I am Norman Finkelstein, scholar of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and critic of Israeli policy. I have published a number of books on the subject, most recently Method and Madness: The hidden story of Israel's assaults on Gaza, but you might know me best from my videos on YouTube. The Israeli elections are today, and I feel that no matter who wins, the Palestinians will lose. Ask me anything.

Proof: http://imgur.com/LBvZ4mZ

Comments: 1133 • Responses: 82  • Date: 

saltinado53 karma

If both parties would act completely logically, what do you think would be the most reasonable resolution that would best serve both people's interests?

Norman_Finkelstein91 karma

If the world acted rationally, it would recognize that Earth is a tiny pebble spinning in the Universe, that most of the challenges currently confronting Humanity can only be solved on a global scale, and that, Life is short, so why squander it on petty egotistical idiocies? But, people are mostly not rational in the bigger sense (see Dostoyevky's NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND). So, we must deal with humanity as it is, not as we wish it to be. The only possible solution is the one endorsed by the international community and international law. Everything else is pie in the sky. As Woody Guthrie put it, "You'll get pie in the sky when you die,/That's a lie." (He was targeting the Salvation Army.)

thesacred51 karma

Why don't you actively/aggressively seek out more high-profile debates and media coverage? You're good at it, your perspective is sorely needed, and it seems like it would do more than anything else you could be doing to further the cause/causes you've devoted your life to.

Norman_Finkelstein170 karma

I can barely get in 'leftwing" and "progressive" media. The Nation magazine has rejected everything I ever submitted over 30 years. The current managing editor of the Nation, named Roane Carey, used to be my personal editor. Now, he routinely rejects all my submissions; I've become a non-person. Matthew Rothschild, who was the editor of The Progressive (I'm not sure if he still is), called me a Holocaust denier during my tenure battle at Depaul. The Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University (just an hour from where I live by subway) has never invited me to speak. I have NEVER been on national television or radio except Democracy Now! NPR had me on once about 30 years ago.

Norman_Finkelstein39 karma

Thanks for the time to meet all of you. I'm zonked out. Time for my miserable swim.

AdseyV31 karma

Are you objective or a stakeholder?

Norman_Finkelstein75 karma

I do have a stake -- in Truth and Justice.

mossypine26 karma

Are there more UN resolutions against Israel than other states? If so, why? Is this anti-Semitism, as disproportionate targeting of African states for war crimes may be viewed as anti-African racism, and what are the implications? Does this negate any of the resolutions?

Norman_Finkelstein10 karma

I just wrote a long article on this subject. I kindly ask you to await its publication shortly.

ontrack24 karma

Have the Palestinians ever tried a Gandhi-like non-violent approach?

Norman_Finkelstein30 karma

The first intifada has vanished from historical memory, but it was a remarkably successful attempt at nonviolent mass resistance. Jeffrey Goldberg, the pundit much loved by Mr Obama, wrote a book on the first intifada (PRISONERS). He was a prison guard and a cog in the machinery of torture. He writes in the book that he didn't witness any nonviolence during the first intifada. It gives you some idea of his reliability. Small wonder that Obama, another stupefying narcissist, finds him such a congenial interlocutor.

starchyparcel22 karma

What do you think it would take, on Israels behalf, to start a path towards reconciliation with Palestine i.e, what do you think is the first necessary step towards brokering a peace deal? Furthermore, do you think a peace deal needs to be overseen by outside forces? Is such a thing done more for the benefit of Israel or Palestine, or both even?

Norman_Finkelstein64 karma

The first thing is, the Palestinians in the occupied territories must themselves act, en masse. There's a huge reservoir of international support now for the Palestinians, while Israel's stock has plummeted. If Palestinians put forth reasonable demands (based on international law) and engaged in mass nonviolent resistance, Israel would be cornered and even Obama would have a hard time explaining why the Palestinians shouldn't be supported.

Samir-20 karma

You have said that Hassan Nasrallah is "among the shrewdest political thinkers in the world today". Can you elaborate?

Norman_Finkelstein26 karma

He's smart, he's serious, he's a shrewd political analyst. I do not agree with his position on Syria, but I recognize he didn't have many options.

SputtleTuts20 karma

Do you have any opinion/observations on the recent sex-slave allegations against Alan Dershowitz?

Norman_Finkelstein75 karma

It's caused me to doubt my atheism.

GOPSuckJewCock20 karma

Do you agree with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter that Israel treats the illegally occupied Palestinian territories like an apartheid state would treat different groups in their country? Is 'apartheid' too strong of a word to use or is it just a dirty word that people do not want associated with Israel? Or is our former President just an anti-Semite like our current POTUS, Obama, is being labelled by 'certain groups'?

