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American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein (2009)

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About the life and work of controversial American Jewish academic Norman Finkelstein.
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Cast

Credited cast:
Musa Abu-Hashhash
Nidal Barham
Norman Finkelstein
Richard Finkelstein
Raul Hilberg
John Mearsheimer
David Olesker
Len Rudner
Avi Shlaim
Maxine Tsvaigrach
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Storyline

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. Exploring the deeply complex 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 voice among impassioned critics and supporters. Uncompromising even in the face of his recent denial of tenure at DePaul University, Finkelstein is a complex and supremely lonely figure whose self-destructive nature often undermines his academic credibility. A guaranteed argument starter, this potent documentary plunges viewers into the psychological and intellectual underpinnings of a vitriolic personality. Written by Anonymous

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11 February 2010 (USA)  »

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Quotes

Norman Finkelstein: [on being called a self-hating jew] Okay, for argument's sake let's assume it's true. Let's say I have deep identity conflicts. Let's assume it's all true. What's the relevance? The only relevant question is whether what I'm saying is true or false. Let's say Einstein had deep identity conflicts. How does that influence one's judgment about his physics?
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User Reviews

 
A good film for a wonderful man
2 January 2010 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

This is a film that is long overdue. A film about a great ordinary man. A man of courage,a man of deep honesty and integrity.A real Mensch.A person with all the human troubles,failures, successes and doubts that make a principled individual so precious. Sadly this film,though well intentioned,does not do neither Norman Finkelstein nor his cause justice.It superficially follows his career and his various speaking tours, showing the strong emotions that the Israel Palestine conflict can raise,while interviewing friends,critics and family.What emerges is never fully rounded, giving only a glimpse and never explaining to those unfamiliar with both the Israel Palestine conflict or Finkelstein what his work is about. Those familiar with Finkelsteins careers are mostly aware that nothing he says is actually controversial. The recent Goldstone report only cemented this fact.In fact what distinguishes Finkelsteins style is that he is in reality extremely moderate,rarely venturing outside the safe territory of internationally accepted and undisputed law, even refusing to consider the more and more popular One-state solution. Radical is only a description, as Finkelstein explains in the film,of someone seeking radical justice in a radically unjust world.There is nothing really radical about that.Another problem of the film are the uncommented interviews with his critics,especially Dershowitz. In a rather humorous scene Dershowitz suggests that Finkelstein probably has a deep-seated problem with his Judaism.Unlike Dershowitz of course.Gulp. Another rather strange candidate to interview is a childhood friend, who from the comfort of her Telaviv home seems perplexed why Finkelstein,as she puts it,chose Jewish lawyers as the target of his"strange hate".Poor Jewish lawyers.Needless to say, the value of her opinions are rather questionable. To come to the point, nothing short of the Nobelpeace price could do this man justice. We are all in your debt Norman.Obama you sucker, move over. Here is a real Mensch.


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