Ivo Skoric on 23 Jul 2000 13:50:55 -0000

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> ivogram 000723

"Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
     Finkelstein's list 
     Re: Serbian-American held in attempted bombing of US air base
     Bosnian White Pages (phone directory) on the Web 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 23:08:44 -0400
Subject: Finkelstein's list 

Dissent about the interpretation of Holocaust in the Jewish 

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------

Finkelstein's list 

He's a Jewish author - but his accusation that Zionist groups profit
from hijacking the history of the Nazi genocide has made him a hate
figure. Tomorrow he's at a conference in Britain 

Jay Rayner
Sunday July 16, 2000
The Observer

As Norman Finkelstein's flight from New York touches down tomorrow
morning in London, it lands the Brooklyn-born writer and Holocaust
academic in the middle of a major storm. 

As he arrives, one of Finkelstein's many enemies in the Jewish
Establishment, and one of many targets in his latest book, will be
addressing a major international Holocaust conference in Oxford. 

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, the Nobel-prize winning author whose
book Night is held as one of the most important of Holocaust texts, is
one of the major speakers at the Remembering for the Future
conference. So is Finkelstein, who says Wiesel is a hypocrite,
responsible for the 'sacralisation of the Holocaust ... for his
standard fee of $25,000 (plus chauffeured limousine)'. 

It is believed the fierce foes are unlikely to come face to face in
Oxford, but Finkelstein will sail into a storm of controversy there as
his new book The Holocaust Industry is published in the UK. 

Last week, it was condemned here as 'nauseous'. Some columnists
branded him 'extreme' and a 'conspiracy theorist'. Others damned him
for giving succour to anti-Semites and manipulating the facts. 

Norman Finkelstein, the son of concentration camp survivors, has
launched a personal pogrom with The Holocaust Industry, attacking
almost every orthodox tenet of the study of the genocide of the Jews
by the Nazis. 

And an awful lot of people now hate him for it. 

'His approach is totally destructive,' says Greville Janner, chairman
of the Holocaust Educational Trust.  'I find it revolting.' Elan
Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress in New
York, agrees.  'I believe he is pathetic. I simply don't accept him as
a researcher.' That his arrival coincides with the beginning of the
Remembering for the Future conference, one of the largest gatherings
of international Holocaust scholars ever held, will only add a searing
heat to the argument. 

His incendiary book, published in the US last Thursday and here this
week, argues that interest in the Holocaust arose after the 1967
Arab-Israeli war not because survivors found a voice but because an
all-powerful American Jewish lobby realised it could now be used to
lend a kind of moral victimhood to an Israeli state engaged in
criminal acts against the Palestinians.  Further, he says efforts have
been made to stress the 'uniqueness' of the genocide of the Jews, not
for any moral reason, but simply to protect its power as a symbol. 

Most recently, he says, it has been used to extort money from Germany,
Switzerland and others in the name of Holocaust survivors who do not
need it, the funds staying with Jewish institutions and not those very
few living survivors who might need it. He adds the number of
Holocaust survivors has been grossly inflated, and that there are now
more survivors than at the end of the war. 

'The current campaign of the Holocaust industry to extort money from
Europe in the name of "needy Holocaust victims" has,' he writes,
'shrunk the moral stature of their martyrdom to that of a Monte Carlo

What really defines the short, footnoted text is its style. Intoning
the memory of his Holocaust survivor parents, and raging about the
paltry $3,500 compensation that his mother received, Finkelstein
lashes out in all directions with a torrent of invective. He has many
targets: the World Jewish Congress, the Claims Commission, the Israeli
government and almost every other academic in the field of Holocaust

Intriguingly, the day Finkelstein lands in London, Wiesel will be in
Oxford for the opening session of the Remembering for the Future
conference. Although Finkelstein will later be part of a debate at the
conference, there is, according to the organisers, no likelihood of
the two meeting. 

The Holocaust Industry began its turbulent life as a review in the
London Review of Books of a highly regarded work by Peter Novick, an
academic at Chicago university, called The Holocaust in American Life.
Novick was trying to explain why the Holocaust suddenly became a
subject for discussion and study in the late Sixties after so many
years of silence. He concluded that the Arab-Israeli war of 1967 had
led to concerns that a second Holocaust could occur and that there was
a duty to remember the events of the Second World War to stop such an
atrocity occurring again.  In his review, Finkelstein argued his
entirely opposing thesis that it was a reaction to Israeli strength. 

'I saw the piece in the LRB ,' says Colin Robertson, managing director
of Verso books, publisher of the Finkelstein volume, 'and I thought
there could be a book in it.' Did he not think it might cause a row?
'We're an unashamedly radical publisher. It's our stock in trade. But
our main thing was that, as a left-wing publisher, we should not be
seen as anti-Semitic. With Norman's background as the son of Holocaust
survivors, we could refute any such allegations.' 

