Dershowitz vs Finkelstein III
The real problem is much deeper.
James Petras and Bill Templer
are straightening me out

12 April 2007
by G.S.  <george.salzman@umb.edu>

this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2007-04-12.htm

      My first posting on this issue (Dershowitz vs. Finkelstein I), was:
A dangerous struggle to bury the truth, 8 April 2007
      Norman G. Finkelstein is a treasure of the academic world. His effectiveness in making known much of the truth about the Israel-Palestine conflict is so great that Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University has mounted a disgraceful one-person campaign to try to bury his voice by preventing him from gaining tenure in De Paul University, i.e. by getting him fired. . . . To see entire item, (htm).

     A second posting (Dershowitz vs. Finkelstein II) followed shortly afterwards:
Help prevent Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz from intervening in De Paul University to get Norman G. Finkelstein fired, 9 April 2007, posted 11 April 2007
      Norman G. Finkelstein is a rock of solidity in academia. His effectiveness in making known (the rest is the same as above). . . . To see entire item, (htm).

      Both Bill Templer and James Petras wrote me, emphasizing the importance of confronting the Zionist infrastructure in the U.S. that works to propagate Zionist ideology and to implement the Zionist program in accord with that ideology. I wrote today to a number of people, a letter that said in part:
 


Subject: The need to block Dershowitz's effort to prevent open discussion
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 10:56:58 -0500

Dear Kevin Murray, James Petras, Bill Templer and Chris Leadbeater,

      Thanks to each of you for writing me on this "hot-button" issue ... James, Kevin, and Bill, would it be OK for me to use the relevant parts of your statements in preparing a follow-up appeal for support for Norman Finkelstein? Kevin ... I would like to add [your letter] as a third sample, to my posting at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2007-04-09.htm .
      Jim, your note this morning raises a deeper question: how to tackle the support structure that is undoubtedly backing this particular effort of Dershowitz. I think that's surely worth pursuing. My characterization of Dershowitz's efforts as a one-man campaign was naive. You're correct in seeing him as merely the point man. Bill Templer called my attention to your analysis in http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17482.htm, a lengthy article that I haven't yet read entirely, but will.
      I had been hesitant to characterize the attack on Finkelstein as a Zionist campaign because I thought that otherwise-sympathetic people might be turned off, thinking (incorrectly) that an anti-Zionist position is an anti-semitic (meaning here anti-Jewish) position. Such folks would, I thought, more likely respond to a call for opposing censorship of discussion of important issues and to support an effort to counter Dershowitz. But of course there are more sinister efforts being made behind the scenes, just as was the case with the New York Theatre Workshop in New York City's East [Greenwich] Village suddenly cancelling "My Name is Rachel Corrie" (http://pwgd.org/gs/?p=12) and at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University immediately following the Mearsheimer-Walt paper, "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy" (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19062?email). In both instances, "Jewish money" was involved. Perhaps there needs to be a totally open discussion of the implications of Zionist ideology, and a no-holds-barred effort to uncover the Zionist infrastructure's initiatives, successes and failures. I think that is what both of you, Bill Templer and Jim Petras, are pointing towards. You're probably correct.
      Also, for the benefit of those of you who might not have received word of it, there's a petition in support of Finkelstein, which Chris told me about. It's at (http://www.petitiononline.com/nf200704/petition.html). I believe it's important to also write personal statements. But that of course takes a bit more time and effort.
All best wishes, especially to Dennis H. Holtschneider and Charles S.Suchar, who must feel that you and De Paul University are 'under the gun' of the Zionists.


      I want to recommend James Petras’ article, “US Empire and the Middle East: Zionism, Puppet Regimes and Political Allies”, which I’ve now read completely. It was posted on the Information Clearing House website on 4 April. Petras makes a very strong case for the extreme influence of what he terms the ‘Zionist power configuration’ (ZPC) in the United States. His essay begins:
An understanding of US imperial policy in the Middle East requires an analysis, which centers on four points:

1) The power and influence of Israel and the Zionist power configuration over US political institutions (Congress, the Executive branch, the mass media, the two major political parties and electoral processes), their economic leverage on investment and financial institutions (state and trade union pension funds, investment banks), their cultural domination of journals, the performing arts, magazines, films and newspapers. Zionist political, economic and cultural power is directed exclusively toward maximizing Israel’s military, economic and political expansion and superiority in the Middle East even when it conflicts with other US imperialist interests.

2) The capacity of the US Empire to construct and instrumentalize Middle East client states and mercenary forces to implement US policies. The most prominent and important current instruments of US policy in the Middle East include the puppet regime in Iraq, the Abbas-Dahlan group in Palestine, the Kurds in Iraq, the Sinoria-Harari-Jumblat regime in Lebanon, the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organisation, Kurds and Sunni tribalists in Iran and the puppet Somali ‘regime’ backed by Ethiopian-Ugandan mercenaries.

3) An alliance with right-wing regimes and rulers in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Israel to provide military bases, intelligence and political backing for the colonial occupation in Iraq, the division of Iraq, economic sanctions and war against Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and any other clerical-nationalist and leftist movements in the Middle East.

4) The capacity to contain, repress and limit the opposition of the majority of the US public and a minority of Congress members to the current war in Iraq and a future war against Iran. The key problem for US imperialism is the discrediting of the civilian-militarists in the White House and their increasing tendency to resort to new political ‘adventures’ and ‘provocations’ to recover support and to concentrate dictatorial powers in the President’s office.

These ‘vectors’ of US Middle East policy are increasingly challenged from within and without, are subject to sharp contradictions and face the probability of failing. Nevertheless the ‘machinery’ of imperial power is still operating and defining the nature of US Middle East policy.


      Petras’ formulation in terms of the ‘Zionist power configuration’ (ZPC) is inclusive of all the elements in U.S. society that are part of that power configuration. However, it is clear that he is focussed pricipally on the primarily Jewish organizations, groups and individuals within the power configuaration. I believe this is justified, despite the presence and weight of those right-wing fundamentalist Christian groups that are part of the ZPC.


All comments and criticisms are welcome.    george.salzman@umb.edu

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Last update of this page: 12 April 2007