When I was 16 I was given access to a whole lot of music I had never heard before. I slipped an album out of its sleeve and put it onto the turntable. As the needle landed and the lyrics started I was mesmerised. It was Leonard Cohen and Suzanne. The old goat has never failed to mesmerise me since, and his recent album streamed free on the Guardian website has been replayed repeatedly over the last few days at Concrete Towers.
From the opening lines:
I love to speak with Leonard
He’s a sportsman and a shepherd
He’s a lazy bastard
Living in a suit
It just gets better and better. In the third song a killer line:
Show me where the suffering began
springs to mind after reading Greenstein’s latest Fatwa entitled The Tragedy of Norman Finkelstein – Time to Say Goodbye. IMO it’s one of Greenstein’s most articulate pieces and, unsurprisingly it’s dripping with venom.
Of course Greenstein doesn’t like that Norman has dared to called his beloved BDS movement a cult. As always I would urge readers to go check the source for themselves, so I’m just going to comment on a small bit of it:
….Norman Finkelstein is wrong to suggest that the solidarity movement is a mirror image of the Palestinian authority. It is noticeable that despite characterising the PA as ‘a gang of corrupt, wretched collaborators’ which fears its own people, he supports their aspiration to a bantustan in the West Bank.
Beacause, I think the irony of it is that there is a danger that it is Greenstein and his cohorts who are endeavouring to turn the Palestine Solidarity Movement into a mirror image of the PA with its strict party line, and the security services who will hunt down the dissidents and torture or banish them.
It is this streak in Greenstein that has driven me into the deLiberation fold, which I think offers a much more humane and caring approach to the whole business of solidarity, despite the fact that it is, so far, almost totally made up of the targets of Greenstein’s torture and banishment.
While Greenstein insists that rejectionism is the way forward with Finkelstein, Gilad offers those of us dubbed ‘Atzmonites’ this thought:
However, if the solidarity movement is a pluralist and tolerant movement, it should debate and tolerate Finkelstein’s ideas and criticism.
And on this I agree. We must be looking at how we can become pluralist and tolerant as a movement. I also believe we need to find a better way of articulating the injustice that has been done to the Palestinians, and which needs to be addressed before there can be peace between them and the Israelis. And that we need to it in a way that does offer Israel normalisation or acceptance, that it does not deserve until such time as it has addressed that injustice and made amends.
At the end of the day, if Israel’s existence is dependent on continued oppression and dispossession of the indigenous population, then regardless of what Norman thinks International Law says, it cannot be legitimate.
There is no doubt that Norman Finkelstein has made some invaluable contributions to the discourse in the past, even Greenstein concedes this. That he has called for the video to be pulled suggests that he may have realised that his argument needs reconsidering and honing. Perhaps, like Leonard he will bounce back with new contributions that capture the imagination once again.
If there is a performing bear in town it is Tony Greenstein, with his endless fatwas and need to control the discourse, and tell us all what we should be doing.
Perhaps even Tony will one day be able reflect on his style and aggression, and find newer more inclusive and more caring ways of dealing with us…….