American Radical: the trials of Norman Finkelstein (documentary)

October 9, 2012

The official description of this 2009 documentary reads as follows:

A devoted son of Holocaust survivors and ardent critic of Israeli foreign policy, the polarizing American political scientist and author Norman Finkelstein has been called a lunatic and self-hating Jew by some, and an inspirational revolutionary by others. Uncompromising even in the face of his denial of tenure at DePaul University, Finkelstein is revealed as a complex, politically isolated figure who puts the pursuit of justice above the security of his academic career. Exploring the difficult and deeply-felt issues at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, American Radical is the insightful and enraging documentary that follows Finkelstein around the world as he attempts to negotiate a powerful voice among his impassioned critics and supporters.

The title of the film is explained near the end. Finkelstein notes that some people fail to see problems in this world, others see problems but are not terribly bothered by them, and yet others sees problems that cry out for radical solutions. He obviously falls into the latter group. For him–and many others–the Occupation of the Palestinian territories is radically unjust and in need of a radical change in the status quo. His unwavering, principled commitment to doing what he can to resolve this problem is what makes him a radical. It’s also what makes him a truly remarkable human being. 

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