Brown University Palestine solidarity

By Chris Murphy

PROVIDENCE, R.I.--Over 150 people attended an April 15 forum at Brown University on "Israel/Palestine: Roots of Conflict, Path of Peace" featuring Dr. Norman Finkelstein. The event was sponsored by the Arab Club and endorsed by several local progressive groups.

In spite of being a prolific scholar and world-renowned expert on the Israel/Palestine conflict, Finkelstein was forced to resign from his teaching position from DePaul University in 2007 after being denied tenure. DePaul's action was widely viewed as retaliation for Finkelstein's outspoken defense of the Palestinian people and criticism of U.S. foreign policy.

Finkelstein showed that the historical record, including official Israeli sources, demonstrates that Israel has waged wars of aggression, not of self-defense. He noted that more Palestinian children have been killed since the Second Intifada than all Israelis combined.

In one of the few dissenting remarks, Finkelstein was asked, "How should Israel respond to rockets attacks?" He replied that one must take into context that it is an "illegal, immoral and criminal occupation," and pointed out that Palestinians cannot be called the aggressor when trying to reclaim land while in the world's largest open-air prison.

Finkelstein concluded with a call to learn the facts, organize against the conflict and achieve a solution based on universal human rights principles.

Shaun Joseph contributed to this article.