Chomsky and Palestine

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Chomsky and Palestine

An article calling Noam Chomsky too soft on Israel and even an enabler of Israeli government crimes .... Not necessarily my view of Professor C, and not meant as one of the usual BS right-wing attacks on him for having 12 houses and dancing on Cambodian graves, but interesting....

 

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Although I had previously criticized Chomsky for downplaying the influence of the pro-Israel lobby on Washington’s Middle East policies, [4]. I had hesitated to write a critique of his overall approach for the reasons noted. Nevertheless, I was convinced that while, ironically, having provided perhaps the most extensive documentation of Israeli crimes, he had, at the same time immobilized, if not sabotaged, the development of any serious effort to halt those crimes and to build an effective movement in behalf of the Palestinian cause.

 

An exaggeration? Hardly. A number of statements made by Chomsky have demonstrated his determination to keep Israel and Israelis from being punished or inconvenienced for the very monumental transgressions of decent human behavior that he himself has passionately documented over the years. This is one of the glaring contradictions in Chomsky’s work. He would have us believe that Israel’s occupation and harsh actions against the Palestinians, its invasions and undeclared 40 years war on Lebanon, and its arming of murderous regimes in Central America and Africa during the Cold War, has been done as a client state in the service of US interests. In Chomsky’s world view, that absolves Israel of responsibility and has become standard Chomsky doctrine.

 http://www.voltairenet.org/article143519.html

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

It should be mentioned that this very well-researched and thoughtful article is over 2 years old.

BTW what is this thread doing in Humanities and Science? Is this not about International Politics?

Slumberjack

"Exterminate all the Brutes": Gaza 2009

Perhaps the article above, where he does engage to a great extent in naming names and pointing fingers, is partially a response to the article in the OP.  Although he didn't mention AIPAC.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Note that Chomsky consistently refers to the "US-Israeli attack" on Gaza. He makes it sound as if it were some joint military operation.

wwSwimming

M. Spector wrote:

Note that Chomsky consistently refers to the "US-Israeli attack" on Gaza. He makes it sound as if it were some joint military operation.

it was a joint military operation.  there were plenty of American defense contractors on the ground in Egypt, taking notes about how their war toys perform in real time.  for example

http://www.l-3com.com/seo/products/mx12.htm

 one of the cameras used on UAV drones.

that, plus America's $2 billion a year in military aid to Israel makes it quite a joint effort. 

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al-Qa'bong

M. Spector wrote:

Note that Chomsky consistently refers to the "US-Israeli attack" on Gaza. He makes it sound as if it were some joint military operation.

Maybe not "joint"  in the sense that the D-Day landings were a joint British-American (Juno Beach is an odd footnote in most non-Canadian histories) operation, but most of the ordnance used against Arabs by the Israelis over the last 35 years was made in America. If you factor in the political support the US gives to the Zionist entity, it's obvious that this was a joint operation.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Well then you might as well throw in Germany, France, Canada, and a bunch of other countries that supply weaponry, explosives, and parts to the IDF.

The point is that Chomsky is still doing exactly what the article in the OP accused him of doing: trying to paint Israel as a puppet of the United States, and not an independent actor in its own right.

Fidel

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Chomsky said: "I also don’t acknowledge other efforts to blame others [presumably Israel] for what we do. Cheap, cowardly, and convenient, but I won’t take part in it. That’s precisely what’s at stake. Nothing else". [8]

Blankfort said: "Cheap, cowardly and convenient" to blame Israel? If his primary desire is to protect Israel and Israelis from any form of inconvenience is not obvious from that private response, his public effort to sabotage the budding campus divestment program should leave no doubt where and with whom his sympathies lie.

I think that one of the reasons US support for South Africa was allowed to dissolve was because the cold war had ended about three years before apartheid was sent packing by 1994.

But this is the colder war, and Israel is still an important frontline state for them in the Middle East. We can be sure that whatever sanctions are  lowered on Israel,  the US would undermine them by increasing the multi billion dollar a year aid sent to that country ever year.

Better to sanction the imperial master nation responsible for propping up more brutal dictatorships and repressive regimes than just Israel. To sanction just Israel would be suggesting that Israel is the sum total of the vicious empire's evil doings, or that Israel is able to carry on the way it does as a standalone fascist state.  And that's just not true.

500_Apples

M. Spector wrote:

Well then you might as well throw in Germany, France, Canada, and a bunch of other countries that supply weaponry, explosives, and parts to the IDF.

The point is that Chomsky is still doing exactly what the article in the OP accused him of doing: trying to paint Israel as a puppet of the United States, and not an independent actor in its own right.

Germany, France and Canada are not nearly in the same league. Canada is widely regarded as a US colony and so it is no surprise that we would not be mentioned separately, whereas France often gives different political support, and Germany has holocaust guilt.

The United States is the most significant benefactor of Israel and it is likely the only international entity that could stop Israeli actions at this time.

Israel is not an independent actor acting in its own right, nor is it a purely a puppet of the United States. However both narratives have a lot of validity, are part of the truth and should be treated as such. BTW "joint US-Israel operation" is a language form that implies equal partners in the absence of further qualification, it does not imply a senior and junior partner.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

So much horseshit I hardly know where to begin.

500_Apples wrote:
Germany, France and Canada are not nearly in the same league.

They are certainly in the league of countries that have sovereign governments that are capable of making war on their own initiative. So is Israel.

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Canada is widely regarded as a US colony...

Widely, by you and Fidel and a handful of others who don't know what a colony is and have no understanding that Canada is an imperialist nation in its own right, as well as a junior partner with the imperialism of the USA. So is Israel.

