Finkelstein in Lebanon

The Lebanon Daily Star’s fact-challenged reporter Adam Jewell has an account of former Professor Norman Finkelstein’s current lecture tour of that country.

The controversial author and political scientist Norman Finkelstein, who was recently embroiled in an ill-fated struggle to be granted tenure at De Paul University in Chicago due to his criticisms of Israeli policy [that wasn’t the reason], kicked off a tour of Lebanon on Friday with a news conference at Ta-Marbouta Cafe in Hamra.
The former professor… took issue with the “siege” enforced on the Palestinian people by Israel, with the support of the US, due to the landslide electoral victory of Hamas in a January 2006 parliamentary poll
[it wasn’t a “landslide” and it’s not the reason for the “siege” of Gaza].

As for Finkelstein himself:

On the invasion of Iraq by US-led forces, [he] said that the architects of the war were not members of the US-based Israeli lobby, as some outspoken academics have asserted, but US Vice President Richard Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

“It was an American war waged for the sake of American interests,” Finkelstein said.

So it appears he favors the Noam Chomsky version of US foreign policy (Israel is a tool of America) over the Mearsheimer-Walt version (America is a tool of Israel and its supporters).

Regarding “Israel’s brutal war of aggression” on Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the Jewish author disputed the notion that actions by Hizbullah were to blame for the onset of hostilities. Finkelstein said that Israel had long been planning the war…

Care to mention what those actions were? And really, if Israel “had long been planning the war,” why was its response so disorganized and flat-footed?

The US, he claimed, signed off on the invasion with the hope that it would destroy Hizbullah, thus facilitating a US strike on Iran.

Evidence for this, Norm?

While Finkelstein said that there is never a victor in war, he added: “However, it is also true to say that the Lebanese resistance inflicted a historic and well-deserved military defeat on the invading foreign army and its chief supporter.”

“It should also be mentioned that after the war the US-based organization Human Rights Watch whitewashed Israeli war crimes and made false accusations against Hizbullah,” he said. “This cowardly and mercenary act deserves contempt.”

As opposed to what I suppose Finkelstein considers HRW’s perfectly-justified and accurate condemnation of Israel’s conduct.

As Judeosphere writes:

It’s an ironic remark coming from the self-described defender of free speech. This past August, Human Rights Watch had scheduled a news conference in Beirut to discuss its 128-page report criticizing Hezbollah for its conduct during the 2006 war with Israel–in particular Hezbollah’s practice of deliberately and indiscriminately firing rockets toward Israeli civilian areas. HRW canceled the event, citing reports by Hezbollah-controlled media about planned demonstrations to prevent the scheduled event at the Crowne Plaza hotel, and the hotel’s decision to disallow the news conference.

And Finkelstein was originally chosen by the Oxford Union to defend Israel’s right to exist?