RADICAL: THE TRIALS OF NORMAN FINKELSTEIN
(David Ridgen, Nicolas Rossier, Canada/ U. S.). 84 minutes. Rating: Haunted by the Holocaust – his parents were survivors – Norman Finkelstein loathes how that tragedy has been used to defend Zionist excess.
American Radical tracks the professor’s various speaking engagements, showing what he thinks and how he expresses himself – stridently, aggressively, reductively. This is not a bridge builder.
Unless he’s in Palestine. A fascinating scene in Ramallah shows him connecting to the locals and urging peace in ways he never does in America.
Eventually, his allegation that pro- Israel lawyer Alan Dershowitz is a plagiarist does in Finkelstein’s academic career. He just can’t let go of the claim and underestimates Dershowitz’s influence.
Tapping interviews with Finkelstein’s family, supporters and opponents, American Radical creates a fascinating, complex portrait of a right-thinking man who keeps doing all the wrong things.