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909 of 996 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criticism is not prejudice
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...
Published on October 2, 2001

111 of 143 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading
This book is subtitled "Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering." The holocaust is the most exploited event of recent history and a book on this topic is needed; however, I'm not sure Mr. Finkelstein has written the definitive study. The book covers a lot of territory in only 150 pages (with extensive footnotes) and its conclusions can be as...
Published on August 28, 2000 by Steve Jackson

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909 of 996 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criticism is not prejudice, October 2, 2001
By A Customer
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. What is even more sad, however, is that many Jews somehow seem to think that this fact alone is enough to condemn the book. If some racist bigot latched on to a tightly-argued, well-reasoned book criticizing, say, Al Sharpton or Louis Farrakhan, and used this book to justify their prejudice towards African-Americans, would that fact in and of itself negate the conclusions of the book? Criticism is not the same thing as prejudice or hatred, even if that criticism is exploited by the purveyors of prejudice and hatred. Unfortunately, those who dismiss this book just can't seem to grasp this elementary distinction.
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470 of 523 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Holocaust Industry, August 11, 2000
Reno de Caro (Boulder Creek, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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 before the book was even available to the American public (July 19). This was no doubt a preemptive Internet strike to discourage potential readers without giving the book the publicity even a negative media review would have had. After Finkelstein was invited for a radio interview in the U.S., the holocaust industry enlisted Professor Zweig, who they doubtless consider a "heavy hitter," to join Finkelstein on the air and put the heretic in his place. An alternative explanation would be that Professor Zweig was given an opportunity to do penance and rehabilitate himself by debunking Finkelstein on the airwaves after it was discovered that the latter had cited information in Zweig's own book which blackens the holocaust industry.
In the ensuing debate, the best Zweig could do was claim that Finkelstein had taken statements made in his book out of context. This is the standard damage control employed by any public figure who said or wrote something he subsequently discovered was not in his best interest.
The bottom line of Finkelstein's book is that it says what was very long overdue to be said. But few academics have the courage or intellectual fortitude to weather the defamation campaign that will predictably descend on anyone who challenges this multi-billion dollar industry. Historically speaking, it has seldom been the politically correct Professor Zweigs of a given time that brought us closer to the truth, but the defiant and much-maligned "heretics" such as Norman Finkelstein.
I recommend the advice Nietzsche gave his readers 130 years ago: "If you want to know something about a book or its author, read what HE wrote rather than what his critics or enemies say about him." In addition to reading the book, I highly recommend listening to the radio debate between Professor Finkelstein and Professor Zweig, the holocaust industry's first choice to represent their side in the controversy. From the debate it becomes clear that Professor Finkelstein is extremely comfortable when dealing with the charges leveled against him by his detractors. He refutes them calmly and convincingly. No wonder the spokespersons for the holocaust industry prefer writing unopposed "hit pieces" like the New York Times review over challenging Professor Finkelstein directly...
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197 of 219 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable approach, July 26, 2000
By A Customer
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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124 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anger but never hatred!, August 16, 2000
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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116 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Norman Finkelstein: A Man of Principle, February 28, 2002
In academic circles, the Holocaust - the murder of five million European Jews during the Second World War - is a field still remarkably open to new interpretations and vigorous debate. However, "The Holocaust," its misbegotten pop-culture twin, has taken on the worst characteristics of a cult. Braving the slings and arrows of "The Holocaust's" various high priests, Norman Finkelstein has written a book which exposes them for the frauds that they are.
The Holocaust Industry is a searing indictment of recent Holocaust compensation agreements. Its central premise is that that the campaign to expand both the range of targets and the amount of compensation sought is not, as organizations like the World Jewish Congress would have us believe, motivated by a desire to see justice served. On the contrary, it is just the latest and most extreme example of the abuse of the Holocaust for crass purposes. Previously trotted out to intimidate critics of Israel, "The Holocaust," Finkelstein convincingly argues, has recently been wielded as a club with which to bully Swiss banks, German companies, and the emerging democracies of the former Soviet bloc into handing over billions of dollars. The compensation campaign has become, to quote the author's memorable phrase, "an outright extortion racket." Worse still, while the various compensation claims were launched in the name of needy Holocaust survivors, much of the money awarded thus far has been earmarked for the coffers of Jewish organizations, and thus is likely to be frittered away on such dubious projects as community property restitution and Holocaust awareness.
Survivors, to be sure, are not the only victims of what Finkelstein labels the Holocaust Industry. Another casualty is historical truth. Indeed, of all the issues raised in the book, this is the most disturbing. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Finkelstein has uncovered a litany of lies and deceptions. The number of actual survivors were wildly inflated, bogus survivors published fraudulent memoirs to international acclaim, and, during the tussle over Jewish assets allegedly held in Swiss banks, the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre levelled the outrageous charge, one contradicted by the historical record, that Switzerland had interned Jewish refugees in slave labour camps during the war. If that were not bad enough, Nazism's numerous non-Jewish victims have been systematically airbrushed out of Holocaust commemorations. As Finkelstein so eloquently observes, a few more years of this and it will no longer be possible to distinguish between Holocaust commemoration and Holocaust denial.
Like all mavericks, Finkelstein occasionally overstates his case. His attacks on the self-appointed custodians of "The Holocaust," while justified, seem meanspirited at times. His characterization of present-day American-Jewish elites as morally equivalent to those of their European ancestors who collaborated with the Nazis is both excesive and uncalled for. Finally, what he sees as a Holocaust restitution conspiracy is more likely just another manifestation of the culture of historical victimization - with its inevitable calls for redress - that has so afflicted American society in recent years.
These criticisms notwithstanding, The Holocaust Industry is one of those rare books which are destined to change public opinion. Beyond exposing a massive scandal, Finkelstein has given voice to concerns that many of us have had, but have been too timid to state publicly. For his courage in doing so, he deserves the widest possible readership.
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87 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cleaning house on the holocaust memory., June 26, 2006
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The main premise of this book is that after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the powers-that-be in the U.S. saw Israel as a geopolitical asset in the Middle East. Johnson, in particular, decided to tap that asset in the interests of the Cold War. Thus, Jewish organizations siezed the opportunity and in lock-step with U.S. interest, began to exploit the memory of the holocaust, supposed "victim" status, and claims of anti-Semitism in support of Israel. Could this theory be true?