Finkelstein is more than used to taking on the Holocaust
establishment.  In the mid-Nineties he published a scathing critique
of Hitler's Willing Executioners, a book by Daniel Goldhagen, Harvard
Professor of Jewish History, which claimed the entire German nation
had, through ingrained anti-Semitism, been eager accomplices in the
genocide of the Jews. 

As Finkelstein gleefully recounts, he became the target of abuse and
hate mail. At one point in The Holocaust Industry he even quotes a
letter from Leon Wieseltier, influential literary editor of the US
magazine New Republic, to his publisher. 'You don't know who
Finkelstein is,' Wieseltier wrote. 'He's poison, he's a disgusting
self-hating Jew, he's something you find under a rock.' 

While Finkelstein's style is unique, the arguments in his book are
not.  This newspaper echoed his views on the problems of over-stating
the uniqueness of the Holocaust when the Imperial War Museum opened
its permanent Holocaust Exhibition a few weeks ago. Likewise
journalist Tom Bower, who has written extensively on attempts to get
compensation from the Swiss over the Holocaust, says some of what
Finkelstein claims about the machinations of the international
compensation process are correct. 

The idea of a Holocaust racket surfaced years ago when Israeli Foreign
Minister Abba Eban quipped: 'There's no business like Shoah business'
('Shoah' is Hebrew for 'Holocaust'). 

Rabbi Julia Neuberger says: 'There is a sort of industry going on
around the Holocaust which grows on itself. Elie Wiesel does charge a
fortune and do the wide, sad eyes thing. But because Finkelstein does
it as a rant, the validity of those points get lost. 

'He's so angry with the American Jewish establishment that he doesn't
listen to real people. You can't just think in terms of systems with
the Holocaust.' 

Others are more vicious. 'The language he is using is anti-Semitic,'
says Steinberg of the World Jewish Congress. 'His facts are wrong. His
language is intemperate. He quotes me but he never spoke to me.' 

Deborah Lipstadt, the US expert on Holocaust denial and a defendant in
David Irving's recent failed libel trial has similar complaints. 'In
the book he says that by writing about Holocaust deniers I give them
credence. That's ridiculous. I didn't create them.' At one point he
accuses Lipstadt - also in the UK for the Oxford conference - of
saying that doubting the testimony of survivors is a form of Holocaust
denial.  'I never said that,' she said. 'It's ridiculous. It makes me
wonder how accurate he is on other things.' 

It is certainly true that Finkelstein only emphasises that which suits
his case. He mentions repeatedly that his mother received only $3,500
by way of compensation, but buries in a footnote the fact that his
father received a monthly pension of around $600 for years. 

Indeed, gripes about money, and the Byzantine compensation claims that
procured it, appear to lie at the very heart of Finkelstein's
argument. In 1998, Swiss banks agreed to pay $1.25 billion in
settlement of a class action brought by Jewish claimants. 

Finkelstein complains that no money reached the victims. Tom Bower,
who has written extensively on Swiss compensation to the Jews,
disagrees. 'None of the Swiss's $1.25bn has been transferred to any
Jewish organisation,' he says. 'So far, the American courts have not
approved a system for distributing the money and no money has been
transferred from Switzerland.' Finkelstein claims that the World
Jewish Congress now has a fund of $7bn. 'The $7bn fund is a myth,'
says Bower. Finally Finkelstein states that half a $200 million fund
set up for immediate distribution to victims has not been handed out
and will end up going to Jewish groups and lawyers. Elan Steinberg of
the WJC says this is rubbish.  Only on one claim, that there are tens
of millions of dollars in German compensation funds languishing in
bank accounts, does Bower say that Finkelstein's account come anywhere
near the truth. Even so he says Finkelstein's interpretation of those
events is 'flawed'. 

Finkelstein is unrepentant. 'When I want to invoke the memory of my
parents I am accused of using it.  There is something plainly
revolting going on. There are people claiming to be working in the
name of Holocaust victims, getting money on false pretences and then
not distributing it. 

'I was probably unusually close to my parents so I do what I can now
to preserve the integrity of their memory. The Holocaust deserves to
be remembered.' He just hates the way the remembering is done. 


Claim and counter-claim about the Holocaust

Finkelstein's claim: If, as is agreed, there were only 100,000 Jewish
survivors of the concentration camps at the end of the war, many of
whom died shortly afterwards, there cannot be hundreds of thousands of
survivors still living deserving to be compensated by the Swiss and
the Germans. 

Counter-claim: The definition of a survivor has moved to take in not
only those who were in the camps but also those who were forced to
flee their homes and their country, those who lived out the war in the
forests and, in some cases, victims' descendants who suffered
psychological and/ or financial problems. 

Finkelstein's claim: Jewish organisations are sitting on $1.25 billion
paid over by the Swiss banks, none of which has been distributed to
Holocaust victims. 

Counter-claim: Although a settlement has been agreed no money has yet
left Switzerland because the US courts have still to approve its

Finkelstein's claim: Most of the money will never go to individuals
but to Jewish organisations. 

Counter-claim: The division of the funds is yet to be agreed. 

