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Norman Finkelsteins The Holocaust Industry - Term Paper Example

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In 2000,Norman Finkelstein published his book The Holocaust Industry.He claims,on his webpage,that its publication “marked the beginning of the end” of his academic career. The outrage it evoked from what he calls “the Jewish-Holocaust-Israel establishment” resulted in losing his assistant professorship at Hunter College in New York City…
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Download file to see previous pages In 2000,Norman Finkelstein published his book The Holocaust Industry.He claims,on his webpage,that its publication “marked the beginning of the end” of his academic career. The outrage it evoked from what he calls “the Jewish-Holocaust-Israel establishment” resulted in losing his assistant professorship at Hunter College in New York City Since then, however, some of the allegations he makes in his book have turned out to be accurate, and events have occurred that have provided justification in some of the assertions he made in The Holocaust Industry, in spite of significant personal and professional loss. In The Holocaust Industry, Finkelstein, whose parents were both Holocaust survivors and inmates of concentration camps during World War II, argues that the American Jewish establishment exploits the memory of the Holocaust for financial and political gain, and to further the interests of Israel. Finklestein believes that this “Holocaust industry” has corrupted authentic memories and interpretations of the Holocaust, and has established Jewish culture as victimized. The book has been a bestseller in every part of the world except for the United States. Finkelstein believes that the American Jewish mainstream panned it, most powerfully through The New York Times, which he sees as a promotional vehicle of the powerful Jewish elite in America. To be fair to Finkelstein’s critics, though, it does seem that he had adopted the same victim mentality as those he criticizes. Historian Omer Bartov (n.p.) of Brown University accuses Finkelstein of this very thing, in his review in The New York Times Book Review, a review that Finkelstein blamed for poor sales of the book in the U.S.: I find so striking about The Holocaust Industry is that it is almost an exact copy of the arguments it seeks to expose. It is filled with precisely the kind of shrill hyperbole that Finkelstein rightly deplores in much of the current media hype over the Holocaust; it is brimming with the same indifference to historical facts, inner contradictions, strident politics and dubious contextualizations; and it oozes with the same smug sense of moral and intellectual superiority. One of the biggest criticisms of The Holocaust Industry is that it provides Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites with fodder to continue their conspiracy theories. This does not mean, however, that Finkelstein’s theories should be discounted. He has proven to be correct in his description in chapter three of the book (“The Double Shakedown”) regarding the blatant corruption of many of the lawyers and politicians involved in forcing Swiss banks to pay reparations to the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. Most of the billions of dollars the banks agreed to pay had not even been seen by individuals yet, but rather to Jewish organizations, memorials, Holocaust education projects, and to aid with Jewish emigration from Eastern Europe (Ross n.p.). Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg has agreed with Finkelstein about the Jewish reparations, as well as his claims about forced Jewish labor, which Finkelstein insists is exaggerated to gain more sympathy for Jews and for Israel, stating that they are “conservative” and “moderate” (Finkelstein n.p.). Finkelstein believes that there are those in the American Jewish mainstream that have used the Holocaust to benefit themselves financially and politically, and to garner unshakable support for the state of Israel. He states: Indeed, the Holocaust has proven to be an indispensable ideological weapon. Through its deployment, one of the world’s most formidable military powers, with a horrendous human rights record, has cast itself as a ‘victim state,’ and the most successful ethnic group in the United States has likewise acquired victim status. Considerable dividends accrue from this specious victimhood—in particular, immunity to criticism, however justified (3). Finkelstein ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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