Norman Finkelstein
Norman G. Finkelstein speaks of the member of Parliament Naz Shah, Ken Livingstone, and the controversy over"anti-semitism" to the labour party.
Norman Finkelstein
Interview of Norman Finkelstein by JAMIE STERN-WEINER
Norman Finkelstein is no stranger to controversy. The jewish intellectual in the us is one of the most renowned international experts of the israeli-palestinian conflict and the political legacy of the nazi holocaust. Besides his parents, all members of the family of Finkelstein, of the two sides, were exterminated in the nazi holocaust. He wrote in 2000 " The Holocaust industry ". The book, which was serialized in the Guardian, became an international best-seller and sparked a media storm. But the latest incursion policy of Finkelstein is the fruit of chance.

Last month, the member of Parliament Naz Shah has become one of the figures with the most media coverage to date in the scandal of "anti-semitism" which always shakes his leadership of the labour party. Shah has been suspended from the labour party for, among other things, have posted a image on Facebook, which was seen as anti-semitic. The image showed a map of the Usa with Israel, superimposed, and suggested to resolve the israeli-palestinian conflict by relocating Israel to the United States. It has been said that Shah had taken the image on the Web site of Finkelstein. I asked Finkelstein why he had posted this image, and what he thought of allegations that the labour party had a " jewish problem ".
Have you made the contentious image that Naz Shah has recovery ?
I'm not skilled enough with computers to produce an image. But I posted the card on my site in 2014. One of my internet correspondents I must have sent it. It was, and still is, funny. Were it not for the current political context, no one would have noticed that Shah had posted. It should be completely out of humor. This kind of joke is common in the United States. So, here's the joke in question : why Israel does not become the 51st state ? Answer : because then, he would only have two senators. As crazy as is the discourse on Israel in America, we still have the sense of humor. This would be inconceivable in the United States, a politician were to be crucified for having posted this card.
The fact that Shah has posted this image has been presented as a support to a despicable policy of " deportation "  , while John Mann compared to Eichmann.
Frankly, I find this grotesque. I doubt that all these people who are so quick to invoke the Holocaust have the slightest idea of what were the deportations, nor of the horrors they meant. My late mother described to me his deportation. She was in the Warsaw Ghetto. The survivors of the Ghetto uprising, approximately 30,000 Jews were deported to the concentration camp of Maijdanek. They were crammed into railroad cars. My mother was sitting next to a woman with a child. And the woman – I know this will shock you – the woman has killed her baby by suffocating, in front of my mother. She preferred to smother her child, rather than take him where they were going. This is what it meant to be deported. Compare this to someone who posted a cartoon that is harmless to make a small joke about how Israel is under the control of the United States, or vice versa ... it is downright insane. What happens to it ? Have they no respect for the dead ? All these apparatchiks dried of the labour party lying around in the mud the nazi holocaust in their pursuit of petty power to advance their career-have they no shame ?
And when people use analogies to nazis to criticize the policies of the State of Israel? Is this not also a political abuse of the nazi holocaust? 
It is not easy to answer this question. First of all, if you're jewish, the analogy that comes instinctively to the mind, as it is of hate or famine, war or genocide, it is the nazi holocaust, because we see it as the horror ultimate. In the house where I grew up, whenever we referred to the information that an incident of racial discrimination or bigotry, my mother compares it to what she had lived before or during the nazi holocaust.
My mother was studying at the faculty of mathematics of the University of Warsaw, 1937-38. The Jews had to settle apart from the other students in the amphitheatre, and the anti-semites were coming to attack them physically. (You may remember the scene in Julia, where Vanessa Redgrave loses her leg in trying to defend the attacked Jews at the university.) I remember once asking my mother: "How did your studies ? Have you been successful ? "She told me :" what are you talking about ? How could we study in such conditions? ".
