I alerted our friend, Werner Cohn, about a fascinating “You Tube” video of Norman Finkelstein (posted on the Engage Website) being interviewed on Lebanese television. Werner posted it on his “Fringe Groups” Website. Finkelstein (a controversial historian with harsh anti-Israel views) is very clear that he admires Hezbollah and totally supports their war against Israel.
He’s apparently disagreeing with the very attractive and dignified Lebanese woman who interviews him in Arabic. She cautions against violence and for a peaceful way.
My point is not to defend aspects of Israeli policy that I dissent from. I see Finkelstein’s anger as over-the-top or even pathological. He honors Hezbollah, which can be said to have waged legitimate resistance to Israeli occupation but has gone beyond that to pledge unrelenting war against Israel, despite its total withdrawal from Lebanon. Hezbollah also embraces a Nazi-like “Protocols of Zion” level of anti-Semitism.
Hezbollah was helped to prominence and a measure of power by the original Israeli invasion of 1982, a war that our Zionist movement (allied with Mapam at that time) opposed from the beginning. It was not a war that Israel intended against Lebanon but rather against the PLO armed elements that dominated the southern border, known then as “Fatahland.” Israeli forces were greeted joyously by Shiites and Christians, but they overstayed their welcome. In 1985, they retreated to the so-called security zone, jointly controlled with a Christian militia called the South Lebanon Army. They left abruptly and ignominiously in 2000, with Hezbollah celebrating a great victory. The Academy Award nominee, “Beaufort,” (now an also-ran) relates something of this story, but without political content.
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of Israel’s bloody response, even Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, admitted its mistake in triggering the war of 2006. Yet Finkelstein embraces their actions wholeheartedly.
As for Finkelstein’s articulation of that so-called Jewish principle of “Never Forget, Never Forgive,” there is no such animal—certainly not as an aspect of Judaism. Some Jews may believe in this, but it’s not Judaism. Judaism is more represented by the practices of atonement and reconciliation encouraged during the High Holy Days.