When Joanna Graham writes against Israel in the Daily Planet she almost always takes pains to remind readers that she is Jewish, albeit, raised “assimilated.” What she does not tell DP readers, but readily admitted to the SF Chronicle, is that she is a Marxist.
The occasion for this interview was that she had filed suit against the City of Berkeley, believing that the city had an obligation to do some of her house repairs. This is a perfectly good Marxist idea, so we credit her for her consistency. However, the court did not agree. Graham has been active in the anti-Israel cause since at least 2000, where she and her cohorts successfully prevented Benyamin Netanyahu from speaking in Berkeley. That’s about all we know about Graham, herself. However, we know a lot about the person who Graham cites and who appears to be her main source, if not her only source, of information. This is Norman Finklenstein. Finklestein appears to have influenced other DP writes as well, probably including O’Malley herself. Finkelstein is a “defrocked” scholar. He was denied tenure at his most recent post at the DePaul University because of shoddy research (in effect, he was fired). Finkelstein himself brags that he has never been published in an academic journal and taught at a "third-rate university" because he was "kicked out of every job" in New York. He now wanders the world preaching his gospel of anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism. Finkelstein has described Nobel Laureat, Elie Wiesel, as the "resident clown" of the Holocaust "circus." In fact, he and Ku Klux Klaner, David Duke, were the only two Americans invited to Iranian president Ajmadinijad’s convention of Holocaust deniers. The NY Times reviewed his book, The Holocaust Industry with these words: “Like any conspiracy theory, it contains several grains of truth; and like any such theory, it is both irrational and insidious.” In contradistinction to real scholars, even when right on isolated facts, Finkelstein only selectively cherry picks his information to advance his pre-destined outcome, hatred of Israel and Jews. Whereas Graham may rely solely on Finkelstein, Finkelstein, instead of doing any original research, relies only on secondary sources. One of his favorites is famed revisionist Israeli historian, Benny Morris. However, Morris denounces Finkelstein as a huckster who misquotes and misunderstands his research. Finkelstein says that when he writes he is motivated by sheer anger. Probably so. Children of holocaust survivors, of which he claims to be one, are well known for their “issues,” and Finkelstein is no doubt acting out an angry psychodrama concerning his parents. Finkelstein has never written for the DP, but he comes to Berkeley from time to time, and his inflammatory lectures can be heard on KPFA.