37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (Paperback)
At a certain level this had to be a very difficult book to write. Professor Finkelstein had to know that he would be pilloried as a "self-hating Jew" for daring to question one of the prevailing orthodoxies of the time: The Holocaust (and it is all too often written in that manner, with the capitals.) But he has impeccable "moral credentials" for writing a book that examines the "industry" that has surrounded the Jewish holocaust. He lost the vast majority of his family in the Nazi death camps, so he certainly is not a "denier." And it was his Jewish mother who instilled the moral principles that were required to tackle this subject. As he said in the Introduction: "But to make out moral distinctions between "our" suffering and "theirs" is itself a moral travesty...In the face of the sufferings of African-Americans, Vietnamese and Palestinians, my mother's credo always was: We are all holocaust victims."
His initial point is how dominate the Jewish holocaust has become in academia and the media. More students can correctly identify the circumstances surrounding the Jewish holocaust than events such as the American Civil War, Pearl Harbor or the atomic bombing of Japan. From this basis of relentless focus on the Jewish holocaust, Finkelstein discusses how others have capitalized on this monstrous and tragic crime for their own purposes. This includes what Finkelstein refers to as "the double shakedown," the pursuit of German companies and Swiss banks whose management was not even alive when the Jewish holocaust occurred. And the proceeds, as the author notes, are all too often NOT used to assist real survivors of this holocaust, but rather fund various other Jewish causes. Tellingly, he relates how real survivors have picketed "reparation" efforts since they receive none of the funds. With a mother who could see the suffering of others, it is only naturally that Finkelstein documents that suffering, and the denial of those who promote the exclusivity of the Jewish holocaust. For example, he notes that the prominent American "scholar" on Islam, Bernard Lewis, was convicted in a French court for holocaust denying...not the Jewish one, but the Armenian one. Subsequently, of course, the American government conforms to this form of denial, stating that to term the slaughter of over a million Armenians during World War I a "holocaust" as not being "helpful" to our relationship with Turkey. Finkelstein utilizes other Jewish voices, all too often not heard by the American public, to document the "double standard" in regards to suffering, and the misuse of the Jewish holocaust. For example, he quotes the Haaretz columnist, Ari Shavit, observing that Israel could act with impunity in the appalling attacks against Lebanon in 1996, including the massacre of over a hundred civilians at Qana, because "...we have the Anti-Defamation League...and Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Museum."
Finkelstein is particularly contemptuous of Joan Peter's fraudulent book, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine. Finkelstein's book was published in the year 2000, and there have been numerous other books concerning the Jewish holocaust that have been subsequently exposed as fraud, including Misha Defonseca's Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years and Herman Roseblat's The Apple: Based on the Herman Rosenblat Holocaust Memoir. In Defonseca's case, (she isn't even Jewish) she made twenty million British pounds exploiting the memory of the Jewish holocaust.
Finkelstein's work is meticulously documented, and I have yet to see a serious criticism that identifies specific errors. His overall theme though, as stated in the Conclusion, is unimpeachable: "For those committed to human betterment, a touchstone of evil does not preclude but rather invites comparisons."
5-stars plus for the book, 6-stars for Finkelstein's courage in addressing this highly emotional and politicized subject.
(Note: Review first published at Amazon, USA, on April 18, 2011)