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Dr. Finkelstein & the Vatican

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      DePaul and the Vatican's Long Leash
      Norman Finkelstein and the Catholic Church
      July 3, 2007

      The most recent scandal in American academia is the firing of Dr.
      Norman Finkelstein by De Paul University, despite the recommendations
      of his colleagues and peers, students, and his publishing record, all
      of which would normally assure academic tenure to someone in his
      position. It seems therefore, that Dr. Norman Finkelstein application
      failed not because of any professional or personal failings, but
      rather because of considerations external to his person, none of which
      have been explained.

      To date, the only apparent reason for this outcome is the unremitting
      public, and no doubt, private, campaign against Dr. Finkelstein's
      competence by Alan Dershowitz, a professor of law at Harvard, and one
      of the leading apologists for Zionism, which, appeared to be motivated
      by personal pique after Dr. Finkelstein's painstaking analysis
      revealed the legal invalidity of Dershowitz' arguments which support
      Israeli violations of international law. One would suspect that
      because De Paul is a Catholic university, continuing charges of
      anti-Semitism together with the Holocaust culpability accusations,
      were not left out of this offensive. Those who find Dr. Finkelstein's
      firing shocking have attributed weakness of character to the officials
      at the University for yielding to these pressures.

      Before I adduce what I think are other unmentioned, if not hidden,
      seminal factors contributing to this dismissal, I think it might be
      worth while to elaborate for purposes of a better understanding of the
      issues involved, on the work of Dr. Finkelstein and the position of
      the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in the world today. Dr.
      Finkelstein has made significant contributions in the fields of
      Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and established, almost
      single-handedly, the field of critical Holocaust studies, work which
      required considerable courage as it is contrary to the political
      position of the United States and the Israeli/Zionist lobby. It might
      seem a truism to remark that had Finkelstein confined himself to
      arcane research minutiae in these fields, publishing only in academic
      journals, the university might well have been able to continue to
      employ him. However, it was precisely the critical public light that
      Finkelstein thre w upon issues upon which the United States, and other
      Western countries have used in pursuit of their interests, that seems
      to have sounded his academic death knell at De Paul University.

      His critique connected anti-Semitism and the Holocaust to Zionist
      protectionism with respect to Palestinians. For decades Israel and its
      apologists have insisted that a critique of Israeli policies and
      practices is always a cover-up for a deeply-seated and incorrigible
      anti-Semitism, the very same poison that led to the Holocaust. Thus
      anyone criticizing Israel, the Jewish state, is ipso facto an
      anti-Semite who wishes to bring about second Holocaust upon the Jewish
      people. The Roman Catholic Church has been in the Jewish firing line
      for decades, continuing to be charged with both a historical and an
      enduring anti-Semitism. That there was both collaboration between the
      Church and some Nazis, and the official Church afforded protection to
      Nazis both during and after the war continues to serve Jews as a
      continuing paradigm. Of course it is also true that the Church and
      many of its members were persecuted by the Nazis, is not politically
      advantageous to t he Zionists and is therefore relegated out of the
      public purview. In response to the charges, the official position of
      the Church now insists that Christianity is a "daughter" religion of
      Judaism and not a "fulfillment" thereof and has removed all language
      deemed offensive to Jews from its prayers. More importantly from a
      Zionist point of view, the Holy See has established diplomatic ties
      with Israel and promotes cultural and religious dialogues, qua Church
      and qua individual Catholics, with Israel and leading Israeli-Jewish
      scholars, despite serious outstanding disagreements between them such
      as and the continuing tax and visa pressures the Jewish state exerts
      against Catholic institutions.

      There are however, another three factors connected to this scandal
      which bear mentioning as they might indicate what might develop from
      the Church, which could have enormous bearing on the political
      environment of both Europe and the US. Two are intra-Catholic issues:
      the issue of Catholic university autonomy and the issue and status of
      liberation theology. The third issue concerns the Church leadership
      and political Islam. The former may explain how the firing took place,
      as well as indicate future positions that will be taken in Catholic
      universities, while the latter two provide two reasons for it.

