Q: Does Chomsky feel Jewish responsibility for Israel’s crimes?

on 63 Comments

Here is a great interview of the great Chomsky by David Samuels at Tablet, thoroughly exploring the roots of Chomsky’s ethnic/religious identification, which I think is largely unconscious for him. Samuels is uniquely positioned to do this, he comes out of an institutional-religious background; and so does Chomsky. I excerpt some of the religious-roots exchange below.

I am going to leave out the Walt and Mearsheimer question, you can find it at the link. It angries up my blood (as Satchel Paige said of fried food); in essence you have two ethnocentric Jews saying that Jews lack agency in American government, and had nothing to do with the decision to destroy Iraq, no that was Lockheed Martin and Intel and Goldman, Sachs, see, that’s how power works. As readers here know, I ascribe a huge part of the blame to neoconservative Jewish thinkers; and the neoconservatism is all over the liberal Jewish community because of Israel; and we can’t begin to undo the damage till we look at the role of Zionism in Jewish life.

To his credit, Samuels understands the issue of Jewish responsibility when it comes to Israel; and I am going to first quote his last questions, well-feathered arrows that expose Chomsky’s lack of reflective capacity here. Samuels:

When you speak about Israeli crimes, do you feel that you have a special responsibility to speak out as someone who comes from a specific Jewish tradition, or do you simply speak as an American?

I love Chomsky; he is Mount Rainier. But notice how Chomsky doesn’t really address the question. It doesn’t seem like he even can. Wow. And then Samuels persists and still Chomsky doesn’t touch it:

There are many factors, as always. A sufficient factor is that the United States is responsible. But of course there’s a lot more. Background. Childhood. Emotional connections. Friends. All sorts of things. But they’re kind of irrelevant to the fundamental issue, those personal things. The fundamental issue is quite simple: Every U.S. taxpayer is responsible for Israeli crimes. They can’t carry them out without the decisive military, economic, ideological, and diplomatic support of the United States. The United States destroyed Iraq. Of course that should be harshly condemned. In fact I do it much more than I talk about Israel. In the case of the Vietnam war, we basically destroyed three countries. They’ll never recover. Same with Nicaragua. Same with Cuba. Go on and on. Same with Chile. That’s what we ought to be concentrating on. Israel happens to be a subcase of a larger problem. And yes, for me personally, it’s additional things.

[Samuels again] Those additional things—namely, your parents, your childhood memories, your sense of emotional connection—

It’s all there. You can’t get out of your skin. But when we get down to the moral issue, it’s independent of one’s personal background.

So Chomsky distinguishes between his “personal background,” which he admits is part of his gestalt, and the real moral factors in human history, i.e., the United States. Are Jews the bad guy of the occupation? Samuels has asked. No, the United States is, is the answer. I believe that Roger Cohen and Tom Friedman have done better here just by saying, Israel’s conduct makes me ashamed as a Jew. Chomsky seems unable to ascribe power to Jews as Jews, or even really to talk about such attachment. And in that “personal” dismissal, every “personal” element of Jewish energy on behalf of Zionism goes out the window, from Eddie Jacobson getting into his friend Truman’s office to lobby him, Chuck Schumer screaming that the People of Israel live, Weizmann pressing Balfour after giving the English the invention of acetone to fight World War I, Louis Brandeis converting to Zionism before he got on the Supreme Court, Herzl going to the Ottoman court and dangling debt relief and PR work on your Armenia problem in the European press in exchange for Palestine. None of it matters. It’s Lockheed Martin. 

Now here’s the wonderful Jewish stuff (and thanks to commenter Jim Holstun for correcting me, below)

Were there any gentiles in your parents’ world?

Practically not. In fact there weren’t even Yiddish-speaking Jews. They lived in if not a physical ghetto then in a cultural ghetto. Their friends were all people deeply involved in the revival of the Hebrew language and cultural Zionism. I happened to have some non-Jewish friends, but that’s just from school….

At the age of 10 I came to the conclusion that the God I learned about in school didn’t exist.

I remember how I did that. I remember it very well. My father’s family was super Orthodox. They came from a little shtetl somewhere in Russia. My father told me that they had regressed even beyond a medieval level. You couldn’t study Hebrew, you couldn’t study Russian. Mathematics was out of the question. We went to see them for the holidays. My grandfather had a long beard, I don’t think he knew he was in the United States. He spoke Yiddish and lived in a couple of blocks of his friends. We were there on Pesach, and I noticed that he was smoking.

So I asked my father, how could he smoke? There’s a line in the Talmud that says, ayn bein shabbat v’yom tov ela b’inyan achilah. I said, “How come he’s smoking?” He said, “Well, he decided that smoking is eating.” And a sudden flash came to me: Religion is based on the idea that God is an imbecile. He can’t figure these things out. If that’s what it is, I don’t want anything to do with it….

