Finkelfest at DePaul aka D.A.F.C.

More on Finkelstein from the :

Leon Wieseltier put it best when he referred to Norman Finkelstein–the hysterical, Hezbollah-loving, soon-to-be-late-of DePaul University political science professor–as “poison, he’s a disgusting self-hating Jew, he’s something you find under a rock.” Finkelstein has built a career on defaming Holocaust survivors as greedy liars out to rob noble Swiss bankers, all the while using “I’m Jewish!” as a defense. The wife of the neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier Ernst Zuendel once said, “I feel like a kid in a candy store… Finkelstein is a Jewish David Irving.” You get the picture. But if you don’t, read Omer Bartov’s review of Finkelstein’s The Holocaust Industry in the New York Times.

Well, it looks like Professor Finkelstein has some company under that rock: Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky and, perhaps more surprising, ostensibly respectable academic figures like Tony Judt and John Mearsheimer, author of the conspiratorial The Israel Lobby.

In June, DePaul University denied Finkelstein tenure. Of course, his defenders are all weeping the tears of those victimized by academic “censorship” (because, as we all know, it’s leftists who are “censored” on college campuses). Ultimately, however, it was not Finkelstein’s political views–odious as they are–that did him in, but his shoddy scholarship and unprofessional behavior. As DePaul’s president wrote at the time, Finkelstein did not  ”honor the obligation” to ”respect and defend the free inquiry of associates.” DePaul has canceled Finkelstein’s class, but the good professor says he may carry out a “hunger strike” in protest. He’d be doing the world a favor if he did.

These academic heroes have joined an outfit called the “DePaul Academic Freedom Committee,” the mission of which is to “preserve academic freedom for our faculty on campus.” Ali, Chomsky, Judt and Mearsheimer will be convening a teach-in at DePaul in October to protest on behalf of Finkelstein. Though now lacking an academic perch (DePaul is the third university from which he has been fired) Finkelstein won’t be out of a job for long; I imagine the Iranian mullahs, Hizbollah or Hamas would love nothing more than to have an energetic, American Jewish spokesperson to make their respective cases (though perhaps he’s more effective

advocating for them in an unofficial, unpaid capacity). If they don’t come through, Finkelstein can always go climb back under his rock.

One expects these sorts of theatrics from Ali and Chomsky. But Judt and Mearsheimer have revealed much about themselves–and their intellectual motivations–by choosing to advocate for a Hezbollah propagandist and hero of neo-Nazis.

Hat tip to Brian.

, ,

Finkelstein to fast this Yom Kippur

The professor who cannot stop his vicious self-hatred has been mothballed by DePaul. When he was denied tenure, it was only a matter of time. According to the Chicago Tribune, his name initially appeared on the class list and then was removed. DePaul placed him on paid leave for the entire year, but Norman will have nothing of it.

Finkelstein told the [Tribune] that he planned to wage his own campaign against the administration.

“I intend to go to my office on the first day of classes and, if my way is barred, to engage in civil disobedience,” Finkelstein said. “If arrested, I’ll go on a hunger strike. If released, I’ll do it all over again. I’ll fast in jail for as long as it takes.”

Classes start on September 5th. Assuming that Norman does go to his former office on Sept. 5th, he could in theory sit there the whole day until business hours are over. According to the Illinois Compiled Statues (720 ILCS 5/21-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 21-3) a person can legally enter a public building, and if not bothering anyone, can stay. Ever if he were to stay there after they close, most likely the worst offense is a class A or B criminal misdemeanor. Hardly the kind of thing that gets you locked up in jail long enough to have a hunger strike.

In order to really get locked up for a longer period of time, he would have to do something more drastic and take a bigger risk than just trespassing. He could refuse to speak, and be completely non-cooperative. If there is a court order barring him from DePaul, and he trespasses, that could put him in more hot water. If he were to break into his old office, that would be even harsher.

I don’t really see him sitting in jail for more than a few hours, since they have better things to do in Chicago than allow this dude to make a hunger strike, when they have violent criminals that need cell-space.

If Norman is serious about a hunger strike—hardly the kind of thing to do if you hope to get hired at any school—then the hunger strike will have to be at DePaul to get any attention. And figuring that the arrest and release and arrest cycle plays out a few times, it could very be that come September 21st, Norm might be fasting somewhere.

The Halacha is Norman that if a person fasts on Yom Kippur without kavanna (that is Hebrew for conscious intent) that the fast is for Yom Kippur and repentance, they still receive the benefit of the fast.

Instead of seeking vengeance — consider doing some introspection as to why you ended up in this place. Instead of continuing to blame the Zionists and Dershowitz for your troubles, try taking some responsibility for your actions. DePaul didn’t give you tenure because of your unbecoming pugilistic nature, not respecting other views, and getting into personal and vicious arguments on the national stage. (And not because you lack language skills or poor scholarship.)


As we prepare for Rosh Hashanah, the gates of repentance are open to you at every moment. It is precisely when a person has reached a critical stage, that they are sometimes able to look and see the error of their ways.


The Next US Attorney General

With the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Michael Chertoff is being eyed for the position. He would become the first Jewish U.C. Attorney General since Edward Levi from 1975-1977. Levi was a seriously distinguished jurist born in Chicago, Illinois, the son and grandson of rabbis. He received his A.B. Phi Beta Kappa from the undergraduate college of the University of Chicago in 1932, and later his J.D. at the University of Chicago Law School in 1935.

