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Setting The Record Straight

In a recent post on his academe blog, John K. Wilson offers several quotes to rebut the charge [1] that mid East scholar Norman Finkelstein is a holocaust denier:

~“No rational person can deny that during World War II the Nazis and their collaborators systematically murdered 5-6 million European Jews.”

~Finkelstein has also noted [2], “In my opinion, rational people will not debate whether the Nazi holocaust happened. Of course the Nazi holocaust happened. It was a colossal crime that was committed against Jews, against Gypsies, against the handicapped, against many peoples. Among those people were the crimes committed, colossal crimes, against the Jews. Roughly speaking, you can say between 5 and 5 1/2 million Jews were exterminated during World War 2. That’s the factual question and rational people, reasonable people, will not debate the factual question.”

A number of conservative writers, including this one, tagged Finkelstein as a holocaust denier. We should have, at a minimum, followed the grand American tradition of declaring him innocent until proven guilty.

In an even more recent post, he points out that contra my latest column [3], he did defend pro-Israeli dissident professor Thomas E. Klocek and supplies examples of his defense. We are grateful for his pointing this out and even more so for his advocacy on the professor’s behalf.

Wilson does note that the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) did not get involved in the Klocek controversy.

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia [4].

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org [5].

Mal Kline will be debating John K. Wilson on Thursday, June 14, 2012 at the AAUP convention and at AIA’s author’s night [6].