      A point to be emphasized is that De Paul Catholic University is not an
      independent institution of higher learning. In the Catholic world,
      there are two types of universities: a pontifical university which
      falls under direct control of Rome and a Catholic university. Until
      1991, a Catholic university enjoyed full autonomy as an independent
      institution. The scope of the term "Catholic" was fairly fluid, often
      just meaning that it was founded by Catholics and administered by
      them. It did not necessarily mean that it explicitly advocated, or
      acted, with the approval of Rome.

      However, this is no longer the case. In 1991, Pope John Paul II issued
      his Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities, known by its
      introductory latin phrase, Ex Corde Ecclesiae--from the heart of the
      Church. This has proven to be a telling phrase, as the Constitution
      subjugates a Catholic university to Rome =AD no doubt the heart of the
      Church-- concerning faith and morals, i.e. doctrine, thus undermining,
      if not removing entirely, that exercise of freedom necessary for a
      university to retain its integrity qua university. And it is precisely
      in those fields which are controversial that controversy is likely to
      be stifled. This constitution was received with much trepidation in
      the United States as it was understood as an attempt to extend Rome's
      control where it previously had been absent. Pontifical universities
      or pontifical faculties in secular universities, such as in Germany,
      had seen their staff fired by Rome for holding opinions o r positions
      that either questioned or contested those of the Magisterium, the
      teaching office of the Church. Two examples stand out, although there
      are many more. During the reign of Pope John Paul II, Prof. Fr. Hans
      K=FCng, at T=FCbingen University in Germany had his faculties as a
      Catholic theologian removed by Rome for daring to question the issue
      of papal infallibility, while Prof. Fr. Charles Curran, teaching about
      homosexuality in a questioning and opening manner that did not
      contradict any infallible statements made by the Pope, was dismissed
      from the pontifical Catholic university in Washington DC.

      The Finkelstein affaire seems to justify the deep felt fear of those
      who were originally against Ex Corde Ecclesiae and in a manner
      possibly more insidious than originally suspected or foreseen. I shall
      argue that Rome's reach into the universities is no longer confined to
      arcane doctrinal issues, as in the cases mentioned above, but to
      issues of the wider political arena, which the Church hierarchy will
      either promote or defeat, depending on how it assesses its interests,
      within Catholic institutions.

      It is my contention that the dismissal of Dr. Finkelstein, concerns
      the fundamental question of how the Church leadership is positioning
      itself in this changing world. Dr. Finkelstein's work, both academic
      and political, relates indirectly to the doctrinal issue of liberation
      theology, a subject which was deemed almost dead until very recently.
      Rome had both condemned its focus, its approach and methods and some
      of its leading exponents. However, it has recently begun to raise its
      head once again, undoubtedly because the state of affairs that it
      originally addressed not only has not disappeared, but has worsened
      exponentially in the more than two decades since it was first
      censured. Furthermore, it has now been explicitly referred to in the
      political arena of the new governments, elected by the masses of the
      poor and underprivileged in South America, and whose programs are
      threatening the status quo determined by the US.

      What was and is Roman Catholic liberation theology? And how does it
      affect Dr. Finkelstein? Historically the Roman Catholic Church, as a
      state church, or church of the empire, has been aligned with the rich
      and the powerful, or what is called at times "law and order". With
      respect to the poor, the underprivileged and the oppressed, it
      developed the giving of alms or charity in order to relieve their
      suffering. With the development of sociology in the nineteenth century
      by Marx, and the modern phenomenon of an urban proletariat in the
      industrializing cities, a social phenomenon dependent upon capitalism,
      a new understanding of what it meant to be poor came about. The
      official Church never chose to understand the poor either as a class,
      or as a level of society that was the outcome of particular political
      and social powers, institutions and structures. While Popes have
      condemned capitalism and communism verbally, they have completely
      shied away from taki ng any positions that would either undermine, or
      at least confront, the human misery that results from particular
      institutions in the capitalist West, although they did vociferously
      condemn the atheism of the Soviet bloc countries. For the upper
      hierarchy, the poor have always just been poor people or individuals.