Norman_Finkelstein51 karma

Many respected commentators have described Israel's policy in the occupied territories as an apartheid regime--including Haaretz, Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B'Tselem), former Israel ministers of education Yossi Sarid and Shulamith Aloni, distinguished Israeli journalist Danny Rubinstein, "father" of human rights in post-Apartheid South Africa, John Dugard. So, I see no point in disputing this description.

ColterL18 karma

Will a government led by Herzog change anything for the Palestinians (positively or negatively)?

Norman_Finkelstein56 karma

It will probably make things worse, by relieving Israel of a lot of international pressure. Everyone will be celebrating the end of Netanyahu's rule, just as the world celebrated the end of Bush--only to get the awful Mr. Obama.

HBZ5518 karma

What books do you think most accurately describe the Palestinian Israeli conflict and the Israeli conflicts with Arab countries (Egypt, Syria, Lebanon)?

Norman_Finkelstein29 karma

Benny Morris, Righteous Victims Zeev Maoz, Defending the Holy Land Robert Fisk, Pity the Nation

mad-fedora17 karma

In your book "Method and Madness", you've mentioned if the Palestinian drop the violent approach, and instead use peace tactic like Martin Luther King/Gandhi method. Do you think if this tactic is used, the current conflict would be solve as soon as possible?

I've been your fan for very long time. Thank you for the braveness and support! Thank you Dr. Finkelstein!

I'm sorry for my rusty English.

Norman_Finkelstein34 karma

I am afraid you make is sound too easy. It's not easy to get the Israelis to budge under any circumstances. They're like the Whites in the American south during the Civil Rights era fighting integration. But just like diehard racists were made to budge, so can Israelis be made to budge if the tactics are right, if the strategic goal is right.

Fafner88816 karma

Hi Norman, In the past you have said that the next round between Israel and Hezbollah was inevitable in the near future. Do you still believe this? What is the likelihood of another war on the scale of the second Lebanese given the current situation in the middle east?

Thank you.

Norman_Finkelstein31 karma

The Arab spring happened shortly after I made this prediction. It shuffled the deck.

schrodingers_cattery15 karma

British person here. I'd be interested to know if you think that pressure from Britain/Europe, if the political will were there -- e.g. diplomatic pressure, an arms embargo etc. -- could help bring about peace, or is US influence just too overwhelming?

Norman_Finkelstein21 karma

if the Palestinians engage in mass nonviolent resistance, and the Solidarity movement does its job, sufficient pressure can be put on European governments (which are already fed up with the conflict, and with Israel in particular) such that the US might be neutralized. i recognize that they are a lot of IF's, but possible is anyhow almost impossible to predict. It's at any rate a realistic possibility.

ColterL14 karma

As an advocate for Palestinian rights, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

Norman_Finkelstein50 karma

That I didn't move on or give up. I stuck to it, come what may.

mossypine14 karma

How far would they expand the illegal settlements if they can continue?

Norman_Finkelstein46 karma

Probably to Brooklyn, New York.

TheLegendofGinAlley13 karma

Do you agree with Noam Chomsky's opinion that Israel’s Actions in Palestine are "Much Worse Than Apartheid" in South Africa?

Should situations like Israel and Palenstine be compared to historical atrocities or should they be condemned for their own sake?

Norman_Finkelstein41 karma

It used to be the case that to convey the horrors of the occupation, it was necessary to make historical analogies. But at this point, the Palestinian case can stand on its own. Do we really need to invoke the Nazi holocaust or South African apartheid to illuminate the horrors of israel's periodic massacres in Gaza?

anee_7511 karma

Why doesn't Israel want to make peace with the Palestinian people?

Norman_Finkelstein8 karma

Why should it? It gets to have its cake (the water and arable land of the occupied Palestinian territories) and to eat it. Israel bears zero burdens of occupation, except for an occasional firecracker or Roman candle fired from Gaza,

maddermonk10 karma

As you are no longer in academics, what are you doing in your daily life?

Norman_Finkelstein34 karma

Counting the minutes until, thank goodness it's all over. As I like to say, God in his almighty wisdom, made us mortal. (I still read, occasionally write, and I am also teaching one week each month in Turkey.)

ArielEmerald9 karma

What are your faults, Norman?

You seem to pick on everyone elses, calling people narcissists etc. never heard you say a bad word about yourself, or ever admit you've made a mistake.

