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American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein
#1
American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein is the probing documentary portrait of American academic and activist Norman Finkelstein. A devoted son of holocaust survivors, ardent critic of Israeli and US Mid-East policies and author of six provocative books, Finkelstein has been at the center of many intractable controversies. Called a lunatic and a self-hating Jew by some and an inspirational, street-fighting revolutionary by others, Finkelstein is a deeply polarizing figure whose struggles arise from core questions about freedom, identity and nationhood. Following him as he presents his message to audiences around the globe, the film provides an intimate portrait of the man behind the controversy, giving voice to Finkelstein’s critics as well as his supporters.

The trailer can be viewed here

But this clip from it is a MUST SEE if you want to understand how and why Finkelstein refuses to be intimidated by the AIPAC and the Zionist lobby generally. Gilad Azmon (another brave Jewish critic of Zionism) titled it "Finkelstein says NO to Crocodile tears" in his latest blog post.

The producers of the film posted the following message on Pirate Bay - The Bit-Torrent download site:
Quote:Hello torrenters. I'm the owner of the film production company that released this film.

We're a tiny operation of four employees working out of a hole in the wall in Seattle. In this current economy, we're really fighting hard just to stay afloat - even big companies like Miramax are dying.

If you want us to be able to continue to deliver quality and controversial films like this one, we have to be able to make enough to survive.

Please consider buying this film:
http://arabfilm.com/item/509/

(As you can see, we can't even afford to hire a web designer.)
Refreshing change from the 'lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key' of the mainsteam producers eh?
Peter Presland

".....there is something far worse than Nazism, and that is the hubris of the Anglo-American fraternities, whose routine is to incite indigenous monsters to war, and steer the pandemonium to further their imperial aims"
Guido Preparata. Preface to 'Conjuring Hitler'[size=12][size=12]
"Never believe anything until it has been officially denied"
Claud Cockburn

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#2
A real mensch. Blessings upon his name and work. What he says is very confronting for some who live with the manufactured world view of AIPAC and co.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#3
American Radical: the trials of Norman Finkelstein

louisproyect @ 4:06 pm


a revolutionary career does not lead to banquets and honorary titles, interesting research and professorial wages. It leads to misery, disgrace, ingratitude, prison and a voyage into the unknown, illuminated by only an almost superhuman belief.
This observation by Frankfurt school luminary Max Horkheimer would serve as an epigraph to the new documentary on Norman Finkelstein that opens on February 11th at the Anthology Film Archives Theater in New York. While the trials of Norman Finkelstein are interesting enough in and of themselves to warrant attending this powerful film, what stands out above all is the force of Finkelstein’s personality that is captured by co-directors David Ridgen and Nicolas Rossier. In an age of banality and anti-heroes, Finkelstein is virtually Byronesque even if rendered with a Yiddish accent.
I first got a sense of Finkelstein’s on-screen charisma in a 2009 documentary titled Defamation that included a scene with Norman at his building out in the Coney Island neighborhood in Brooklyn, where he upbraids the director for suggesting that Norman tone down his rhetoric, especially when it comes to likening Israeli leaders to Hitler. With biting irony, Finkelstein reminds him that all Israeli politicians call each other Nazis when the opportunity arises. But it his facial expressions, hand gestures and ringing voice that make the scene as memorable as his words. If an actor such as Dustin Hoffman auditioned for a role playing Norman Finkelstein, I doubt that he could be half as compelling as the former professor himself.
The question of “going too far” runs like a red thread throughout the new film. Although the directors, veterans of leftwing documentaries, are obviously sympathetic to Norman’s views, they make sure to include interviewees who openly question some of his decisions. For example, Noam Chomsky states that it was probably a mistake to focus on Dershowitz’s plagiarism rather than the issues of Israel and Palestine. In my view, his decision to pursue this line of attack had a lot to do with his outrage over Dershowitz’s much ballyhooed academic reputation, which could only be a painful reminder of his own problems merely getting a tenured position. We learn that in 2001 Norman Finkelstein was only making $18,000 per year at Hunter College in New York. When he came out with “The Holocaust Industry” that year, Hunter demanded that he take a reduced workload and lower pay. After refusing, he took another job at Depaul University in Chicago where pressure from Alan Dershowitz and the Israeli lobby resulted in his being refused tenure, despite the overwhelming vote in favor from the faculty.
The movie fills in just enough biographical detail so that Norman’s tendency to stick his neck out becomes understandable. He says that he takes after his mother who, like his father, was a concentration camp survivor and a participant in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Unlike many such survivors, the experience left her politically engaged and vehemently anti-war. When the war in Vietnam began, she used to explode at the senselessness and brutality of the war continuously. Her outspokenness obviously had a big impact on Norman who was radicalized during the war.
In 1982, when Israel invaded Lebanon for the first time, the 29-year-old Princeton PhD graduate began demonstrating at the Israeli embassy in New York on a daily basis. You can see a photo of him in the film with a poster likening the invasion to Nazi barbarism, a first sign of the militancy that would turn him into a target of the Zionist movement in the U.S. From this early gut reaction against Israeli aggression, he turned into a scholarly critic of Zionism with a critique of a book by Joan Peters that essentially denied that the Palestinians lived in the land that Israel conquered. Chomsky contacted him at the time and developed a warm and supportive relationship with Norman that lasts until this day. Finkelstein states that Chomsky helped him with the conceptual framework for his Middle East analysis, if not his willingness to speak truth to power.
Although the movie does not spend any time at all on biographical material, except obviously for the role of his parents’ experience in Nazi death camps in shaping his worldview, you get a strong sense that his politics are all-consuming, even to the point of fostering a monastic existence. He lives in one of the most untrendy neighborhoods in all of New York, but one that he loves. His life revolves around research and traveling to campuses far and wide, where he gives talks on Israel to audiences that are sure to include people determined to shout him down. Things have reached a point that the Jewish Defense Organization, a crypto-fascist outfit, has plastered leaflets around his building demanding that his landlord evict him.
With his strong Yiddish accent and glowering but affectionate disposition, Finkelstein is a true prophet of the Jewish people. Refusing to bow down to officialdom, he speaks tirelessly on behalf of the Palestinians, who, as they were in the time of the fictions depicted in the Old Testament, are regarded as little more than vermin by the tribe that calls itself “the chosen people”.
As a modern day Jeremiah, Finkelstein is reminding Israel of something the prophet said long ago:
For thus hath the LORD of hosts said: hew ye down her trees, and cast up a mound against Jerusalem; this is the city to be punished; everywhere there is oppression in the midst of her. As a cistern welleth with her waters, so she welleth with her wickedness; violence and spoil is heard in her; before Me continually is sickness and wounds. Be thou corrected, O Jerusalem, lest My soul be alienated from thee, lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.
Norman Finkelstein website
Movie website
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#4
Peter Presland Wrote:But this clip from it is a MUST SEE if you want to understand how and why Finkelstein refuses to be intimidated by the AIPAC and the Zionist lobby generally.

Wow. These people seem to have no shame whatsoever. Hats off to Finkelstein.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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