The Holocaust Industry: Finkelstein, Gary Spedding and the Anti-Israel Activist 2.0
In 2000, Norman Finkelstein published his polemic, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitations of Jewish Suffering, which rather disgustingly posited that the taught account of the Holocaust is in fact a Zionist narrative, which is used to justify putative Israeli 'cruelties'. Even more disgustingly, Finkelstein frequently speaks of the Holocaust as a premise which allows his blind bigoted hatred criticism of Israel to be consequently regarded as acceptable.
It rather seems that it is actually Finkelstein who goes to a great effort to exploit the Holocaust himself, as he does not miss an opportunity to justify his de-humanization of the Israeli people by invoking the great suffering of his family during the Holocaust, as seen here:
Engage has noted the following of Finkelstein's exploitation of the Holocaust:
Neo-Nazis adored this book. Ernst Zundel wrote that “Finkelstein continues his one-man intifada against the Holocaust establishment and vigorously attacks the Holocaust profiteers [in his] ever-so-feisty volume.” David Irving was proud to admit that he had corresponded for years with Finkelstein. The IHR’s Journal for Historical Review bestowed the highest praise on Finkelstein’s work: “the kind of things revisionists have been saying for years… one can find much of… Finkelstein prefigured in the early writings of Butz and Faurisson."
According to Finkelstein: “Given the nonsense churned out daily by the Holocaust industry, the wonder is there are so few skeptics.” Discussing the reception of his book by Holocaust deniers, Finkelstein stated, “Were it not for the fact that my late parents passed through the Nazi holocaust, I myself would probably would be a skeptic by now. Who can any longer believe a single word coming out of the Holocaust industry?” The author Paul Bogdanor comments: 'Finkelstein enjoys cordial relations with neo-Nazis, grants them interviews, allows his books and articles to be posted on their websites, dismisses the findings of legitimate Holocaust historians while heaping praise on the deniers, and repeatedly insists that the deniers’ positions are entirely reasonable, in the light of “profiteering” and “hucksterism” of the privileged Jewish elite.'
Finkelstein's hypocrisy is not lost on a new breed of anti-Israel activists, who employ the memory of a Holocaust as a disinfectant to sanitise their obhorrent political polemics and moral relativism. The anti-Israel activist 2.0 take great care to condemn the evils and overt bigotry apparent within the anti-Israel movement, and from his high ground, assumes a greater legitimacy upon his anti-Israel pronouncements.
Enter Gary Spedding, a peculiar creature who, according to some, suffers from a degree of Stockholm syndrome and believes himself to be a born-again Palestinian. Spedding has since denied this, and we can only speculate as to the state of his sanity; however, the company he keeps and the methods he adopts both tell a rather worrying story.
Spedding is chair of the Queen's University Belfast Palestine Solidarity Society, which infamously orchestrated an attack upon Solon Solomon, a former legal adviser to the Knesset Foreign Affairs committee, who had been invited to speak to law school students at Queen's University.
Solomon was heckled by members of the university's Palestine Solidarity Society (PSS) and the youth wing of Sinn Féin (the political wing of the Irish terrorist organisation the IRA) during a lecture. The protestors attacked the car in which Solomon escaped, attempting to smash its windows.
Spedding is proud of his connections to the Holy Land Trust, and describes its Director, Sami Awad, as his "Best Friend, Mentor, colleague and leader." Both Spedding and Awad claim to believe in nonviolent 'resistance', although Awad makes it clear that this doesn't necessarily mean condemning violence: "This is not a substitute for the armed struggle. This is not a method for normalization with the occupation. Our goal is to revive the popular resistance until every person is involved in dismantling the occupation."
Awad will be talking at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference 2012, alongside various Christian antizionists who have been associated with terrorists, and recommend the writings of Holocaust deniers. The notoriously nasty Ben White (who infamous said: "“I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are”) has been describing the conference as a place at which 'he can have respectful dialogue with Christian academics and preachers, in a fair and moderate setting'. After all, a single collectivity of hysteria seems so much more persuasive than individual loons popping up and down all over the place while screaming angry slogans.
Certainly Awad doesn’t help legitimise his claim to be a 'moderate' by hosting the crazy antizionist Greek Orthodox priest Atallah Hanna at the Holy Land Trust.
"It is a crime. A great crime. Such phenomena signal the start of the collapse of every society. Those who believe in Allah know that behavior of that kind brings his wrath and is liable to cause the worst things to happen. There is no solution for this, unless the individual’s faith is strengthened."
According to reports in popular evangelical magazine Christianity Today, Atallah Hanna supports suicide bombings – a position that drew outrage from the paper. Hanna has opined:
"As you know, political parties in Palestine agree to the continuation of the intifada, which includes different approaches of struggle. Some freedom fighters adopt martyrdom or suicide bombing, while others opt for other measures. But all these struggles serve the continued intifada for freedom. Therefore, we support all these causes.
We are part of the intifada, so you don’t expect us to keep distance and watch. We are in the struggle, whether it’s martyrdom or any other means, we are part of it."
"Sami you have taught me so much and I hope that I have represented you in a good way in my writings, you are a light to me in this time much as Jesus Christ is a light for all of us! ... My deepest love goes out to you, my thanks and appreciation nothing can really substantiate in words what you mean to the people here or what you mean to me!"