She saw, in the segregation of African-Americans, whether in a cafeteria or in the school system, and the prologue of the nazi holocaust. While many Jews are now saying : we should never compare, (see the chorus of Elie Wiesel, " it is awful, but this is not the Holocaust "), the credo of my mother was : You should always compare. It left naturally and generously his imagination make the leap to those who were suffering, to wrap and embrace his own suffering.
For my mother, the nazi holocaust was a chapter in the long history of the horrors of war. It was not, in itself, a war – she kept saying that it was an extermination, not a war – but it was a single chapter of the war. So, for her, the war was the horror ultimate. When she saw the Vietnamese will to bombing during the Vietnam war, for her it was the nazi holocaust. It was the bombardments, the death, the horror, the terror, that it had been crossed. When she saw the bellies distended starving children in Biafra, it was also the nazi holocaust, because she remembered her own hunger in the Warsaw ghetto.
If you are jewish, it is quite normal that the nazi holocaust is a touchstone instinctive omnipresent. Some Jews say that such or such a horror is not the nazi holocaust, others say that it is. But the reference to the nazi holocaust is a constant. 
What about those who, without being jews, are the analogy?
Once the nazi holocaust has become the referent cultural, if you want to draw the eye to the suffering of the Palestinians, it was necessary to make the analogy with the nazis because it was the only thing that sounded to the Jews. If we had compared the Palestinians to the native americans, nobody would have paid attention. In 1982, when I went down into the streets of New York with a handful of other Jews to protest against the israeli invasion of Lebanon (at least 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinians were killed, mostly civilians), I held up a sign saying: "This son of survivors of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, Auschwitz, Maijdenek will not remain silent : the Nazi israelis – Put an end to the Holocaust in Lebanon! "(After the death of my mother, I found a photo of me holding this panel in a drawer among her memories). I remember that one of the guys who showed with me kept telling me : "Hold the sign higher !" to the passing cars can see it clearly (and I answered : "Easy to say ! ").
When we made this analogy, it struck the Jews, it affected them enough to get their attention at least. I don't think this is always necessary, because the crimes of Israel against the Palestinians are now talking about themselves. There is no more need for side-by-side with, or against, the nazi holocaust. Today, the analogy to nazi is free or serves to divert the attention.
Is it anti-semitic?
No, it is just a small historical analogy – but, if it is made by a Jew, it's an analogy for moral and generous.
Last week, Ken Livingstone, took the microphone to defend Naz Shah, but what he said caused his suspension from the labour party. Its note the most inflammatory was that Hitler, at some point, supported zionism. This has been condemned as anti-semitic, and the labour mp John Mann has accused Livingstone of being an " apologist of nazism ". What do you think of these accusations? 
Livingstone has probably not been specific enough and nuanced. But he knows this dark chapter of history. There has been speculation on the fact that Hitler had changed his idea on how to solve the "jewish question" (as it was called at the time), seeing rise to new opportunities. Hitler was not entirely hostile to the zionist project in the beginning. This is why so many German Jews were able to survive after the arrival of Hitler to power in emigrant in Palestine. But, then, Hitler came to fear that a jewish State strengthens the power of " international jewry ", then it has ceased any relationship with the zionists. Later, Hitler can be considered a "solution region" for the Jews. The nazis have considered many possibilities of "resettlement" – the Jews would not have survived most of them on the long – term before embarking in a process of extermination pure and simple. He said Livingstone is almost exact – at least as exact as one might expect of a politician who expresses an impromptu.
It is also true that a certain degree of affinity with the ideological relationship existed between the nazis and the zionists. Anti-semites and zionists were in agreement on a crucial question that agitated England during the period when the Balfour Declaration (1917) was a do-it-yourself : a Jew could he be English? Ironically, when we see the hysteria, which currently reigns in the United Kingdom, the opponents, the most vociferous of critics of the Balfour Declaration were not the Arabs, whom all the world didn't care about much, but the higher echelons of the jewish community of the uk.
