He has spent 40 years of his life amassing data, and has authored several books on the subject. His primary sources are reputable international human rights organisations and other scholarly works by his peers.
It is noteworthy that Finkelstein is himself an American Jew. Almost his entire family was exterminated in Nazi death camps during the Second World War. It would appear his credentials are impeccable.
During numerous interviews and podcasts, Finkelstein has stubbornly refused to condemn Hamas. His refusal to do so is based on his intimate knowledge and understanding of the conflict. The politics of condemnation avoids the uncomfortable relationship of cause and effect, which ultimately suits the Israeli narrative.
The October 7th attack presented Finkelstein with a moral dilemma. How to answer the inevitable question: Do you condemn Hamas? An inner voice told him the answer was not immediately obvious. He refused to accept the premise that Hamas had committed a heinous war crime without seeking an explanation. After all, more than 1500 young Gazans had broken through the encirclement knowing full well the consequences for themselves, as well as, for their families. This would not have been an easy choice to make.
For an insight into the psychology of the oppressed, he turned to the Nat Turner slave uprising. Turner called for the death of all whites; men, women and children alike. There were many gruesome stories of beheadings, hangings and burnings, all of which cried out for an explanation. So, he turned to the Abolitionists to see what they had to say on the matter.
William Lloyd Garrison, one of the foremost Abolitionists, wrote about the slave uprising in graphic language. But, according to Finkelstein, he stopped short of moral condemnation. Garrison opined that the pent up rage and fury accumulated over decades of inhumane treatment by their white masters, engendered a burning desire for retribution and revenge.
Finkelstein pondered could the same powerful emotions explain why the Hamas fighters killed Israeli civilians? It is not beyond the realm of possibility. The dehumanising effects of oppression is evident through history. Whenever those young fighters broke through the gates of the prison, a tsunami of emotions erupted onto the stage. Memories of loved ones brutally murdered, homes destroyed and lives ruined are powerful motivators.