"Finkelstein is particularly fine in comparing settler-conqueror ideologies as they became necessary in the extermination of the American Indians, the settlement of southern Africa, the French colonization of Algeria (he's good on Camus, now in intensive rehab), the Nazi assault on the "lost territories" of Eastern Europe and of course the occupation of Palestine.
"Finkelstein explains the dialectic between settlers and a central government protesting that the former are beyond its control while simultaneously colluding with them. "To the victims of settler encroachment in America," he says, "federal pleas of impotence rang hollow. `Are Congress, who conquered the King of Great Britain,' the Cherokee asked, `unable to remove these people?' But of course the national government worked closely with the frontiersmen. Although the national government displayed `less of cupidity and violence than the frontiersmen,' as Tocqueville concluded, `they were equally lacking in good faith.' Tactical approaches differed, but both were `means to the same end.' One may discern the identical pattern of intermittently ambivalent but, for all the posturing on both sides, ultimately collusive relations between Israel's government (be it Labor or Likud) and the Jewish settlers in the occupied territories.
"In Rabin's case the collusion was destroyed because the settler element was so carried away in its own fanaticism that it could not perceive that Rabin was doing the best he could for them. He did indeed mature by the end of his life, having doubled the amount of Palestinian land on the West Bank he thought Israel could successfully steal. There were probably some Cherokee who signed the New Echota accord in 1835 capitulating to Jackson who traveled to the funeral of Old Hickory, honoring the Indian slayer as a man of peace just as Arafat honored the ethnic cleanser of Lydda."
Rabin's account was originally suppressed by the Israeli military censorship but years later was brought to light by his English translator, Peretz Kidron, and led to a heated controversy in Israel which was covered in a New York Times article in October 1979. Kidron tells the whole story in an essay printed in a volume edited by Edward Said and Christopher Hitchens entitled Blaming the Victims, which also includes an early version of Finkelstein's expose of Joan Peters.
Finkelstein's BookCopies of Norman Finkelstein's book are available for $17.95 from AMEU:
- Americans For Middle East Understanding (AMEU)
- Room 570
- 475 Riverside Drive,
- New York, NY 10115-0241
- Tel: 212.870.2053
Norman Finkelstein gave a one hour interview in connection with his new book with producer Mike Feder on January 14, 1996, on WBAI radio in NYC. The interview is available on tape [although part of the first minute is missing]. Interested persons should contact: Ronald Bleier (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Finkelstein on Tape