Pr.Finkelstein is a political scientist, author and human rights activist from New York City. The son of Maryla Huyst Finkelstein and Zacharias Finkelstein both survivors of the holocaust who spent the war in the Warsaw Ghetto, Majdanek and Auschwitz.
Although Jewish Pr.Finkelstein has spent all of his adult life championing the Palestinian Cause and is considered one of the leading experts on the Palestine/Israel conflict . A downfall of his anti-establishment views and his support for Palestine has resulted in him loosing his job at DePaul University, a result of pressure from members of the Israeli Lobby.
Recently a film was made about his life called “American Radical-The trials of Norman Finkelstein” detailing in mass travels around the world lecturing on the conflict and also detailing aspects of his personal life.
I hope you enjoy this short interview.
YoungPhilosopher89- PLO leaders have recently gone to the UN to seek recognition of statehood along the 1967 borders, In your opinion what chance have they got of achieving this goal considering America and Israel position of rejection-ism ?
Pr.Finkelstein-It’s unlikely they can achieve anything substantial without mobilizing the Palestinian people and their supporters abroad. Unfortunately, the PLO is incapable of doing this, in no small part because it knows that, if mobilized, the Palestinian people will get rid of them, just as elsewhere in the Arab world since the Arab spring.
YoungPhilosopher89- A few months back their was an announcement that the PLO and Hamas where going to start working closely together for the greater good of Palestinian freedom, do you think this mutual harmony can last or is there too much division in Palestinian politics currently that it is inevitably going to divide the cause again?
Pr.Finkelstein-I do not know much about internal Palestinian politics, so I cannot give an authoritative answer. But so long as the PA collaborates with Israel and the US, it’s hard to imagine how they can reach any agreement with Hamas.
YoungPhilosopher89-We have recently seen Netanyahu announce the building of thousands of new settlements in the occupied territory which goes against UN law, Do you think a Palestinain state can include the settlements or will Israel do everything in its power to build more and inevitably annex them into a future Israel?
Pr.Finkelstein-It’s still possible to create a real Palestinian state. The problem is political, not physical. The Palestinians proposed a map in 2008 which would enable Israel to keep 63% of the settlers (310,000) on 1.9% of the West Bank, that could be exchanged in a land swap for 1.9% of Israeli land of comparable quality. It was a reasonable proposal.
YoungPhilosopher89-With the current positive coverage of the “Arab Spring” do you think their is now a big shift in western societies mentality towards the Palestinian cause and if so will it play much of a role in influencing the international community’s pressure on Israel to restart a Peace Process ?
Pr.Finkelstein-Western public opinion was turning against Israel before the Arab Spring. It’s been a slow, incremental process of enlightenment. Right now, Israel’s standing is very low in the world, falling into the same category as Iran, North Korea and Pakistan.
- Finkelstein highlights international law as powerful weapon for boycott (jews4big.wordpress.com
- “American Radical” Premiers at Chicago Underground Film Festival and is Acquired by Typecast Releasing for U.S. Distribution (prweb.com)