Norman_Finkelstein2 karma

What are your faults, Norman?

I am too kind, to imbeciles like yourself.

kitestramuort9 karma

How does Israel manage to retain its huge international support in the face of the atrocities it commits? In other words, where does their influence on the US and other governments originate? I refuse to give credence to the silly and racist conspiracy theories about wealthy and powerful Jews/Illuminati and stuff, but the pro-Israel double standard of western countries borders insanity!

Norman_Finkelstein23 karma

Israel has an excellent public relations machine, it's convinced many Jews who are rich and powerful, that the Israeli cause is just, while many Jews are very chauvinist, so will support anything the "Jewish" state says or does. But it's also true that Israel has lost a lot of support among public opinion in general and Jewish public opinion in particular. The challenge now is to formulate reasonable demands such that Jews who claim to be liberal (which is a large chunk of the Jewish population) will either support or be shamed into supporting.

sonofsolomon8 karma

What's your personal life like? Do you have a significant other? What are your hobbies? Favorite alcoholic drink? Ever tried pot, even just back in the day?

Got an opinion on the Tibetan independence movement?

Norman_Finkelstein29 karma

"Personal life"-- I'm checking my dictionary. Is it an idiom?

mannyrmz1237 karma

Who's the best Israeli PM in history, in your opinion?

Norman_Finkelstein21 karma

The early Zionist leaders (Ben-Gurion et al.) were ruthless but were also truly committed to the cause and ideal of a Jewish state, The more recent crop of leaders are just run-of-the-mill shabby politicians.

dberis7 karma

You state that Netanyahu is a maniac, yet you defended both Stalin and Mao. Would you care to explain to us simpletons how you form your psychiatric evaluations?

Norman_Finkelstein3 karma

Even I have my redlines.

MrBoonio7 karma

Hi Norman,

If you were to publicize three key points that inform your view of the conflict, and which are little known or poorly understood, what would they be?

Norman_Finkelstein45 karma

The basic injustice inflicted on the Palestinians is now better known. The principal misapprehension is that both sides are responsible for the impasse in the "peace process." In fact, Palestinians have offered concessions that go well beyond what is required of them under international law. The obstacle is israel's refusal to withdraw. In fact, why should israel withdraw: it's a cost-free occupation. The Europeans foot the bills in the occupied Palestinian territories, the PA does the dirty work of policing, arresting and torturing, while the US protects Israel diplomatically. Unless pressure is imposed on Israel, it will never withdraw.

Queequeg327 karma

In the United States, why do republicans seemingly support Israel more than democrats?

Norman_Finkelstein13 karma

Loons of a feather flock together.

RoswellSpaceman7 karma

Historically, what Israeli and Palestinian leaders have done the most to advance the peace process. And, on the flip side, what Israeli and Palestinian leaders have done the most to damage or sabotage it?

Norman_Finkelstein18 karma

I do not like Palestinian leaders, but it cannot be said of any of them from Arafat to the present has blocked a settlement of the conflict based on international law, where no Israeli leader has ever accepted the terms of international law for resolving the conflict.

DonalLogueForever6 karma

If the conflict ended tomorrow, on a fair and just basis, and you suddenly had more time and free energy to devote to other matters, academic or recreational, what would you study or do?

Norman_Finkelstein30 karma

I often ponder this question. The thing is, I don't believe in "punditry"--i.e., learning a little about this and a little about this. I am of the opinion that the "devil is in the detail." That means, to say anything useful on a topic requires a comprehensive knowledge of it. But, at this point in my life, I am too depleted mentally to undertake such a project.

Byrnzie286 karma

The Palestinians are set to join the ICC on April 1st, a move which will enable them to file war crimes charges against Israel, of which there are many. What do you envision will be the outcome of this, in light of the U.S and Israel leaning on the ICC and making all sorts of threats against them. Could this be the beginning of international law finally being imposed on the Israeli's?

Norman_Finkelstein10 karma

Not much. The PA doesn't have its heart in this. Their first concern is their paychecks (from the US).

underdabridge6 karma

1) What would you like to see happen ultimately? Would you like a single fully democratic state with one person one vote within what is now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza? Do you want a "two state solution?" with Palestine given all the rights and privileges of an autonomous actor including the right to import and export military equipment? If your choice happened what do you think the result would be for the Jews living in Israel?

2) Related" What do you think, in the short term the Jews and Americans should do/concede?

3) What do you think WILL happen in the next fifty years? What does the Middle East look like in 2065?

