Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fraud Warning! Zionists at work

STANDING with him?

Anti-Finkelstein campaigners defend Israeli military against accusations of brutality - even when these come from ex-IDF soldiers.

THE slogan "Not in My Name!" took on added significance for me last night. I learned that my name had appeared on an online petition AGAINST Professor Norman Finkelstein and his right to hold his job at an American university.
As readers of my previous post on this subject will know I am in favour of Prof. Finkelstein's right to tenure, and in fact I signed a petition in favour of this.

But I heard last night from Dr.George Saltzman, an American academic whom I didn't know, but who had apparently seen my views, that my name, along with his, and those of others opposed to the anti-Finkelstein witch-hunt, had been fraudulently added to a "dump Finkelstein" petition.

The background to all this is that Professor Norman Finkelstein, the son of Jewish Holocaust survivors, has angered Zionist leaders and organisations, first by protesting at the way the history - not to mention reparations - have been misappropriated to serve the Israeli State, and silence critics; and then more recently by attacking Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

In fact, Finkelstein has taken up a fight on two fronts, not only challenging the Zionist Lobby, but also opposing those who try to hide US imperialism's responsibility for its own Middle East policies by blaming everything on the supposed power of Jewish influence.

Norman Finkelstein is neither a "self-hater" nor a Holocaust denier, but this has not stopped the outraged Zionist propaganda racketeers from trying to smear him as both, and incite hatred against him, while at the same time starting a neo-McCarthyite campaign to press Professor Finkelstein's employers, De Paul University, into removing his tenure.

Leading the campaign is Harvard law Professor Alan Dershowitz. His intervention has raised concern among De Paul's own faculty, who question the propriety not to say, decency, of an academic at a larger institution trying to lean on a smaller one to get rid of a member of staff. But mobilising the ground troops, and trading on their ignorance, for an online petition to drive Norman Finkelstein from his post, and indeed profession, is an Israel-is-always-right propaganda outfit called "Stand With Us".

When challenged about its use of people's names without their knowledge, let alone agreement, spokeswoman Rosalind Rothstein replied disingenuously "Please be advised that we are not forging signatures. I have no idea who would do such a thing.... because obviously something is wrong. We are in the business of playing fairly, but playing. We entered the debate about this because there was a "pro" tenure petition going around. Certainly, we have not been monitoring the petition to see if there is a misuse of your petition, and certainly there may or may not be.... You believe that Dr. Finkelstein deserves tenure, and my "camp" does not. That is really about the extent of it. That does not mean that we would ever deliberately sign on academics that have not signed the petition. As a child of Holocaust Survivors, I must tell you that I am deeply concerned with the messages that Norman Finkelstein brings to the Israel/Palestinian debate. That being said, I am not in favor of "cheating" on a petition. Any names that you have identified that are unlikely to have signed, please do let me know, and we will request that they be immediately removed. We will also take a moment to review the signatures posted at this time.

All the best,
Roz Rothstein,
National Director,

Note that reference to being "a child of Holocaust survivors" - as though that puts her sincerity beyond question and her opinions above criticism. Well, it might work with guilt-tripping gentiles worried about their own antisemitism (a big element in Christian pro-Zionism), Ms.Rothstein; but even assuming you are what you say, it does not give you the right to speak for others whose families went through the same horrors - including the parents of Professor Norman Finkelstein - nor for those of us who might have perished had it not been for the heroic fight of the Resistance, and the Allied and Soviet forces.

Norman Finkelstein has not attacked the memory of the Holocaust victims. He has attacked the exploitation of the Holocaust victims and misappropriation of their memory by those who in some cases did nothing to stop the Nazis, or rescue anybody; and those who nowadays perpetrate their own war and racism against the Palestinian people. That is, those who "Stand With Us" would have us stand with.

Anyone who thinks these propagandists are solely upset because they felt someone used insensitive language about the Holocaust need only take a look at their website. Advertising itself as "the one-stop shop for pro-Israel activism", it includes a campaign for "US Student Support of Israeli Defense Forces", with a letter which teachers and school administrators can send out, beginning

"Dear Parents,
Our community is going to show support to Israeli soldiers....",
and giving instructions on how children can be involved in sending cards and cheques to the Israeli forces.

But they won't support all Israeli soldiers. Another of their petition campaigns announces:
-50 Days Left To Sign
“Breaking the Silence,” a small organization of former IDF soldiers, travels abroad to tell foreign audiences that because of IDF policy, Israeli soldiers are callous and unethical, and regularly commit human rights abuses'.

Wow! I wonder where these Israeli veterans could have got that idea? Not from experience, I suppose. They must have been listening to Arab propaganda! Surely not more "self-haters"? I guess a card and a cheque for a refusenik's family, whose breadwinner has gone to prison for refusing to serve in the Occupation, is out of the question?

Although Stand With Us boasts supporters in Britain, Australia and South Africa, its website depicts Israeli and US flags. But that does not mean they are satisfied with the Bush administration's support and arms for Israel. Urging "letters to President Bush NOW" they say "Write to the President frequently, use your fax and call the comment line. The message must be: Please support Israel's fight against terrorism. There cannot be a double standard between the war being fought by the US on terrorism, and Israel's same war. TERRORISM MUST NEVER BE SUPPORTED OR REWARDED. Include: I appreciate all that you have done in this war against terrorism".

They continue "Kids letters to President Bush: Apparently President Bush likes to read children's mail. Talk to the kids in your life. Get them writing, and send snail mail. Keep those letters flowing. Do letters at gatherings. The letters should be personal, no "form" letters. Give your kids a few brief facts, and let them write".

Elsewhere they advertise a video exposing the indoctrination of Arab children.

I guess if the kids don't sign their names can be forged, as has happened to some of us with the anti-Norman Finkelstein petition. It is very good of Ms.Rothstein to promise that Stand With Us will "take a moment" to look at some of the signatures posted. That was on Tuesday, and by last night my name was still in the petition, as were those of Paula Abrams-Hourani and Dr. Miriam Reik, both of whom had written letters to De Paul University supporting Norman Finkelstein's right to tenure. Whoever is responsible, and whether the aim was just to bump up numbers or as it appears, to deliberately misuse opponents' names, it is SWU's responsibility to check and remove the falsely used names.

Identity theft and libel, by misrepresenting a person's views as the opposite, on a serious matter like this, are not a joke but a crime. I have written to petitions on line to say that if Stand By Us do not remove our names then their petition should be removed from the petitions website. I also contacted a few friends to warn what was happening. From the reply below it would appear the campaign against Norman Finkelstein is rebounding in his favour, not just with faculty members, and prominent intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, but much wider support. This is from a friend in Not in My Name (appropriately enough!), which is part of Jewish Voices for Peace, in the United States:

Hi from Chicago. Norman is receiving tons of support from all over the world. Of course, the petition of which you speak is really atrocious. The comments are ridiculous. Obviously, few signers have ever read a word that Norman has written. To suggest that he is a Holocaust denier is laughable, but so many seem to believe that. We in Not In My Name are going to give him our annual Tikkun Olam award in a few weeks at our Benefit event. We will know in early June if he has received tenure.


That's heartening to know. Let's wish koech, strength, to those who are fighting in the belly of the beast, against US empire and the Israeli occupiers' lobby which misuses all our name.

The original petition in SUPPORT of Norman Finkelstein's tenure is at:

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