Did your mother also come from a religious family?

She came to America with her family when she was 1 year old. They were so religious that she told me that when she was a teenager, talking with her girlfriends on the street, if she saw her father coming toward them, she would get them to cross the street so that she didn’t have to suffer the embarrassment of having her father walk past her and not acknowledge her because she was a girl. It was a very Orthodox family. Of course, they grew up here, and the kids lost it quickly. My father came here in 1917. He and my mother shared many interests and experiences in common.

They were so dedicated. I remember friends of my father and mother, a couple of women, who when they called a department store downtown, they would insist on talking Hebrew, in the hopes of convincing them to hire a Hebrew-language operator. I mean they all spoke English. It was real dedication..



63 Responses

  1. bob
    November 17, 2010, 6:51 pm

    Somehow that blame shifting lack of agency and victim trope just keeps coming up. Sometimes its fun to peel the onion away to find how these tropes are vacant.

  2. Jim Holstun
    November 17, 2010, 7:15 pm

    Satchel Paige, not Dizzy Dean!

    Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
    If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
    Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
    Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society— the social ramble ain’t restful.
    Avoid running at all times.
    And don’t look back— something might be gaining on you.

    * “How to Stay Young” Collier’s Magazine (13 June 1953)
    link to en.wikiquote.org

  3. MuslimCommenter
    November 17, 2010, 7:56 pm

    I’ve seen Chomsky on video basically saying something like, “When it comes to the Palestinians it probably is the lobby,” thus echoing Finkelstein’s main position, namely that the Lobby is able to influence Americans regarding the OPT because the Palestinians don’t matter in this country. But this does not extend to strategic questions.

    Actually, I just found the video, a “debate” between him and someone else (not really a fair debate, but Chomsky was gracious, didn’t crush him). link to youtube.com

    Chomsky doesn’t like ideological or psychological explanations in general. His propaganda theory of the media, for example, hardly ever delves into the areas discussed by someone like Jay Rosen, who really unlocks the psychology of journalists (desiring to be always ‘savvy’ and dealing with what is ‘realistically possible’ and so forth). Surely such things also matter. People are motivated by all sorts of things, not just power structures.

    Chomsky knows full well what the intellectuals’ role is in this country, including Jewish intellectuals (remember his warning to Finkelstein regarding the Peters’ book?). But I think he sincerely thinks that the structural explanation is better. Business will do what is good for business. For him private power has no ethnicity. What he avoids explaining is what makes Soros different from Saban, for example.

    • Keith
      November 18, 2010, 12:18 am

      MUSLIMCOMMENTER- Thank you for the link! I think that anti-Chomsky Mondoweissers would be well advised to view the debate in its entirety. Agree or disagree, Chomsky has a depth which is shunted aside in caricatures of his positions.

  4. Shingo
    November 17, 2010, 8:29 pm

    “very U.S. taxpayer is responsible for Israeli crimes. They can’t carry them out without the decisive military, economic, ideological, and diplomatic support of the United States.”

    Partly true, but notice how Chomsky argues that there is nothing unusual about the way Israel’s behavior? He seems to suggest that we all knwo this is what Israel will do with money, weapons, and diplomatic support, but doesn’t bother to suggest there is anything wrong with Israel when they do this.

  5. hophmi
    November 17, 2010, 8:34 pm

    You get angry because you have an unhealthy obsession with the issue, and because, apparently, it is impossible for you to accept any point of view that dissents from Walt and Mearsheimer’s view the dirty neocon Jews are responsible for Iraq.

    • Shingo
      November 18, 2010, 12:45 am

      “You get angry because you have an unhealthy obsession with the issue”

      Says someone who demonstrates an unhealthy obsession with the issue.

    • lareineblanche
      November 18, 2010, 2:29 am

      Walt and Mearsheimer’s view the dirty neocon Jews are responsible for Iraq.

      This is not their viewpoint, have you read it?
      That being said, US secular Jews (especially in the press) seem to predominantly figure in the neocon movement, and its Manichean worldview, and there is a psychology behind it. This is a statement of fact.
      There are many currents coming together (to think that theres is one cause to all this is ridicuulous), and many in the intellectual community don’t seem to mind that, as the new Hessians, the US is becoming basically a rent-a-soldier agency for corrupt governments in the middle east, among other things.
      Have little time to comment, very busy these days, otherwise there is more to say…

      • hophmi
        November 18, 2010, 12:07 pm

        “US secular Jews (especially in the press) seem to predominantly figure in the neocon movement, and its Manichean worldview, and there is a psychology behind it. This is a statement of fact.”