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Germany has holocaust guilt.

So Germany is selling parts for weapons and vehicles to Israel because they feel guilty about the holocaust? Yeah, that must be it.

Who will the Germans sell to, if and when they start feeling guilt for the destruction of the Palestinians in Gaza?

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Israel is not an independent actor acting in its own right...

Yeah, right.

Quote:
BTW "joint US-Israel operation" is a language form that implies equal partners in the absence of further qualification, it does not imply a senior and junior partner.

"Joint" doesn't imply either equality or a senior/junior relationship. It merely implies a common participation. Ever heard of the expression "Joint Canada-U.S." or "Joint Canada-Afghan"? Does that mean we're equal partners?

The important implication of "joint US-Israel [military] operation" is that US and Israeli troops are participating in the operation, and that both have some sort of input into controlling decisions. There is no evidence of that at all. A military campaign is not "joint" just because somebody else supplied some of the hardware. Was the Falkland Islands war a "joint Anglo-French operation" because the British used French-made Exocet missiles?

By using that "joint US-Israeli" phrase Chomsky is clearly pursuing an agenda. He wants to paint Israel as the helpless tool of US imperialism, and thereby deflect responsibility for its crimes. He wants us to believe that the destruction of Gaza was an idea cooked up in Washington, not Jerusalem. I'm not buying any of it.

500_Apples

I view the relationships between countries as being a lot more vertical than the horizontal line you imply in your post.

You come off as denying that neocolonialism exists.

A "Joint Canada-Afghan operation" is a propaganda sentence implying that Canadian troops are working with the troops of the people of Afghanistan.

Cueball Cueball's picture

No. That is not what he is saying.

 What he is saying is that they are part of the same entity of expressed power relations. So much as to say, the various power brokers in the US elite, also engage in joint actions, and have mutually beneficial alliances, even though their "interests" do not always coincide. The fact that there is nominal independence, and even competitions, between the elites of the US ruling aparatus, does not prevent us from considering their joint actions, as a single entity under the mantle of the US government.

Israel is very much a product of these elites and the people who represent and manage the Israel project, are very much a part of the US ruling aparatus, and business elite, both in the US and in Israel. Many of the individuals even hold joint citizenship in both countries. There is no reason they should not be considered as an extension of those same relations when expressed as "joint operations".

Preventing the appearance of stable Arab national entities with loyalty to local interests and not the US, is one such "joint operation" and has been for some time. Constant war with the Palestinians, has proven to be an effective means of destablizing the entire Arab world, though numerous means. For example, the appearance of masses of Palestinian refugees severly destabalized Jordan. The war in Lebanon prevented the emergence of a centralized national government, based on a consensus between the multi-ethnic communities. The very same forces that are represented in the Palestinian liberation movement, such as the Muslim Bortherhood, are the most direct threat to the Regieme of Hosni Mubarak, and so on and so on.

All of this instability makes Middle Eastern governments very pliable.

Furthermore, the appearance of the independence of Israel from the US repeatedly appears as part of the PR campaign used to cover the perpetuation of this instability through violent means.

There is plenty of evidence of this happening. There is a code in US/Israeli relations, where the so callied independent decisions of the Israeli government are clearly approved of by the US, but only unofficially. They do what the US would like to do, but can not be seen to be doing.

For example, the bombing of the Oziraq nuclear reactor facility in Iraq was something condemned officially by the US government, but condoned in private.

Fidel

Was it the Israelis' idea to ship arms to Georgia in recent years?

How did Israel, Pakistan, and apartheid South Africa get their mitts on nuclear weapons technology?

Which country has sold weapons or training to nearly 90% of countries it has listed as harboring terrorists?

Which country sells more armaments and military training to undemocratic regimes and gross human rights violators than any other?

Which country's military-industrial complex are the most prolific arms merchants in the world?

I tend to agree with Chomsky when he says it is cowardly to bully the bully's colonials. Apartheid South Africa is no more, but no thanks to pressuring countries like Israel to stop trading with South Africa. These vicious colonials seem to surface everywhere in the world like leaks in an old rubber garden hose. There comes a time when a farmer realizes that patching leaks in the rotten hose is a waste of time and effort.

What I dont understand is Chomsky's suggestion that pursuing a real investigation of 9-11 events is futile. There were several babblers who, I think, agreed with Chomsky on that one. Since GW I to 9-11, all three Bush administrations and friends in armaments industries pushed hard to lift restrictions on weapons sales to the Middle East and arming both Israel and its most vaunted enemies to the eye teeth.

martin dufresne

Latest from Chomsky on ZNet:

Obama on Israel-Palestine
By Noam Chomsky

Barack Obama is recognized to be a person of acute intelligence, a legal scholar, careful with his choice of words.  He deserves to be taken seriously - both what he says, and what he omits.  Particularly significant is his first substantive statement on foreign affairs, on January 22, at the State Department, when introducing George Mitchell to serve as his special envoy for Middle East peace.

Mitchell is to focus his attention on the Israel-Palestine problem, in the wake of the recent US-Israeli invasion of Gaza.  During the murderous assault, Obama remained silent apart from a few platitudes, because, he said, there is only one president - a fact that did not silence him on many other issues.  His campaign did, however, repeat his statement that "if missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do everything in order to stop that." He was referring to Israeli children, not the hundreds of Palestinian children being butchered by US arms, about whom he could not speak, because there was only one president.

