American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein | Chicago Reader

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89 minutes · 2010

A harsh critic and prominent target of the Israel lobby, Norman G. Finkelstein became a local cause celebre in 2007 when he was denied tenure by DePaul University, which argued that his attacks on such figures as Alan Dershowitz, Elie Wiesel, and Jerzy Kosinski violated the school's "Vincentian" values. This documentary by David Ridgen and Nicolas Rossier doesn't venture far into the substance of Finkelstein's controversial books (The Holocaust Industry, Beyond Chutzpah), but it does present an engaging portrait of an academic whose work is both fueled and undermined by his vitriolic personality. As Finkelstein points out, his outrage over Israel's treatment of the Palestinians springs directly from his parents' sufferings in the Warsaw ghetto and Nazi concentration camps, a legacy that's hardened him against people who play "the Holocaust card" in their defense of Israel. A guaranteed argument starter, the documentary plunges viewers into an academic terrain that's thoroughly, and perhaps hopelessly, colored by politics.
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Director: David Ridgen and Nicolas Rossier
Cast: Noam Chomsky, Alan M. Dershowitz, Richard Finkelstein, Raul Hilberg, Nidal Barham, Musa Abu-Hashhash, Norman Finkelstein, John Mearsheimer, Maxine Tsvaigrach and Len Rudner

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