        Whenever someone says “this is a statement of fact” it usually is the equivalent of saying “this is a statement of opinion.” In this case, I think it’s a complete falsehood.

      • lareineblanche
        November 18, 2010, 1:49 pm

        hophmi :
        First of all, I apologize for starting conversations around here that I don’t have time to finish lately (and other vague, off-the-wall analogies with physics I seem to remember…). Not very wise, I know.
        As to the neoconservative mindset, read this article from Jim Lobe, it sums it up obviously better than I can :
        link to ipsnews.net

        When I say, “Manichean worldview”, I mean the tendency to see the world as a sort of battle between “good and evil” – and Israeli elites’ fear of separation from the US (representing military power) in confronting its Arab neighbors. From the beginning of Zionism, zionists have sought out the protection of a great world power (first Britain, then the US) in order to keep Israel (even when it was nascent) from being isolated in what they saw as a “hostile” environment – of course this is true, but the reason why this environment would be hostile in the first place is of course glossed over…

        When I say “psychology”, I’m referring notably to saint Richard Perle who stated something like “The Holocaust is the defining moment of our generation”. Now, the logic goes something like, if some Hegemone (in this case the US and its mercenaries) were somehow enlightened and actually used its force to do good, benign acts, it could prevent such horrors from reoccurring. It could be the “good” which could prevent “evil” from gaining ground under the leadership of some dictator seeking to overstep his bounds (the fact that it is almost always this Hegemone who is actually overstepping its bounds all over the world since President Wilson, and most notably in the middle East, often enacting the very “evil” that they want to prevent doesn’t even occur to them, or doesn’t matter). It’s sometimes called “American exceptionalism”, which just means in plain English that it can do what it wants without fear of being held accountable, and if you don’t like it, “f-ck off” because it carries the big stick and wields financial veto power over much of the planet (although this has been changing in Latin America recently)…

        Israeli elites have successfully transformed the discourse in intellectual (I use this word lightly) culture about Palestinians, such that, in many Americans’ minds, who often know nothing about the region or the people in it, the word “Palestinian” has become synonymous with the word “terrorist”, almost as a Pavlovian reflex. Since before the first intifada, if I’m not mistaken. The “war on terror” was declared by Reagan, but since the 9/11 blowback, it took on new meaning, and this characterization of Muslims (never mind that all Arabs are not Muslims, and all Muslims are not Arabs – but who needs such details, right?) as “violent” and “shahids” in service of some imagined death wish became very frightening for many Americans (who, I repeat, are very ignorant of the region and the people in it). This very real fear and incomprehension on the part of Westerners as to how some people could actually come to such a point of desperation as to wanting to explode themselves for a cause (see also the Iran-Iraq war, in which Iranians sent out people to explode the mines laid by Iraqis in order to clear the battlefield) deepened the divide between “us” and “them”, and further feeds the “clash of civilizations” nonsense bandwagon that you see opportunistic goons like Geert Wilders, Aznar, and others jump on.

        This climate of fear of an external enemy has always been used by powers (mostly far-right) to clamp down on dissent and to rally behind their leaders in order to protect them (again, protection). This can be likened to what was called the “Strategy of Tension” used by Italian right-wing groups after the WWII. See also the “Gladio” group in Italy after WWII, which was partly formed and aided by the forerunner to the CIA – using what was called “stay behinds”, SS soldiers who stayed in Italy who were kept in place in order combat Communists should they try to invade Western European countries :
        link to tinyurl.com
        (look especially at part two, for the “Strategy of Tension”)

        Finally, for a good discussion of the “lobby”, neocons, MIC, etc., read this (by our very own “Evildoer”, unless I’m mistaken) :
        link to dissidentvoice.org

      • Psychopathic god
        November 18, 2010, 9:42 pm

        From the beginning of Zionism, zionists have sought out the protection of a great world power (first Britain, then the US) in order to keep Israel (even when it was nascent) from being isolated in what they saw as a “hostile” environment – of course this is true, but the reason why this environment would be hostile in the first place is of course glossed over…

        Actually, throughout most of their history in other states, Jews have relied upon the enforcement power of that state to defend Jews, all the way back to Yehud in Persia/Babylon; in the Rhineland in the third century AD, as well as in the Italian city-states. It became a habit of mind/conduct: the government will protect us sojourners, even from the acts of natives.

      • lareineblanche
        November 19, 2010, 2:26 am

        PG :
        You may be right, I know nothing of that history. I would make the distinction though between classical antisemitism in Europe and elsewhere (persecution of a minority community for who they are), and the legitimate reaction to aggressive, militaristic colonialism coupled with ethnic cleansing.
        In this sense, Zionism seems to me to be almost the mirror image of antisemitism.

