Thursday, November 24, 2005

Interview with Finkelstein: Beyond Chutzpah: "I think [readers are] going to be very surprised by the fact that this whole claim of the new anti-Semitism is a complete fraud and they are going to be very surprised that Israel’s human rights record is quite abysmal.... Everybody who has read it has made the comment that it’s quite shocking to see the magnitude of Israel’s human rights crimes in the Occupied Territories."

"American Jewish organizations didn’t give a fig about Israel before the June 1967 War. After 1967, Israel became their cause because it was safe.... The biggest mistake anyone can make about people in power is to ascribe to them ideological convictions. Ben-Gurion was a Zionist. Abba Eban was a Zionist. The early founders of the state of Israel were Zionist for sure because they were committed to ideas. Just like the Bolsheviks were clearly Communist. But once you get into power, people are interested in one thing – more power. And then they adjust their beliefs and their ideology to serve that goal."

"I don’t think Alan Dershowitz cares about Israel. He never wrote about Israel before June 67. The Holocaust – he’s said: Growing up, we never discussed the Holocaust. I don’t remember one single conversation with anyone about the Holocaust. They don’t care about the Holocaust or Israel, they care about their careers. So, I’ve always found it perplexing as to why these people are elevated by giving them an ideology and acting as if they are acting out of conviction.... Harvard can’t acknowledge that its senior most professor of law [Dershowitz] is a hoaxer and a plagiarist. It says something about the institution – it’s so devastating that they just can’t do it. It shines a light on them that is quite shocking. There’s the element of Israel and there’s the element of institutional protection."

"[Ariel Sharon and the like are] not proponents of the two-state solution, this is nonsense. There’s an international consensus on what the two-state settlement means. It’s a full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Anything else is garbage. There are people like Sharon who don’t support a two-state settlement. They support a one state solution for Israel and a phone booth for the Palestinians."

"Every state has that right [to build a wall and defend itself]. You build a wall on your own property. When I was growing up, my parents didn’t get along with their neighbors, and so they decided to build a wrought-iron fence around their property. So the first thing you have to do, at least in New York, you have to hire a surveyor and the surveyor demarcates the border. If you’re one inch into your neighbor’s property, under the law, you have to tear down the fence. Very uncomplicated.

"The West Bank and Gaza, under international law, are occupied territories. Israel doesn’t have title to one half of one inch of the West Bank or Gaza or East Jerusalem. Want to build a fence? Build it on your border and protect your people. This has nothing to do with terrorism. This has nothing to do with protecting the settlements. If you want to protect the settlements, you do what Israel has done. You build electronic fences around the settlements. Kiryat Arba is very well-protected and there are no terrorist attacks. It has to do with creating a new border.... There’s nothing Israel can do without US support. It can’t breathe without US support. The US bankrolls everything, and it’s just silly to think that Israel can do anything without the support."

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