[Birds of a feather]
Controversial scholar Norman Finkelstein has left DePaul University. He’s controversial for a variety of reasons. Radical leftists say it is due to his willingness to stand up to the
Jewish “Zionist” lobby. Conservative critics note that Finkelstein, who presents himself as an expert on Israel and the Middle East, knows neither Hebrew nor Arabic. Further, he uses his classes as a bully pulpit rather than providing students a complex and nuanced understanding of history and politics.
Finkelstein threatened to “commit an act of civil disobedience,” engage in a hunger strike, and have his supporters hold massive protests due to his failure to receive tenure. In the end, it was all a bluff. The Chicago Tribune reports:
Wednesday’s demonstration witnessed the way in which the professor’s personal and academic struggle has been subsumed into a constellation of larger issues. Though the majority in the pro-Finkelstein ranks were college age, some in the crowd of 120 looked like veterans of many an earlier protest. One carried a placard and a portable oxygen supply.
But instead of a dramatic standoff, Finkelstein stood beside a statue of St. Vincent DePaul, for whom the university is named, and announced that he and the school had come to an amicable agreement: He resigned, and the university acknowledged his scholarship and teaching.
Recently, both supporters of the Palestinians and those of the Israelis have exchanged cries of “foul” during bitter campus debates. Jewish college students have complained of being harassed, in and out of the classroom. After an incident at the University of Chicago, that school brought in counselors, hoping to restore civility to the dorms.
Scholars of Middle Eastern studies have complained that Jewish organizations were out to censor them.
But Finkelstein himself was soft-spoken in what had been billed as his final class session.
His voice cracked with emotion when he thanked his students for their support through some dark periods.
Poor Fink. Don’t worry about him though. I’m sure he’ll land a gig at the University of California at Berkeley or some other bastion of groupthink. If that doesn’t pan out, he can always make plenty of loot from speaking engagements. Maybe he’ll join former President Carter on the Peace Not Apartheid circuit.
UPDATE: From Arutz Sheva:
[A] contingent of anti-Semites is to come to DePaul to show support for Herr Finkie, and these will include Khmer Rouge spokes-Stalinist Noam Chomsky, Walt “Jewish Cabal Controls the World” Mearsheimer, Brownshirt Tony Judt, jihadnik Tariq Ali, and of course Neve Gordon, Fink’s anti-Israel groupie from Ben Gurion University.