      Furthermore, the upper reaches of its hierarchy are completely out of
      touch with the suffering of hundreds of millions of people in the
      world. As an institution, it is not democratic, does not hold itself
      accountable to the masses of Catholics, has a celibate priesthood that
      functions not unlike a closed and secretive brotherhood which swears
      loyalty to the Church, and not the Truth. In the West, the vast
      majority of this class has its material needs and wants satisfied
      without experiencing any of the agonies of either holding on to, or
      losing a job, and the need to support a family. Thus its experience
      differs radically from that of the ordinary person. Furthermore, the
      Church also exists, and functions, as a political entity, the
      VaticanState, having diplomatic relations and interests which it seeks
      to protect and promote, while adopting political alignments it
      considers beneficial. The theology of this church is sacramental,
      notional other worldly, with salvation dispensed by the priestly class
      to the laity.

      In contrast to this detached stance, liberation theology began to
      flourish after Vatican II, which seemed to signal the Church's
      confident entry into modern life breaking with its traditional,
      conservative, pre-modern, pre-industrial and pre-urban past. It also
      seemed to be a break with the feudal exercise of hierarchical power
      and authority over its adherents, and gave indications that the laity
      would take a much greater part in Church life, rather than being the
      mere recipients of Church favors. It does not seem accidental that
      Vatican II took place both in the wake of, and during the time which
      the liberation movements in Africa and Asia brought about the
      dismantlement of the old empires, followed by the creation of new
      nation states, in which surged visions of freedom and development for
      the newly enfranchised populations which had previously experienced
      oppression, deprivation and dispossession under the yoke of colonialism.

      Liberation theology, the tools of which were developed in Europe,
      received its huge impetus from Spanish-speaking theologians of Central
      and South America, many, if not most of whom, were originally trained
      in Europe. As a theology, it went far beyond traditional metaphysical
      doctrines in its search of liberation of the individual. It recognized
      that if poverty, deprivation and oppression were the material
      conditions of a person's life, then such a life could never be free,
      and it set as its goal to analyze the society in which such lives were
      lived. Liberation theology, by exposing and critiquing the
      concentration and control of wealth and power in the hands of the few
      at the top of the political, economic and social pyramid, showed how
      the structures and institutions of capitalist society resulted in both
      a dispossessed, impoverished, oppressed and powerless rural peasantry
      and the creation of an impoverished urban proletariat. Using Marxist
      tools of analysis, these studies revealed that these social conditions
      of poverty were the deliberate and predictable results of the
      structures and institutions of capitalist society, and not mere
      accidents. That is to say, that human destruction and suffering
      produced in these economies was was both intentional and unavoidable,
      and not merely an undesirable by- product of their functioning.

      It was this analysis which brought about a new attitude towards and
      understanding of the class of the poor, seeing them not as backward,
      incompetent lazy people, who brought their fate upon themselves, but
      rather as victims of institutional violence. This understanding led to
      new focus in theology called a "preferential option for the poor"
      which developed the social doctrine of serving "the poor and the
      oppressed." It was both the exposure to the suffering of the poor and
      the findings of this theology which moved priests to side with the
      people. The focus of salvation swung from the priest and his
      administration of the sacraments to consciousness-raising of the poor,
      to the creation of base communities of support and co-operation in
      which the poor began to be empowered by running their own lives. They
      began to read the bible for its message of liberation, and began to
      understand themselves as actors, to subjects, becoming co-workers with
      Christ toward s their own human salvation within life-giving
      communities of support. Liberation theology led to an empowerment of
      the poor, and thus had the potential of confronting the rich and
      powerful to demand a change in the institutional structures. Given
      that South America's economies were dominated by a capitalist United
      States, working in cohorts with local powerful wealthy ruling groups
      and manipulating political power in their favor, it is not surprising
      that such socio-economic critiques of Central and South America would
      cause more than one confrontation: with the local ruling powers, with
      the upper hierarchy of the Church, and not far behind, the United
      States government, which represented big business interests.

      Two historical events occurred in the Church to bring to a halt the
      spread of liberation theology and its political concomitants: the
      election of Pope John Paul II in 1978, and his appointment, in 1981,
      of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, as Prefect of the
      Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly referred to as
      the Holy Inquisition. Both men were intractably anti-Communist and
      identified Marxism with the communism of the Soviet Union: the Pope
      from his experience living in Communist Poland, and Cardinal Ratzinger
      as a result of the student uprising in T=FCbingenUniversity in 1968, an
      experience which indelibly affected his approach to life, placing him
      firmly on the right in the conservative camp. Here the term
      "conservative" means the conservation of those structures of power
      that already exist for the sake of order.

