Visiting UNM On National Tour: It is Abq Jew 's unpleasant responsibility to inform the Abq Jewish community of the following event, promoted by the University of New Mexico's Students for Justice in Palestine:
Dr Norman Finkelstein
Mon 05 Dec 2011 @ 5:30 - 7:30pm
UNM Student Union Building, Ballroom B
Who, exactly, is UNM-SJP? The group's website states:
University of New Mexico Students for Justice in Palestine (UNM-SJP) is a
diverse group of students, faculty, staff, and community members at
colleges & universities throughout the US. Our group is
organized according to democratic principles in order to promote
justice, human rights, liberation, and self-determination for the
This sounds OK to Abq Jew
, who can see nothing wrong in promoting justice, human rights, liberation, and self-determination for any
UNM-SJP says it is committed to "overcoming anti-Semitic sentiments towards both Arabs and Jews in the community." But the group is also committed to
certain key principles .... These include the full decolonization of
all illegally held Palestinian lands, the end of the Israeli occupation
of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.
Not comfortable with that? Think that "decolonization" and "occupation" are code words for a plan to first delegitimize, then destroy the State of Israel? Well, you ask, who else is endorsing this event? How about:
- UNM Peace Studies Program
- UNM Muslim Students Association
- Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions- New Mexico
- Coalition to Stop $30 Billion to Israel
- Friends of Sabeel Albuquerque
Now, there's a real mix. #1 seems
like it would be OK (Abq Jew
really doesn't know). #5 proclaims itself the "Voice of the Palestinian Christians", and promotes "awareness and understanding". That sounds
promising. But #2, #3, and #4 sure make Abq Jew
Who is Dr Norman Finkelstein? What do we know about him?
Norman G. Finkelstein
received his doctorate in 1988 from the
Department of Politics at Princeton University. For many years he taught
political theory and the Israel-Palestine conflict. He currently writes
and lectures. He lives in Brooklyn.
Finkelstein is the author of six books that have been translated into more than 40 foreign editions:
- This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and consequences of the Gaza invasion
Chutzpah: On the misuse of anti-Semitism and the abuse of history
- The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the exploitation of Jewish suffering
- Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict
- A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen thesis and historical truth
- The Rise and Fall of Palestine: A personal account of the intifada years
has recently published the pamphlet:
Richard Goldstone renews Israel’s license to kill.
and is currently working on a new book entitled:
Knowing Too Much: Why the
American Jewish love affair with Israel is coming to an end
Somehow, Abq Jew
does not perceive Dr Finkelstein as objective in his judgments, and doubts whether cool, dispassionate discourse could be the mode of the evening.
Or - do Abq Jew
and Dr Finkelstein simply disagree? And if not at UNM, where could a civil, civilized, respectful discussion of The Situation (as Israelis call it) take place? Hard questions must be asked, even if - especially if - we don't like the answers.
Here is one possibility (Abq Jew
is sure there are others):
On October 19, Professor Jeff Halper, an Israeli anthropologist and the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)
, kicked off Congregation
Nahalat Shalom’s 4th year of Jewish Voices on Peace in the Middle East
did not attend - it was Erev Shemini Atzeret. But: there are good, Jewish reasons to be in favor of demolishing the homes of Palestinian terrorists. There are also good, Jewish reasons to be against that policy. This is a discussion we should have. Reasonable people who believe in the safety and sanctity of the State of Israel can disagree about this.
By all reports, Professor Halper's lecture was a low-keyed, lightly-attended, serious discussion - the family sitting around the kitchen table. In contrast, Dr Finkelstein's lecture is anticipated to be the diametric opposite - high-pitched, heavily-attended, inflammatory, and very public.
says: May the evening go well, and may all emerge enlightened.