Michael Chertoff is also the son and grandson of Rabbis, and could become the first Jew appionted to this position in 30 years.

When Chertoff was nominated as Secretary of Homeland Defense worried members of the Jewish community thought that having a Jew in such a prominent position might be “bad for the Jews”. After all, if anything goes wrong, they can blame the Jews. Other more enlightened opinions pointed out that “they” already blame the Jews for everything.

The main question remains will Chertoff be good for America? Can he bring respectability and the aura of professionalism to a position thoroughly politicized and tarnished? Chertoff had a very successful run as a US Attorney, garnering praise from Dems and Republicans. However, Chertoff then became special counsel for the Senate Whitewater Committee that spent millions and millions trying to bring down Clinton. Chertoff also co-authored the controversial Patriot Act. He led the charge against Arthur Anderson, the former accounting house, that went down with Enron.

However, my own memories of Chertoff go back two years, when he oversaw FEMA’s disastrous relief efforts in the wake of Hurrican Katrina. FEMA, which had been rolled into the Department of Homeland Security, failed. Failed big time not only in immediate response, but in every step afterwards. Billions wasted, trailers of food and water never reaching people. FEMA even prevented relief from reaching people in some cases.

In his defense, we can say that Chertoff inherited a bad egg in FEMA. The agency and its director Michael Brown were incapable of dealing with the scope of the tragedy, and unable to recognize that and act. However, Chertoff let Brown run the failed rescue and relief efforts for over a week, before recalling him to DC. Nearly 2000 people died in Hurricane Katrina.

Chertoff’s record of public service, and high level of personal integrity, point to him being an excellent candidate. Chertoff’s close affiliation with Bush, the Patriot Act, and FEMA, are warning signs that he may not be able to repair the cratering damage called Alberto Gonzalez.

Free Don Siegelman

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was wrongly tried and convicted and deserves to be a free man helping the people of America. Instead, he has been jailed, unable to be out on bail while he appeals his sentence. That’s right — he’s being treated like a flight risk even though he is one of America’s most venerable Democratic politicians.Gov. Siegelman was sentenced to over seven years in jail for something he did not personally benefit from. And to be sure, it was much less severe, than say, revealing the identities of members of the CIA, spending billions on companies you will be working for when you leave Washington and move back to Texas, or firing very good attorneys because they don’t roll the way you do.

In fact this man was singled out to be persecuted by Karl Rove. Which in and of itself means he most likely is innocent. Ninety-percent of the charges leveled against him were thrown out before the trial. He was found innocent of over a dozen others in the trial.

Don Siegelman was a highly popular Democratic Governor of Alabama. He is the only person to ever have served Alabama by being elected to its four highest offices.

What horrific crime did he commit? Siegalman was convicted of appointing someone to a state board that the same man had been appointed to by three previous governors, in return for a contribution in support of a referendum campaign.

This May, Governor Siegleman and his family joined our Hillel Shabbos dinner at my home. He married a Jewish woman and his children have been raised as Jews, though he himself is a Catholic. His daughter studied in Long Beach and now is a graduate student in Israel. From the day I had a chance to spend with Gov. Siegelman, both my wife and I can attest that he is a decent, loving and righteous man of genuine character, who needs all of our help to get out of jail now!

I encourage those who care about the due process of law and the pursuit of justice to help free Gov. Siegelman.

Wikipedia has a very good synopsis of the injustice served, including, major questions about the jury and the judge, and Rove’s involvement. This recent blog on has a good introduction to the case.

Here is a brief synopses of why this case is foul from the Progressive Review’s online blog:

(1) Governor Siegelman is currently incarcerated at a Bureau of Prisons facility, having been refused release on bail pending appeal. Indeed, he was even denied 45 days to report to prison to give him time to put his affairs in order, an opportunity which is commonly granted.

(2) A lawyer who had worked in the campaign of Governor Siegelman’s opponent in the 2006 gubernatorial contest has sworn in a recent affidavit that the spouse of the federal prosecutor in this case stated that his wife and another federal prosecutor would “take care of” Mr. Siegelman and that he had talked with a political operative for the White House concerning such assurances.

(3) In an unrelated but recent case, a low-level employee in another state administration was prosecuted and convicted by another U.S. Attorney before a U.S. Court of Appeals ordered her immediate release from prison and reversed the trial verdict calling the prosecution evidence “beyond thin.”

(4) Another former Governor of Alabama was convicted of corruption charges a few years ago in a case where he personally benefited from his action and was sentenced to probation. That case was handled by the same lead prosecutor as in the Siegelman case.

(5) The sentence sought by the prosecutor in Governor Siegelman’s case was excessively disproportionate, and the sentence imposed – 7 years, 4 months – was harsh.

(6) There are numerous apparently legitimate (and arguably compelling) appealable issues in this case, as confirmed by a number of legal scholars. There have been allegations of jury misconduct and the possible introduction of extrinsic evidence into the jury deliberation process that have not been fully investigated. For this reason, and because Governor Siegelman is not in any way a flight risk, the denial of a bond pending appeal appears inappropriate.