Finkelstein's claim: Nobel prize-winning writer Elie Wiesel is a fraud
saying that, after liberation from the camps at 18, he read Kant's
Critique of Pure Reason in Yiddish.  Finkelstein says it was never
published in Yiddish. 

Counter-claim: It was published in Yiddish in Warsaw in 1929. 

Finkelstein's claim: US academic Deborah Lipstadt said that to
question the testimony of a survivor was Holocaust denial. 

Counter-claim: Lipstadt denies having said any such thing. 

Finkelstein's claim: Lawrence Eagleburger earns $300,000 a year as
chair of the International Commission on Holocaust-Era Insurance
claims, money that should be going to Holocaust victims. 

Counter-claim: His salary is paid by the insurance companies not from
compensation money. 

                         Copyright Guardian M

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 23:08:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Serbian-American held in attempted bombing of US air base

I am actually amazed that things like that did not happen earlier. I 
mean, all this talk among the Serbs how the U.S. is a terrorist 
country for cowardly bombing their homeland from 15,000 feet, was 
bound to end with some counter-activity. And what can the Serbs 
do? They don't have the option of hitting the U.S. air-bases with 
cruise missiles. The thing they can do is walk into them with a 
couple of pipe bombs - and that's exactly what now happened. A 
Serb-American former National Guard pilot walked into his own 
former base and left some home-made ordnance there - not even 
thinking what would be of his ex-colleagues should that bombs 
have exploded by accident near some of them. What he did think 
about, however, was how to pin this terrorist act on Albanians - 
that's why the graffiti on the sattelite dish he scribbled were "Free 
Kosova!" with the Albanian spelling of Kosov@ with the "a" at the 
end. But he was caught red-handed. There is of course danger in 
this case. This action was a precedent in the behavior of Serbian-
Americans: they were all loudly opposing NATO bombing of 
Yugoslavia, but so far nobody actively engaged in armed resistance 
or acts of terrorism. Therefore, there was no mistrust among 
general American population against Serbian-Americans and they 
were left in peace, keeping their jobs and normal lives. However, 
this incident may cause a backlash: on one hand the trial of Mititch 
may galvanize Serbian-American community, the way O.J. case 
galvanized African-Americans, but on the other hand it can make 
other Americans wary and suspicious of their Serb-American 
employees and neighbors.


Associated Press July 20, 2000, Thursday

National Guard Bomb Suspect Held


MILWAUKEE, Jul. 20 (AP) -- A former National Guard pilot was arrested
Thursday on suspicion of breaking into an Air National Guard base,
scrawling ''Free Kosova'' on a satellite dish and leaving behind a bag
with two bombs, authorities said.

Authorities acting on a tip from a hot line arrested 35-year-old
Milan S. Mititch at his Milwaukee home, FBI agent David J. Williams said.

Mititch was an officer in the Wisconsin Army National Guard from
April 1988 until he resigned Nov. 1, said Lt. Col. Tim Donovan, a
guard spokesman.

The suspect, a former chief warrant officer, flew UH60 Blackhawk
helicopters for the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Command based
in Madison, Donovan said. The battalion was not assigned to Kosovo
and did not participate in the Gulf War, Donovan said.

''I can't characterize his service,'' Donovan said.

After Mititch was arrested, a bomb squad searched his apartment,
authorities said.

Mititch was expected to appear in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee
later in the day, Williams said.

The FBI said the intruder scrawled graffiti reading ''Free Kosova'' on a
satellite dish early Wednesday at the 128th Air Refueling Wing compound.
Kosova is an Albanian spelling of Kosovo.

It was unclear how the intruder got in. The suspect had no credentials
that would have allowed him to get past the complex gate, Williams said.

As security guards chased the intruder, he dropped a bag containing
two pipe bomb-type devices, authorities said.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department defused the devices later

During the NATO air strikes in Yugoslavia in 1999, aimed at ending
ethnic repression by Serb forces against ethnic Albanians, the 128th
Air Refueling Wing sent about 170 members to a base outside London,
where they serviced aircraft flying in NATO's air operations in Kosovo.

Williams said investigators contacted local Serbian and Albanian
communities and went door to door in some neighborhoods with a
composite sketch of the intruder. The sketch was broadcast on
Milwaukee television stations.

The hot line got a call about midnight and began zeroing in on the
suspect, Williams said Thursday.

''By midnight last night, we were intent on talking to him, but he simply
was unable to be found,'' Williams said. ''We found him this morning, and
between midnight and this morning we developed additional information
which led to the filing of the federal arrest warrant.''

Lt. Col. Jim Waters defended security measures at the base.

''Our security forces did their job and prevented something from happening
that was much worse,'' he said.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 23:08:55 -0400
Subject: Bosnian White Pages (phone directory) on the Web 
http://www.imenik.ptt.ba/osoba1.html <http://www.imenik.ptt.ba/osoba1.html>

----- End forwarded message -----
#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo@bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime@bbs.thing.net