On deconstructing the hullabaloo surrounding Finkelstein's tenure

Second Letter to the Leadership of DePaul University
On deconstructing the hullabaloo surrounding Finkelstein's tenure

The Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., Ed.D.
DePaul University
55 East Jackson Boulevard, 22nd Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60604 U.S.
Phone: +1.312.362.8000
Fax: +1.312.362.6822

Dr. Helmut Epp, Ph.D.
DePaul University
55 East Jackson Boulevard, 22nd Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60604 U.S.
Phone: +1.312.362.8760
Fax: +1.312.362.6822

On deconstructing the hullabaloo surrounding Finkelstein's tenure

April 29, 2007.

Dear DePaul U. President and Provost,

I hope you won't mind if I summarize what this issue is really all about rather straightforwardly. After this summary, I include below the open letter that I had emailed you on April 10, 2007, as well as a letter to the editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education that I had emailed them on April 13, 2007. I was notified by the Chronicle this past Friday, when the letters on this topic were finally published in the Friday April 27, 2007 issue, that my letter was not among the two that they printed. Hence you can read this letter here.

What this issue is not about is Norm Finkelstein. And all this talk of suitability of scholarly credentials, etc., is entirely a clever red herring. So for instance, had NF only written about, say, the native American Indians' theft of their ancestral home lands of thousands of years of continuous inhabitation at the hands of the foreign settlers to the New World, or the military acquisition of California from Mexico - since these momentous events are now irreversible faits accomplis that we all recognize today as history long past, and which only serve the interest of torturing high school students in getting them to nod their heads in profound wisdom of how cruel some constructions of nations can be - this would not be an issue.

What this issue is in fact about is to continue permitting the full faits accomplis of a new settlement of another peoples' brutally usurped land that is now very much in progress, even as I write this in April 2007, in the supposed 'enlightened' modernity of the 21st century.

As evidence of the unimpeachable veracity of this statement, may I humbly point to the vehement attacks on the distinguished former American President Jimmy Carter by this same antagonist from Harvard Law School and his equally distinguished coterie of fellow intellectuals, 14 of whom presumably resigned in protest from the Carter Center, when the former American President dared to even speak out, as anemically as he did, against this new settlement in progress. A monumental crime against humanity that the world not only spectates silently at the expense of a suffering peoples, but the American public directly aids and abets in its commission by virtue of permitting their super power nation - a "populist democracy" - to financially, politically militarily, and culturally support it by being deliberately kept uninformed about it by their institutional ruling elite.

So if this wasn't Norm Finkelstein, but say Zahir Ebrahim, the plebeian ordinary me, and my heritage had as much distinctive weight to give my voice of conscience against this monumental crime any credibility before the American public, I would have experienced the same fate. As did Jimmy Carter. And so does Norman Finkelstein. Nothing either of them has written is so intellectually profound that one can not know simply by examining the thousands of books and documents that exist in the Israeli Government's own archives, in the victims' own archives, and by simply visiting the Holy Land of oppression - not the Tel Aviv side, but the West Bank side. Or simply by reading a narrative in a Palestinian victim's own voice who is born on that soil, whose father, grandparents, and great... were all born on that soil, such as the notable and heart wrenching "Refugees in our Own Land" by Muna Hamzeh, that one can purchase in any American book store. The best $25 you can spend in easily acquiring first hand knowledge of the incredible veracity and brutal honesty of the scholarship of Norm Finkelstein - his main and courageous virtue - of exposing simple moral truths in a mainstream of deception.

So what is Finkelstein's crime? It has to be examined in the light of his very first crime - a challenge to Joan Peters who had reproduced the Zionist narrative of "A land without a people for a people without a land" in pseudo scholarship and largely for consumption in this nation for the benefit of its gullible and uninformed peoples. For elsewhere, the people of the world are indeed allowed to hear the passionate narratives of the indigenous natives of the 'land without a people' themselves. But in America, such narratives are not permitted to be heard in the voices of the victims themselves - the unfortunate and forgotten children of a 'lesser god', the P-A-L-E-S-T-I-N-I-A-N-S - within the mainstream discourse!

So it falls to the lot of men and women of uncommon conscience, and uncommon moral courage, like Norm Finkelstein, to provide them a voice before the peoples of his own nation.

But that voice is very inconvenient while the fait accompli is still incrementally in progress, and the support of American peoples - who know the history of how their own land was settled by the slaughter of 10 million indigenous natives very well - is crucial in achieving that fait accompli. As one of the main thinkers and former National Security Advisor of this august nation had candidly noted in his book: "Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization".

Thus that's what this hullabaloo is all about.

And as you will surely notice, the accomplishment of this fait accompli to its fullest realization is of such pressing concern to this antagonist from Harvard University Law School, that it does not even prevent him from usurping and mowing down the mandates of the most important contribution to the modernity du jour that this nation has made - her 2000 schools and colleges of higher learning, and their much coveted academic freedom of thought. For what was the battle that Socrates willingly drank the hemlock, and Galileo suffered?

Thus who is traitor and who isn't, who needs to be tried for treason against his own peoples for keeping them misinformed, and who needs to be awarded not just the simple tenure, but other distinguishing position in the university and other fair compensation for outlandishly being made to suffer this calumny simply for standing up to uphold the honor of his peoples by keeping them informed, I will let your own good conscience be the fair judge.

I don't know Norm Finkelstein personally. But as the moral voice of conscience, I claim him as my teacher, no differently than I claim Socrates as my teacher.

Thus in humble defense of my uncommonly courageous teacher, I hope you can lend due consideration to the following two letters and this summary analysis which has outright dispelled all the red herrings of this case.


Zahir Ebrahim

Project Humanbeingsfirst.org

This letter was first submitted via www.normanfinkelstein.wordpress.com on April 29, 2007.

URLs of the two cited letters:

The author, a minor justice activist, grew up in Pakistan, studied EECS at MIT, engineered for a while in high-tech Silicon Valley (patents here), and retired early to pursue other responsible interests. He may be reached via humanbeingsfirst on gmail com.

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