RESISTANCE CINEMA Presents “AMERICAN RADICAL: THE TRIALS OF NORMAN FINKELSTEIN” A film by David Ridgen and Nicolas Rossier, TYPECAST FILMS , 2009, 84 minutes
WHEN: Sunday August 15, 2010 1:15 PM
WHERE: Community Church NYC, Gallery Room 28 east 35th St. @ Park Ave.
ADMISSION: Free; donations appreciated
Brooklyn born Norman Finkelstein has had a tumultuous career as an academic, author, and stinging critic of Israel and US Mid-East policy. AMERICAN RADICAL is the probing, definitive documentary about his life and work. While the film is sympathetic overall to Finkelstein, the filmmakers do provide a voice for his critics including most notably Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, a bitter adversary.
A devoted son of holocaust survivors and author of five provocative books including, "The Holocaust Industry", and “Beyond Chutzpah”, Finkelstein has been steadfast at the center of many intractable controversies, including his recent denial of tenure at DePaul University. Called a lunatic and disgusting self-hating Jew by some, and an inspirational street-fighting revolutionary by others, Finkelstein is at once a compelling yet polarizing figure whose struggles arise from core questions about freedom, identity and nationhood. His work has earned him both condemnation and praise from various intellectuals and scholars has just completed his seventh book – “A Farewell to Israel: The Coming Break-up of American Zionism” – arguing that American Jewish support for Israel is beginning to wane.
From Beirut to Kyoto, the filmmakers follow Finkelstein around the world as he attempts to negotiate a voice among both supporters and critics, providing an intimate portrait of the man behind the controversy while giving equal time to both his critics and supporters. He has openly met with members of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Palestinian militants in the West bank infuriating Israeli officials who now deny him entry into Israel. A dramatic exchange with Canadian students at a university lecture reveals Finkelstein’s willingness to boldly go where many others refuse and that is to challenge the legitimacy of evoking the holocaust as a shield against recognizing human rights abuses by the state of Israel.
Both of Finkelstein’s parents were Holocaust survivors who were active in the Warsaw ghetto uprising. His mother, Maryla Husyt Finkelstein survived the Majdanek concentration camp, and his father, Zacharias Finkelstein, survived the Auschwitz concentration camp. He has been mentored by notable linguist and political scientist Noam Chomsky and his late wife Carol and often appears on the award-winning radio and television program Democracy Now!