Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finkelstein Lecture Controversy

This article originally Appeared on Gapers Block.


Norman Finkelstein was once a popular professor at DePaul University. He was on the tenure track and was publishing books critical of the occupation of Palestine and the use of the Holocaust to silence critics of Israel's human rights record.

Finkelstein was denied tenure in a dramatic confrontation, where Harvard law professor and torture apologist Alan Dershowitz lobbied DePaul and students supporting Finkelstein occupied the office of the President of DePaul for three days before being kicked out under threat of arrest.

Since that time, controversy has not failed to follow Finkelstein. He was set to speak at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago on April 16 about his new book This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion.

However, on March 24, an event organizer received a letter from the church.

We had a Parish council meeting this past week, I notify everyone on the up coming events that are held at our church, and of course, your event was one of the topics

A few of our board members are attorneys and they are the ones that look into almost everything from the individuals that rent the gym out and if they are covered insurance wise.

they looked deeper into the Professor that will be speaking at our church and they insisted that we couldn't be affiliated with the ideologies of Mr. Norman Finkelstein so I am sorry to say that the church is going to have to cancel and will not be able to rent the gym the night of April the 16th 2010

Please again I am very sorry for the inconvenience."

It's a curious letter. The ideologies of Norman Finkelstein? Did they mean his atheism? His support for international human rights law? Or were these attorneys being spoon fed lies from a Harvard law professor about how Finkelstein, whose parents survived Auschwitz, is some self-hating Jew?

Organizers scrambled in order to find a new venue. They were able to get St. James Cathedral at 65 E. Huron St. to agree to host the event on April 16 at 6pm.

Deno Diamantakos, the parish council president of St. George, has been receiving letters such as this one from Finkelstein supporters.

While Finkelstein is prohibited from speaking on DePaul's campus, the documentary about him, American Radical, will have a screening on April 1 at 6pm at the DePaul Student Center in room 314b.

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