  6. Richard Witty
    November 17, 2010, 8:56 pm

    He’s 82 years old. Why are you taken potshots at someone for having a different emphasis of observation than you?

    Your sequence of some neo-conservatives were Jews, some of them cared deeply for Israel and thought that their approach would be better for Israel, and the US Congress went along, as a basis to regard Zionism as evil or AIPAC, is loopy.

    You take it farther than observation.

    • Linda J
      November 17, 2010, 9:45 pm

      “He’s 82 years old.”

      Are you intimating that he is addled?

    • Shingo
      November 17, 2010, 10:00 pm

      “He’s 82 years old. Why are you taken potshots at someone for having a different emphasis of observation than you?”

      Are you completely incapable of making an intellectually honest argument Witty?

      Chomsky had the same views when he was in his 60’s.

      Some neo-conservatives were Jews, all of them obsessed with Israel and thought and still think nothing of lying us into wars and having Americans killed for their delusions and for the sake of Israel.

      Obviously you empathize with that derangement.

    • Kathleen
      November 17, 2010, 11:26 pm

      If you value Iraqi lives and American soldiers lives as much as you do Jewish lives then those who pushed for an unnecessary war based on a “pack of lies” are evil. Crimes against humanity. Bush, Cheney, Feith, Rumsfeld, Cambone, Rice, Wolfowitz etc war criminals

  7. Kathleen
    November 17, 2010, 10:31 pm

    Really like Chomsky. But he loses his independent mind and intellect when the I/P issue goes too deep. Must be the up bringing.

    I’ll tell you Rayne over at Firedoglake really did a good job getting rid of the I/P issue over at that place. He/she cleaned house over there and Jane Hamsher and team went along. Must have something to do with funding (tee hee) Jane Hamsher has done one post about this issue. Emptywheel (really like her work and research) seldom touches the issue. Few people read or comment at Spencer Attackerman over there. Rayne basically shut the I/P issue over there down

    link to my.firedoglake.com
    1 comment

    See that C tuttle put up a post about the Elders over there. One comment
    link to my.firedoglake.com

  8. Kathleen
    November 17, 2010, 10:52 pm

    This jumps out at me

    “You understand the State of Israel as having some independent existence, coming from Jewish culture and history, aside from simply being an American imperial vessel.

    It didn’t become an American imperial vessel, if that’s the right term, until after ’67. That was a choice. It’s often misunderstood, but in 1971, Israel had a very important decision to make. Sadat had offered a full peace treaty. In return they were supposed to withdraw from the Sinai. There were other conditions, but they didn’t matter. And they talked about it, and they decided not to accept it, because they preferred expansion into the Sinai. If they had settled with Egypt in ’71, there’d be no security problem. Egypt was the only major Arab force. And at that point, once you decide to sacrifice security for expansion, you need a superpower patron. That’s where the dependence on U.S. power comes.

    At the time I was writing that I thought that people who call themselves supporters of Israel are actually supporters of its moral degeneration and ultimate destruction. And I think that was correct, unfortunately.”

    Remember watching Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent” at least 3 times. The I lobby have been masters at manufacturing consent.

    Manufacturing Consent (worth the watch and listen)
    link to video.google.com

  9. Donald
    November 17, 2010, 11:12 pm

    Part of what Chomsky says is right–he’s an American and his first duty is to criticize American crimes, not Israeli crimes, and Israeli crimes are just a portion of America’s foreign policy sins. And numerically speaking, a small portion. Over the decades Chomsky has been writing, there have been much larger numbers of people murdered in other parts of the world where the US played a role. Indonesia, for instance, murdered perhaps 500,000 (or more) in the 60’s with our help and then murdered roughly 100,000 more in East Timor with our help.

    And Noam would be the first to tell you his own writings on American sins are incomplete–he’s never said that much about Africa.

    I think he’s got some hangups about Israel, obviously, but it’s understandable given the era he grew up in, not only the Holocaust, but anti-semitism still active in the US when he was younger. He’s described that. Yet with all that, he was one of the first major American figures to condemn Israeli crimes with the harshness they deserve.

    • Kathleen
      November 17, 2010, 11:27 pm

      But he makes far too many excuses for Israeli crimes .

      • Donald
        November 17, 2010, 11:59 pm

        This is just weird to me. My first encounter with real criticism of Israel was “The Fateful Triangle” and he’s relentlessly scathing towards Israeli brutality, exposing their monstrous behavior in the 1982 Lebanon War (which had just happened) as well as in earlier wars. The 1982 war was far bloodier than Gaza 2009, btw. This was in 1983, when virtually nobody in the American left was saying such things. His sin from the Mondoweiss perspective seems to be that he de-emphasizes the role of the Israel Lobby in favor of a more generic explanation as to why the US supports thuggish Israeli policies–he does that in this interview. In his view, our support for Israeli crimes is similar to our support for the crimes of many other states. He’s right up to a point. He may not be completely right–people here can get into deep discussions about the relative influence of this or that sector (the oil lobby, the weapons manufacturers, the Israel lobby, etc…) regarding why the US supports Israel. Maybe it is mainly the Lobby. But he’s definitely right that there is absolutely nothing unusual about the US supporting atrocities overseas–we do it all the time in parts of the world having nothing to do with Israel.