Norman_Finkelstein27 karma

I am an old-fashioned communist (with a lower-case "c"). I don't think borders and States make sense. The world is a tiny place, the fundamental challenges confronting humankind - climate change, economic dysfunction-- can only be solved on a global scale. My heartstrings still resonate to, "The Internationale shall be the Human Race."

YouthInRevolt5 karma

Hi Norman,

  • What do you make of the buffer zone argument where Israel's supporters claim that if Gaza and the West Bank are returned, the Palestinians will change their demands and seek to take over all of pre-67 Israel?

  • What is your take on the "Right of Return" issue? To me, it seems to be a chip that Palestinians might ultimately have to give up to secure their own state...

  • In a two-state solution, what problems do you seen occurring in Jerusalem? Are we to assume that there would need to be a "Berlin Wall" separating East and West?

Norman_Finkelstein14 karma

Palestinians recognize that once an agreement is signed, it will be nearly impossible to escape its terms. Which is why they'v been cautious about what they do sign. If this Israeli argument were true, why haven't Palestinians just agreed to whatever Israel offers, and then use it as a "base" for future expansion? The answer is obvious. Whatever they agree to is all they'll get.

mebeast2274 karma

Do you think a completely secular government is the answer to peace considering this is considered a holy war? Allowing both parties to vote and move freely within the country without allowing either side to impose religious pressure on the other seems like a great place to start, or is that too simple?

Norman_Finkelstein18 karma

I am not so keen on "completely secular government" if France is an example of one, of Bill Maher is an example of a "completely secular person." I like the African-American spirituals. "Every time I feel the sprit,/ Moving in my heart,/ I do pray."

the_undergroundman4 karma

You have repeatedly criticized supporters of the so-called 'one state solution' because their proposal has no basis in international law and can therefore, in your words, "not reach a broad public". However many people sympathetic to the Palestinian cause see the two-state solution as increasingly unfeasible, due to the entrenchment and expansion of Israeli settlements in the OPT. These people then regard the one state solution as the only remaining realistic option. Do you genuinely still believe a two state solution is still viable, and that all those settlements will really be dismantled for the creation of a Palestinian state?

Norman_Finkelstein13 karma

The Palestinians presented maps at the Annapolis negotiations in 2007, which suggest that the 2-state settlement is still possible. The problem is, new versions of the 2-state settlement will be presented (e.g., Israel's annexation of the major settlement blocs) that will turn the Palestinian State into little more than a garbage dump.

starchyparcel4 karma

Or, if my other questions would take too long to answer, do you believe Americas devotion to Israel does more harm than good? If so, why?

Norman_Finkelstein19 karma

It's hard to answer such a question in generalities. US support for Israel obviously serves some people's interests; otherwise it wouldn't have endured so long. The relevant question, in my opinion, is whether such support serves the cause of Justice. The answer, manifestly, is No.

Samir-4 karma

What do you think about Sweden's recent recognition of Palestine as a state and do you think other western countries will follow suit? What impact could this have on the conflict?

Norman_Finkelstein4 karma

The recognitions are important steps, but to overcome the obstacles created by US rejectionism, it would still require a mass nonviolent movement in Palestine organized around reasonable demands (i.e., international law) in order to neutralize the US or shame it into silence. The closest model of what might work is the Civil Rights movement in the American south. You should watch SELMA or, better still, FREEDOM ON MY MIND, or part 3 of EYES ON THE PRIZE.

huplescal224 karma

Should Israel have ever been created?

Norman_Finkelstein50 karma

Why not ask a Native American if the US should have ever been created?

Brickus4 karma

Hi Norman.

First off many thanks for doing this. I've been a fan of your work for a few years now and, in fact, you inspired me to go down the academic route I did.

Now for the serious stuff: What is your opinion of the Palestinian solidarity movement as a whole, and the direction it's going in? I ask because I'm slightly troubled by some aspects of it, at least here in Europe (I'm in Ireland), where it seems to be turning into a self-perpetuating industry in its own right, regardless of the fate of the Palestinians. I suppose you could call it the "Palestine Industry".

For example, during Operation Protective Edge last summer, a relatively well-known Palestinian solidarity activist was promoting his own book, regarding Israel, on Twitter in between tweeting about the what was happening in Gaza at the time. That just did not and does not sit well with me.

P.S.: I met you in Dublin just over two years ago when you spoke in Trinity College. You referred to me as the "Susan Boyle" of the crowd in attendance. Always good to make an impression on people!

Edit: Grammar.

