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(photo credit: AP [file])
DePaul University denied tenure to Norman Finkelstein, a professor who raised hackles for saying that Jewish groups have exploited the Holocaust.
Norman Finkelstein "plays fast and loose" with the facts he cited in his scholarly work, Michael Kotzin, the executive vice president of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, told JTA on Sunday, thus making the decision necessary.
Kotzin said his group had been careful not to impinge on the Chicago university's right to make its choice, emphasizing that DePaul had an "absolutely internal basis for the decision based on their standards and principals."
In his letter to Finkelstein, DePaul's president, the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, cited a summary statement by the university's board on promotion of tenure that "expressed several concerns touching on his scholarship, specifically what they consider the intellectual character of his work and his persona as a public intellectual."
Among those who had vocally urged DePaul to reject tenure to Finkelstein were the pro-Israel student group StandWithUs and, perhaps most visibly, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.
Finkelstein, the child of Holocaust survivors, was an assistant professor in political science at DePaul. He has argued that Jewish groups "have exploited the Holocaust to enrich themselves or to justify Israeli politics."
He told the Chicago Sun-Times after the decision, "They can deny me tenure, deny me the right to teach. But they will never stop me from saying what I believe."
Kotzin said that in a speech Sunday to Write On for Israel, a group of pro-Israel high school juniors, he told the students that "in a way Finkelstein is an extreme," but that there are many radical faculty on American campuses.