On January 22, however, the one president was Barack Obama, so he could speak freely about these matters - avoiding, however, the attack on Gaza, which had, conveniently, been called off just before the inauguration.

Obama's talk emphasized his commitment to a peaceful settlement.  He left its contours vague, apart from one specific proposal: "the Arab peace initiative," Obama said, "contains constructive elements that could help advance these efforts.  Now is the time for Arab states to act on the initiative's promise by supporting the Palestinian government under President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, taking steps towards normalizing relations with Israel, and by standing up to extremism that threatens us all."

Obama is not directly falsifying the Arab League proposal, but the carefully framed deceit is instructive.

The Arab League peace proposal does indeed call for normalization of relations with Israel - in the context - repeat, in the context of a two-state settlement in terms of the longstanding international consensus, which the US and Israel have blocked for over 30 years, in international isolation, and still do.  The core of the Arab League proposal, as Obama and his Mideast advisers know very well, is its call for a peaceful political settlement in these terms, which are well-known, and recognized to be the only basis for the peaceful settlement to which Obama professes to be committed.  The omission of that crucial fact can hardly be accidental, and signals clearly that Obama envisions no departure from US rejectionism.  His call for the Arab states to act on a corollary to their proposal, while the US ignores even the existence of its central content, which is the precondition for the corollary, surpasses cynicism. (...)

 

 

Fidel

It's cynicism at the colliery!

Unionist

Bravo, Cueball. Well argued.

And M. Spector, I'm quite sure you realize that there is a range of possible reality between "Israel is a tool of U.S. imperialism" and "the U.S. is a tool of Israeli Zionism". Those who argue that support for Israel is against U.S. "national interests" are dangerously distorting the political reality of both.

Fidel

And America is just a tool of Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, Haiti, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Georgia, Poland, Ukraine, and all.

And thanks to CUSFTA and NAFTA, Canadian imperialists have practically taken over corporate America and dictating America's national energy policy.

Slumberjack

Cueball effectively debunked Blankfort's crap.  Chomsky's aversion to sanctions and divestment is a curious thing though. 

Fidel

Slumberjack wrote:
 Chomsky's aversion to sanctions and divestment is a curious thing though. 

Perhaps it's because Chomsky realizes that Israel recieves more foreign aid from the US than is donated to any other country. In addition, a US veto would likely shield Israel from UN sanctions. Not many colonial outpost nations have  permanent UNSC membership.

Cueball Cueball's picture

No. It is curious, and I often disagree on point with Chomsky. He is wrong on this one. But such errors do not make him a "class enemy" or whatever it is that Blankfort has in mind.

Fidel

Okay let me get this straight.

1. The cold war was a figment of mine and Chomsky's imagination - and Israel is no longer a frontline state but its own expansionist imperial superpower in the Middle East.

2. The US is a willing tool for any tiny nation to use.

and,

3. Being the weak colonial outposts that they are, the US and Britain would eventually knuckle under at some point and support UN sanctions against Israel, because Anglo-American elites would fear importing revolution from Russia, or perhaps imperialist bully nation Canada, or some such

I think it will take some convincing

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

If you are responding to me, nothing you have just said is at all relevant to what I said.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Blankforts piece is utter shit. Distortion, and grave misconception and simplistic dogma, parading as analysis.

Quote:
Chomsky then goes on for two pages explaining the importance of Middle East oil and the efforts by the US to control it. It is the basic explanation that he has repeated and republished, almost verbatim, over the years. What it has to do with the Palestinians who have no oil or how a truncated Palestinian state would present a threat to US regional interests is not provided, but after two pages the reader has forgotten that the question was even posed. In his explanation there is no mention of the lobby or domestic influences.

As I described in my previous post on this topic, Chomsky's essential thesis is:

 

Quote:
Preventing the appearance of stable Arab national entities with loyalty to local interests and not the US, is one such "joint operation" and has been for some time. Constant war with the Palestinians, has proven to be an effective means of destablizing the entire Arab world, though numerous means. For example, the appearance of masses of Palestinian refugees severly destabalized Jordan. The war in Lebanon prevented the emergence of a centralized national government, based on a consensus between the multi-ethnic communities. The very same forces that are represented in the Palestinian liberation movement, such as the Muslim Bortherhood, that are the most direct threat to the Regieme of Hosni Mubarak, and so on and so on.

All of this instability makes Middle Eastern governments very pliable.

By pliable, I mean exploitable. Chomsky has been quite clear on these points, where has Blankfort been? Hanging out with Jewish, sorry, I mean "Zionist" conspiracy theorists? Blankfort's clear mission is to insert the whole concept of the US being contolled from without by foreign (Jewish) interests.

Quote:
In the field of US-Israel-Palestine relations he has been a virtual human tsunami, washing like a huge wave over genuine scholarly works in the field that contradict his critical positions on the Middle East, namely that Israel serves a strategic asset for the US and that the Israeli lobby, primarily AIPAC, is little more than a pressure group like any other trying to affect US policy in the Middle East. For both of these positions, as I will show, he offers only the sketchiest of evidence and what undercuts his theory he eliminates altogether.

So, Blankfort, muses. One asks: If AIPAC is not "little more than a preassure group", then what is it? A secret cabal running the US government perhaps? Perhaps Blankfort should make himself clear on precisely this point as to what he thinks AIPAC really is, if not a lobby group?

But lets not dwell on that, lets look further at Blankforts almost pristine idiocy.

