.- Dr. Norman Finkelstein, a professor at DePaul University, a Catholic school in Chicago, has been denied tenure even though he meets all of the professional standards for the position.
Finkelstein has raised a considerable amount of controversy with his claims that Jews have used the Holocaust for financial gain and the oppression of the Palestinians.
Dr. Finkelsteinâs application for tenure has caused charges of anti-Semitism, personal vendettas, and outside interference in the hiring process to surface. Ironically, his family was imprisoned by the Nazis with only his parents surviving the Holocaust. Finkelstein was informed Friday that he had been denied tenure by the university.
The professorâs position on being denied tenure is that he, âmet the publishing standards and the teaching standards required for tenureâ and that DePaulâs decision was based on âtransparently political groundsâ and an âegregious violationâ of academic freedom.â
The Catholic universityâs staff was divided on whether to offer tenure to Finkelstein. The political science department where he teaches voted to award him tenure but, the University Board on Promotion and Tenure rejected his bid.
DePaulâs president, the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, upheld that decision. In a letter to Dr. Finkelstein, Father Holtschneider wrote that Dr. Finkelstein is an excellent teacher and a nationally recognized public intellectual but does not âhonor the obligationâ to ârespect and defend the free inquiry of associates.â
Professor Finkelsteinâs work has drawn the ire of many for his accusations that Jews have been exploiting the Holocaust for monetary gain. He has also criticized Israel for oppressing the Palestinians. One of his most persistent critics has been Alan Dershowitz, the attorney and Harvard law professor whose fervent defense of Israel has led to frequent and often venomous conflicts with Dr. Finkelstein.
Dershowitz went so far as to lobby the university to deny Finkelsteinâs tenure application. Many faculty members at DePaul and elsewhere decried what they called Mr. Dershowitzâs heavy-handed tactics.
Sounding resigned, Mr. Finkelstein said of DePaul, âRationally, it has to deny me tenure.â
âAny time I wrote or spoke would evoke another hysterical response and would be costly for them,â he said, referring to the collegeâs fund-raising efforts.
In a statement Father Holtschneider said the outside attention paid to Mr. Finkelsteinâs bid for tenure âwas unwelcome and inappropriate and had no impact on either the process or the outcome of this case.â He added: âSome will consider this decision in the context of academic freedom. In fact academic freedom is alive and well at DePaul.â
It is no surprise that Mr. Dershowitz was delighted. âIt was plainly the right decision,â he said.
Mr. Finkelstein said he plans to leave Chicago for New York. âTeaching is in my bones. I love to teach,â he said, but he added that as a result of this âblacklisting, I will be barred from ever entering a college classroom again.â
Nonetheless, any temptation to âindulge in a bout of self-pity,â he said, was halted by thinking of his parents, who survived the Warsaw ghetto and the Nazi death camps while the rest of his relatives were exterminated. âThey survived,â he said. âIâll survive.â