Monday, February 8, 2010

Dr. Finkelstein cool heads are required

The passive part of my day started with my reading the introduction to the second edition of Norman Finkelstein's "Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict" and sort of petered out with me watching a "discussion" between Finkelstein and the Executive director of "the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide", Dr. Israel W. Charny and, while, like Dr Finkelstein, I also think that an "Institute on Genoicide", instead of an "Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide", would suffice, my main concerns were for Norman himself.

The day began with the Finkelstein I know and admire; the calm, academically brilliant Historian who follows the path of 'Queen Reason', whose rational argument makes Dershowitz, Wiesel, Goldhagen and the rest of the charlatans look like the inadequate fools that they are and it ended with an insight into a man who, while still managing to unmask Charny, is beginning to find it difficult to even play at having that academic detachment that can disguise emotional involvement. Of course, considering the ordeals which Dr. Finkelstein has been subjected too over the last few years, ordeals which, of course, have culminated in him being forced to resign from Chicago's DePaul University, one might forgive him for becoming a trifle choleric when confronted with a smug, "holier than thou" fool in the form of Israel Charny. Moreover, mass murder in the Lebanon and Gaza, a continued ethnic cleansing in the occupied territories and agitating for a third world war, are not matters which we should take lightly. Indeed, if it is any consolation Dr Finkelstein, while you avoid a bottom up approach when reading Goldhagen and his ilk because their incoherrent nonsense is not to be meant to be read in detail as there is no detail, I avoid conversations with people like smarmy Charny because .... well, because I am just getting round to getting my blood pressure under control and .... well, to be honest, I am not only not as capable as you, I am also more than a trifle choleric myself. Yes, I know what I am talking about and if I could meet that wee bugger Tony Blair, I would give him a Glasgow kiss. Still this is not about me.

Norman you are right and they are wrong but that is not always the point. Cool heads are needed with these people. Edward Wadie Said has gone, so too has Howard Zinn, Chomsky won't be with us for much longer. Your scholarship is, I believe, superior to at least Howard Zinn's and Naom Chomsky's, although I do much prefer Said's prose. Moreover, unlike John Pilger and Robert Fisk,  whose thesis statements I nevertheless usually agree with, your argumentation is watertight. However, these are all level headed men, who manage to balance the irrational with the rational in such a way that their 'Queen Reason' is capable of a wry smile, a joke, or a shake of the head and which disarms their opponents and makes them look like the clumsy, selfish, inhuman fools that they are. Granted, mass murder, ethnic cleansing and trying to facilitate a third world war are no laughing matter and are more than enough to make most of us lose our tempers. Still, no matter how difficult it is, stay cool and let them show themselves for the irrational fools that they are while we give them nothing to attack.

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