Finkelstein speech in Cleveland spurs protests

NEW YORK (JTA) — Protesters demonstrated an appearance at a Cleveland university by Norman Finkelstein.

Finkelstein, a controversial author and political scientist, spoke on the evening of Dec. 11 at Case Western Reserve University and the following day at Cleveland’s City Club Forum.

At the university, Jewish students and community members stood outside the lecture’s venue waving American and Israeli flags. Signs read "Teaching hate will not lead to peace" and "Stop the hate at Case." The university also received phone calls and e-mails requesting that the program be more balanced, according to Dani Horwitz, who organized the protests under the auspices of Betar of Cleveland.

The Hallinan Project for Peace and Social Justice at CWRU, a university organization, sponsored Finkelstein’s appearance.

In his 2000 book "The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering," Finkelstein accuses Jews of using the Holocaust to justify Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and to extort money from Germany. He is the son of Holocaust survivors.

Finkelstein was denied tenure at DePaul University in Chicago, where he had been a professor. He was placed on administrative leave and then left the university. He has been banned from visiting Israel for 10 years after meeting with Hezbollah leaders in Lebanon in January.

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