Norman Finkelstein spoke at Harvard Law School last night. My friends who were there said he was fabulous. Here are their telegraphic notes:
Points worth making:
i) His two reasons for the Gaza war: a) Hamas becoming too reasonable, and b) an effort to restore Israeli “credibility” after the defeat in Lebanon 2006
ii) His very impressive and classy refusal to get into his personal issues with Dersh
iii) Total calm command of the facts
iv) Standing ovation
v) His endorsement of the the Amnesty International report recommending an arms embargo
vi) Audience respectful, a sea change from our appearance in the adjacent building 2002.
I think Nancy has summed it up. I would only add that Finkelstein discussed the Goldstone report and its reception by the Israelis in some detail, focusing on Goldstone’s impeccable credentials not only as a legal scholar but also as a Zionist and supporter of Israel, hence difficult for the Israelis to dismiss. He also talked about “war” in Gaza as no war at all: there was virtually no resistance, no engagement with Hamas. Israeli soldiers were quoted as seeing no one.
Half the ~13 Israelis killed were killed by “friendly fire.” The amount of firepower was enormous, continual earth-shaking explosions. White phosporous bombs were dropped on hospitals and in other civilian settings.