Academic's Shoah 'industry' claim


Norman Finkelstein, the Jewish anti-Zionist academic, has described the Labour Party's antisemitism crisis as "pseudo-contrived strife" and "hysterias orchestrated by Israel supporters".

Professor Finkelstein made the comments at a week-long summer school organised by the British Communist Party and hosted by Westminster University in London.

The American political scientist was giving the first of his three sessions, titled "The new antisemitism and the Holocaust industry", on Monday.

Introduced as a "champion of Palestinian rights", he was greeted with rapturous applause by the 50-strong audience.

The lecture hall had earlier resounded to party members greeting each with shouts of "hello comrade".

Prof Finkelstein, 62, gave a two-hour speech on his theory of how the "Nazi Holocaust" has "become an ideological weapon used by Israel".

He accused American Jewry, with its "huge resources and power", of being "an agency for promoting Holocaust mania".

The professor, who said his parents were Shoah survivors, added: "These days, everyone pretends to be a survivor. They say, 'oh, I'm a second generation survivor'."

A "Holocaust industry" had been created by Israel, he believed, to deflect criticism of the country after the Six-Day War in 1967.

He reserved particular criticism for, Elie Wiesel, the survivor and Nobel Prize winner, who he called a "preposterous mountebank".

Prof Finkelstein claimed the Israeli military was "now the most cowardly army on Earth", prompting cries of "hear, hear!" from the audience.

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