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American Norman Finkelstein may be the only Jew who was prevented from entering Israel when he tried to visit it in 2008. He was returned to where he came from after being detained and interrogated for more than 24 hours, because of his views in support of Palestinian rights, and his being the loudest and strongest voice for decades in condemning Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.
Norman was born in 1953 in New York, to Jewish parents who were survivors of the concentration camps in Warsaw and Auschwitz. They next met in a camp for displaced people in Austria, from where they migrated to America, and from his mother he learned to call for peace and truth.
Norman received his doctorate from the prestigious Princeton University, held many academic positions at several well-known universities, and wrote many books and dozens of interviews, lectures and research, the majority of which focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Holocaust.
Because of his frank positions, many American media outlets fought him, the Zionist lobby was strongly hostile to him, and groups sought to expel him from his teaching jobs, but all of this did not fail him, and he did not surrender, and remained a supporter of Palestinian rights.
In a recent interview with the famous program presenter Spear Morgan, Norman mentioned several important matters, in response to the presenter’s accusations of unjustified bias against Israel, and his refusal to condemn what “Hamas” did.
He said (in a manner of speaking) that, in principle, he condemns the atrocities committed by “Hamas” on October 7, but things must be put into perspective. Those who committed these atrocities must be tried and convicted, but the judiciary will inevitably look favorably on what they did, because they were “prisoners of a concentration camp,” and the court will be very reluctant to convict them.
“The one thousand five hundred fighters who carried out the October operation were born in the concentration camp, and they were living without a past, present, or future, and they were suffering from various diseases — hunger and despair, along with the loss of freedom and dignity, just as they and their families had been exposed to, for years, to various attacks and insults at the hands of the Zionists.
For 15 years, the Israeli forces had been launching air strikes on them, blowing up their homes, arresting them, and treating them with the utmost arbitrariness. Neither elderly women nor even children were spared from their oppression. When those young men broke through the security barriers that day, they knew that they would most likely not return. They are alive to their families, as Israel has not been fair or merciful to them since 1948.”
Finkelstein adds that in 2020, he felt despair, due to the Palestinians’ unwillingness to continue the struggle and revolution against their conditions, and he decided to put the issue and its owners behind his back, and go about his business, and he felt pain for his decision, knowing that in doing so he was abandoning the cause of a people, the person who had devoted 15 years of his life to defending their tragedy and their pain and fears, and I believe that he was the last voice representing them in the Western world, and they had no other hope. But he now believes more in the justice of their cause.
I repeat what I have previously said in more than one article, and interview: I am against everything that Hamas represents in terms of opinions, ideas, and positions, but that should not prevent me for a moment from sympathizing with the Palestinian right to a free and independent homeland.
I also repeat that the real problem is not with Israel, despite all its crimes, but with our backwardness. It is backwardness that lost the homelands, and because of it, they and others will be lost!
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By Ahmad alsarraf
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