      In the late 1970's, first under Carter, and then under Reagan, the
      United States began covert persecutions of political liberation
      movements, informed by liberation theology, in Central and South
      America, in particular Nicaragua and then El Salvador. The collapse of
      the Somoza regime in Nicaragua as a result of the exposure of its huge
      corruption with respect to the funds that had poured into the country
      to aid in the reconstruction, following an earthquake that devastated
      the capital Managua and the failure of a rightist, repressive, pro-US
      government to take power, occasioned the persecutions. The
      Sandinistas, with Catholic priests in leadership positions, espoused a
      political program to benefit the poor through government programs for
      literacy, medical care, housing, etc. and aided by Cuba, led the
      struggle for power in Nicaragua and won. In El Salvador, the violence
      of the right-wing, repressive government was being exposed by the
      leading church fi gure, Archbishop Oscar Romero, who had originally
      been a pro-government conservative bishop. However, the horror of the
      violence brought about his political conversion, and adopting a
      liberation theology stance, he used his church forum in the struggle
      against the government's violence. He was subsequently assassinated by
      government soldiers.

      Against the background of these struggles to be rid of these
      oppressive regimes, a fateful convergence took place in the early
      1980's. The Reagan government saw the liberation movements as being
      against the interests of the US, which, of course, they were, and he
      labeled them both "communist" and "terrorist", the slogans used to
      categorize the "enemies" of the United States. Not long thereafter,
      Rome began to seriously question liberation theology. And it is
      important to remember that at this time, the non-Communist trade union
      in Poland, led by Lech Walesa, was being supported openly by the Pope,
      support that was later said to have contributed to the collapse of
      Communism in Poland. Those who were writing with this focus were
      aggressively examined, questioned and warned, putting them on the
      defensive. This assault led, in 1984, to the Congregation for the
      Doctrine of the Faith, under Ratzinger, issuing its first Instruction
      against liberation theology . It was a strong censure against its
      tools of analysis, particular in its repudiation of Marxist analysis,
      while accusing it of neglecting the divine Jesus. This first official
      damper was subsequently followed by a second Instruction in 1986,
      which put it on the defensive. The effect of these two instructions
      was to maintain the status quo of the Church which continued therefore
      to serve the interests of the rich and the powerful, almost by
      definition. The poor were to continue to receive charity, or handouts.

      What the Church did not, and would not, conceive, or maybe just not
      concede, is that the interests of the rich conflict, even unto death,
      with the interests of the poor, and because the socio-economic
      political framework permits and protects this arrangement, this
      becomes a theological issue because it goes to the heart of the
      question as to what it means to be human. And it is at this point
      precisely that liberation theology picks up the challenge, and
      focusing on the problem of humanity uses the template of Jesus'
      humanity to explicate more fully the basics of our humanity.

      But the official church chose to forego this option, and through its
      Instructions, which are in essence condemnations, de-legitimized
      liberation theology. Although it has remained the most vital and
      meaningful understanding of God for the poor, providing them hope and
      inspiration, it was relegated to the margins of theological discussion
      by those in power. This intellectual marginalization however was not
      accompanied by an inactivity on the part of the Magisterium, the
      Inquision. It sent out warnings that those theologians who insisted on
      continuing in this field that could be up for censure. Over the years
      many theologians were persecuted by the church, resulting, in one
      spectacular case, in the defection from the order of Franciscan Friars
      and the priesthood, Leonardo Boff, one of the leading Brazilian
      liberation theologians, after he was silenced more than once by the

      Until very recently liberation theology seemed to have been in the
      doldrums, but a recent condemnation has broken the silence. It appears
      that liberation theology has come back to haunt the official Church,
      and this time, not by theologians, but by politic ians. But what the
      latest event reveals is the continuing rejection of by the present
      Pope and his Magisterium, or teaching body, reminding those who might
      have forgotten, that the Roman Catholic Church remains one of the main
      players on the world stage, which can still, and will, bring its
      weight to bear where it so desires. Ignorance of its power and
      interests creates a vacuum in both political analysis and then
      political programs, which affects profoundly those whose views and
      visions are in opposition to it, without their even being aware of the
      source of this counter-point power.