      • Donald
        November 18, 2010, 12:03 am

        Incidentally, Noam doesn’t of course use the term “progressive except for Palestine”, but he describes the phenomenon in “The Fateful Triangle”, mentioning Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden as examples.

      • Kathleen
        November 18, 2010, 11:14 am

        He often places the responsibility of Israeli crimes on the U.S.

        He is totally against the BDS movement. Basically think he is against Israel having to face consequences for their crimes against humanity

      • Max Ajl
        November 19, 2010, 12:05 am

        Kathleen I hate to play Copernicus here but responsibility can be shared.

      • chris o
        November 18, 2010, 12:19 am

        He makes no excuses for Israeli crimes. In fact, he exposes in great detail Israeli war crimes, aggression and total obstruction of the peace process.

  10. Keith
    November 17, 2010, 11:19 pm

    PHIL- I don‘t know if you are aware of it, but you have substantially misrepresented Chomsky. You say that “…in essence you have two ethnocentric Jews saying that Jews lack agency in American government, and had nothing to do with the decision to destroy Iraq….” In the interview, the only one who even mentions “Jews” is David Samuels. In the Chomsky article, what he actually says is:

    “Notice incidentally that what is at stake is a rather subtle matter: weighing the impact of several factors which (all agree) interact in determining state policy: in particular, (A) strategic-economic interests of concentrations of domestic power in the tight state-corporate linkage, and (B) the Lobby.”

    His statement acknowledges “the Lobby” as one of the factors influencing US Middle East policy, but doesn’t get into the influence of American Jews on Middle East policy, which is a separate issue from an Israeli Lobby.

    You say: “As readers here know, I ascribe a huge part of the blame to neoconservative Jewish thinkers; and the neoconservatism is all over the liberal Jewish community because of Israel; and we can’t begin to undo the damage till we look at the role of Zionism in Jewish life.”

    By continuing to conflate neoconservative with “the Lobby,” you continue to blame Israel for the actions of US citizens who have achieved positions of power and influence in the US government. That the neoconservatives are strongly pro-Israel is not in doubt. That they are part of an Israel Lobby under the explicit direction of the government of Israel is debatable, to say the least. I might add that in mentioning Goldman Sachs, Chomsky is mentioning a Jewish dominated financial powerhouse. Are these Jews part of the “Lobby,” or are they part of the power elites of empire? An example of the concentration of domestic power which influences policy?

    Another problem effecting the Mondoweiss perspective is your laser-like focus on Israel/Palestine. US policy regarding Israel/Palestine is not the same as US policy regarding the oil producing states, although you conflate the two. While US policy towards Israel/Palestine can correctly be described as an anomaly, US foreign policy in the rest of the Middle East seems quite consistent with US geo-strategy elsewhere. Chomsky has for a long time provided valuable insights into US foreign policy. He consistently looks at the big picture, barely mentioning lobbies of any sort. What is wrong with that?

    The thing which continues to bother me is Mondoweiss’s obsession with Noam Chomsky. It is as if he is some sort of threat to your preferred narrative. Too much geo-strategy, too little lobby. The big picture at odds with your micro-narrative. An obstacle to getting the Lobby’s thorn out of your side while ignoring imperial culpability.

    • Philip Weiss
      November 17, 2010, 11:45 pm

      keith you’re just wrong that im obsessed with chomsky. i love chomsky and avoid him because i think he’s wrong on the weighing, as yu quote him. some commenters go after him, but not me, this is an exceptional case, phil

      • Printe
        November 18, 2010, 11:34 am

        Well, Phil, of course. After all, Jeff Blankfort’s gotta eat… ;-)

    • syvanen
      November 18, 2010, 1:18 am

      Chomsky is highly ideological. The problem is that he sometimes overlooks facts that are discordant with his ideology. I first realized this in the mid seventies — Chomsky continued to defend Pol Pot in Cambodia well after it became clear that this “anti-imperialist” movement had descended into a regime dedicated to killing an entire class of Cambodian people. These “anti-imperialist” killed perhaps 25% of the entire population. Chomsky was very late in realizing what was going on. I was in Boston during this period and recall arguing with many of his disciples that something was seriously haywire. Neither they nor their leader seemed to be aware.

