Interview with Norman Finkelstein
Norman Finkelstein is an American political scientist, activist, professor in Brooklyn College, Rutgers University, Hunter College, New York University and in the DePaul University.
His primary fields of research are the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, he is author of many books about this topic and is internationally known for it and his opposition to the israeli policy in Palestine. MBC Times interview him.
1) What is Zionism and what has meant to the jewish world and culture?
Zionism was a political ideology based on these beliefs:
- Jews could never assimilate to the states in Europe, where they formed a minority;
- The real basis of a state-community is not law, constitutions and citizenship, but blood-cultural bonds;
- Different blood-cultural nations fundamentally differ from each other;
- That Jews therefore had to form a blood-cultural nation of their own, in order to normalize their condition.
2) Why Israel does not accept UN resolutions about retiring from areas conquered to Syria and Palestine area after the 1967 war?
It is not clear why Israel refuses to withdraw from the territories it occupies. It is unlikely that there's one single factor at play. It probably includes:
- The desire to keep the critical land and water resources in the West Bank;
- Its refusal to withdraw as a matter of principle--that is, Israel never withdraws from conquered land unless it's forced t. It is probably safe to say, however, that, if Israel refuses to withdraw, it's not for security reasons. The West Bank possesses zero security value to Israel.
3) In the West bank (or Cisjordan area), Israel acts like a dictatorship, militarizing Palestine, closing radio and tv channels, sending journalists to jail, damaging communications and demolishing houses of all those Palestine families that are against Israel. What is your opinion about it?
Israel has been carrying out a brutal occupation for almost a half century. It can get away with this, because the international community doesn't care. The Palestinians possess no power, so they don't count in the calculation of States.
4) In 2005, Ariel Sharon decolonized Gaza and gave it to a Palestine administration. Many countries supported his decision, as a good way to peace in the area, but nowadays, Gaza is like a ghetto, a POW camp, with a huge density of population (4.167 people/km2), 1.500.202 people in 385 km2, with a very weak economy. Can Gaza’s situation be considered as a Human Rights Violation by Israel, spoiled by USA and the EU?
Israel never "decolonized" Gaza. It simply redeployed its troops from inside Gaza to the periphery of Gaza. Major human rights organizations agree that the occupation continued after the 2005 "disengagement." The current situation in Gaza can be properly described as a crime against humanity.
5) What is the reason why Israel is being supported by US and EU, although is a country which does not respect Human Rights and is not accepting UN? ¿Why is not being punished as South Africa, Iran, Cuba or Iraq many years ago (and some still)?
The US-based Israel lobby is quite strong, and Palestinians have not been successful at resisting the occupation, except during the first intifada. nless Palestinians organize mass, nonviolent resistance, and win the support of the international community, I do not believe that they can end the occupation.
6) Is Israel a very important country in the Middle East in a strategically point of view? What is the future of the country in the area?
Israel serves major US/Western interests in the region. It has a technologically sophisticated infrastructure, and a powerful army. It colludes with the US/Western nations to keep the region in the orbit of the West.
(Picture: Jose Mesa, Original photo: Ashraf Amra, Palestinian children wounded by an Israeli rocket strike on Beit Hanoun, January 1, 2009)