I just got back from a lecture given by Norman Finkelstein in the Hague. He was invited there by the Critical Collective.
After years I finally was able to attend a lecture by him and see what he has to say in person. He spoke about the Israel/Palestine conflict and tried to explain his view on what a possible solution might be.
He started by giving us examples which show a shift in the position Israel has nowadays in the world.
First off he spoke on the fact that Israel has lost two important allies in the region over the past few years.
One being Turkey. The relationship between these two countries changed after nine Turkish citizens were killed by Israeli troops on the Mavi Marmara, part of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” in may 2010. Turkish politics became more hostile towards Israel and supportive towards Palestine, which as Norman Finkelstein stated was a significant change.
Another important ally which Israel now has a different relationship with than before is its main support in the Arab world, Egypt. The political attitude there changed after the revolution of 2011 .
Norman Finkelstein also addressed the fact that during the UN vote on Palestine being a non-member observer state only nine states voted against. This vote showed the current international political view on Palestine and it divided countries that usually are allies.
There’s a big change in public opinion and in the way governments look at the conflict. He also stated that both governments as well as the public are getting exhausted by the conflict.
He gave examples which showed that in the U.S.A., a country known for its strong support for Israel, people also start to realize that they can no longer just accept everything and are now more critical.
After giving us an idea of how the world sees Israel at the moment he explained that instead of being focussed on what we think is the right solution we should try to find a more common ground to stand on. Four main issues which need to be addressed are the borders, East Jerusalem, the settlements and the refugee problem. He also emphasized on the fact that there isn’t a strong mass movement in Palestine and that is something that needs to happen. He also addressed different organizations which use numbers that are not correct only to strengthen their view. This is not needed and it makes a conflict that is already difficult enough more complicated. We should work with the public and find an international consensus. It is important to build a movement and not a cult with people who blindly follow each other with no idea what is going on.
Unfortunately he couldn’t finish the lecture as he planned due to the fact that there wasn’t a lot of time left and the organization wanted to give the people who came the chance to ask questions.
In my opinion it was a good lecture. Norman Finkelstein is an interesting speaker.
If you want to know more about his opinion, here’s an interview he did with Harry Fear. A lot of things that he talks about during this interview were also stated during the lecture:
*The picture is taken from revolver-magazine.com