      In spite of this, I have appreciated many of Chomsky’s polemics against imperialism. But I have also been very gun shy about accepting his common sense –basically he doesn’t have any. When it comes to Israel I am quite willing to accept that he does not have a clear vision for what is going on. As he has shown in the past he believes the only evil in the world is imperialism. Perhaps that is it. Maybe he is unwilling to point out the obvious influence of the Zionist lobby. That is understandable, for anyone who witnessed the horrors of the antisemitic backlash in Europe.

      Whatever limits his vision, I think he should be appreciated for what he is and not expect him to be more than that.

      • Donald
        November 18, 2010, 11:09 am

        I’m not privy to conversations you had in Boston with “disciples”, but in his published writings in the Nation in 1977 and in his book “The Political Economy of Human Rights” in 1979, Chomsky’s “defense” of Pol Pot was the claim that Pol Pot was guilty of serious and gruesome atrocities, but that the evidence at that time didn’t prove it was on a genocidal scale. That was a reasonable position to take in the late 70’s. By 1980 Chomsky agreed it had been genocide.

        It’s similar to the debate today (miniscule in the mainstream press in the US, since few people care) about how many have died in the Iraq War. Nobody really knows for sure, but the claims vary by more than a factor of ten and there are antiwar people on both sides.

    • Kathleen
      November 18, 2010, 11:18 am

      Did you miss the Aipac/Rosen/Weissman investigation 9 time delayed finally dismissed trial? Well you could have the MSM barely whispered about it.

      Did you miss Jane “waddling on over to interfere with the Aipac investigation” Harman issue?

      Did you miss Rep Lantos and Ros Lehtinens list of legislation isolating and undermining the Palestinian election?

      • hophmi
        November 18, 2010, 12:09 pm

        Yet another ridiculous claim that the “MSM” didn’t cover something. The case was well-covered, from arrest to DISMISSAL.

      • Kathleen
        November 18, 2010, 6:52 pm

        Proof? I watch the MSM almost everday. Not a whisper by that so called progressive Keith Olbermann. One night Maddow mentioned it but in a “much ado about nothing” sort of way Listen to the Diane Rehm Show, Talk of the Nation etc almost everyday. Not a friggin whisper. Have gone through their archives. Nothing, nada, zero.

        Chris Matthews mentioned one of the 9 delayed trial dates once. A tiny whisper and then never again. Bet he was slapped for it

      • Kathleen
        November 18, 2010, 6:52 pm

        Hophmi…show us

      • Kathleen
        November 18, 2010, 7:01 pm

        Nothing in Diane Rehms, Talk of the Nations, Fresh Air archives about the Aipac espionage investigation.

        The New York Times has dribbled about it a few times
        link to topics.nytimes.com
        “The highly unusual indictment of the former officials, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, accused them of receiving classified information about terrorism and Middle East strategy from a Defense Department analyst, Lawrence A. Franklin, and passing it on to a journalist and an Israeli diplomat. Mr. Franklin pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12½ years in prison although his sentence could be reduced based on his cooperation in the case.

        The Obama Justice Department moved on May 1, 2009, to drop all charges against Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman. Judge T.S. Ellis 3d of the federal court in Alexandria, Va., rejected several government efforts to conceal classified information if the case went to trial. Moreover, he ruled that the government could only prevail if it met a high standard; he said prosecutors would have to demonstrate that the two men knew that their distribution of the information would harm national security.

        Just days after the charges were dropped, the committee Wielded its annual convention as an intentional show of its political strength.”

        Dribble at MSNBC
        link to msnbc.msn.com

        If a person was not in the blogosphere they were not getting much on the Aipac espionage investigation

  11. chris o
    November 18, 2010, 12:14 am

    The main reason the criticism of Chomsky is, shall we say, overstated is because he is such a withering, comprehensive critic of Israel and the “Peace Process” while staunchly defending Palestinian rights. Therefore, even though his worldview minimizes the role of the Israeli lobby, for me it becomes an interesting take on the issue and not spin or delusional tribe loyalty. I personally don’t agree with Chomsky’s view on this subject but he makes me think twice.

  12. Keith
    November 18, 2010, 1:23 am

    PHIL- Excuse me! “i love chomsky and avoid him because i think he’s wrong on the weighing, as yu quote him. some commenters go after him, but not me, this is an exceptional case, phil”

    Phil, are you trying to insult our intelligence? I like to think that I have some ability when it comes to intuitive pattern recognition. Guess what? Methinks I recognize a pattern here. How many times have I or others been characterized as a “Chomskyite?” Coincidence?