Quote:
Quite naturally, the discussion turned to apartheid and whether Chomsky considered the term applied to Palestinians under Israeli rule. He responded: "I don’t use it myself, to tell you the truth. Just like I don’t [often] use the term "empire", because these are just inflammatory terms... I think it’s sufficient to just describe the situation, without comparing it to other situations".

Anyone familiar with Chomsky’s work will recognize that he is no stranger to inflammatory terms and that comparing one historical situation with another has long been part of his modus operandi. His response in this instance was troubling. Many Israeli academics and journalists, such as Ilan Pappe, Tanya Reinhart and Amira Hass, have described the situation of the Palestinians as one of apartheid. Bishop Tutu has done the same and last year Ha’aretz reported that South African law professor John Dugard, the special rapporteur for the United Nations on the situation of human rights in Occupied Palestine and a former member of his country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, had written in a report to the UN General Assembly that there is ""an apartheid regime" in the territories "worse than the one that existed in South Africa."" [6]

Somehow, Chomsky failure to use the word, "Apartheid" because he thinks it is "inflamatory" is converted into Chomsky whitewashing Israel's criminal behaviour, when in fact, in response to this question, he is point blank agreeing with the statement that Israel is similar to Apartheid, but is just just not using the word" "I think it’s sufficient to just describe the situation," Chomsky says. 

But out comes the list of people who make the case that Israel is an Apartheid state. But where has Chomsky every contradicted those people, or the observations they made? Nowhere. But Blankfort seem to think that lack of affirmative support for these descriptions is, in essence, denial of them. Lets not get to lost here. What did Chomsky say? He said: "I don’t use it myself, to tell you the truth. Just like I don’t [often] use the term "empire".

Not a hint of objection at all, merely a statement of personal preference of style. But Blankfort makes Chomsky's failure to conform to the approved terminology de facto objection to it. Or to put it another way, that Chomsky is "objectively" a supporter of Israeli Apartheid because of his failure to denounce it in the manner that Blankfort would prefer.

Again and again Blankfort challenges Chomsky for not saying what Blankfort wants to hear in bold print, suggesting that Chomsky's failure  to explicitly call for people to contact their "Congressional representatives or senators regarding their support for aid to Israel", is some kind of indicator of complicity, as if Americans are too stupid to understand what someone is saying when they say, as Chomsky has just finished saying: "What we ought to do is push for changes in US policy. Now it makes good sense to press for not sending attack helicopters to Israel, for example. In fact it makes very good sense to try to get some newspaper in the United States to report the fact that it’s happening."

What more does Blankfort want from Chomsky? Him to hand out the phone number and addresses of the Senate and House representives? Do teach-ins on how to organize a demonstration? What precisely?

Blankforts piece is an absurd piece of political smearing based on prevarication about Chomsky's indirect personal manner. He makrs a mountain out Chomsky's failure to spell things out explicitly enough for Blankfort.

Why is this a problem for Blankfort? Well, Blankfort is just too stupid to read between the lines.

And really? Why bother with this attack? What purpose does it serve in the grand scheme? So what if Chomsky occassional gets sentimental about Israel or his Zionist origins? Are we spending any time trashing Yuri Avnery because he doesn't precisely spell out the exactly correct political line according to some people? 

What do I think? I think Blankfort is pissed off because because Chomsky's thesis undermines Blankforts unstated desire to forward his theory about the US government being run by AIPAC, and other simplistic nonsense that Blankfort can piece together out of his dim imagination.

Fidel

Ya whatever. You basically took Chomsky's side and piled on Blankford. So what? Trade sanctions are comparable to puny men with puny minds and resorting to using sledgehammers in Chinaware shop to swat flies. Eventually some flies expire long before they are mashed by the hammer.

Genocidal trade sanctions amount to political interference in the targeted country's democracy.  

Genocidal trade sanctions did work to cause starvation and unnecessary suffering in Iraq.

And evidence for economic sanctions working toward regime change in apartheid South Africa is mostly anecdotal. Their's was a fascist regime, and it only came to an end when a non-white South African was freed from prison and allowed to run for election. Trade sanctions are a failure of governments to use diplomacy to arriive at democratic solutions. 

The UN, UNSC, WTO and IMF all operate by either the rules of a handful few member nations or not at all due to lopsided veto power of permament and long time member countries dictating their agendas. These UN and Bretton Woods institutions need democratizing.

The case for genocidal trade sanctions is a weak one.

Trade sanctions are an act of aggression and war and should be outlawed with the exception of war or by a country's refusal to accept UN peacekeepers when necessary.

Jack Layton and the NDP were correct about the recent slaughter of innocent people in Gaza. What Palestinians and Israelis needed were UN troops to enforce a ceasefire and maintain the peace with  authority to shoot back if necessary. What the Israelis pulled in December-January was an act of war. Crimes were committed, and UN intervention was needed at that point not sanctions taking years more to play out while the most vulnerable are punished and most privileged on both sides of the conflict live in the lap of luxury to the bitter end, but not silence from Ottawa as a show of solidarity with that country which is infamous for laying medieval siege to whole nations of people because their leaders dare to defy the vicious empire, or for merely double crossing Crazy George's father and Maggie ten years prior.

And Chomsky blew Blankford away with his answers. Nuff said. 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Sorry there are no major parties in Canada that represent any part of Chomsky's position, on anything.

Fidel

Guess who is fifth on this list

Merowe

yeah, I thought the article was a lousy hatchet-job; what in the name of fuck is going to be accomplished by bringing down a Chomsky? Pettyminded tool, the author...