Prominent jews in the uk have published open letters to newspapers such as the Times who opposed the british support of a jewish homeland in Palestine. They considered that such a declaration – like the zionism – meant that the Jews belonged to a separate nation and that the jewish nation should have its own independent State, and they feared that this would have the effect of prohibiting the Jews to be full members of the british nation. What distinguished zionism from the jewish aristocracy a liberal was their starting point : as Theodor Herzl wrote at the beginning of The jewish State"the jewish question is no more social than religious. . . It is a national question ". While for the aristocracy, and anglo-jewish the judaism was simply a religion, the zionists claimed that the Jews were a nation. And on this point – crucial, at that time, the zionists and the nazis were in agreement.
John Mann, when he criticized Livingstone in front of the cameras, posed the rhetorical question of whether Livingstone had read Mein Kampf. If you read Mein Kampf, what in my opinion none of the interlocutors in this debate was (I was teaching, before the "zionists" do not hunt me to the university – I joke !), you see that Hitler affirms emphatically that the Jews are not a religion, but a nation. He said that the big lie jewish is that they claim to be a religion; when in fact, he said, they are a race (at this time, the words "race" and "nation" were interchangeable. And on page 56 of standard edition in English of Mein Kampf he said that the only Jews honest enough to recognize it are the zionists. Now, to be clear, Hitler did not believe only that the Jews were a distinct race. It was also thought that they were a race of satanic, and, in the end, they were a race of satanic who had to be exterminated. But the fact is that, in the premises, which were not insignificant, he, and the zionists were in agreement.
In practice, the zionists and the nazis could find some common ground around the emigration/deportation of the Jews to Palestine. Ironically, in spite of strong protests from liberal Jews, including entire sections of the establishment anglo-jewish, anti-semites and the zionists of the time shared actually the same slogan : The Jews in Palestine. This was the reason why, for example, the nazis had forbidden German Jews to raise the swastika flag, but were explicitly allowed to hoist the flag of the zionist. It was as if to say : the zionists are right, the Jews can't be German, they belong to Palestine. Hannah Arendt has been criticized for this with strength in Eichmann in Jerusalem, which is one of the reasons for the establishment of jewish/zionist and he has so wanted. 
Even if there was a factual basis for the remarks of Livingstone, to raise the issue at this time did not cause the Jews? 
I can understand his motivation, because I'm almost of his generation. If he gave the impression of the cause, it is because he reacted instinctively as during the polemics of the 1970's - 80's. Israel saw then the zionists as the only jews who had resisted the nazis. In the propaganda of the time, the only resistance to the nazis came from the zionists, and the natural corollary to this was that the only force capable of protecting the jews were now in Israel. Any other Jew was either a coward, who " had gone like a sheep to the slaughter ", is a collaborator. Those who opposed the israeli policy of the time, and wanted to counter the zionist propaganda had the habit of quoting this chapter disreputable history of zionism. Tracts and books have been published – such as Zionism in the age of dictators (1983) Lenni Brenner, to document this " treacherous collaboration of zionist-nazi ". The recent comments of Livingstone come from the same reflex that inspired us at the time. These garbage patented which have taken Naz Shah have horripilé and he wanted to give them a run for their money. This is the way that we lead this political battle : putting on the carpet in these chapters, sordid history of the zionist. 
Livingstone is based on the book by Brenner. Let's even, for the purposes of discussion, that the book of Brenner contains a few factual errors – it was more of a political pamphlet than a historic work, and it obviously isn't weighed down by abundant documentation. But, the truth is that, at the date of publication, the book of Brenner has garnered positive reviews in the british press as the most respectable. The Times, which, today, is leading the charge against Livingstone and the elected leadership of the labour party, has, at the time, published a review commendation in the book of Brenner called " the net and the clear and carefully documented ". The critic, the eminent columnist Edward Mortimer, had written that " Brenner is able to cite numerous cases where zionists collaborated with regimes that are anti-semites, including Hitler ". And, therefore, it is necessary to pay tribute to Ken Livingstone for what, 70 years old, he remembered a book he has read there are more than 30 years and who had obtained a good review in the Times when it was released. If the Times is upset by the words of Livingstone, he has only himself to blame. Personally, it is thanks to the criticism of the Times that I have read the book of Brenner.
