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American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein

American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein

I came to learn of a new documentary that has recently come out entitled, American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein.  It chronicles the life of American political scientist Dr. Norman Finkelstein, the son of parents who survived the holocaust.

For those that are not familiar with Dr. Finkelstein, he used to be a professor at DePaul University before he was denied tenure in 2007.  Through his academic work, he is best known as one of the greatest opponents to the occupation of Palestine and a fervent critic of Israel and the United States vis a vis Palestine.  It is speculated that because of his critique of the Israeli and US body politic through his academic work and a famous debate with himself and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz on Democracy now that DePaul regarded Finkelstein as being ultimately a liability to the University.  Dr. Finkelstein has written 5 books, all of which have gained a significant amount of notoriety.  Finkelstein, a Jew himself, was banned from entering Israel in May of 2008, citing Finkelstein as being a security threat which landed him a ban from Israel for ten years.

I have not yet seen the film but based on the trailer, it seems to offer a fascinating look into the life of one of America’s foremost scholars.  The film shows clips of various confrontations with anti-Palestinian protesters during his talks, chronicles the whole DePaul University debacle and interviews people close to him and even those that are enemies of Dr. Finkelstein, including Professor Dershowitz, who many claim is the primary reason why Dr. Finkelstein was overlooked for tenure.

The film first premiered at the Chicago Underground Film Festival on September 17 , 2009 and is slated to premier in Europe at the Scheffield Doc Fest on November 4, 2009.  The film has also been chosen to premiere at the Montreal International documentary Festival on November 11, 2009.

Have a look at the trailer and if you get a chance, go and see the film.

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