I went to my local college library which has a small section of books on permanent display dedicated to Jewish literature. Not one book on display was published before 1967. But, there were more books in the collection, so a little advertising says, related to the Holocaust. So I search the e-catlog and indeed found some 838 titles through 2006 on or related to jewish holocaust. Only 3 were published before 1967. After 1967 the number of books on the subject explodes: 8 in the 60s, 48 in the 70s, nearly 200 in the 80s, and almost 400 in the 90s.

While I don't claim this survey is scientific, it might be indicative of Finkelstein's theory which seems basically right-on regarding when and how the holocaust came into public consciousness as we know it today.

Out of curiosity, I searched for Finkelstein's book, the Holocaust Industry, among the library's collection. It was not in the 838 titles. Furthermore, Finkelstein's name wasn't even in the listing. What does that tell you? In a college library? Doesn't this book belong among holocaust literature? How are students supposed to analyze and test and study Holocaust claims unless, of course, they are not supposed to do so? Someone once said there's a thin line between brainwashing and education.

Finkelstein's book made me feel a sense of release and sadness. Release because what Finkelstein writes is not anti-Simetic but merely gives voice to what many people probably suspect without even reading his book. What is that? As Rabbi Wolf at Yale states: "It seems to me the Holocaust is being is not being taught." How many others must feel this way and for fear of being labelled anti-Semitic never discussed the matter, even among friends?

For my part, I had for years attributed the "selling" of the Holocaust to what the Brazilian educator Freire called "pedagogy of the oppressed." Why else would a people (Jews) who managed to survive Hitler turn around and subjugate others (Palestinians)? Oh, did they learn their lessons. Yet according the Finkelstein, the answer is much simpler and has nothing to do with lessons and pedagogy and all that humbug but cashing-in and opportunism.

