June 02, 2014

Finkelstein went Head to Head with Finkelstein at Conway Hall

Norman Finkelstein's Head to Head discussion with Mehdi Hassan played to a capacity audience at the Oxford Union on Friday June 30.  Kamel Hawwash blogged about it on his Brum2Jerusalem blog under the question, Which Norman Finkelstein turned up to Aljazeera Head to Head with Mehdi Hasan? Kamel concluded that "it was the “I choose my words very carefully” Norman that turned up in Oxford".

Well the Norman Finkelstein that turned up in London at Conway Hall wasn't so careful.  118 people attended the launch of Old Wine Broken Bottle: Finkelstein's latest book taking down, successfully by all accounts, Ari Shavit's ethnic cleansing and crying book, My Promised Land. 

The room in Conway Hall has a capacity of 400 so 118 was a pretty poor turn out.  In spite of this, Norm, managed to make things worse by provoking a walkout by insisting on his two state position and denouncing those who didn't support it as failing to understand him or it. But the hosts had had 40 copies of his new book printed. They sold out at £5 a go.

Anyway, here's an account that has just been emailed to me by one of my spies at Conway Hall.  I should stress, this was someone who attended the launch, not a member of the Conway Hall staff:
Basically he is completely contradictory. It’s not that he has become a zionist - his latest book, which he was launching, is a great demolition job on Ari Shavit’s attempt to justify ‘liberal zionism’ and in doing so he demolishes all the ideological foundations of zionism. And then he goes on with his vendetta against BDS for not being explicit enough in endorsing ‘two states’, rather than just being agnostic on it.His whole line on the so called ‘international consensus is based on a ridiculous fetishisation of international law and UN resolutions. He ends up with a ‘realist’ rejection of the RoR on the grounds that its full implementation is ‘unrealistic’, and then ends up effectively justifying  this by the argument that Israel exists as a state and all states have the right in international law to control their own immigration policies.

I don’t think his position has any consistency. Frankly I think his experiences and his isolation have turned his mind a bit and he resents the fact that a movement he isn’t part of is now making the running. I think there is an element of injured ego in it, though I don’t normally like explaining political disagreements by psychology.

See this is the big contradiction.  He demolishes zionism with his intellect and then rebuilds it with his ludicrous insistence on two states and his fetishisation, not so much of international law, but of the UN. And this is down to "injured ego"?  I wish someone would injure his ego.

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