The Holocaust Industry Book by Norman Finkelstein
The Holocaust Industry authored by Norman Finkelstein is a provocative case study. He maintains that the American Jewish foundations utilize some aspects of Nazi Holocaust to benefit politically and financially and at the same time, facilitate Israel’s interests. The Nazi constantly face accusations of afflicting one of the devastating experiences in Europe through causing many deaths. As a result, Germany has been regarded as monstrous and has been subject to financial extortion which is the taxpayer’s money and could be used in infrastructural development instead of enriching people’s pockets. The contemporary Germany has continued to atone for the flaws that the Nazi regime inflicted in terms of finances and moral extortion. This has led to the German leaders to show their deep regrets thus, they have born the overall burden of the past experiences, through continued negotiations with Jewish institutions for compensations to be done. The Germans feel that it was a big mistake for those who supported Hitler at the time but since they have all died and unreasonably disgraced. Consequently, the current German as a nation is newly born, with high moral standards and has no relations at all with the Nazi’s history. As a result, Norman Finkelstein asserts that the Holocaust Industry has led to the corruption of the Jewish culture as well as the genuine memory of the Holocaust (Dean 76).
Finkelstein’s Critique of the Holocaust Industry
Finkelstein’s parents had survived the Holocaust after their incarceration in the concentration camps. According to him, his memory of the Nazi Holocaust is as a result of his parent’s encounters in the Warsaw ghetto where members of other families were being exterminated by the Nazi. He had a disturbing childhood with no one to enquire of his parent’s suffering in the concentration camps. He maintains that postwar Americans were less concerned of the Nazi Holocaust, instead the Jews paid more emphasis on being incorporated in the American lifestyles instead of considering their dreadful encounters, which scattered them as an ethnic group and victimized them. The Holocaust Industry reveals the anguish regarding the experiences that Jews underwent during the Second World War, which victimized Israel. Ideologically, the holocaust industry represents the Nazi holocaust but, “the current campaign of the Holocaust Industry to extort money from Europe in the name of ‘needy Holocaust victims’ has shrunk the moral status of martyrdom to that of a Monte Carlo casino” (Finkelstein 8).
According To CNN’s view on Finkelstein thought, they asserts that “the avalanche of books, movies, Holocaust memorials, university chairs, high school courses — and most recently the “shakedown” of Swiss banks and German insurance companies on the issue of reparations for Jewish wartime victims — is all part of a corrupt “Holocaust industry” (Ross pr.3). These public policies are essential to prevent critical discussions meant to dissipate holocaust funding. Holocaust has thus been utilized as a proprietary trademark or right for a historical event that is not unique in any way and whose defense is aggressive. This label has been opposed to be applied in extensive atrocities such as the killings of Kosovo in order to safeguard the brand. Finkelstein terms Elie Wiesel, as Mr. Holocaust himself since he was the one who initiated the application of the term for Jewish experience. He as a result amassed wealth due to that information and in discussion it (Finkelstein 45).
The European Jews suffered a lot in nineteen thirties, which earned them the holocaust label, which continue to evoke memories regarding Nazi oppressors and has developed into an ideology. The holocaust industry has therefore thrived as a moral capital that emanated from the Nazi holocausts and this has created a market from the Jewish holocaust survivors. Frankenstein maintains that holocaust industry is “a tribute not to Jewish suffering but to Jewish aggrandizement” (Finkelstein 8) while illustrating instances of economic exploitation referring to the industry as an “outright extortion racket” (Finkelstein 89). The united state has played a crucial role in facilitating extortion, which has ensured its existence due to its international bullying thus making it a less desirable target of extortion as compared to Swiss (Rosenfeld 51). Finkelstein utilizes a historical approach rather than an economic one.
Various things were modified including the U.S foreign policy and its concern in the Middle East starting the Six Day War in 1967 and shifted attention to Israel facilitated by Jewish groups meant to secure their financial interest. The holocaust propaganda, which morally blackmail people with memories of a recurrence of death camps, is a past event that should be forgotten. According to Finkelstein, the holocaust industry is focused on cold cash. He asserts that “The drive for reparations, headed up by organizations such as the World Jewish Congress and the Jewish Material Claims Conference, constitutes nothing less than a “double shakedown” under the guise of recovering assets belonging to and otherwise compensating Jewish victims and survivors of the Nazis. Employing the services of politically connected lawyers like former Republican Sen. Alfonse D’Amato and former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger” (Ross pr.7). The organization’s main aim is to benefit themselves through exaggerations of Jewish survivors and politically threatening the European government. These funds they receive do not benefit the victims but fills the pockets of the so called ‘institutes’ ‘Holocaust education’ as well as ‘memorials.’ Reparations are major aspect that is handled by Finkelstein (Ross pr.7).