I am saddened because The Holocaust Industry makes clear that the suffering of some Jewish people has been exploited by Jewish organizations and others to deflect legitimate criticisms of Israel, including disenfranchisement and brutal and tortuous treament of Palestinians.

Although Israel appears above criticism these days, the remarkable thing is that Finkelstein has nevertheless come forward to clean house on the matter. He is, indeed, a courageous soul. (If you don't think so, read the email which he posts on his website.) This book is helping us to understand and release this burden called Israel, so that we can live honestly with the memory of what happened to Jews during WW II and how some prominent Jews and powerful Jewish organizations are regrettably denigrating that memory.
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85 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At long last, another expose of a victim industry, October 21, 2000
Amazon Customer (Hyattsville, MDUSA) - See all my reviews
My interest in Dr. Finkelstein's work is based on a run-in I had with an old friend. He'd read Goldhagen's "Hitler's Willing Executioners." When I challenged him to be cautious about charging all the Germans with knowing about and advocating the "final solution," he accused me of being a Hitler supporter. That, of course, jeopardized our 15-year friendship. I then hunted on the Web, found some of the writings of Finkelstein who'd challenged Goldhagen's ravings. I was amazed that many accused Finkelstein--whose parents were Auschwitz survivors--of being just short of a Nazi sympathizer himself. My interest grew.
Years ago, after doing some reading on Ireland's 19th century potato famine, I wrote that we--all us us, despite race, religion, etc.--need to be cautious of claiming our monopoly on oppression. Nearly all of us have collectively been victims at some poing in the history of mass oppression. That means we are all potentially in the position of the oppressed, and all need to condemn the oppressors, not claim--and base our identity on--our "unique" status as victim. I refer, of course, to the left's tendency to identity politics, exacerbating the victimhood problem. It gets nearly comical.
Take those observations, couple them with Israel's abysmal human rights record, and one may not wonder why I read this book.
Oh, allow me to point out that I have been to the Holocaust Memorial Museum a dozen times, have given tours of the fine display, was there recently for a presentation of a book on holocaust deniers. What's more, nearly a decade ago, while working with a group that sponsored a conference on torture, one of the presentors, a psychologist who works with torture survivors, stayed with me. I commented that I had an acquaintance, a Catholic priest, who was confined to Dachau concentration camp for four years. I'd deduced that there were others aside from Jews who suffered the exploits of the Third Reich. My guest clarified that the Jews were most often sent to death camps, e.g., Auschwitz, not just concentration camps. I conceded: She was right, and that DID change my perspective on the Jewish position relative to the Reich. So the allegation that I am an anti-Semite or "holocaust denier" won't get the critic very far.
Finkelstein's fundamental contention is that there is the Nazi holocaust--that which occurred and no one we take seriously denies it--and then there's the "Holocaust," the contrived entity that has been exploited my most major Jewish organizations, and inadvertently, though Finkelstein would say very consciously, justifies anything the Jewish state, Israel, does. And that meets the needs of the U.S. which needs Israel as an ally--a lieutenant--in the global economy context. In other words, it has a clearly POLITICAL motive. Is that an anti-Semitic statement? Hardly.
Finkelstein's history on the emphasis on the "Holocaust" and of Israel, fitting into the greater context of U.S. political/rhetorical need, is convincing. And his pointing out that Reagan received the humanitarian-of-the-year award from prominent Jewish organizations not long after his apologetics toward the Waffen SS at Bitburg Cemetery in Germany, claiming they were no less victims of Nazism than anyone else, severely challenges the "nonpartisan" intent of the organizations.
The personalities to whom Finkelstein refers have always pushed my eyebrows up with Spockian wonder: Goldhagen I've already meantioned. Elie Wiesel spoke at Georgetown a number of years ago. He endorsed ANYTHING the Jewish state does, because, he said, of what happened to "them" during the Third Reich. I discussed it with a law student immediately afterwards to confirm what we'd heard. Neither of us could beleive it. That and the $25,000 Wiesel commands for his speeches make Finkelstein's challenges of Wiesel's motives not a little appropriate. Wiesel's receipt of the Nobel prize is to me no more credible than Kissinger's.
I am glad too that Finkelstein points out that those who are the "holocaust deniers" are taken seriously by almost no one. (As I stated, I attended at the Holocaust Museum a presentation on a book on those deniers. As I discussed with one of the authors, that denial is important in that it fits into the larger context, of anti-intellectuality, of pseudo-history and pseudo-science, more than the threat that many people take that nonsense seriously).