Norman_Finkelstein6 karma

The Solidarity movement includes many impressive people. It's hard not to be impressed by their humility and tenacity and ingenuity. It's also very diverse, which means it is making significant inroads in the mainstream. However, in any struggle that's endured as long as Palestine, some people are bound to develop a stake in its perpetuation. When you derive your self-worth and income from a cause, a certain dread inexorably insinuates itself, WHAT DO I DO IF AND WHEN THE CONFLICT IS RESOLVED? My late Mother liked to tell the story of the March of Dimes, which was created to combat polio. When Sabin invented the polio vaccine, guess who was his main detractor?

ilega_dh4 karma

Hi Norman,

First of all, your performance on Juice Rap News was outstanding :)

I was wondering about this: Do you think that the current "divide" between Obama and Netanyahu is real? Or is it just some sort of fake PR thing now that more people are getting aware of Israel's insane policy?

Thanks, keep up the good work!

Norman_Finkelstein12 karma

It's real but unlikely to have significant consequences. Netanyahu might soon be out of office, and Obama will follow. But the US-Israel relationship, based on deep common interests in the Middle East, will continue.

SerHeimord4 karma

Mr. Finkelstein, thank you for your time doing this.

If no matter who wins the Palestinians lose, then what do you feel would be a democratic solution for normalization?

What are your views on the Unified List (Reshima Meshutefet)?

Norman_Finkelstein4 karma

A mass Palestinian movement must develop from below. Otherwise, it's pretty hopeless.

tumberry4 karma

What do you think is really the reason of this war , is it religion or is it politics ?

Norman_Finkelstein19 karma

It's always hard to separate out where rational self-interest ends and ideology begins.

sylban4 karma

I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I first learned of you through someone else's documentary on the conflict, in which you were among many different people interviewed with snippets throughout, and I thought, "This is the only completely realistic, level-headed, plain-spoken person I've seen talk about this."

As a legal assistant, your analogies were crystal clear to me, in a way that so many people's are decidedly not. Of course you can't wall in your neighbour's possessions merely on the pretence of security. Of course you can't 'concede' anything you had no claim to the in first place. And so on. That anyone debates these questions as if they're murky or complicated is simply asinine. And a foreign policy that does not acknowledge what is plainly obvious has little hope of achieving lasting peace or stability.

I only wish my mother was still alive to appreciate your voice of reason. She was highly critical of Israel's foreign policy for many of the same reasons. As an historian, she appreciated the importance of grounding politics in plain truths that everyone could see and agree on, and we agree that modern Israel is not doing that -- to the inevitable detriment of itself, its people, and many others.

I believe in Israel and I accept the UN mandate that created it, for better or for worse, and I want it to exist as a nation in the world. And I have little personal stake in their problems or wishes or beliefs. But I also want a stable and peaceful Middle East, because I have a substantially higher stake in that as a U.S. citizen and a citizen of the world, and I want good things for everyone everywhere, which must begin with peace and stability, so that prosperity can thrive. That must begin with honest dealings by all parties there, and that must include the Israeli government.

My instinct -- and perhaps you will correct me or sharpen my perspective, which I'd greatly appreciate -- is that these problems are rooted in conflicts between factions of the Israeli electorate, those who elect and lobby the government from below; those to whom the government is most obliged, especially for practical reasons of being able to remain in power. If that electorate, like ours here in the U.S., is deeply fractured along important policy lines, then perhaps the government can't help being so also? What would be the solution, if that's the case? Asking the government to stand against its own people for their own better good is not an outrageous proposal, in my mind, but I do think it's probably political suicide, and whomever replaces them will simply not repeat that mistake. So I'm not sure where solutions begin. Would it require a massive effort to educate the Israeli people to the fragile reality they're in, and what must happen in order to improve it?

Norman_Finkelstein14 karma

Thanks for writing and the kind words. The problem is, the Israeli electorate is NOT fractured on the question of the Palestinians. They are some disagreements, but they are relatively minor. The problem is, virtually no one in Israel accepts the terms of the international consensus/international law for resolving the conflict.

SkyBlueSilva4 karma

What are your views on the state of Jews in Europe? Are they safe, and what do you think the future holds in store for them? What do you think of the normalization of 'Jew Jokes'? Does Israel, or their actions make prospects any better or worse for them?

Norman_Finkelstein23 karma

In the face of so much ineffable suffering in the world today, I couldn't care less about the "state of Jews in Europe". Would any of these "suffering" Jews want to change places with a refugee from Gaza, or Africa or Syria or Afghanistan or Iraq? Enough with this solipsistic navel-gazing!

