"Even lectures have significantly diminished because I've had major differences of opinion with elements in the Palestine solidarity movement. And they carry on like a cult, and so when the differences emerged, I was blacklisted, too. That's just a fact. Last year I'd probably say about-- I'd say between-- about 75 invitations to speak around the United States by what's called SJP, Students for Justice in Palestine. This year I didn't receive one. I didn't receive one. They carry on like a cult. And the guru says, "You're out," you're out."Matt said to me that if we hadn't been the ones to expose Finkelstein's attack on BDS, he probably wouldn't have been blacklisted. So in a way, we were partially responsible for what happened to him.
Of course it goes without saying he wouldn't have said what he said if he didn't believe it, so the ultimate responsibility for his actions lies with him. If anything, the behavior of the "pro-Palestinian" movement in reaction to his pointed criticism of them backed up what he said. Rather than stopping and thinking about how big is their "big tent" for "Palestine," they simply wrote him off as "out" and kept right on going without a second thought.
That is what we have to come to conclude about Finkelstein: is that he thinks he is always right and if anyone disagrees with them, they are an idiot. He will insult you, berate you, make up lies about you, and slander you in the media if you get in his way. Naturally if you are on his side that makes him a very attractive individual indeed, and it is no surprise that the "Palestinian" community rallied around him for so long. But inevitably his abrasive personality led to him saying something that pissed them off as well, and because they are far less tolerant of dissent then any "lobby," they dumped him like a hot potato and never looked back. If you don't believe me, just ask the man himself above.
So it seems to me that when you have have spent the last three decades making enemies, don't come crying to me that you are out in the cold when you have burned your last bridge. Most people are at least smart enough to know where their next meal is coming from, but apparently Finkelstein thought that his own cult of personality would carry him through anything that he does. I guess not even he realized just how much of a cult the BDS cult really is.
Most informative of all is the way that the Mondoweiss readers reacted to this. They had principally three things to say:
1. Finkelstein is still a great guy, we still love him, he is a great academic.
2. It's a bummer that no pro-Palestinian groups invite him to stuff but oh wells we're not going to lift a finger to do something about it.
3. It's all that [insert your favorite insult here] Alan Dershowitz's fault.
In the end nothing has changed except that a man who could have been great signed himself up for a cause that promptly led him right off a cliff. And all I can say is that I hope all "pro-Palestinian" academics are just as successful as he is. It's what they deserve.