Zoom in on the image a little. You have written a lot about how accusations of anti-semitism have been used to discredit people and prevent them from criticizing Israel. Should we see the current campaign against Jeremy Corbyn and to the left of the labour party as the last episode of this story? 
These campaigns occur at regular intervals, in correlation with the massacres periodicals of Israel and the political isolation that is the consequence. If you browse in the catalog of the bookstore nearest to them, the " new anti-semitism ", you will find works of the 1970s, denouncing a " new anti-semitism ", of the 1980s, denouncing a "new anti-semitism", 1990, denouncing a "new anti-semitism ", and then a huge increase in books, including british writers, during the so-called second Intifada of 2001. Let's not forget that last year, there has been a campaign of hysteria in the Uk against anti-semitism during a period. Two surveys ridiculous had "revealed" that nearly half of the British had beliefs that anti-semites and most Jews, the british feared for their future in the United Kingdom. Although these surveys have been rejected by the experts, they have triggered the frenzy of the usual media such as Telegraph, the Guardian and theIndependent, all excited by this "new anti-semitism" "creeping ". The total inanity of these surveys has been confirmed unequivocally in April 2015 by a survey conducted by the Centre of research deemed to Pew, which showed that the level of anti-semitism in the Uk had remained stable at the level terribly disappointing 7% !
This farce has been played in the last year alone. One would have imagined that its initiators would be buried under the shame and that we were going to have at least a brief respite of theatrical madness. But now, in a blink of an eye, just in the wake of the Pew poll showing that anti-semitism in the Uk was marginal, the hysteria is reversed again. The reality is that there is probably more prejudice in the Uk against the large that there is prejudice against the Jews.
Ask yourself a simple, but serious question. You go to a maintenance job. What trait is most likely to bring you harm : to be ugly, big, small, or jewish? It is perhaps a sad statement of our society's values, but the ugliness is the first cause of the refusal. Second, the obese ; then the size. The factor least likely to hurt you in the hiring, it is to be jewish. Quite to the contrary, the Jews are not smart, and ambitious? Pew found that the level of anti-semitism was 7 %. Is it that this justifies hysteria national? A survey by YouGov in may 2015, revealed that 40 % of british adults do not like muslims, and nearly 60 % do not like the Romanians. Imagine what it's like to apply for a job if you are a Romanian! So, where is your order of priorities when it comes to morality?
Many of those who are involved in the hysteria of the "anti-semitism" of the last year are also the actors of the current campaign against Corbyn.
The question you need to ask yourself is why? Why this issue has been brought back on the mat with renewed zeal, so little time after its previous event is either hydrated in the ridiculous ? Is this because of a handful of messages allegedly anti-semitic members of the labour party on social media? Is this because of the card humorous posted by Naz Shah? No one can believe anything. The only plausible answer is that it is political. This has nothing to do with reality; a few suspected cases of anti-semitism – some real, others made of the whole piece – are exploited for a political purpose later. As has been said by a prominent labour mp, the other day, it is neither more nor less than a campaign of defamation.
The charges of "anti-semitism" are worn by the Conservatives before the municipal elections and the election of the mayor. But they are also operated by the right hand of the labour party to undermine the leadership of Corbyn and by groups of pro-israelis to discredit the solidarity movement with Palestine.
You can see this link between the right of the labour party and groups of pro-israelis, personified by individuals such as Jonathan Freedland, a forban Blairiste who also plays regularly the card of anti-semitism. He combined his two hobbies to attack Corbyn. Incidentally, when my book, The Holocaust Industry, was released in 2000, Freedland has written that I was "closer to the people who created the Holocaust than to those who have suffered ". Although it seems to be, oh, so politically correct now, it has not deemed it appropriate to suggest that I looked like the nazis who gassed my family.