Indexpert3 karma

Why can't we all just get along?

Norman_Finkelstein23 karma

We can all get along, if we just put a check on our egos and our selfish propensities. I remain an optimist when it comes to people. Most folks I meet in daily life are reasonably decent. However, I no longer work in academia. Maybe if I did, I'd reach a different conclusion.

ignoringaids3 karma

What do you think about the virginity tester Sisi and his relationship with Israel?

How is Egypt going to fare in the long run??

Norman_Finkelstein5 karma

Sisi is the perfect leader of a "democratic" ally of the US--a mass murderer, megalomaniac and moron.

panicattackk3 karma

What do most of the people in Israel think of the assaults on Gaza? What are some mistakes that the Palestinians have made that exacerbated things?

Norman_Finkelstein5 karma

Israel is probably the most polled place on Earth. They have lots of time to spare, and love to be asked about themselves. So, there's no mystery what Israelis think. In all of Israel's major operations, going back to Operation Defensive Shield (2002), the 2006 Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead (2008-9), and Operation Protective Edge this past summer, more than 90 percent of Israelis supported the murderous assaults. Palestinians have the right under international to use violent force in order to achieve their self-determination, but I don't think it's been a prudent tactic.

NoMoMoneyNoMoHoney3 karma

What's your best solution for easing up the conflict? I have family in Israel and they say many of the Israelis and Palestinians want this war to end and that they don't dislike the other group.

Norman_Finkelstein14 karma

Give Palestinians their basic human rights: a State of their own in the territories delineated by international law, and unrestricted access to the rest of the world. I've met many Palestinians in my travels. It amazes me how free they are of vindictiveness and how generous they are in their kindness.

Gigless3 karma

Hello Mr. Finkelstein, what do you think awaits for Mr. Netanyahu, do you think he will be able to re-elect or would you say he is done for in his political career?

Norman_Finkelstein10 karma

If I had my way, what awaits Netanyahu would be an appointment at the International Criminal Court, if only for being so obnoxious. But it ain't gonna happen.

shesha73 karma

When do you think a workable solution to the conflict can be agreed to? And what needs to change for this to happen?

Norman_Finkelstein13 karma

The problem is not devising a workable solution; the terms for resolving the conflict have been on the table for some four decades. The problem is getting Israel to comply with them. I don't believe a resolution can be achieved through diplomacy (PA strategy) or armed resistance (Hamas strategy). The only viable tactic to force an Israeli withdrawal, in my opinion, is nonviolent mass resistance by the Palestinians in the occupied territories synchronized with the Solidarity movement abroad.

olevaar3 karma

Is there any hope of long term reconciliation and withdrawal of Israeli settlements in occupied territories?

Norman_Finkelstein10 karma

It's possible if the Palestinians rediscover the will to resist, and we in the West do our job in supporting them.

mannyrmz1232 karma

Is the two-state solution the way to go?

Norman_Finkelstein14 karma

It's what the international community in its multiple manifestations has endorsed. I don't see how a cause by a tiny battered people against the regional superpower backed by the global superpower can be won IN DEFIANCE of global opinion.

ihatefinitemath2 karma

What does the US government gain by helping Israel so often? It seems like we get nothing in return (we, as in America, but this place is going to hell)

Norman_Finkelstein5 karma

Israel is a stable base of US power in an otherwise turbulent region that is critical to US interests.

ihatefinitemath2 karma

Do you believe in any conspiracies about Israel/ Paelenstein?

Norman_Finkelstein2 karma

People of course conspire, but that's different from a conspiratorial view of history.

rosinthebow2 karma

Can you describe your thoughts on the BDS movement?

Norman_Finkelstein7 karma

I've already done so on many occasions. Check youtube.

mossypine2 karma

What years did Israel historically rule the territory? I have read they search for evidence of ancient rule from a certain era but find nothing. Do the Palestinians descend from Canaanites? Is it true the area has been known as Palestine since about the year 700 AD?

Norman_Finkelstein6 karma

I don't know and, as a political matter, it's totally irrelevant.

garmwolf2 karma

Why does AIPAC and Israel have such a strong control over the US government?

