism does not undo that in the least and is a very fast-growing one; this is more due to the fact that Muslims did not get as much attention until more recent times than Muslims being more acceptable than Jews).
this is all from the first paragraph of Finkelstein’s introduction to his book. it isn’t even part of the book itself.
Chapter 1: Capitalizing
this entire chapter generally deals with blaming ‘American Jews’ for the entirety of Americans ignoring the Holocaust. he’s right that it was a way to facilitate assimilation (and also absolve the U.S. of blame for any of its role in WWII), but to claim that this is evidence of haShoah not affecting Jews worldwide is ridiculous. Finkelstein himself exploits the fear of Jews and attempts to remain safe following haShoah to fit his own revisionist narrative, attributing it all to ‘but Jews are the ones who did it to be mean to the evil Germans.’ he’s placing the blame of the United States’ ignorance/denial solely on the shoulders of a marginalized people who were coerced into assimilation.
“As anti-Semitic barriers quickly fell away after World War II…"
here, he assumes that we live in a society that has largely progressed past anti-Semitism—at least, he assumes that American society has done so. the crime statistics have already shown that this is not even close to the case. you all possess the ability to Google further anti-Semitic hate crimes. those ‘barriers’ are still very much so there.
“Yet, among groups decrying their victimization, including Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, women, gays and lesbians, Jews alone are not disadvantaged in American society. In fact, identity politics and The Holocaust have taken hold among American Jews not because of victim status but because they are not victims."
further proof that Finkelstein endorses the view that Jews are never oppressed solely on the basis of being Jewish. this belief clearly comes from an inherently privileged position in society, including white-passing privilege and relative economic security, and the strange ability to justify anti-Semitism with “but Israel does bad things.” that’s supposed in part by this quote: “It precluded the possibility that animus toward Jews might be grounded in a real conflict of interests…" when talking about the definition of anti-Semitism.
Chapter 2: Hoaxers, Hucksters and History
this entire chapter is basically Finkelstein trying to claim that goyim have never hated Jews except for a select few, despite our long history of oppression, persecution, attempted extermination/expulsion…all of that is effectively erased by Finkelstein because it fits his anti-Zionist narrative to imply that anti-Semitism has rational basis:
“The historical evidence for a murderous Gentile impulse is nil.”
”If all the world wants the Jews dead, truly the wonder is that they are still alive — and, unlike much of humanity, not exactly starving.” [this statement is funny because of how many Jews starved to death during haShoah. ha ha.]
“In the Holocaust framework, Gentile anti-Semitism is not only ineradicable but also always irrational.”
“…anti-Semitism as “divorced from actual Jews,” “fundamentally not a response to any objective evaluation of Jewish action,” and “independent of Jews’ nature and actions”…”
“By conferring total blamelessness on Jews, the Holocaust dogma immunizes Israel and American Jewry from legitimate censure." [in which Finkelstein asserts that Jews are partially to blame for their own oppression and persecution prior to haShoah]
“Because Jews are better, or more successful, they suffered the ire of Gentiles, who then murdered them.” [he makes this statement sarcastically, but it’s an eerie parallel to his constant references to how ‘privileged’ Jews are in comparison to everybody else in society and how that negates any victim status]
“"There were few sadists. Not more than five or ten percent."" [this is a quote of a quote, originally a claim made by Ella Lingens-Reiner, in an attempt to state that there were not very many sadistic Nazis in concentration camps, ignoring that he was attempting to counter claims of sadistic officers with a statement from a prisoner doctor that isn’t even contradictory. this is also his attempt to refute that they were necessarily anti-Semitic or violent.]
”...even in Switzerland — neutral Switzerland — all the Gentiles want to kill the Jews." [a claim that goyim cannot be anti-Semitic if their governments remain neutral in a war, as governments represent their people—which is at odds with the fact that he’s defending German civilians as not being anti-Semitic despite their own government’s actions. he was comfortable making said accusations simply because he knew ahead of time that Wilkomirski was a fraud. this is all used to justify Finkelstein’s view that all Holocaust survivors lie about their experiences…except for his own parents. they’re exempt because they fall into step with his view of the world.]
“Incidentally, if the Mufti figured so centrally in Hitler’s Final Solution, the wonder is that Israel didn’t bring him to justice like Eichmann." [Finkelstein tries to sell this as proof that Arab nationalism has never been anti-Semitic in nature, citing Hajj Amin al-Husseini’s case as an ultimate example of Arab nationalism that targets Zionism rather than Jews. if that isn’t a smug assertion and tokenization typical of leftist men, then i’m really not sure what is.]
“apologists desperately sought to tar the Arabs with Nazism…Michael Berenbaum of the Washington Holocaust Memorial Museum generously allowed that “the stones thrown by Palestinian youths angered by Israel’s presence … are not synonymous with the Nazi assault against powerless Jewish civilians.”" [yet this fails to address the fact that Aravim were not exempt from Nazism, nor was Arab nationalism in general exempt. Finkelstein seems to quickly forget the Arab nationalists who saw fit to murder almost 200 of my people in Baghdad in 1941 in an event coined the Farhud, leading to 80 percent of our population in Iraq leaving the country. this was born of Nazi propaganda reaching the Mashriq and therefore Arab nationalists; while Mizrahim in Iraq had previously been considered Aravim, Nazi propaganda led to Mizrahim being stripped of their Arab status and later their murder and persecution. in other words, they were targeted solely because they were Jewish—and because Arab nationalism is not free of anti-Semitism or Nazism. Finkelstein is unapologetic in his reductive outlook and ignorance of anybody but the richest Ashkenazim in the United States and Western Europe.]