Holocaust revisionists take advantage of the Jews genocide during the WWII to make their contributions to the current political situations. Finkelstein illustrates the possibility of keeping separate the current political realities from holocaust facts, which has overburdens the United States symbolic structure (Kwiet &Matthäus 37). He has categorized his book into three parts. In Chapter 1: Capitalizing the Holocaust he talks of discovering the Holocaust. Here, he discusses the reason to the popularity of the holocaust in the U.S in 1980s. “War against the Jews” was emphasized more in the U.S. resulting to an optical illusion imported or enhanced as an ideology, which rhymed with American political interests and not to create memory for Jews.
In Chapter 2: Hoaxers, Hucksters and History he becomes a critique of holocaust abusers in the contemporary society. He maintains that two issues arose i.e. the holocaust being a unique idea and as a peak of anti-Semitic European trend which took two millennia or irrational gentile abhorrence towards Jews. The Zionist origin of the idea is true as Jews could never be assimilated thus anti-Semitism could be curbed through establishing a Jewish state. He asserts that “the Holocaust dogma of eternal Gentile hatred has served both to justify the necessity of a Jewish state and to account for the hostility directed at Israel” (Finkelstein 50). As a result, the Jews were unsafe amid the gentiles and therefore a Jewish state would prove essential. He says that the holocaust studies “replete with nonsense, if not sheer fraud” (Finkelstein 55). Its uniqueness is not justifiable since whatever Jews underwent in WWII is similar to other instances of inhumanity such as bombing. Israel has thus made moral and monetary demands from the western nations for the unique experience that demands unique compensation. Therefore Finkelstein maintains that “Rationally comprehending the Holocaust amounts, in this view, to denying it. For rationality denies the Holocaust’s uniqueness and mystery” (Finkelstein 45).
In Chapter 3: The Double Shakedown he maintains that American Jewish Agencies aim at taking reparations from the western nations. Referring to his parents as polish Jewish survivors he is aware of the distribution of holocaust reparations from 1950s. Claims Conference for instance receives the finances, which has gone ahead to use the funds to meet its interests and never pays the survivors. He asserts that Jews who survived the holocaust have been overstated from close to a hundred thousand in 1945 to about a million today changing the definitions of survivor victims while undeserved people gained and not the actual survivors.
In my opinion, Finkelstein is reasonable to question authenticity of claims that have been kept burning by holocaust revisionists these memories of such a historical account have been tarnished by vulgarity, politics, pretense as well as greediness. They have kept the business alive as exposed by the author. However, he fails to acknowledge the evils of Swiss and German institutions such as concealing Jewish bank accounts and slavery, which resulted to current desires for reparations. Although the reparations may not reach the supposed people there might be falsehoods in stating that Jewish institutions, often swindles the survivors. The delay in funds may be due to the U.S courts’ failure to timely draft distribution procedures since the Claims Conference maintains that it continue to disburse the funds for instance 220 million dollars in 1999 (Ross pr. 10).
The Germans have been placed the entire burden of the holocaust as a way to punish and destroy them. This is attained through the savage plot meant to starve the citizens economically, politically and socially through implementation of extorting aspect of the holocaust industry. The motive is to destroy the Germans by creating a means of a world scandal even when they have shown deep regret and pity for what occurred. This however, does not justify the genocide that Germans facilitated but the big questions lies on why they have to pay for indemnifications while other nations are still perpetrating moral degradation inform of genocide and yet, they go free.
Finkelstein has generalized as his disregard of enlightening scholarship of the holocaust scholars is obvious. He is so sentimental about the issue, which makes the reader question his motives, if he desire to be accredited as a son of Jewish survivors. He distastes his fellow Jews apparently pointing that so many of them in America are fake survivors and are responsible for spreading the holocaust propaganda. Therefore, he has earned himself the reputation of being “notorious ideological opponent of the State of Israel” (Finkelstein 65 & 66) but he maintains that “When Jewish elites rob Jewish survivors no ethical issues arise; it’s just about the money” (Finkelstein 87). He takes the issue personally and does not rationally inquire of the issue, whose dogma and rage ironically reflects the burning flames of the holocaust memories, which he criticizes.
Dean, Carolyn. The Fragility of Empathy after the Holocaust. New York: Cornell University Press. 2004. Print.
Finkelstein, Norman. The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on The Exploitation Of Jewish Suffering. New York: Verso. 2003. Print.
Kwiet, Konrad and Matthäus, Jürgen. Contemporary Responses to the Holocaust. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers. 2004. Print.
Rosenfeld, Alvin. The End of the Holocaust. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. 2011. Print.
Ross, Andrew. “Review: ‘The Holocaust Industry.’” CNN.com Books Reviews, Salon Magazine. Sept. 2000. April 30, 2011.
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