      The most recent theologian to be condemned is Fr. Jon Sobrino, sj, (a
      Jesuit) one of older and more prominent liberation theologians who did
      not stop his work despite being warned repeatedly by Rome. In
      December, 2006, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under
      its new prefect, the American, William Joseph Cardinal Levada,
      appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as his replacement, issued a
      Notification against Fr. Sobrino concerning arcane theological
      formulations about Jesus' divine nature, as opposed to His human
      nature, formulations that have no bearing on the life of an ordinary
      Catholic, let alone on the lives of those who not only continue to be
      "poor and oppressed" but to all those who have joined their ranks as a
      result of the unchecked, rapacious, capitalist imperialist policies of
      the US, Europe and their client states, such as Israel.

      Why was Sobrino censured at the end of December 2006 for some ideas he
      had originally published in 1992 and 1999 especially since these books
      are in circulation even now? What served as the provocation at this
      time? When the Holy See issues such Notifications, it does not explain
      itself beyond the actual text that it publicizes. The same principle
      worked when De Paul University gave no explanation for the dismissal
      of Dr. Finkelstein. I however, would like to surmise, believing that
      the Church does not act, at least with regard to the Pope, without a
      policy, even if that policy and vision is not spelled out.

      The immediate effect of this censure on Sobrino is that his bishop
      removed his teaching faculty as a Catholic theologian, but given the
      historical context, there is a much broader thrust to this
      Notification. Fr. Sobrino is a Basque theologian who has been teaching
      in the Jesuit University of Central America in San Salvador, El
      Salvador, where four Jesuits, with whom he was living, were killed by
      an assassination squad in 1989, as part of the US supported murderous
      political repression of indigenous political liberation movements in
      Central and South America. Sobrino escaped that particular horrific
      event only because he was out of the country at the time. However,
      Sobrino continued his work in liberation theology, remaining on the
      side of the poor, a focus which is reflected in these new regimes in
      South America.

      Therefore the timing of the censure is not accidental. It comes at a
      period when indigenous governments are actually standing up the United
      States in the interests of their own populations and whose economic
      policies do not serve US interests. First and foremost of these
      leaders is Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who has already been overthrown
      once by pro-US forces, but who was voted back into power. He has been
      followed in other countries by Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Evo
      Morales in Bolivia. Although Luis da Silva in Brazil and Michelle
      Bachelet in Chile were elected on similar tickets, they have not been
      as confrontational as Chavez. However, none of these governments
      represent the interests of the rich and powerful, although some might
      be too weak at this time to stand up to these forces. In all of these
      countries the vast majority of the population is Catholic, and Chavez
      has not hesitated to call upon the Jesus of liberation theology in
      support of his socio-political goals. That this can have a domino
      effect upon the people can already be seen. To use a phrase coined by
      Chomsky, these governments are providing the "threat of a good
      example" that is, an example for the poor of the world to attempt to
      wrest their fate out of the rapacious grip of US capitalism. The
      stakes are enormous and therefore the counter-force that these
      examples will inevitably produce will be extremely dangerous.

      This is what happened with Saddam Hussein who had both modernized and
      strengthened Iraq such that he anticipated being a regional power, and
      thereby influencing the surrounding countries. But this is precisely
      what the US could not permit, and the outcome is well known. Therefore
      we have to understand that the confrontation of power that is lining
      up in South America is not for amateurs as it involves the very
      highest stakes which have served as the motivation for Western
      imperialism--the control of resource and markets.

      Given the attitude of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, it is reasonable
      to assess that the intention of Sobrino's censure is to condemn these
      new leftist leaders in Central and South America, while aligning the
      Church and its considerable sphere of influence with the US.

      What, it may be asked now, is the connection between Dr. Finkelstein,
      a Jew, and liberation theology? Well, the problem for Dr. Finkelstein
      is that in the context of Palestine/Israel, he has addressed the same
      questions that liberation theology addresses, and has also taken the
      side of the "poor and the oppressed." It needs only a small amount of
      imagination to draw the same damning assessment of Israel's treatment
      of the Palestinians and its ally, the US, as liberation theology draws
      about the oppressive regimes of Central and South America and their
      ties with the US.