We have participated in the same tv show. Before the show, he approached me to shake my hand. When I refused, he responded with a silent, stunned. Why is it that I didn't want to shake her hand? He did not understand. This tells us something about these horrendous buggers. Slander, defamation – for them, it is the routine. Why should we make a story ? Later, in the broadcast, it was mentioned that the Guardian, where he worked, had published my book, The Holocaust industry, by episodes. The presenter asked him : if my book was the equivalent of Mein Kampf, would resign-he of the newspaper ? No, of course not. The presenter had he not understood that all this is a game?
Do the comparison with the american scene. Our Corbyn is Bernie Sanders. Throughout the primary in the United States, Bernie has picked up all the votes arabs and muslims. It was a wonderful moment : the candidate first jew to the presidential election in american history, has forged an alliance of principle with the Arabs and the muslims. During this time, that manigancent the scoundrels of the lobby Blairiste-Israel in the Uk? They stoke the embers of hatred and cause of new discord between jews and muslims by attacking Naz Shah, an elected muslim. They are forcing it to bend to a ritual of public humiliation, by forcing it to apologize once, twice, three times for a cartoon reposted from my site. And this is not finished yet! Because now, they say that it is " on the way ". Of course, what they want to say is that"she is on a path back on it, working on it, which will lead to the awareness of the anti-semitic closet that dwells in her heart ". But do you know which way it is actually ? She is on the path of the anti-semite. Because of these people ; because they fill any normal person and sound of disgust.
Here is a muslim woman, a member of the Parliament, which seeks to integrate muslims in british politics, and that is, in itself, an example, both for the british society in general and for the muslim community in particular. It is, according to all of his constituents, a person that is respected and honorable. You can imagine the pride of his parents, his brothers and sisters ; the pride of the muslim community as a whole. We always said that muslim women are oppressed, repressed and depressed, and there you have a muslim woman who was elected to public office. But now, she is crucified, his career is destroyed, his life is ruined, his future is in tatters, it is marked as "anti-semite" and nazi unacknowledged, and is obliged to lend themselves to these rituals of self-debasement. It is easy to imagine what his muslim voters must now think of the Jews. These garbage hungry for power are pushing up the level of hatred with their little machinations. As Donald Trump likes to say : this is disgusting. 
The labour party has ordered a survey intended to arrive at a definition of a viable "anti-semitism" – it is mission impossible. We tried already many times and it never worked. The only beneficiaries of such a mandate will be "specialists," academic anti-semitism, which will receive large fees consultants ' fees (I can already see Richard Evans at the head of the queue), and Israel, which will only be more in the spotlight. I understand the reasoning policy in the short term. But given time, it is necessary to say : "enough is enough ! ". the Jews thrive as never before in the United Kingdom. The surveys show that the number of anti-semitic so-called hard core is tiny. It is time to put an end to this charade periodic, because it ends up soiling the victims of the nazi holocaust, by diverting from the true suffering of the palestinian people, and poison relations between the jewish and muslim communities. We have just a hysteria of anti-semitism, last year, and it was a farce. And now we start again ? Still a survey ? And yet another ? No.
In order to put an end to this, there must be a rejection decisive of this political blackmail. Bernie Sanders was pressured brutal to force him to withdraw his statement saying that Israel had used disproportionate force during its assault on Gaza in 2014. It has not moved, it has not fallen. He showed that he had a real spine. Corbyn should be inspired by the courage of Bernie. He should say : finished the reports, the investigations, we will do more, it is finished ! It is high time that these sowers of anti-semitism return, crawling in their sewer – but not before having made humble apologies to Naz Shah, and to have begged his forgiveness.
About collected by JAMIE STERN-WEINER
Clarification: readers have been shocked by the remarks scandalous attributed to Jonathan Freedland in the initial article, Finkelstein was decided to amend the paragraph so as to include Freedland word-for-word. Readers will be now may be even more shocked.
Traduction: Dominique Muselet

The opinions and assertions expressed are the result of their author and may not in any circumstances be imputed to a Stop on the Info.