For the son of two holocaust survivors, American political scientist Norman Finkelstein has been a strident supporter of the Palestinian cause right from his early days.

One of his first major works was a long critique on a book which argued that Palestinians were recent settlers and hence tried to legitimise Israel’s doings.

Mr. Norman who has spent the last few days in the city as part of the solidarity’s youth spring programme, talked at length about his pet themes at a media interaction here on Monday.

Having recently published a book on ‘What Gandhi says about nonviolence, resistance and courage’, he said that he was quite surprised by the amount of criticism against the man in India. “I am sure most of the people who call him everything from a manipulator to a liar, haven’t read any of his works. This is one thing I have learned from the number of times his works have been lent out from the libraries in this country and outside. I was interested in his finished thoughts rather than on how they were formed and hence concentrated on his works from 1930 to 1947. I have many disagreements with his politics, but still I ended up with a lot of respect for him. Many groups saw in him motives which they themselves imagined,” said Mr. Finkelstein. He said that the Israeli lobby has huge influence on U.S. policy but it is only so as long as major U.S. interests are not at stake.