American Israel critic denied entry to country

Authorities deport fierce Israel critic Prof. Norman Finkelstein, who says Israel exploits the Holocaust.

Norman Finkelstein 224 8 (photo credit: AP [file])
Norman Finkelstein 224 8
(photo credit: AP [file])
American political scientist and fierce critic of Israel, Prof. Norman Finkelstein, was denied entry to Israel and deported from the country early Saturday morning. Officials said that the decision to deport Finkelstein was connected to his anti-Zionist opinions and fierce public criticism of Israel around the world. Finkelstein landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport at 2 a.m. Friday morning and was immediately taken for questioning by the Immigration Authority and the Interior Ministry. He arrived in Israel from Europe, where he was on a speaking tour. According to his Web site, his last talk was at the University of Amsterdam. His lawyer, Michael Sfarad, said he was interrogated for several hours and told that he would not be allowed into the country on security grounds. He was held overnight and forced to board a flight to Europe early Saturday morning. Sfarad said that Finkelstein arrived in Israel on a private trip to visit a friend. He said it was possible that the American professor, who last visited Israel two years ago, would appeal the decision. A son of Holocaust survivors and a harsh critic of Israel, Finkelstein was denied tenure last year at DePaul University in Chicago. Finkelstein reportedly said that Israel uses the Holocaust as an excuse for the fight against anti-Semitism and has managed to trick Germany into paying exorbitant sums of money in compensation. He also called Holocaust survivor and scholar Eli Wiesel a "clown prince." Prof. Alan Dershowitz of Harvard was active in campaigning against Finkelstein. His most recent book, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, is largely an attack on Dershowitz's The Case for Israel. In his book, Finkelstein argues that Israel uses the outcry over perceived anti-Semitism as a weapon to stifle criticism. AP contributed to this report