Spedding also seems to have no problem putting forth overtly antisemitic ideas. He has echoed Deborah Orr's heavily-criticised claims that Jewish supremacism guided the motivation behind the deal to exchange over 1000 Palestinian criminals and terrorists for the liberty of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, a point that was denounced as obviously anti-Jewish by a wide variety of sources, including a sort-of-apology from the Guardian itself. Spedding wrote:
"There is a point that needs addressing in the use of language by media outlets because of the specifics in the deal surrounding Shalit’s release especially in the mainstream media in the USA and Israel reporting along the lines of ’1000 or more terrorists to be exchanged in prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit’ this viewpoint is highly inaccurate it degrades the Palestinian prisoners being swapped for Gilad Shalit whilst reinforcing the current view among many right wing zionists and their supporters that 1 jewish life is of more value than say 1000 Arab lives which is incredibly racist in and of itself."
To take the Jewish value of appreciation of life and turn it on its head to infer that the Shalit swap occurred merely because Jews cannot value Arab lives is a sickening idea and stinks of the most ancient European antisemitism. Even Hezbollah doesn't go that far, as their Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah has noted: “We have discovered how to hit the Jews where they are most vulnerable. The Jews love life, so that is what we will take from them. We are going to win, because they love life and we love death.” If you want to define evil, as a friend of mine noted the other day, just take in that quote.
One could argue Spedding is too stupid to understand all this, and that his angry anti-Jewish anti-Zionist polemics could just happen to look like the product of bigotry and obsession, but upon examining the company Spedding keeps, the stench of nastiness cannot quite be wafted away.
His keenness to condemn the immorality of others within the anti-Israel movement looks pretty weak at times. Writing about Hamas, Spedding noted:
"Hamas rockets are and should be condemned but they also need to be understood in order to progress forward with any plan for peace and justice. It does not excuse Hamas rocket fire but it explains it in an accurate way to state that the home-made rockets of hamas are a desperate attempt by angry and desperate people who join up with militant groups at taking out revenge against Israel the 4th most well equipped and armed army in the world and against israeli civilians (which is totally unacceptable and unjustifiable in terms of attacking civilians)."
Similarly, Spedding has written about the brutal murder of the Fogel family, in which a tiny child was stabbed to death alongside his family, and reprehensibly stated:
"The J’post article sickening invokes the cloudy and unclear death of the Fogel family an attack which I have the report and pictures of in my email inbox from the day after it happened. I find it sick that the J’post is still using this attack for political gain suggesting Palestinians are to blame when there has been no further information, news or otherwise released about the murders since the IDF conveniently caught two Palestinians kept them in torture for a month until they ‘confessed’ and then announced they had caught the killers despite the evidence and speculation of it being the work of a migrant worker from asia."
This was published months after the murders, when it had been made clear that Palestinian terrorists were responsible for the brutal killings. The theory about a migrant worker being responsible was put forth by the Palestinian Authority's propaganda unit, Ma'an News, and similarly, was discounted as agitprop months before Spedding wrote this horrifying paragraph of hate.
"Ah but Anny, I do live in Palestine and i know alot about this conflict! accusing people of not knowing about the conflict by the way just because they dont live there is silly really, theres countless middle east experts who dont live in Israel who know about the conflict in great detail, my friend norman finkelstein for one.... i would agree with my friend norman finkelstein when he describes israel as a lunatic state."
This is the same Finkelstein who stated that Hezbollah, one of the nastiest terrorist organisations in existence, represented 'the hope'.
And just as Finkelstein regularly invokes the memory of suffering afflicted upon his family by the Holocaust, so too does Gary Spedding need to use the Holocaust to justify himself and legitimise his hateful views. And then it hit him. Why not work for Holocaust Memorial Day Trust? Yes, that's right, just like Finkelstein, Spedding has no shame in exploiting the Holocaust for his own gain. This facebook page is dedicated to the HMD event Spedding is running: http://www.facebook.com/QUBHMD?sk=wall
I do recommend readers get in touch with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and recommend Spedding be disassociated from this event, for his presence in the organisation of such an event is an insult to decent persons everywhere.
Spedding spends his days 'trolling' various pro-Israel and pro-Jewish facebook groups, shouting angrily at people for their support for the evil Zionist regime. He's blocked from quite a few sites, and among pro-Israel activists in the UK, is frequently the subject of a number of jokes. But people such as Spedding, like his 'friend' Finkesltein', should not be thought of as just a joke; they are also extremely dangerous.
After doing a quick google, it's quite clear Spedding obsesses about his own image constantly, and almost every reference to him is accompanied by a comment from him condemning the writer and assuring the audience of his own virtuosity. Undoubtedly, he will comment on this piece below at some point, although perhaps by pointing it out, he might refrain. Let's wait and see.
Spedding is the 'fresh face' of anti-Israel activity, someone who has recognised the illiberalism of much of the anti-Israel movement and consequently, rather than properly challenge it, he duplictiously relativises such evil in order to sanitise his own outpourings in the eyes of observers. All of this is very much apparent in this piece here, in which he attempts to both condemn and apologise for antisemitism at the same time. This is the anti-Israel activist 2.0 - a careful composition of narcissism, deceit and bigotry in a single horrifying package.
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