I interviewed Norman Finkelstein on the role of human rights organisations in the struggle for justice in Palestine:
As always in politics, the issue is not what you’d in an ideal world prefer; the issue is choosing between the givens. Of course, politics is also about transforming those givens. But I think you cannot transform a given situation unless you exploit the given situation. It’s a process of simultaneously trying to transform by exploiting what’s given. Maybe I would prefer to have human rights organizations that had mainstream credibility and also wrote in my language. But that’s not in the cards. And so you have to make use of what’s there. What’s there is these human rights organizations, and if they start going astray, it’s a real problem. It makes arguing the case much more difficult.
It is a matter of public knowledge that there are political differences between myself and the leadership of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. But notwithstanding the distance that separates us, on one point there is no substantive disagreement. If you look at the BDS Call from July 2005, its point of departure is international law, and in particular the International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the wall Israel is constructing in occupied Palestinian territory. Even they instinctively grasp that, to make a case now before a broad public, there is no other option, no alternative, but to lean on international law.