I cant see any sanction regime having any significant economic impact particularly with strong American state support...but I DO see mobilizing around a boycott as a key instrument in building on the international consciousness-raising Israel has just effected. It would serve to develop and unite efforts to pressure that state; such sanctions might start incrementally but bootstrap themselves into a more than symbolic role. 

Do I think that is going to be enough? Well, no. But we heard for instance how Greece refused to dock the American war materiel ship, and there must have been many such incidents which mysteriously failed to appear in our sterling media...and such acts are a reflection of a general level of understanding of the situation. If we could get such an understanding on the ground in the very belly of the beast - or just Canada - how would this not have an effect? 

Fidel

I've read some blogs where young Jewish people comment. A few of them expressed the concern that went something like, the Arabs have too much land and Jews not enough. And I looked at their linked-to map of the Middle East, and I have to agree with them. Arabs do own a lot more land spanning several countries than Israelis do in Israel. What does anyone make of that? Is this fair? And do surrounding Muslim and Arab nations offer to take in Palestinian refugees with open arms immigration policies? 

Slumberjack

How about the Arabs offer to take in the Israeli squatters, and leave the Palestinians in peace?

Cueball Cueball's picture

Fidel wrote:

I've read some blogs where young Jewish people comment. A few of them expressed the concern that went something like, the Arabs have too much land and Jews not enough. And I looked at their linked-to map of the Middle East, and I have to agree with them. Arabs do own a lot more land spanning several countries than Israelis do in Israel. What does anyone make of that? Is this fair? And do surrounding Muslim and Arab nations offer to take in Palestinian refugees with open arms immigration policies? 

 

That is completely stupid and racist. How about White people have too much land all in all. I mean, really we have all of North America, large chunks of South America and everything in Europe up to the Urals basically.

Oh wait, we are Russians, Czechs, English, Americans etc. etc. Only a complete dullard like you would fail to see that there are distinctions betwen Arabs, such as some are Syrian Arabs, others are Gulf Arabs, Egyptians and so on.

Why should Egyptians be forced to take care of Palestinians. This is like saying that the Scots have some inate responsibility to take in Irish people because they are also white.

Idiot.

Fidel

Okay, and thanks for pointing out my dullardness and idiocy. I confess. But I still see a point in what those young people were getting at from a broader perspective.  Most of the best arable land and choice real estate around the world is owned exclusively by some one, corporation, or by some government as natural park preserves. And real estate in some countries, like Japan for example, is ridiculously expensive. What if there was a general re-ordering of things whereby common lands are created for use by people who own no land, and-or for people to use and manage and enjoy for themselves inclusively? What if there really was a global free market in labour and no restrictions on where people can live and work? ie. erase all political boundaries on the map world-wide

Cueball Cueball's picture

That is all well and fine Fidel. The solution for the arable land problem from the Zionist perspective is about taking it from other people who need it.

Let's move on. No need to defend this chicanery.

Fidel

Cueball wrote:
Let's move on

Okay, but what's the hurry, and where should Palestinians or Israelis move to? And when should genocidal sanctions begin? You know, those sanctions to make a ghetto of Israel in order to demonstrate that ghettoizing Gaza is wrong.

It looks like Israelis abandoned settlements in Gaza, and the goal now is to transfer settlers to more valuable land in the West Bank. There are too many people fighting over too few resources.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Did a bushbot worm get into your combot programing or something, and turn you into Sven?

Fidel

I see two sides locked in an epic battle for all time unless someone comes up with a real plan for lasting peace. I'm not so interested in who did what to whom, and who should take vengeance for it. Palestinians arent the only ones to ever be stiffed by a lack of democracy in the UN.

Cueball Cueball's picture

This is about ongoing occupation and war crimes against a civilian population living under martial law, in the present. The only people who can end the occupation are the Israelis, since they are the one who are imposing it, as we speak.

Fidel

And here I thought it was about Chomsky and Palestine. I guess we're off of Chomsky now since he supports the NDP eh?

And I think Israel is past itself wrt Gaza and territories. They're not coping with the situation all that well as far as I can tell. I think they botched the raid on Hamas, and I think they need to be encouraged to negotiate a lasting peace deal and assisted by politically neutral outsiders in maintaining it.

Unionist

Slumberjack wrote:

How about the Arabs offer to take in the Israeli squatters, and leave the Palestinians in peace?

LaughingLaughing

Oh, and Fidel, your new-found thesis about the tiny Jewish island in the huge Arab sea wore thin when I first heard it - in my childhood.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

No we aren't off Chomsky. You are.

Just because you or somebody else like you edited a wikipedia file on the NDP to name Noam Chomsky as a "supporter" of the NDP it does not mean that Chomsky is some kind of NDP sychophant, like yourself. Nothing that either you or Layton are saying has anything at all to do with What Chomsky is saying.

That is your fabrication. Feel free to talk all you want about Noam Chomsky, but at least stick to the facts of what he has actually said.

Please read the article above, nowhere does Chomsky, assert anywhere near the kind of mutual responsibility for the violence between Palestinians and Israelis, as Jack Layton does. In fact he smirks at such assertions. Chomsky clearly lays the responsibility and therefore the solution to the problem at the feet of Israel and the United States.

Quote:
The most significant acts to undermine a peaceful settlement are the daily US-backed actions in the occupied territories, all recognized to be criminal: taking over valuable land and resources and constructing what the leading architect of the plan, Ariel Sharon, called "Bantustans" for Palestinians - an unfair comparison because the Bantustans were far more viable than the fragments left to Palestinians under Sharon's conception, now being realized. But the US and Israel even continue to oppose a political settlement in words, most recently in December 2008, when the US and Israel (and a few Pacific islands) voted against a UN resolution supporting "the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination" (passed 173 to 5, US-Israel opposed, with evasive pretexts).

