There may be something seriously wrong at DePaul University in Chicago. That school has already disgraced itself for its handling of the Thomas Klocek affair (see Marathon Pundit for some background), and now a DePaul professor is arguing that the claims of Holocaust survivors are merely tools used by evil Zionist Jews to blackmail Europe and the world at the expense of the Palestinians.
Professor Norman Finkelstein of DePaul University recently appeared on Lebanese television to plug his book The Holocaust Industry. A transcript is provided by the invaluable MemriTV. It is a sickening display, and I would hope that there are historians at the ready to dispute his assertions. Here are some highlights from the interview, all of which are quotes from Professor Finkelstein, the child of Holocaust survivors:
The main reason I wrote the book is because I thought that the Nazi Holocaust was being exploited by Israel and its supporters in the United States against the Palestinians and against basic principles of justice. That is, the Nazi Holocaust is being used as a political weapon in order to silence criticism of Israeli policies in the occupied territories.
My book is mostly about the misuse or exploitation of the Nazi Holocaust for political purposes. The main claims I make in the book are, first of all, that this notion of Holocaust uniqueness - that is, no group of people in the history of human kind has suffered the way Jews have suffered.
This notion of Holocaust uniqueness has no basis in historical fact and is an immoral doctrine, because it ranks human suffering, saying some suffering is better and some suffering is worse. The main purpose of this claim of Holocaust uniqueness is to immunize Israel, protect Israel, from criticism.
But the Holocaust industry wanted to blackmail Europe in order to get compensation moneys. And in order to blackmail Europe they said there were hundreds of thousands of needy Holocaust victims who were still alive, and they started to inflate the number of survivors in order to blackmail Europe.
And there is something wrong when the United States has a museum devoted to what Germany did to the Jews, but it does not have a museum devoted to what America did to its native population - the expulsion and extermination of the native Americans. It does not have a museum devoted to what was done to Africans brought over here as slaves, yet it has a museum about what happened in Europe. What would Americans think if Germany, in its capital, were to create a museum commemorating slavery in the United States, commemorating the extermination of native Americans, but no museum devoted to the Nazi Holocaust? Of course, Americans would say that's pure hypocrisy. Well, we are now guilty of the same hypocrisy.
There is no evidence at all that Swiss banks ever kept billions of dollars that belonged to Jews during World War II or before World War II. The basic facts are as follows: Number one, most Jews before World War II were very very poor. They lived in little villages in Eastern Europe. The villages were called shtetls. They were little villages in Russia and in Poland. Most Jews were poor.
Number two, beginning in the early 1930's, there was a worldwide depression, which means even if you had money, you lost it during the depression.
And number three, if you had the money, and you were... and you kept the money, then you managed to escape during the Nazi Holocaust. That's one of the advantages to being rich. You have enough money to buy your way out.
So those Jews who had money and kept it after the depression – they used the money to get out, and then they withdrew their money from the banks after the war.
Finkelstein's claims lend credence to the justifications Palestinians make for the indiscriminate killing of Israeli citizens. It is for this reason that he was interviewed by Lebanese television. But all the evidence of recent years indicates that the Palestinians and their supporters are not so much interested in historical justice as they are in using their claims of injustice to justify murder, terrorism and the killing of Jews. That his claims provide such extensive intellectual support for terrorism disgraces the university and city that he ostensibly serves.
UPDATE: Marathon Pundit has some more information about Prof. Finkelstein.