RAD­I­CAL: THE TRI­ALS OF NOR­MAN FINKEL­STEIN

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(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.

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