Nowhere does he suggest that the Hamas should stop firing rockets at Israel, as Layton does. Nowhere, does Layton call the attack upon Gaza an "attack upon Gaza" as Chomsky does, nowhere does Layton suggest that comparing the "fragments" created by Israel for the Palestinians to "Bhantustans" is unfair to South African Apartheid.

The word "rocket", as in "rocket attacks on Israel" doesn't even appear in the text of the ZNET article, even once.

Fidel

Cueball wrote:

No we aren't off Chomsky. You are.

Just because you or somebody else like you edited a wikipedia file on the NDP to name Noam Chomsky as a "supporter" of the NDP mean that Chomsky is some kind of NDP sychophant, like yourself.

Well I was just pointing out yet another instance where youve misled, or tried to mislead babblers. Yes, Chomsky supports the NDP just as Ralph Nader has in the past. Youre an obstreperous troll obssessed with the NDP and who doesnt appreciate it quite a lot when you're wrong, which is quite often by what I can tell.

I'm not going to let you drag me down to your level and pummel me with experience again, like that thread about oil and the Nazis. After calling me all sorts of derogatory names and made with the schoolyard banter, it was clear by your last post that you had no idea what you were talking about in that thread. I was embarrassed for you. I think you're full of shit as per usual but dont have time to prove it to you again.

Cueball Cueball's picture

No one on this thread even mentioned the NDP until you decided that Noam Chomsky was writing Jack Layton's speeches, or the policy of the NDP caucus on the issue of Israel and Palestine, as you did in the 23rd post of this thread.

It was completely irrelevant to what I said about Blakforts smear job on Chomsky, which is about as much of a smear as your suggestion that Chomsky's view on the issue is at all relatable to the pathetic crap coming out of the NDP offices these days.

So, if you don't want us ripping up your stupid little party, and its so called "position" on this issue stop bringing it up.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Jeffrey Blankfort's crimes (both real and imagined) notwithstanding, my criticism of Chomsky stands.

There is no mystery as to why Chomsky refuses to call Israel an apartheid state. Chomsky recognizes, correctly, that calling Israel an apartheid state would tend to cut across his advocacy of a "two-state solution" - a solution that would transform apartheid de facto into apartheid de jure. It is a political disagreement, not a mere semantic one, and it places him squarely outside the activist movement for the defence of Palestine.

This is no surprise, as Chomsky is no activist, and never has been; he is an academic, plain and simple. He is not a tactician or strategist; he has no real perspective on how to build an international movement around specific slogans and campaigns. If he did, he would recognize immediately how useful the apartheid analogy is for giving a racial, geopolitical, and historical context to Israeli aggression.

Like most academics who shun the word apartheid, Chomsky opposes the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign, suggesting with no small hint of sarcasm that it would be more appropriate to boycott and sanction the USA. He fails to recognize the importance of building an activist campaign aimed at severing the international economic, military, and diplomatic support that enables Israeli apartheid to flourish. The academic Chomsky prefers tactics that do not confront Israel directly. His main proposal to combat US support for Israel is "democracy promotion" in the United States, by which, if his own example is anything to go by, he presumably means perpetual support for the Democratic Party.

These positions are all of a piece, stemming from a desire to deflect protest away from Israel and towards the United States. In furtherance of this perspective, Chomsky tries to depict all of Israel's actions as controlled by puppet strings from Washington. Hence his constant repetition of "US-Israeli attacks" on Gaza. It is a position every bit as preposterous as its opposite - the one that says the Israel lobby causes the USA government to place Israel's interests ahead of the "national interests" of the USA.

Chomsky is sometimes shameless in his efforts to block or blunt criticism of Israel. Last year Israel announced that it would boycott Durban II because "it will be impossible to prevent the conference from turning into a festival of anti-Israeli attacks." When asked about this in an [url=interview">http://www.counterpunch.org/barat06062008.html][u]interview with Frank Barat[/url], Chomsky declined to condemn Israel's stance, saying only, "One can agree or disagree with these decisions, but they do not imply 'refusal to accept any sort of criticism towards its policies.' I doubt that these particular decisions will backfire, or will even receive much notice."

The USA is happy to provide material and ideological support and diplomatic cover to Israel because it is in USian interests to have a strong bulwark for Western imperialism in the Middle East. (Canada is happy to do likewise, but nobody talks about "US-Canadian-Israeli" aggression in Gaza). It is precisely because of Israel's strategic importance and the strong support that it gets from the imperialist countries of North America and Europe that it has the power and the freedom to act on its own account. Israel will attack its neighbours and commit crimes against humanity, secure in the knowledge that its imperialist backers will cover for it. It doesn't need to get advance permission; there is no chance that Israel will be punished or cut loose by its imperialist backers for striking out on its own.

It is this assumption of perpetual economic and diplomatic security that the BDS campaign seeks to undermine. Chomsky's positions undercut that strategy.

Fidel

Cueball wrote:

So, if you don't want us ripping up your stupid little party, and its so called "position" on this issue stop bringing it up.

Oh dry up. You have a knack for wetting your little pants any time Layton or the NDP are mentioned in passing let alone that party's recent call for a ceasefire and UN aid delivered to Gazans, like Chomsky says was needed. It's as if someone mentioned "the beard" in some part of Miami, only I think the reference on babble is "the moustache" Apparently Gusanos know no country. It's comical.

