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The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering Paperback – October 17, 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 201 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Finkelstein’s downright pugilistic book delivers a wallop.” LA Weekly

“The most explosive book of the year.” The Guardian

“A lucid, provocative and passionate book.” New Statesman

“His basic argument that memories of the Holocaust are being debased is serious and should be given its due.” The Economist

“[S]cathing in his denunciation of the institutions and individuals who have cropped up around the issue of reparations.” New York Press

“Finkelstein has raised some important and uncomfortable issues.” The Jewish Quarterly --Larry Petersen

I have read many books on the Holocaust and had a growing personal discomfort about the manner in which the non-Jewish element was increasingly marginalised (I must admit that I had a similar feeling when I started learning about the numbers of Asian non-POWS who had been killed in building the Death Railway in Burma in WWII, a feature that is ignored in most books of that event). This feeling was added to when I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington. Now in this book I have some basis for understanding my discomfort though for reasons I had not envisaged. Finkelstein's book delivers a very hard hitting analysis of how the Holocaust has been increasingly suborned to a mixture of Jewish American political and religious personal interests and the Israeli pursuit of garnering US support post the 1967 Six Days War, covering key events up to the current day. At times he has a very personal and edgy emotional style in dealing with counter arguments but given the personal abuse and attacks he has suffered from such groups, this adds to the drama of the story he tells. His analysis of the abuses engineered under the Swiss "Nazi Gold" claims alone is worth the price of this book in my mind. Read and you will not be unmoved even if you disagree certain points --By Siriam

Until comparatively recently, I implicitly accepted the image of the holocaust and its victims that was presented by the mass media. Then, a year ago, I read the Penguin Book of Twentieth-century Speeches, in particular some of what Elie Weisel had to say about the holocaust. It was clearly exaggerated, sentimentalist nonsense. I began to think a little more independently about the issue, but had nowhere to turn for a more balanced view. One day, Amazon's recommendations system suggested this book to me, and I bought it at once. Having read it, I'm delighted to be able to recommend it unreservedly as exactly the book I needed. Finkelstein does not deny the Nazi holocaust, nor the suffering it inflicted on both those it killed, and on those who survived. His contention - persuasively argued - is that their genuine suffering is being debased and abused by the Holocaust "industry" in order to bring political power and huge sums of money to an élite minority. He also points out that by labelling the Holocaust with false superlatives, one belittles the plight of others who have suffered comparably awful genocide and victimisation, both in World War II and throughout history. The book is well written. Finkelstein occasionally personalises the debate, or becomes less than dispassionate, but I never once felt this damaged his objectivity. He quotes sources throughout the book - in many cases his opponents are condemned by their own tongues. It is time the media stopped pandering to the abusive interests of the Holocaust Industry, time they took a more balanced, more critical and less sensationalist view. Billions of dollars are being extorted from governments (even those that can hardly afford it, such as Poland's) by the playing of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism cards. This is unjust. Buy this book. Read it. Tell your friends about it. --By Clive Jones