Norman_Finkelstein17 karma

There are many powerful lobbies in the US. That's why, for example, people get to walk around with guns. The Israel/Jewish Lobby exerts a lot of influence when it comes to US policy regarding the Palestinians. But its influence is much less when critical US national interests are at stake. So, Lobby or no Lobby, if iran is responsive to US demands, Obama will sign an agreement.

mrNiSTeR2 karma

As a US citizen, anytime I even come across as sympathetic to the Palestinian people, the debate quickly devolves into "THEY DID THIS FIRST" or something along that nature. Do you have any recommended videos, or personal favorite clips of yours or perhaps others to broaden this discussion with those that are so quick to shut down this view. - Do you have any recommendations for quick videos/articles on Netanyahu's (lack of) cooperation with the Palestinian people? Thanks

Norman_Finkelstein4 karma

It's probably wiser not to get into a debate on who did what first, and instead focus on which side is blocking a reasonable resolution of the conflict based on international law. Here, it's not very complicated. Netanyahu is now on record as opposing a Palestinian state (in breach of the Palestinian right to self-determination) while Tzipi Livni of the opposition "Zionist Camp" has openly avowed that she is "against international law." All the Palestinian factions -- Fateh, Hamas -- have expressed support for the international consensus on resolving the conflict.

jordanianman2 karma

Do you blame Hamas for fighting back? I don't see how people are blaming the occupied and not the occupier

Norman_Finkelstein11 karma

Absolutely NOT. They have the right to, and I am quite sure Gandhi would defend this right. The questions are:(1) Is armed resistance an effective tactic, and (2) Is armed resistance the only kind of resistance. My answer to both questions is No.

ColterL2 karma

For an effective 3rd intifada to occur, what needs to happen? Should the PA dissolve?

Norman_Finkelstein7 karma

It requires independent leadership and a willingness among Palestinians to -- yet again - make significant personal sacrifices.

IAmNotScottBakula1 karma

What do you think the best solution is for the issue of right of return for Palestinian refugees?

Norman_Finkelstein9 karma

I prefer to let the Palestinians answer that question. Make the Palestinians a reasonable offer of a State in the WHOLE of the occupied territories, recognize the colossal injustice Israel inflicted on them in 1948, and I am confident Palestinians will be reasonable in what they demand on the right of return.

DogesChosen1 karma

Hypothetically, If you could dictate who the palestinian leaders in the WB and/or Gaza will be, who would you choose?

Norman_Finkelstein1 karma

I would make Musa AbuHashash, my dear friend and comrade from Al-Fawwar camp, President; Sana Kassem, a Palestinian refugee in Greece (and my web master), Minister of Science and Technology; and I would hope they'd appoint me UN ambassador, just so I could drive the Israeli delegation mad!

ColterL1 karma

You are an ardent supporter of the two state solution (as am I). Do you fear that we are running out of time... that the number of settlers in the West Bank will soon make the enacting a just solution an impossibility?

Norman_Finkelstein9 karma

I am most emphatically NOT an ardent supporter of the two-state solution. I recognize it as the only solution that enjoys sufficient international support such that it has an possibility of being realized.

bandolero_device1 karma

With your recent statements in opposition to BDS and in support of the so-called two-state solution, you've basically come out as a Zionist. Have you always been a Zionist, or was this essentially an economically motivated surrender?

You say that "The only possible solution is the one endorsed by the international community and international law. Everything else is pie in the sky." With that in mind, was the transition to democracy in South Africa "pie in the sky"? Again, a Zionist position on your part and you would do well to admit your biases and obvious affection for the Zionist colonial project in Palestine.

Norman_Finkelstein3 karma

I confess! I confess! I am a Zionist.
Do you feel better now? (Grow up.)

Ahbraham1 karma

How can there possibly any truly viable long term solution to this part of The Middle East which is fair to everyone except one multicultural state with equality for all?

Norman_Finkelstein4 karma

But you can say this about the world in general. Why specify "the Middle East"?

Newbound1 karma

What happened to your book with Mouin Rabbani? Are there any other projects you are working on at the moment?

Norman_Finkelstein6 karma

Rabbani has been invested in other projects, so the book was never completed. Regrettably.

cutdownthere1 karma

Do you accept invitations to speak at UK universities?

Norman_Finkelstein5 karma

I just came back from two speaking tours of the UK. I rarely get invited to speak in continental Europe. Probably for the better. The French are certifiable lunatics, and the Germans -- when it comes to Israel and Palestine - aren't much better.

kitestramuort1 karma

I am not a big fan of the mainstream two-state "solution" to the Israel-Palestine conflict. I believe that creating two confessional statelets, hostile against each other, will not benefit peace and stability in the Middle East. Do you think that a single, democratic, non-sectarian state for Israelis and Palestinians will ever be possible?

Norman_Finkelstein3 karma

"Ever" is a very long time. Once at an economics convention, economists debated what will happen "in the long run." John Manard Keynes then interjected, "In the long run we're dead." In the time that I have left on the planet, I'd like to see Palestinians achieve the maximum justice possible in the current political situation.