“The central thesis of Goldhagen’s book is standard Holocaust dogma: driven by pathological hatred, the German people leapt at the opportunity Hitler availed them to murder the Jews." [Finkelstein’s constant apologism for the Germans and attempts to separate them from Nazism and haShoah continues. really, this is the man you’re all heralding as a great ally to Palestina?]
“"The Jews were murdered by people who, to a large degree, did not actually hate them…. The Germans did not have to hate the Jews in order to kill them."" [originally a quote from Yehuda Bauer, which Finkelstein only questions when it becomes apparent that Bauer later claims that Germans really did sign onto the anti-Semitism of the Third Reich, which he takes issues with. he refuses to engage in post-Holocaust debate that does not include, frankly, the extensive ass-kissing of the oppressors and exterminators.]
“Yet not Jews but Communists were the first political victims, and not Jews but the handicapped were the first genocidal victims, of Nazism.” [presented without commentary.]
[this quote i actually removed because it uses G*psies despite the word being an ethnic slur, but he basically said that the persecution of Rroma precludes the Holocaust being even a primarily Jewish phenomenon]
as you can see, this book is basically one huge collection of fuckery—so for now, i’ll move onto Holocaust denial.
yes, Norman Finkelstein is a Holocaust denier and a revisionist despite having Jewish Holocaust survivors for parents. that really won’t sit well with the tokenizers, but it’s…sort of obvious:
- he casts doubt upon the six million figure, referring to the numbers in quotation marks because there are apparently too many survivors to sustain the numbers. his doubt is clearly based solely on personal testimony—e.g., “how could there be so many survivors if so many Jews died?”—rather than actual citation of statistics, and seems to have an emotional basis. he’s convinced that exploitation of haShoah must include falsification of statistics in all cases, leading to denial of the Holocaust and how many Jews it killed. he is more concerned with this than he is with whether his anti-Semitic friends can actually back up their falsified bullshit with regards to haShoah.
- he is a revisionist and supports revisionists themselves, including David Irving (a known Holocaust denier who sympathizes with Nazis to the point of claiming that no gas chambers existed in Auschwitz, trying to redeem Hitler through biographies by stating that he was unaware of much of the Holocaust’s atrocities [not to mention the claim that Hitler was actually the ‘biggest friend’ that Jews had], and spoke at actual neo-Nazi rallies), whom he referred to as contributing immense knowledge to the World War II dialogue.
- he refers to U.S. enemies in World War II as ‘fabricated,’ basically excusing the actions of all these governments and countries in favor of casting blame upon Jews for haShoah.
- being correct on the exploitation of the Holocaust to justify Israeli atrocities is NOT the same as acting as if Jews exaggerate the Holocaust. exploitation≠exaggeration, and Finkelstein’s accusations of exaggeration are based on anti-Semitic and revisionist ideas. this is something i need all of you to actually try to comprehend: talking about the exploitation of haShoah is not the same as supporting and endorsing lies about haShoah or claiming that it is fabricated.
General lack of knowledge about anything ever
- "Jews invented the word chutzpah because of the Holocaust!" chutzpah is a word that entered Yiddish via Hebrew and has been used since the late 1800s. [this is from an interview with CounterPunch magazine and is not an exact quote; the exact quote is "…it is no accident that Jews invented the word ‘chutzpah.’"]
- he says that the difference between Israel terrorism and Hamas terrorism is that Israel terrorism is 3 times more lethal, which to me signals that he doesn’t really have a grasp of how baseless much of Israel’s terrorism is or know much about Hamas. to me, this is a reductive view that more so harms the Palestinian cause than promotes it. it claims that Israel and Hamas somehow have the same view in mind, therefore positing them as ‘equals,’ which doesn’t really represent the situation at all (this isn’t a call-out of anti-Semitism; i have no sympathy for Israel’s representation here.)
- he views his parents as the only legitimate Holocaust survivors, and the reason for this is that they do not speak much on haShoah. the basic message here is “you are not a survivor unless you are silent and fall into step with my world view.” much as he criticizes American Jews for capitalizing on the Holocaust in a ‘Holocaust industry,’ Finkelstein uses his parents’ experiences to defend himself from any criticism or accusation.
- he feels it is his place, as a white-passing American Ashkenazi male, to claim that Palestinian Aravim and Israeli Aravim are worse off than black South Africans under apartheid.
- his criticisms of ‘the Holocaust industry’ are ones he’s clearly guilty of—he is just as willing to exploit the experiences of his parents for his political agenda as American Jewry is to exploit the experiences of Holocaust survivors as a whole, and possibly even more willing. he is quick to cosign anyone who potentially fits his agenda—whether that be the pro-Palestinian agenda (while he does this with good intentions, he also ignores many factors, including whether the author is actually Palestinian or whether they are actually espousing anti-Semitism) or his Holocaust revisionist agenda.
- when called anti-Zionist, his response was “…I am opposed to any state with an ethnic character, not only to Israel.” yet he endorses a two-state solution. feel free to try to figure that one out.
- "Were it not for the fact that my late parents passed through the Nazi holocaust, I myself would probably would be a skeptic by now." he admits that he would not believe in the Holocaust if it weren’t for his parents. read: he would be a Holocaust denier if it weren’t for the fact that somebody personally close to him lived through it.
- it’s notable that the historian who inspired The Holocaust Industry, Peter Novick, dismissed the book as being inaccurate and not grounded in historical fact.
so no, my hatred of Norman Finkelstein is not ‘using the same tactics’ that Dershowitz used to discredit him. Finkelstein discredits himself by being a huge fuck-up, a Holocaust revisionist/denier, and ignoring history to fit his own political ideals. his so-called rebuttals don’t mean shit when he refuses to revoke any of his idolization of Nazi sympathizers or denial of the Holocaust.
time for goyim to step off when they talk shit about him being a reeeeeal Jew (unlike me?). bye bye now.