October 27, 2007

Believe this!

I have a letter in today's Guardian. This is it as it appears in the paper:
I am an avid reader of Norman Finkelstein's work and nowhere have I seen him support a one-state solution. On the contrary, in a debate on Democracy Now with Alan Dershowitz in September 2003, he said: "My entire adult life I've been involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict. I'd like you to show me a statement where I say I don't support the two-state settlement." If it is true that, having invited Finkelstein to speak for the two-state side of the debate, the union president announced that a mistake had been made because Finkelstein supports a one-state solution then the Oxford Union has both succumbed to Israel lobby pressure and fallen for one of its lies.
Mark Elf
Dagenham, Essex
They didn't cut much but this is what I wrote in full:
Dear Sir

I am an avid reader of Norman Finkelstein's work and nowhere have I seen him arguing for a one-state solution. On the contrary, in a debate on Democracy Now with Alan Dershowitz on 3rd September 2003, Norman Finkelstein says the following:

Mr. Dershowitz then throws in another lie. He says oh, Finklestein, he's an extremist, he doesnt support the two-state settlement.

My entire adult life i've been involved in the Israel-Palestine conflict. I started publishing on the topic in 1984. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the topic in 1988. I lecture about 2-3 times a week on the topic. I'd like you to show me a statement where I say I don't support the two-state settlement. You said I don't support a two-state settlement, can you provide the evidence to that?

Dr Mendoza's assertion as to Finkelstein's position on the solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict does not conflict with the idea that the Oxford Union succumbed to Israel lobby pressure. Indeed, if it is true that, having invited Finkelstein to speak for the two-state side of the debate, the union president announced that a mistake has been made in that Finkelstein supports a one-state solution, then the Oxford Union has both succumbed to Israel lobby pressure and fallen for one of its lies.

That of course doesn't excuse the Guardian, whose letters editor could and should have checked with Norman Finkelstein before rushing to print.

Yours faithfully

Mark Elf
Of course it wasn't just a letter for publication. It was a complaint that the letters editor shouldn't allow lies through like they had. It would have shown character if they had have published that last line. Still, little acorns...

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