    “i love chomsky and avoid him” Avoid him? In your post of 3/6/10 entitled “My critique of the leftwing critique of Israel lobby theory” you state: “Green is, like Chomsky, whom he quotes a lot, a materialist….” In the link you provided, Green doesn’t mention Chomsky once, yet you do. This is your idea of avoidance? My final comments from that thread are as follows:

    “In your initial post on the David Green post, you (unjustifiably in my opinion) link him with Noam Chomsky, apparently because he quotes Chomsky a lot. You then proceed to denigrate Green/Chomsky as “materialists”, “shallow and mechanical” people. I don’t know about Green, but the characterization of Noam Chomsky as “shallow and mechanical” is totally unjustified and indefensible. Why do such a thing?

    You provide a laundry list of Lobby/ethnic activities to prove your point of Lobby influence. When has Noam Chomsky ever said that these events were insignificant, or that lobby influence wasn’t real? For that matter, when has Norman Finkelstein ever denied this, even though his position on the Lobby is closer to Chomsky’s than to yours?

    What’s going on here? I attempted to put a geo-strategic perspective on all of this, to point out that though the lobby was indeed powerful, but that Imperial interests played a role. Hardly a controversial position, what with military bases practically everywhere, a military budget going through the roof, and a documentary record of strategic planners advocating U.S. hegemony. The response? Your acolytes arguing against Imperial geo-strategy having any significance whatsoever in the Middle East. Control of the Middle East hydrocarbon reserves? Nonsense, oil is “fungible” (a curious interpretation of the word, totally devoid of significance). Those who infer meaning from the documentary record, Imperial actions, and the “facts on the ground” are denigrated as “materialists”,
    “shallow and mechanical people.” What’s going on here?”

    The facts to me appear quite clear. For whatever reason, Noam Chomsky has assumed the designation of a Mondoweiss arch-villain. Someone who “angries up your blood.” I see a pattern here, and your demurrals are less than convincing.

    • VR
      November 18, 2010, 9:50 am

      Have you noticed that Keith, nobody argues here – while they argue…lol The assumption of the argument is that we blur agency and personal responsibility, while they ignore the entire structure in which the lobby functions. It is a process of skewed history, ignoring reality, and systemic denial – which is necessary when you build a spurious argument which is minus a foundation. As I have said before, if they appeared after the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, they would attribute the destruction to looters

      • Avi
        November 18, 2010, 10:50 am

        Have you noticed that Keith, nobody argues here – while they argue

        Have you noticed how you, Evildoer, Max Ajl and David Green to name a few, continue to use divisive language such as “They”, continue to belittle and condescend onto others whom you have simply failed to convince?

        Last I checked, the continued occupation and theft of Palestinian land does not need divided voices, but united voices instead.

        Furthermore, what the Palestinians currently need is not a vague and ambiguous anti-imperial campaign, but a focused and deliberate anti-occupation and anti-human-rights-abuses campaign in the occupied territories.

        Metaphorically speaking, if you want to continue and add water which will further dilute the message, then surely there are other outlets and forums in which you can participate.

      • VR
        November 18, 2010, 9:03 pm

        Avi, there is no divisive language being employed, just fact based observation. There is no condescension, mere shock and surprise, and as far as “convincing” you there is no convincing to be had because minds are already made up, even though they are based on thin air.

        The Palestinians do not need divided voices, this is clear – they need informed voices, otherwise we are all collectively going in a futile direction (to the utter joy of our opponents). A united people without a clear and correct objective is just another word for an unthinking mob. Those in a battlefield that choose the wrong target die, especially with the employment of decoys.

        A vague “anti-imperial” campaign, do you realize what you just posted? You are saying that what is transpiring in Palestine has no imperial markings, so essentially you do not even recognize the enemy when you see it. Vague or crystal clear, if you do not see the beginning, the middle and future of what is taking place as imperialism I just do not know what to say.

        “Anti-occupation and anti-human-rights-abuses campaign,” I am afraid that this is just not enough Avi, as much as this is good. It needs to be coupled with something else other than “non-violent” resistance, there has to be a mix. Without it you are guaranteed the destruction of the Palestinian people, there is no threat for the Israelis to do what they like with complete carte blanche –


        No one is “adding water to dilute the message,” the message is truncated and inadequate, it is not worthy of water – metaphorically speaking.

      • occupyresist
        November 18, 2010, 9:37 pm

        “It needs to be coupled with something else other than “non-violent” resistance, there has to be a mix”

        VR, what is it that you are proposing, exactly, aside from non-violent resistance?

    • Kathleen
      November 18, 2010, 11:20 am

      January 26, 1998

      The Honorable William J. Clinton
      President of the United States
      Washington, DC

      Dear Mr. President:

      We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War. In your upcoming State of the Union Address, you have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course for meeting this threat. We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power. We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor.

