Shin Bet detains, deports Jewish-American professor, Israel critic NORMAN FINKELSTEIN

The Shin Bet security service detained and deported a Jewish-American professor who is a prominent critic of the Israeli occupation when he landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Friday.

Professor Norman Finkelstein was interrogated for several hours and held in an airport cell before being put on a plane back to Amsterdam, his point of departure. Finkelstein said he was told he could not return to Israel for 10 years.

The Shin Bet said Finkelstein “is not permitted to enter Israel because of suspicions involving hostile elements in Lebanon,” and because he “did not give a full accounting to interrogators with regard to these suspicions.”

However, in e-mail and phone interviews with Haaretz from the Amsterdam airport after he was deported, Finkelstein said, “I did my best to provide absolutely candid and comprehensive answers to all the questions put to me. I am confident that I have nothing to hide. Apart from my political views, and the supporting scholarship, there isn’t much more to say for myself: alas, no suicide missions or secret rendezvous with terrorist organizations.”

He added, “I support the two-state solution based on the ’67 borders and I told my interrogators I’m not an enemy of Israel.”

Finkelstein visited Lebanon a few months ago and met with Hezbollah operatives there, and subsequently published articles.

Finkelstein, 55, has accused Israel of exploiting the Holocaust for political ends. He recently left DePaul University following pressure by Jewish organizations and individuals, including Professor Alan Dershowitz.

He also said in the interview that he was “en route to Palestine to see one of my oldest and dearest friends, Musa Abu-Hashhash.”

Finkelstein said he was asked whether he had met with Al Qaida operatives, whether he had been sent to Israel by Hezbollah and how he intended to finance his stay in Israel.

“I was kept in a holding cell at the airport for approximately 24 hours. It wasn’t a Belgian bed-and-breakfast, but it wasn’t Auschwitz either. I had several unpleasant moments with the guards at the airport and in the holding cell, but since martyrdom is not my cup of tea, I’ll spare you the details,” Finkelstein said.

He said he eventually used a cellphone belonging to another detainee and called another friend he was scheduled to see in Israel, the journalist Allan Nairn, who called attorney Michael Sfard. Sfard met with Finkelstein and told him he could appeal the ban; however, Finkelstein said he has been to Israel at least 15 times and declined to appeal.

Sfard yesterday said banning Finkelstein from entering the country “recalls the behavior of the Soviet bloc countries.”

Ref: Haaretz


US professor denied entry to Israel

American political scientist and fierce critic of Israel, Prof. Norman Finkelstein, was denied entry to Israel and deported from the country early Saturday morning. Officials said that the decision to deport Finkelstein was connected to his anti-Zionist opinions and fierce public criticism of Israel around the world.

Finkelstein landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport at 2 a.m. Friday morning and was immediately taken for questioning by the Immigration Authority and the Interior Ministry. He arrived in Israel from Europe, where he was on a speaking tour. According to his Web site, his last talk was at the University of Amsterdam.

His lawyer, Michael Sfarad, said he was interrogated for several hours and told that he would not be allowed into the country on security grounds. He was held overnight and forced to board a flight to Europe early Saturday morning.

Sfarad said that Finkelstein arrived in Israel on a private trip to visit a friend. He said it was possible that the American professor, who last visited Israel two years ago, would appeal the decision.

A son of Holocaust survivors and a harsh critic of Israel, Finkelstein was denied tenure last year at DePaul University in Chicago.

Finkelstein reportedly said that Israel uses the Holocaust as an excuse for the fight against anti-Semitism and has managed to trick Germany into paying exorbitant sums of money in compensation. He also called Holocaust survivor and scholar Eli Wiesel a “clown prince.”

Prof. Alan Dershowitz of Harvard was active in campaigning against Finkelstein. His most recent book, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, is largely an attack on Dershowitz’s The Case for Israel. In his book, Finkelstein argues that Israel uses the outcry over perceived anti-Semitism as a weapon to stifle criticism.

AP contributed to this report

Ref: Jpost

2 Responses

  1. Would like to read more of the professors findings and writings.

  2. Kironde,

    Norman Finkelstein´s books are to be found at every libary and well sorted bookstores. Check out his website at http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/

    : a

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