This is what non-social democrats dont get about people like Chomsky, compassion. It's just not in their vocabulary. In their minds, this epic struggle must go on, and vicious US-style trade sanctions are what's needed according to them and their ilk. And they seem oblivious to the fact that any and all sanctions levied against Israel would likely be undermined by their largerst prop and supporter, the USA.

Quote:
Like others who care about human beings and their fate, Gilbert and Holmes pleaded for a ceasefire. But not yet. "At the United Nations, the United States prevented the Security Council from issuing a formal statement on Saturday night calling for an immediate ceasefire," the New York Times mentioned in passing. The official reason was that "there was no indication Hamas would abide by any agreement." In the annals of justifications for delighting in slaughter, this must rank among the most cynical. That of course was Bush and Rice, soon to be displaced by Obama who compassionately repeats that "if missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do everything in order to stop that." He is referring to Israeli children, not the many hundreds being torn to shreds in Gaza by US arms. Beyond that Obama maintained his silence.

Ceasefire and humanitarian aid were needed in Gaza asap. Not improbable sanctions after the damage was done, and certainly not more politically expedient hand-wringing. Apparently a ceasefire and humanitarian aid to Gaza were just as unlikely as real sanctions placing on trade and commerce with the front line state of Israel.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Fidel, your efforts to leverage support for your political party by using Palestinian plight and distorting what leading figures like Noam Chomsky are saying is cynically opportunist, and about as sick as the leadership of Israeli politicians who are using the attack on Gaza to improve their own political fortunes.

 Please stop it.

 

M. Spector wrote:

Jeffrey Blankfort's crimes (both real and imagined) notwithstanding, my criticism of Chomsky stands.

There is no mystery as to why Chomsky refuses to call Israel an apartheid state. Chomsky recognizes, correctly, that calling Israel an apartheid state would tend to cut across his advocacy of a "two-state solution" - a solution that would transform apartheid de facto into apartheid de jure. It is a political disagreement, not a mere semantic one, and it places him squarely outside the activist movement for the defence of Palestine.

I disagree, Chomsky, quite clearly said that Israel's treatement of Palestinian was worse than that of South Africs, in a direct comparison, which I highlighted above.

At this point we are arguing positional minutae. It is quite clear on what side of the struggle Chomsky is on, as was it when Yasser Arafat and the PLO called for acceptance of the two state solution. Support for the two state solution is not accepatance of Israeli hegemony.

For many it is a tangible legal position with traction in the political dialogue, just like the implimentation of Resolution 242 is a tangible legal demand in the context of the struggle for Palestinian self-determination. Asserting the validity of 242, something which can not be considered as anything but a stepping stone on the path to self-determination, compensation or repatriation, and whatever else one would consider to be a fair resolution to this conflict. Supporting it does not in anyway imugn the validity of larger objective, nor does supporting the 2 state solution, for the same reasons.

The two state solution is a valid and clear legal position that has been put forward, and accepted by a large amount of the Palestinian leadership, regardless of where it stands in the larger scheme of what should be done. There are in fact no other positions that in any way address Palestinian grievances, that have any legitimacy within the Palestinian leadership, and even many Hamas leaders have indicated acceptance of it on a provisional basis.

Whatever you may think of it, a great many Palestinians accept it, however grudgingly, as possible solution to the immediate problems confronting them, in their daily lives. You are making a big issue out of what is at most a tactical consideration, when in fact, neither you, or Chomsky really have the right to dictate to them what is best for them.

In my view, it is the latter point, which is most evident as the reason behind Chomsky's support for the two state solution, not any fraternal feelings he may have for Israel. The fact remains, that the two state solution is the only negotiated position upon which any signficant section of the Palestinian leadership has agreed is a possible way forward.

To support it, does not neccesarily, put you in the camp of those who object to Palestinian enfranchisement, at all.

It can mean that one is reluctant to sit in ones comfortable office at MIT and dictate to Palestinians the position that they should be taking in order to confront Israeli opression, over the top of articulated Palestinian policy.

Unionist

Cueball wrote:
Whatever you may think of it, a great many Palestinians accept it, however grudgingly, as possible solution to the immediate problems confronting them, in their daily lives. You are making a big issue out of what is at most a tactical consideration, when in fact, neither you, or Chomsky really have the right to dictate to them what is best for them.

Correct!

The Palestinian people need broad support on a world scale. We will not build that support by critiquing each other's positions (and, inevitably, critiquing the positions of the Palestinians themselves) with a microscope entitled Doctrinal Purity. As for the number, shape, and size of state that embodies the sovereignty of the Palestinian people, that is for them to decide and for us to support.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Cueball wrote:

I disagree, Chomsky, quite clearly said that Israel's treatement of Palestinian was worse than that of South Africa, in a direct comparison, which I highlighted above.

No, he did not "quite clearly" say anything of the sort.

He said that South African bantustans "were far more viable than the fragments left to Palestinians." That is not the same as saying Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is in general worse than the treatment of black South Africans. And even if it were, would that mean it was not appropriate to call Israel an apartheid state?

If you are trying to suggest that Chomsky refuses to use the word apartheid because he thinks it would be an insult to the white Afrikaners, that is simply not so. In the interview with Frank Barat that I linked to above, Chomsky is asked directly: "Is the situation in Palestine and Israel comparable to Apartheid South Africa?" His waffling and rambling answer follows:

Quote:
There can be no definite answer to such questions. There are similarities and differences. Within Israel itself, there is serious discrimination, but it's very far from South African Apartheid. Within the occupied territories, it's a different story. In 1997, I gave the keynote address at Ben-Gurion University in a conference on the anniversary of the 1967 war. I read a paragraph from a standard history of South Africa. No comment was necessary.

