Interview to Norman Finkelstein by Fabián Harari.
Published in El Aromo
Norman Finkelstein is a historian specialized in the analysis of Zionism. He is son of Jewish Holocaust survivors. His two most important (Beyond Chuztpah and The Holocaust Industry) explain how Zionism used the Holocaust to justify its policy. Finkelstein worked at Brooklyn College, Rutgers University, Hunter College, New York University and DePaul University. In 2006, he was one of the few professors who publicly defended Hezbollah as an army of resistance to Israeli occupation. Because of their positions, was expelled from several universities. In 2008 he went to lecture in the occupied territories, but Israeli authorities arrested him and deported him. We contacted him and made a few questions.
Fabián Harari: -The Israeli incursion in Gaza seems to have been a punctual episode in a long war, which beginnings might be dated from the British mandate. What seems to stay in an ambiguous area is the precise identification of the contenders beyond the nomenclatures (the Jewish people, the Israeli people, the State, West, the imperialism? The Arabs or the Palestinians? All the Palestinians?) and the interests that each of the parts represents. ¿Which are your hypotheses in the matter?
Norman Finkelstein: -From its inception Israel had a dual character: the Zionist movement was a nationalist movement but it couldn’t have realized its aims without the support of British imperialism. After the founding of the State of Israel, it still colluded and collaborated with Western imperialism (for example, during the British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956), and after the June 1967 war Israel became the main protector of US interests in the Middle East. Israel currently faces two kinds of adversaries: there is the “local” problem of the Palestinians and the regional problem of the Arab states, which Israel and the United States want to control. The US and Israel have convergent interests when it comes to regional issues, but on the local issue of the Palestinians, the US supports Israel not because of common interests but because of the Israel lobby.
F.H.: -Which is your balance regarding the relation of forces after the massacres perpetrated in Gaza?
N.F.: -The Gaza massacre hasn’t fundamentally altered the regional balance of forces. The regional collaborators such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are now more exposed, and the US collaborators in Palestine have been further discredited, but these are more quantitative than qualitative changes.
F.H.: -Many zionist’s intellectuals argue that the creation of Israel’s State was a necessary reinsurance to prevent another Shoa. They even identify the zionism with the Socialist ideal and/ cooperative ones and as the only valid program for the survival of the Jewish people. Which is your opinion?
N.F.: -The main creator of anti-Semitism in the world today is Israel. Because Israel’s criminal actions are linked with Jews — because Israel claims to act in the name of the Jewish people, because world Jewish organizations rally behind Israel’s criminal actions — Israel breeds increasing hatred of Jews. The next election will probably bring to power ultra-right politicians such as Avigdor Lieberman who, anywhere else in the Western world, would be called fascist.
F.H.: -In Argentina, the authorities of the Jewish community, close to the Israeli embassy, denounced as “anti-Semites” the demonstrators against the massacre of Gaza. In our country, the congregation of Richard Williamson, bishop who denies the holocaust and who lived precisely here years ago, exercises his activities. Nevertheless, for this case, any authority of the Israeli community raised any complaint ever. I wanted to ask you, about this particular and selective use of the term “anti-Semitism”, which is it origin? Does it preserve the same efficiency today as before?
N.F.: -Israel´s supporters don´t care if you are antisemitic or philosemitic, a believer in the Nazi Holocaust or a denier of it. Israel is always denouncing President Achmadinejad of Iran as a Holocaust denier. But Israel´s favorite Palestinian, Mahmoud Abbas wrote his doctoral dissertation denying the Nazi Holocaust and then published his thesis as a book in Beirut. This doesn´t prevent Israel from embracing him, so long as he is a stooge and collaborator.