Jewish Journal

Norman Finkelstein: BDS Movement Wants to Eliminate Israel

by Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

February 16, 2012 | 10:51 am

Yes, that is correct. Norman Finkelstein, the embattled and much maligned former professor, has called the BDS effort, an effort to destroy Israel.

Jewlicious blogger and publisher David Abitbol, has revealed a video interview with long-standing Israel nemesis Norman Finkelstein where he describes the BDS movement as “cultish and dishonest”. The video, posted on YouTube originally, then taken down because of some complaints, lives on Vimeo.

Abitbol writes in his post on Jewlicious.com, “He described these movements as cultish and dishonest and essentially agreed with our long standing criticisms of these movements – that support for the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement is basically a call for the destruction of the State of Israel.”

The interview is a stinging rebuke of the BDS effort. Abitbol quotes liberally from the video, with passages that seem to be geared to Israel advocates who want to discredit BDS:

We have to be honest, and I loathe the disingenuousness. They [BDS Movement] don’t want Israel. They think they’re being very clever, they call it their three tier – we want the end of the occupation, we want the right of return and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they’re very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is what? What’s the result? You know and I know, what’s the result? There’s no Israel… there’s no Israel, full stop… If you want to eliminate Israel that’s your right but I don’t think you’re going to reach anybody. I think it’s a non-starter.

I have been critical of Norman for years starting with the first time I heard him speak at CSU Fullerton in 2004. This is the first time that I can recall that he has been publicly seen too distance himself from some of the most heinous anti-Israel efforts in America. Is Finkelstein changing his tune? Abitbol doesn’t think so, “Finkelstein hasn’t left the movement, he hasn’t renounced any of the beliefs that have motivated his 30 year career as a critic of Israel and supporter of the Palestinian people. He just called it like he saw it.”

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Yonah Bookstein is Rabbi and Co-Founder of Pico Shul, a dynamic spiritual community in Los Angeles and the Alevy Family Campus Rabbi in Residence at University of Southern...

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