Looking more closely, the situation in the OT differs in many ways from Apartheid. In some respects, South African Apartheid was more vicious than Israeli practices, and in some respects the opposite is true. To mention one example, White South Africa depended on Black labor. The large majority of the population could not be expelled. At one time Israel relied on cheap and easily exploited Palestinian labor, but they have long ago been replaced by the miserable of the earth from Asia, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. Israelis would mostly breathe a sigh of relief if Palestinians were to disappear. And it is no secret that the policies that have taken shape accord well with the recommendations of Moshe Dayan right after the 1967 war : Palestinians will "continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave." More extreme recommendations have been made by highly regarded left humanists in the United States, for example Michael Walzer of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton and editor of the democratic socialist journal Dissent, who advised 35 years ago that since Palestinians are "marginal to the nation," they should be "helped" to leave. He was referring to Palestinian citizens of Israel itself, a position made familiar more recently by the ultra-right Avigdor Lieberman, and now being picked up in the Israeli mainstream. I put aside the real fanatics, like Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who declares that Israel never kills civilians, only terrorists, so that the definition of "terrorist" is "killed by Israel"; and Israel should aim for a kill ratio of 1000 to zero, which means "exterminate the brutes" completely. It is of no small significance that advocates of these views are regarded with respect in enlightened circles in the US, indeed the West. One can imagine the reaction if such comments were made about Jews.

On the query, to repeat, there can be no clear answer as to whether the analogy is appropriate.

Chomsky talks as if "apartheid" only applies to a particular level of viciousness, rather than denoting a particular kind of racist legal and political system. He compares and contrasts superficialities, rather than essential features, to reach his essentially agnostic position on the use of the a-word. 

 

As for Unionist's suggestion that critcism of Chomsky should be off limits, I will not dignify that with a response.

Fidel

Cueball wrote:

Fidel, your efforts to leverage support for your political party by using Palestinian plight and distorting what leading figures like Noam Chomsky are saying is cynically opportunist, and about as sick as the leadership of Israeli politicians who are using the attack on Gaza to improve their own political fortunes.

 Please stop it.

Ya sure, and the Nazis shipped Balkans oil directly to the Russian front instead of Germany via the Danube. You were pretty smug in that thread for a while, too, kid. I'll tell you again that I didnt appreciate the derogatory remarks in that thread as well as this one, and several more along the way. If you dont appreciate your stupid arguments chewed up and spit back in your lap, then dont make them!

What both Chomsky and the NDP agreed should have happened was a UN ultimatum for ceasefire declared immediately and humanitarian aid delivered to Gazans.  

You want to paint the NDP as being the same vicious toadies to US imperialism and its proxy frontline state of Israel that our two stale old line parties have been so faithfully over the years. In which case, one may find the stomach to actually support those stale old line parties for vague and obscure reasons not related to their pro-USA and pro-Israeli Middle East policies.

And what you've said since inviting yourself to a squabble with moi is just not true, like the pure and unadulterated bullshit youve posted in so many threads on various other subjects beyond your comprehension.

I wont ask you to stop it, because for some reason the fourth political party in Ottawa taking votes away from some other party we know of has been the object of your disaffection for some time.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Heh. Who said criticism of Chomsky was off limits? What is off limits is bizzaro and belligerent and unfounded assaults of the kind which Blankfort engages is. As far as I can tell you are not engaging in a two penny hatchet job. Myself, I don't really have a lot of time for critiquing Chomsky, the most well known serious critic of Israeli and US policy, in the continental US despite his faults.

Its good enough for me, my disagreements amount to trivia over tactics, and semantics. I am not going to engage in microscopic dismemberment of wether or not Chomsky's exact words amount to categorizing Israel as an Apartheid when he is saying that the Bhantustan comparison is unfair to South African Apartheid, as if this distinction is significant.

It is not. He is an intellectual. Of course he is going to spend his time coming up with elaborate sociological and political analysis of the exact nature of the Israeli occupation. For one thing, that in itself is a distinction, Israel's racialist policy, mostly extend into occupied territory, whereas South Africa's apartheid policies extended throughout its domain.

So what??? This is semantics, Chomsky is a linguist. Get over it.

Chomsky, wisely articulates his position on the basis of standing international agreements, and policy intitatives coming from those who are directly involved, carefully supporting positions, which without exception are those put forward by legitimate Palestinian organizations and their Arab allies in the region, and opposes the imposition of Israeli and American dictates.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Except he doesn't support one particular initiative coming from "those who are directly involved" – namely the DBS campaign. And this just happens to be the one initiative that North American activists like us should be getting behind in a big way.

So his "semantics" have real implications for the direction of the Palestinian solidarity movement, and should not be lightly dismissed as the quibblings of a linguist.

Fidel

Unionist wrote:
Slumberjack wrote:

How about the Arabs offer to take in the Israeli squatters, and leave the Palestinians in peace?

LaughingLaughing

Oh, and Fidel, your new-found thesis about the tiny Jewish island in the huge Arab sea wore thin when I first heard it - in my childhood.

1. It's not my newly found thesis anymore than imposing genocidal sanctions against Israel was recommended by any of me, the NDP, or Chomsky - it wasnt. Jeez, jawing with you guys isa like-a watching a retro episode of Newheart.

2. take a number  

Fidel

Cutting off military aid to a US proxy doesnt amount to genocidal trade sanctions.

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