Norman Finkelstein, a prominent U.S. Professor who is an outspoken critic of the Israeli occupation, was denied entry into Israel Friday, and banned from the country for ten years. The Israeli government claims that Israel is the state of all Jews worldwide, but have a history of denying entry to those Jews who are outspoken in their criticism of Israel. Finkelstein was forced to resign from his post at DePaul University in Chicago, in the U.S., last year, after U.S. Zionists began a campaign of defamation against him.
The campaign against Finkelstein came after he published a book called “The Holocaust Industry”, in which he made the case that there is a contingent of people and groups within the Jewish community that use the memory of the Holocaust for their own political gain, and to silence criticism of Israel's policies.
Finkelstein also wrote “Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History”, in which he challenges the ideas of pro-Israel zealot Alan Dershowitz. Finkelstein argued in the book that some proponents of Israel, including Dershowitz, misuse the term 'anti-Semite' in order to stifle dissent on the question of Israeli policies.
On Friday, when Finkelstein arrived at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, he was taken aside for questioning, and then placed in a holding cell overnight before being deported to the U.S. He told the press, "I was kept in a holding cell at the airport for approximately 24 hours. It wasn't a Belgian bed-and-breakfast, but it wasn't Auschwitz either. I had several unpleasant moments with the guards at the airport and in the holding cell, but since martyrdom is not my cup of tea, I'll spare you the details."
He insisted that he is “not an enemy of Israel”, and that Israel has absolutely no reason to exclude him from the country. Said Finkelstein friday, “Apart from my political views, and the supporting scholarship, there isn't much more to say for myself: alas, no suicide missions or secret rendezvous with terrorist organizations. I've always supported a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders."
Other Jewish critics of Israel, including Jamie Spector, Adam Shapiro, Starhawk, Kate and Raphael Bender, and others, have been deported by Israel over the last several years due to their criticism of israeli policies.