Incidentally, while I do advocate that Holocaust Museum's display, as the Third Reich's barbarity cannot be exaggerated, I have also recognized the subliminal motive of the museum, as a propaganda tool for the Jewish state. So I appreciate Finkelstein also pointed that out. And he reveals something I hadn't thought of: that the Museum's being in the U.S. and subsidized by U.S. taxpayers is curious. How would Americans respond if there were in Berlin a museum dedicated to the subject of slavery in the U.S. or on the demise of the Native Americans? Curious indeed.
The extortion racket that many a Jewish organization has institutionalized with lawsuits against Germany, Poland and some of the former Soviet states--without a whimper expressed toward American corporations who capitalized off the holocaust, and none of the benefits of which are being recieved by holocaust survivors--is worthy of a book in itself!
I risk being labled anti-Semitic and/or a holocaust denier with this. I won't insult anyone's intelligence by referring to "Jewish friends" who would laugh that off. But I do recommend the book. It is imperative that it be kept in the context of the politics that motivate the holocaust opportunists. And I reiterate, we must remember to decry the oppressors whoever they may be rather than aggrandizing ourselves with victim status. Finkelstein opens the door to that possibility.
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87 of 105 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is NOT anti-semitic. Clear, reasonable, analysis, July 30, 2001
Difficult it is to criticize the method and material through which Finkelstein makes his argument, for he is clearly erudite, clear thinking, and leverages the work of other great historians.
The challenge he faces in putting across his argument is illustrated no better than in the reviews listed at, where - even as a Jew and son of survivors - he is brandished a much the same manner as are some of the characters his books.
What I find alarming is that reactions to his views - both in the book and in these reviews - are discarded out of hand. Potential readers (and, offline, Jews) ought to ask themselves whether a Jewish Historian and son of the nazi holocaust survivors is qualified to make such a critique. Because if he is not, then we must ask who is. Perhaps the financial beneficiaries of the nazi holocaust?
The brilliance of this short but intellectually thorough book is that it understands the macroscopic effect of Holocaust-branding in Western life and the its employment for over-the-top financial and political reparations, and imbalanced support for Israel. If you are a Jew, or have found yourself being pro-Israel for no logical reason, you ought to read this because it is written by someone who has nothing to gain from his arguments but reactionary and brainless abuse. For others, you will understand the extent to which the holocaust has been manipulated and its ideology ensconsed in American life. It will also highlight how much we forget the other EQUALLY aweful things that have happened to MILLIONS of others in the last two hundred years.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, October 2, 2007
This review is from: The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, New Edition 2nd Edition (Paperback)
I have nothing but the greatest admiration for someone who holds truth at such high esteem that he / she is willing to pour all of their mind and soul into uncovering it, and subsequently risk everything attributable to them in our physical world, proclaiming it for the benefit of his / her fellow man. Professor Finkelstein does this in the most objective and proficient way. The Holocaust Industry is a wonderfully insightful book on this very important topic. I think the fact that its critics only dismiss without substantiation speaks volumes...
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing shakedown by shady characters, August 21, 2011
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This review is from: The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, New Edition 2nd Edition (Paperback)
When you read about this 10 years later, things fall into perspective. Major shakedown artist Melvyn Weiss is debarred and possibly in jail because of his fraudulent class-action suits shaking down NASDAQ companies. Bronfman's business empire seems to have fallen apart due to his bad investments. Congratulations to Finkelstein for seeing through these frauds and having the courage to say as much.

It is a well detailed book. I am glad to see it written by the son of Holocaust survivors for two reasons. First of all, Finkelstein cannot be accused of anti-Semitism. Secondly, he has an entrée that other writers might not enjoy. An extremely interesting book for a Gentile to read. One must always stand in awe of Jewish intelligence, but Jewish ethics are another question. Finkelstein calls this one right.
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The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, New Edition 2nd Edition
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