21:05 , 05.24.08

 
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Persona Non-Grata
Finkelstein - Sent back to US
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Norman Finkelstein deported from Israel

Controversial US academic held overnight at Ben Gurion airport for questioning, denied entry due to 'security considerations'
Eli Senyor

Israel deported Jewish-American Professor Norman Finkelstein to the United States on Friday after questioning him at Ben Gurion airport. Finkelstein was denied entry due to "security concerns," authorities said.

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Finkelstein was detained immediately after landing in Israel late Thursday night and was questioned at the airport before being told he could not enter Israel.

 

"Finkelstein was boarded onto a plane back the United States before dawn. When he arrived we will decide whether to appeal this decision," his attorney, Michael Sfard, told Ynet. Sfard said the entry ban could last 10 years.

 

"A country that starts to fear what its harshest critics write about it is a country that is already behaving in a manner reminiscent of the darkest days of the communist regime," said Sfard.

 

Finkelstein, the son of a Holocaust survivor, has written extensively regarding Israel's policies in the territories and accuses Israel of manipulating the memory of the Holocaust and present-day anti-Semitism to justify illegitimate policies.

 

His work has garnered considerable admiration in some circles and scathing criticism in others.

 

In a much-publicized mêlée, he was denied tenure at DePaul University in 2007, reportedly over the frequent criticism lobbed at him from numerous academic and public figures, most notably Harvard's Alan Dershowitz.

 

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) denounced Finkelstein's deportation.

 

"The decision to prevent someone from voicing their opinions by arresting and deporting them is typical of a totalitarian regime. A democratic state, where freedom of expression is the highest principle, does not shut out criticism or ideas just because they are uncomfortable for its authorities to hear, it confronts those ideas in public debate," said ACRI Attorney Oded Peler.

 

Adva Naftali contributed to this report

 




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