Norman G. Finkelstein teaches at the City University of New York and contributes
to the London Review of Books. He is the author of Image and Reality of the Israel-Palastine
Conflict and (with Ruth Bettina Birn) A Nation on Trial, named a notable book
by the New York Times Book Review.
In a controversial new study, Finkelstein interrogates the conventional accounts
of the place the Holocaust has come to occupy in American culture and contends that the main
danger posed to the memory of Nazism's victims comes from prominent guardians of the Holocaust memory.
Finkelstein accuses Jewish organizations of exploiting the Holocaust for huge returns in reparation
settlements. He accuses the Industry of making big money, used to fund Holocaust literature and
studies programs, at the expense of holocaust victims and survivors. Ironically, only recently
these same special interest groups sponsored a million dollar fund raising dinner to celebrate
their latest reparation award.
Finkelstein's interest in the Nazi holocaust originated from his personal experience: both his
father and mother were survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Nazi concentration camps. By no means does
he therefore deny or belittle the Nazi holocaust with its 6m victims. What he criticizes is the fact
that since the 1960s the Nazi holocaust has become The Holocaust, allegedly a unique phenomenon,
as if there had been only one holocaust in history and never been African-American, Vietnamese, Armenian or Palestinian victims.
He also criticizes that all 'Holocaust survivors' claim that they were concentration camp inmates
and heroes of resistance. Finkelstein quotes John Stuart Mill who recognized that truth not subject
to continual challenge eventually 'ceases to have the effect of truth by being exaggerated into falsehood'.
Exploiting and falsifying the Nazi genocide served the Jewish-American elites 'to justify criminal policies
of the Israeli state and US support for their policies' (p. 8).
From the founding of the Israeli state in 1948 to the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Israel was not
important to American Jews. But when the United States (impressed by Israel's overwhelming display of
force) moved to incorporate it as a strategic asset (Israel serving as a proxy for US power in the Middle East), American
Jewish elites suddenly discovered Israel as their state. The Arab-Israeli war of October 1973
allegedly exacerbated Anmerican-Jewish fears of Israel's vulnerability. Since then the Holocaust memory moved center stage
and the Holocaust Industry (incl. the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the American
Jewish Committee, the Joint Distribution Committee etc.) not only began to take advantage by receiving massive US military assistance,
but also financial gains for tens of thousands 'needy Holocaust victims'. When the black Civil Rights movenment, however,
began to demand not only political, but also economic equality, the civil rights alliance between
Jews and blacks ceased to exist because Jews began to consider blacks as serious competitors in
The Holocaust Industry also reinforced the idea that 'Jews have every right to protect themselves...
even aggression and torture constitutes legitimate self-defense... By conferring total blamelessness
on Jews, the Holocaust dogma immunisizes Israel and American Jewry from legitimate censure.' The Holocaust
also confirmed the 'chosenness of Jews...Because Jews are better, or more successful, they suffered the ire of
Gentiles who then murdered them'.
How much the Holocaust Industry relies on lies and falsification, Finkelstein tries to prove with Kosinski's
The Painted Bird and Wilkomirski's Fragments, which he claims are completely invented
stories although their authors maintain that they are authentic.
Today there are over 100 Holocaust institutions in the United States, incl. 7 major Holocaust museums, the centerpiece
of which is the US Holocaust Museum in Washington. Finkelstein asks provocatively how Americans would react
if 'Germany (were) to build a national museum in Berlin to commemorate not the Nazi genocide but American slavery or the
extermination of the Native Americans'.
Finkelstein goes on and maintains that 'many Jews fabricated their past to meet eligibility requirements', i.e.
eligible to compensation. Although there cannot be more than 25,000 living holocaust survivors, the Israeli
Prime Minister's Office only recently put the number of 'living holocaust survivors' at nearly one million,
according to Finkelstein a gross exaggeration. E.g. a Jew who spent the war in Tel Aviv maintained that he was
a holocaust survivor because his grandmother dies in Auschwitz (p. 83).
Finkelstein says that Germany until today has paid $ 60 billion in compensation money to the Jews.
Although the Claims Conference agreed to pay the money only to holocaust survivors, it remains doubtful
that this is where the money went. Finkelstein maintains that large sums went to Jewish communities in the
Arab world and was used to facilitate Jewish emigration from Eastern Europe. Considerable sums were also
spent on cultural undertakings such as holocaust museums or university chairs in Holocaust studies or simply
went into the coffers of the Jewish American elites (e.g. lawyers, media tycoons).
After the Holocaust Industry of the American Jewry is going to cash in large sums from Swiss banks and
the private German industry, it will eventually turn to the Polish government. There the World Jewish
Restitution Organisation demands title of over 6,000 prewar communal Jewish properties (p. 131). This already raised
fear in Poland that the demand 'could bankrupt the nation' (p. 131).
In the article Put The Holocaust Industry Out Of Business MacKenzie Paine says 'that it is high time
for more men of honor, like Norman Finkelstein, to stand up to the Industry and say 'Enough Money!'
The war has been over for half a century. Let it go. The German people (and countless others) have paid and paid and paid.
So have U.S. taxpayers.'
If Americans really equate all holocausts with The Holocaust instigated by Nazi Germany and at the same time are 'manipulated'
by above mentioned Holocaust museums and Holocaust education, there is no wonder that a lot of antipathy against Germans has developed
in the USA over past years. This is what I would consider as tragic since Germany has proved for the past 55 years that it is a liberal
and democratic country which has sufficiently made up for the atrocities committed by the Nazis. I fear that holocaust and today's Germany