      Here, surprisingly, there appears to be a lacuna in global comparative
      political analysis. It has not been remarked that there is an almost
      virtual identity of the repressive and violent Central and South
      American governments and the repressive and violent Israeli
      government. These governments have not confined their persecution
      within their own borders, or even the borders of militarily occupied
      territory, but have not hesitated to conduct attacks in neighboring
      countries to either undermine or to uphold governments, depending on
      the particular situations.

      At the same time, it would not be unreasonable to expect progressive
      Arab and Palestinian movements to begin to make common cause with
      forces with the progressive governments of South America, although one
      can well imagine that everything will be done to prevent this from
      occurring by the establishments of the US, Europe and the official
      Roman Catholic Church.

      This nexus continues to maintain that Zionism is not colonialism, is
      not an integral part of the capitalist-imperialist hegemonic outreach
      in the Middle East, nor is it a loyal client for other capitalist
      ventures, eg Iran-Contra affair. In order to maintain the bluff of a
      legitimate Jewish state in Palestine, the Zionist/Holocaust narrative
      is promoted with full force against those who challenge its veracity,
      both historically and politically. The fact that the Holocaust cannot
      be challenged in Europe, on pain of imprisonment, seems to prove this
      point. After all, pace Galileo, why should it be a crime if I say that
      the world is flat?

      Norman Finkelstein has challenged these positions. He has also
      challenged one of its supreme spokesmen, Alan Dershowitz. But that he
      has done this now, at this critical juncture in world politics, is
      what caused De Paul University, and the Catholic Church, to either go
      along with Dershowitz or hide behind the proverbial petticoat,
      achieving, in either case, its desired outcome. Had Finkelstein come
      up for tenure five years ago, De Paul might not have fired him. Yet
      timing is all.

      The third factor which plays into his firing is one that has not been
      mentioned at all, and yet, taking the overall position of the Church,
      it certainly makes sense. It is by now, a well-known fact that
      "Islamic fundamentalists" were invented originally by the US, in order
      to discredit and prevent the spread of Arab democratic secularism,
      which spearheaded Arab liberation movements. They naturally posed a
      threat to the capitalist, imperialist ambitions, particularly in the
      oil-rich Middle East, just in the same manner as the South American
      liberationist governments are doing at this time, because liberation
      movements demand that the resources and their benefits of these
      resources of a country remain in that country. However, it turns out
      that the Islamic liberationist movements are no less anti-US than the
      secular democratic ones were and therefore have been attacked with
      virulence by spokespeople and governments of Europe and the US, and
      Israel. This anti-Islamic stance, exacerbated after September 11,
      2001, carries with connotations of an anti-arabism perforce because
      the Arabs have so much of the oil, has found a very deep resonance in
      the pronouncements of Pope Benedict XVI. He called Islam a "violent"
      religion, contrasting it, no doubt, with a peaceful Christianity.

      Furthermore, this Pope has stated on more than one occasion that
      Europe is a "Christian" continent, and therefore there it is most
      inappropriate for Turkey, a Muslim country, to join the European
      Union. This is a political position of the right which is echoed in
      the profound anti-Muslim feelings that have erupted in France, with a
      former President of France, Giscard D'Estaing expressing exactly the
      same view.

      It should be no surprise that this condemnation of Islam finds a
      resonance in attitudes towards Palestine, where the democratically
      elected Islamic Hamas government has been attacked and mortally
      undermined by Israel, the US and Europe. What has not been re-iterated
      is that Hamas was elected because of the corruption of the pro-Western
      Fatah leadership. Furthermore, Hamas seems to function in Palestine
      pretty much as liberation theology functions in South America, serving
      society at its most basic level, providing material and communal
      services, while condemning the US-backed Israeli onslaught.

      Furthermore, I was personally informed by Christians that many of them
      voted for Hamas because they are not corrupt and have been serving the
      people who they say they represent.

      Thus we have several interests converging in the demise of Dr.
      Finkelstein: the loss of autonomy of Catholic universities, the
      anti-liberationist position of the Church and its lining up with
      Western capitalist global interests and an anti-Islamic stance which
      harks back to a xenophobia one would have wished had disappeared from
      the world. Is it any wonder, then, that Dr. Finkelstein was booted
      from De Paul Catholic University?

      Lynda Brayer is an Israeli human rights lawyer who represented
      Palestinians in the Israeli High Court of Justice for twelve years.
      She can be reached at lyndabrayer @ yahoo.com



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