Herzhell1 karma

Hi there Professor

Would You like to explain, why Israel get offended when someone says 'antisemitism is different from antizionism'? is this a legit election or just a bluff? (by bluff I mean, 'good' act for international community)

Thank You! for your books and your work. It's an honour to know that people like You share knowledge.

Norman_Finkelstein5 karma

Because the charge of "anti-Semitism" is a powerful weapon in israel's armory. If you say that anti-Semitism is something apart from criticism of Israel, this weapon is neutralized.

RonaldStaffield1 karma

Dr. Finkelstein,

Can you please describe your reading process? You are unbelievably well-read and you are able to pull facts almost out of thin air. Do you have a photographic memory? How do you manage to retain so much information?

Norman_Finkelstein10 karma

I used to be a very methodical reader. I read everything twice, sometimes three and four times. I made extensive notes and created a personal index of important books. It's always been my way. When I read Marx's CAPITAL, I copied out every paragraph and commented on it in notebooks. Now, I am lazier and have also developed severe ocular impairments. It hugely depressed me, until I accepted that many people come to live with afflictions, so I try to accept mine.

sumatranoil1 karma

Why do you think Hamas rejected the offer to lift the blockade in return for a five year ceasefire?

Norman_Finkelstein3 karma

IT did NOT reject the offer.

GOPSuckJewCock1 karma

How much of a role do you feel the Christian population in the U.S. empower Israel's current right-wing government and its polcies? Am I exaggerating when I say that without the Christian influence in U.S. politics, our U.S. foreign policy towards Israel and Palestinians would be radically different than it is today? The meager 2% population of Jews in the U.S. seem to get much of the blame for the blatant control Israel has over U.S. politics and out government. The American media has done a poor job of explaining the Christians' role in all this mess.

Norman_Finkelstein9 karma

MJ Rosenberg had a useful column the other day. He said that the Israel Lobby is basically a JEWISH lobby. Christian loonies support Israel, but they don't invest significant resources in this cause. They are more invested in domestic issues such as gay marriage, Mexican immigration, and abortion.

Hindusan1 karma

What do you think of BDS?

Norman_Finkelstein5 karma

I of course support boycotts, divestment and sanctions. However, I do not believe that the BDS platform is internally consistent -- it claims Palestinian rights but falls silent on reciprocal Israeli rights -- and I don't believe that BDS can liberate Palestine, anymore than the anti-Apartheid sanctions movement liberated South Africa. BDS can play a supportive role, but ultimately the Palestinians must liberate themselves.

AliceDC1 karma

Hello Dear Norman, speaking of the Israelis and their political leadership: where do you think all the hatred towards the Palestinians is coming from?

Norman_Finkelstein-1 karma

Israelis like to think of themselves as beautiful, whereas Palestinians expose a seamier reality to the world.

sakebomb691 karma

When are you and your buddy David Irving going to team up to write an academic masterpiece of history?

Norman_Finkelstein1 karma

Irving wrote some useful books (e.g., Hitler's War), which is more than can be said of Elie Wiesel.


Have you met Max Blumenthal and/or Ali Abunimah? What is your thought on their journalism and views on Israeli Apartheid towards Palestinians??

Norman_Finkelstein0 karma

I've met both of them. We seem to disagree on some points. If a real mass movement develops in the occupied Palestinian territories, however, most of these differences will, I think, disappear. There's always something nasty and petty about "emigre" politics (as it was called in Russia).

Lord_Khamul0 karma

Why do you advocate for cultural Marxism?

Norman_Finkelstein6 karma

I do not know what cultural Marxism is.


If you could go back in time to WWI, what one decision or event would you change to prevent this long-term conflict?

Norman_Finkelstein4 karma

I would have hoped that the German working-class won State power, the Bolshevik revolution would not have been isolated, and a genuine transition to a more humane world could have commenced.

JesusHMacy-1 karma

What is your opinion on the Reptilian Shapeshifters and how far up in government have they made it?

Norman_Finkelstein9 karma

They've been remarkably successful. Of the 195 countries represented in the UN, they head up most of these States.

rosinthebow-3 karma

Mr. Finkelstein, do you believe the Palestinian Arab nation wants to live in peace with the Jewish nation of Israel, and if so, why?

Norman_Finkelstein4 karma

I doubt it. Would you want to live at peace with those who stole your home and wrecked your life? The question is, can they more or peaceably coexist. I think the answer is yes.