As part of my New Year’s Resolution for 2012 I have been committed to performing 99 acts of Revolution (big and small) in an effort to make this world a better place to live in. My latest action was to attend at lecture on the Israeli-Palestinian conflictto educate myself about the current state of affairs.
Norman Finkelstein, author of “This time we went too far (truth and consequences of the Gaza invasion)” appeared at Calvin College, a conservative christian college so stuck up that they recently made headlines by booking, and then immediately canceling at the first murmers of complaint, an appearance by the New Pornographers (an offensively tame and boring “rock” band).
Finkelstein has spent a large portion of his life dedicated to achieving justice and peace between Israel and Palestine. He spoke of the Israeli resistance to international will, and their adherence to violence and oppression to subjugate the Palestinian people. He also spoke about the hypocrisy of the United States government in the ongoing key support of the Israel. Many of his talking points caused the audience to squirm uncomfortably in their seats as they grappled with the ugly truth about our country’s involvement in supporting the endless bloodshed.
According to Finkelstein, peace is attainable,with a few key concessions from Israel.
- A return to the pre-1967 borders.
- Ending the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in Palestinian lands
- A land swap (2% of Israeli land for 2% of Palestinian land) to preserve continuity of the Palestinian state.
After the discussion, several audience members lingered to discuss more of Finkelstein’s ideas on Israeli policy. One pompous student actually tried to trip Finkelstein up with some “factoids” he picked up from Fox news or his parents or something. He was quickly schooled by Finkelstein. A few people asked Finkelstein about his previous books, his opinion on this thing or that thing… the typical stuff people ask after these kind of events.
I stuck close by and shot a few pictures, waiting for a moment to get over my sudden case of uncharacteristic shyness. I managed to get video of the conversation just as the topic turned to Gandhi. Finkelstein had some interesting insight into Gandhi’s severe dedication to non-violence. The way he describes it, Gandhi’s philosophy comes across as an active, almost aggressive, pacifist stoicism that is relentlessly self-sacrificing in a way that is beyond the comprehension of most of us. Its an abandonment of useless sentimentality and tenacious adherence to the principles of unflinching courage that Finkelstein told us would absolutely shock atone out of their comfort zones if they really stop and contemplate the Mahatma’s writings seriously.
…I’ve gotta get my ass to the library…
- Calvin College hosts Norman Finkelstein on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (analogmutant.wordpress.com)
- A Short Interview With Pr.Norman Finkelstein (youngphilosopher89.wordpress.com)
- Israelis Decry Palestinian Praise of Killer – ABC News (abcnews.go.com)
- Norman Finkelstein Speaks in Uk on “How to Solve the Israel-palestine Conflict” (jews4big.wordpress.com)
- Norman Finkelstein UK Speaking Tour (indigenist.blogspot.com)
- Finkelstein highlights international law as powerful weapon for boycott (jews4big.wordpress.com)