Creating people's geographies
By now, you may know that Prof. Norman Finkelstein has been denied tenure at DePaul University in Chicago, where he has been an esteemed and highly regarded teacher since 2001.
Norman is a light on the hill of US scholarship, especially when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict, about which he has written extensively, with unflinching honesty and rare integrity.
Prof. Finkelstein’s speaking truth to power and not slavishly toeing the Likudnik line has meant he has also been a target for vulgar and sustained attacks from the Israel Lobby, who have sought to exert an undue influence on his tenure application, an internal university process. His sterling scholarship has attracted the endorsement and support of various international scholars, including Noam Chomsky, Avi Shlaim, Raul Hilberg and Sara Roy, and the support of many students.
It is an indictment of US academe that a leading scholar such as Finkelstein, now in his mid-fifties, has still not achieved tenure despite his merit. In his application, he won the first two departmental and college review rounds with tenure recommendations, but the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences overrode these recommendations.
Ressentiment, the Heathlander and the Fanonite all feature good write-ups on the injustice perpetrated against this important scholar — do check them out. The incomparable Benjamin Heine has also produced a portrait of Norman (above), depicting the American Zionist lobby’s McCarthyist tactics and campaign of defamatory attacks and outright lies spearheaded by Alan Dershowitz, whom Prof Norman Finkelstein has exposed for his more than shoddy scholarship.
For now, I wish to offer my condolences to all those thousands of students and faculty both at DePaul and worldwide who have supported Finkelstein, and to those who will be denied his teaching. I offer my support and sympathy to Norman himself for his courage, integrity and example, lest we forget that he has also endured personal attacks on himself and the memory of his Holocaust-survivor parents. The desperation of the Lobby exposes the extent to which cracks are appearing in their confidence to promulgate their narrative as the supreme and unchallenged one.
Norman, in an America that wasn’t Israeli-occupied territory, you’d be snapped up at any august higher education institution and would be much sought after, as indeed you are sought after as a speaker internationally. DePaul does not deny you tenure as much as it denies itself this opportunity to have you in their permanent employ. This is their loss and missed opportunity.
Here’s a golden oldie to cheer you and us all, and to which we might add “The Israel Lobby mounted a smear campaign against him”. Norman, though you have not committed any of the (tongue-in-cheek) offenses below, apparently you’re in good company:
1. Because he only had one major publication.
2. Furthermore, his one major publication:
- was in Hebrew
- had no references
- was not published in a refereed journal, and some even doubt he wrote it himself
3. It may true that he created the world, but what has he done since?
4. The scientific community has had a very rough time trying to replicate his results.
5. He has never applied to the Ethics Board for permission to use human subjects.
6. When one experiment went awry, he tried to cover it up by drowning the subjects.
7. When subjects didn’t behave as predicted, he often punished them, or just deleted them from the sample.
8. He rarely came to class, just told students to read the book.
9. He had his son teach the class.
10. He expelled his first two students.
11. Although there were only ten requirements, most students failed his test.
12. His office hours were infrequent and usually held on mountain top.