About the Author

Norman G. Finkelstein is the author of A Nation on Trial (with Ruth Bettina Birn), named a notable book for 1998 by the New York Times Book Review, and Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (October 17, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859843239
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859843239
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,266,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I am an American Jew, and no, I don't "hate myself" or hate my ethnic heritage. I am proud of my Jewish heritage. I feel all Jews should read this book and give serious thought to it. Contary to what his critics say, Finkelstein does not deny and never has denied that European Jews suffered one of the most terrible atrocities in human history under the Nazi holocaust. (He does, however, argue persuasively that Jews are not the only people in history to have suffered genocide. This is NOT the same as holocaust denial.) What Finkelstein argues, and the critics of this book refuse to consider, is that many Jews unfortunately feel that this tremendous suffering confers upon them some kind of moral blank-check for whatever political or financial purposes they see fit--kicking Palestinians out of their homes, for example. It is a controversial statement in the current political climate, but Finkelstein presents a tight, devastating argument in favor of it, and all morally serious people should at least evaluate the argument in terms of facts and logic, rather than dismissing it off-hand with ad hominem attacks against the author. (I am not suggesting, by the way, that ad hominem attacks are never admissable in the course of argument--Finkelstein loves to pepper his argument with stinging, and often quite comic, insults to his opponents. However, Finkelstein realizes that these attacks must be an addition to, not a substitute for, reasoned argument. His opponents, in turn, don't seem to care much for reasoned argument at all, and prefer instead to employ ad hominem attacks exclusively.)
It is sad, though I suppose inevitable, that some anti-Semitic elements have latched on to this book as providing "support" for their prejudice.
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Format: Hardcover
The thrust of Professor Finkelstein's unsettling book is that powerful interests (Israel and Jewish organizations in America) have hijacked what has become known as the holocaust. And while Israel has exploited the holocaust as a weapon to deflect criticism, regardless how justified, American Jewish organizations have used the plight of supposedly needy survivors to extort staggering sums of money from the rest of the world. This was done not for the benefit of survivors, but for the financial advantage of these organizations.
There are no conclusions reached in Professor Finkelstein's book that a careful reader of daily newspapers could not have reached, assuming the reader could read between the lines and base his judgment on evidence and common sense rather than the politically correct slant of the media reporting.
Finkelstein has infuriated his critics not by ranting or raving or misrepresenting the evidence, as they have accused him, but by painstakingly supporting his arguments with irrefutable documentation. The first line of defense of the mass media in America, one of the holocaust industry's most effective and compliant tools (second only to the Clinton administration), was to pretend Finkelstein's book did not exist. Once this tactic became ineffective due to an outpouring of Internet exposure, the mass media launched scathing attacks on the author and his book. Read the New York Times book review for one such "hit piece" and compare that review with your own reading of the book. Naturally, reading the book is something the review is designed to discourage.
A zealous supporter of the holocaust industry, Professor Zweig from Tel Aviv, posted a negative "one star" review of Dr. Finkelstein's book on Amazon.
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By A Customer on July 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mr Finkelstein's basic point is that there are certain groups in the state of Israel and the World Jewish Community who use the Holocaust as a means of protecting themselves from any kind of criticism whatsoever: As soon as anyone would question what they are doing, they would point the finger to the Holocaust as a justification for it. At first, I was not really sure what to make of this idea. Should I condemn it, as it could be a try to end Holocaust commemorance? Or should I read on and see what it was about? I decided to do the latter, and I have not regretted it.
Norman Finkelstein does not object to remembering the Holocaust. His parents were sent to a concentration camp by the Nazis - why should he want to forget what they had gone through? What Mr Finkelstein does object to, is the exploitation of their suffering, and all the other victim's suffering, by a Holocaust Industry that has hardly a connection to them. It would be a mistake to try to summarize his arguments in this short review, as this would only lead to generalizations and misunderstandings. This book is neither an attack on Holocaust commemorance nor on the Jews and their religion. It is an attempt to take a reasonable approach to a topic that has been, up to now, often discussed in a much too emotional way.
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Format: Hardcover
Prof. Finkelstein's book has been described by other reviwers as "angry"; and it is that! Yet, even if only half of the meticulously documented accusations in the book are true, the author has every right to his anger. So, in fact, does the entire population of the United States, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, and even more, citizens of Isreal, the Arab world and of Europe: not least those of Germany and Switzerland for whom the book convincingly documents shocking revelations of extortion and malfeasance, often at the expense of Holocaust survivors.
Anger, then, pervades the 150 pages of this well written book; but never hatred. That reaction seems reserved for his critics who, in this reviewer's opinion, have advanced few arguments against the veracity of Finkelstein's theses and, instead, have felt obliged to resort to personal insult and character assassination; strengthening rather than weakening his case. Professor Finkelstein is a brave man!
Like all iconoclastic and thought-provoking books, this one is essential reading for any student of the Holocaust because it is scholarly and rationally argued. The arguments therein challenge the leadership of the alleged "Holocaust Industry" to refute them in an unbiased court of public opinion which likely doesn't exist today. Finkelstein's is as yet a minority voice and may still readily be shouted down without recourse to rational argument; the day, however, will surely come when a less self-serving history of these awful events will be generally accepted.
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