Regarding Dr. Finkelstein
The news article published March 11 in the Daily Trojan under the title, “USG-funded speaker event draws criticism,” was a misleading piece of journalism rife with bias against USG-funded guest speaker Dr. Norman Finkelstein, whom Students for Justice in Palestine hosted for a speech that night.
The topic of Finkelstein’s lecture was the Israeli invasion of the Gaza strip last year, and he focused on discussing and affirming the findings of the subsequent investigations by the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that found evidence of pervasive and systematic crimes against humanity by Israeli soldiers in what Finkelstein deems a “massacre.”
However, the article published by the Daily Trojan showed no indication of this. Instead, it published outrageous claims that Dr. Finkelstein is “said to be a Holocaust-denier” and asserted through a student’s quote that Dr. Finkelstein is supportive of killing any Israeli civilian.
Dr. Finkelstein’s entire family went through the Nazi Holocaust, and he has never denied that it occurred. While it is true that he is “said to be Holocaust denier” by a select, radical few that wish to defame him, this statement is patently false, and for the Daily Trojan to publish such a disgusting allegation is poor journalism. Holocaust denial is not subjective — Dr. Norman Finkelstein is not a Holocaust-denier, and for ’SC Students for Israel and College Republicans to blatantly lie about a man who lost so much of his family in the Holocaust is morally repugnant.
Additionally, Shanel Melamed’s comment that Dr. Finkelstein “say[s] that it’s OK for me to be killed” is blatantly untrue and a very obvious attempt to defame a man who has never made any comment in the past that he is somehow “OK” with just killing innocent Israeli civilians, as the quote suggests. To publish such an outrageous and false assertion by a student as if it had any basis in reality is in truly poor taste.
We are also rather shocked at the complete lack of even a semblance of neutrality. Marwa Katbi, SJP’s Vice President, was asked by the Daily Trojan reporter what she thought of the claims that Finkelstein is anti-Semitic and expressed that Finkelstein does not hold anti-Semitic views, adding that any insinuation otherwise is a bogus claim. She continued to say that slamming Finkelstein with a baseless charge of anti-Semitism was an attempt to silence his honest criticism of Israel, and a drew away from the main issue of Thursday night’s lecture, which she stated was the massive human rights abuses committed by the state of Israel.
Running this quote alongside the opposing claims would have been the proper way to balance a news article about our event. To be in the possession of such a quote and not to have printed it strikes us at best as convenient censorship and at worst as willful propaganda.
We hope the Daily Trojan will in the future reconsider publishing statements like those above that serve to defame USG-funded speakers, and our club, with baseless accusations.
USC Students for Justice in Palestine