The changing perception of the Nazi genocide of the Jews has also opened the way for a variety of exploiters and small-time opportunists. Yet to make this into an international Jewish conspiracy verges on paranoia and would serve anti-Semites around the world much better than any lawyer's exorbitant fees for ''shaking down'' a German industrialist.
Norman G. Finkelstein first gained a national reputation with his essay, ''Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's 'Crazy' Thesis,'' included in the book he wrote with Ruth Bettina Birn, ''A Nation on Trial.'' Much of the essay was a brilliant dissection of Goldhagen's book, ''Hitler's Willing Executioners.'' Its last section, however, revealed Finkelstein undergoing a bizarre metamorphosis, in which he employed the same dubious rhetoric and faulty logic he had identified in Goldhagen's work in order to propound his own, even ''crazier,'' thesis on the dark forces lurking, to his mind, behind his adversary's success. [...]