Update: The letter has now been sent to de Paul, but there’s still an online petition circulating if anyone is interested, 3736 signatures, so far.
You probably already know that DePaul University is currently considering tenure for Dr Norman Finkelstein, author of Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (2nd ed. 2003), The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (2003), and Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (2005).
The issue, reported in the Chronicle of higher education, as well as Jews sans frontiers and Otto's Random Thoughts, is that the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Charles S. Suchar, in a 22 March memo, rejected the recommendation of a ¾ majority of Finkelstein’s own Political Science Department and the unanimous recommendation of the College Personnel Committee. The grounds Suchar adduced were couched in terms of vague principles like ‘personalism’.
Finkelstein writes, ‘DePaul is in a growth mode, and they see me as an albatross because they’re getting all this negative publicity because of me. And they want to get rid of me.’
It would appear that this is a response to a vindictive campaign by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who circulated a dossier of some fifty pages to the DePaul Law Faculty, the Political Science Department, and, as Dershowitz told the Chronicle, ‘everybody who would read it’. It was Dershowitz, it will be recalled, who attempted to have Finkelstein’s Beyond chutzpah suppressed, going as far as to threaten the
Now I’m not Finkelstein’s biggest fan. For example, in an interview on 3 April, he told Jamie Stein-Weiner on The heathlander,
The refugee question is a red herring. It serves the same purpose now as the Palestinian Covenant did in the 1970s-1980s; to divert attention from
But he has done good work in debunking a lot of the widely circulating Zionist myths, of which Dershowitz is one of the principal purveyors. And it is assuredly because his research does not support the approved version of Palestinian history, and not because of the quality or quantity of his scholarship, or his teaching ability, that his tenure is even in question.
Academics, Filmmakers, Artists, Intellectuals, and Doctors for Intellectual Freedom In Support of Dr. Norman Finkelstein have established a website and drafted a letter to the DePaul authorities. The site provides the text of the letter, as well as the memos from the Political Science Department, the Personnel Committee, and Suchar. If you are concerned about the erosion of academic freedom and hegemony of the Zionist discourse, I encourage you to visit the site and add your signature to the statement.