Israel, Politics

Finkelstein up for tenure, incurs dean's wrath

Inside Higher Ed reports,

Norman G. Finkelstein has been more controversial off his campus than on it. On his frequent speaking tours to colleges, where he typically discusses Israel in highly critical ways, Finkelstein draws protests and debates. When the University of California Press published Finkelstein’s critique of Alan Dershowitz and other defenders of Israel in 2005, a huge uproar ensued — with charges and countercharges about hypocrisy, tolerance, fairness and censorship. But at DePaul University, Finkelstein has taught political science largely without controversy, gaining a reputation as a popular teacher.
But the debate over Finkelstein is now hitting his home campus — and in a way sure to create more national controversy. Finkelstein is up for tenure. So far, his department has voted, 9-3, in favor of tenure and a collegewide faculty panel voted 5-0 to back the bid. But Finkelstein’s dean has just weighed in against Finkelstein.

Full story.

5 thoughts on “Finkelstein up for tenure, incurs dean's wrath

  1. Having been on the recieving end of one of his speaches, this man is not fit to have tenure.
    When a German girl burst into tears in offense to his excessive use of Nazi termonology regarding Israel he yelled at her that she had no heart and that those were “crocodile tears” and if she had any humanity in her she’d be crying for the Palestinians.
    That one interchange was they type of thing that occured over and over again durring his speech. After his speech Jewish students no longer felt safe at the University of Waterloo – magen davids went inside shirts, and Israel t-shirts from birthright trips disappeared from campus.
    It took two years of organization building for the campus climate to recover from that event (until one of our proffesors said on national TV that all Israelis over the age of 18 are legitimate targets for terror, including the elderly, doctors, and nurses).
    Back to the point: I’m progressive, and I went with an open mind, but this man’s style and substance are poisonous. My bet is that if he had tenure he wouldn’t be as careful about what he said on his own campus (that’s the point of tenure).

  2. Tenure should not be based on the man’s politics, but on the quality of his academic work and his ability to teach.
    I know nothing about the man’s academic work, but it sounds from the article like he’s a pretty good teacher and that students generally like him.
    If, however, as TomC says, he demeans students on a regular basis, then he doesn’t deserve tenure. But if students are simply upset by what he has to say about Israel or Germany or whatever country (as opposed to what he has to say about them as students), then they should go find a different speaker to listen to. I find it very, very hard to believe that a single speech by a professor could cause an entire campus to become a chilly place for Jews or Zionists.

  3. he came to campus just a few weeks ago. i’d like to mention since the legitimacy of his work came up that there are, of course, people on both sides when arguing for/against him. that said his mentor Benny Morris, who Finklestein often cites, has mentioned that his work is not exactly scholarly…
    “Norman Finkelstein is a notorious distorter of facts and of my work, not a serious or honest historian.
    Israel is not an apartheid state — rather the opposite, it is easily the most democratic and politically egalitarian state in the Middle East, in which”
    the scariest thing about Finklestein is that, at least when he spoke at my school, he comes off relatively normal. Was polite, used humor, was calm, etc. i believe it was this that prevented a lot of people from missing the fallacies in his speech (that and most of the audience being uninterested in moderate attitudes)

  4. israel is not an apartheid state, but israeli employs apartheid-like laws against both palestinians and the arab citizens of israel, and the situation is consistently worsening.
    let’s not get sidetracked over the word apartheid and miss the fact that there’s a severe injustice being perpetrated here that continues unresolved every day.

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