      The policy of “containment” of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months. As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections. Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished. Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons production. The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam’s secrets. As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons.

      Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East. It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard. As you have rightly declared, Mr. President, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat.

      Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.

      We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration’s attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.

      We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk.


      Elliott Abrams Richard L. Armitage William J. Bennett

      Jeffrey Bergner John Bolton Paula Dobriansky

      Francis Fukuyama Robert Kagan Zalmay Khalilzad

      William Kristol Richard Perle Peter W. Rodman

      Donald Rumsfeld William Schneider, Jr. Vin Weber

      Paul Wolfowitz R. James Woolsey Robert B. Zoellick
      link to newamericancentury.org

      • Philip Weiss
        November 18, 2010, 11:24 am

        thanks kathleen

      • hophmi
        November 18, 2010, 12:10 pm

        Sorry, but what was the point of posting this letter?

      • Kathleen
        November 18, 2010, 6:46 pm

        A small piece of evidence having to do with the power of the I lobby

      • Keith
        November 18, 2010, 10:59 pm

        KATHLEEN- I find your conflation of the neocons with the Israeli Lobby troubling. You have evidence to suggest that these American ex-Trotskyites receive their direction from Tel Aviv? That they have a strong pro-Israel bias is beyond dispute, however, asserting that they are an agent of a foreign government is something else. How about other pro-Israel Zionist Jews in the power structure. Are they all agents of a foreign government? Seems to me that perhaps your definition of the “Israeli Lobby” is overly broad. Perhaps the neocons are concentrations of domestic power that align with Lobby objectives, as well as influence Lobby objectives. Perhaps they are more imperialists than lobbyists.

      • bob
        November 18, 2010, 11:39 pm

        Keith, be reminded that the neocons were pushing Reagan (much to his later chagrin) to help Iran against Iraq. Was it some loose concept of “imperialism” that created the 180, or was it Israel making a 180 and saw them as a threat? On Iraq, the Neocons weren’t following exact Israeli diction, either. Walt and Mearsheimer make that point clear various times.



        1992 Israeli Warns of Iran

        1992 Israeli major urges strike against Iran

        1995 Netanyahu: Iran is real nuclear threat

        “Within three to five years, we can assume that Iran will become autonomous in its ability to develop and produce a nuclear bomb, without having to import either the technology or the material,” Netanyahu said. “[The nuclear threat] must be uprooted by an international front headed by the US. It necessitates economic sanctions on Iran.”


        link to mondoweiss.net

        Neoconservatives loomed large in the covert dealings with Iran, which involved such fgures as Michael Ledeen, who served as an agent for National Security Advisor Robert C. McFarlane. Ledeen initially arranged the secret initiative by meeting with then-Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres in May 1985.16
        Robert Dreyfuss has noted, in his Devil’s Game: How the
        United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, that “[w]ithin the Reagan administration, a small clique of conservatives, and neoconservatives, were most intimately involved in the Iran-contra initiative, especially those U.S. officials and consultants who were closest to the Israeli military and intelligence establishment.”17
        As Trita Parsi puts it in Treacherous Alliance:
        The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States, “neoconservatives were masterminding a rapprochement with Khomeini’s government.”18
        Secretary of State George Shultz expressed concern about the Israeli-orientation of that policy. In a letter to McFarlane, he noted that Israel’s position on Iran “is not the same as ours” and that American intelligence collaboration with Israel regarding Iran “could seriously skew our own perception and analysis of the Iranian scene.”19
        The latter, as Dreyfuss points out, was the actual aim of the neoconservatives and CIA director William Casey, “who sought to reengage with Iran, in direct opposition to the official U.S. policy of supporting Iraq in its resistance to Iranian expansionism.”20
        The neocons and Israel were unsuccessful in altering American foreign policy away from Iraq and toward Iran. The exposé of the Iran/Contra affair certainly sounded the death knell to this diplomacy. Some neoconservatives, however, continued to seek this change. Michael Ledeen would write in a New York Times opinion piece on July 19, 1988, that it was essential for the United States to begin talking with Iran. He wrote that the “The United States, which should have been exploring improved relations with Iran before . . . should now seize the opportunity to do so.”21
        (When Israel later perceived Iran to be a crucial threat, Ledeen would become a leading proponent of the view that Iran was the center of world terror and that regime change was the only solution.)

        The failure here is that these concepts you bring up would be more than welcome if they were constructed through a rigorous contextual work that outlined specific people and specific actions they made.

        Making the argument that tries to misrepresent the work then present your speculative paradigm as “the other option” is quite similar to the creationist movement making ham-fisted critiques of evolution and then demanding that “the other side” be taught. I’d be more than happy to hear a thorough examination of particulars, but its never brought here.

      • Keith
        November 19, 2010, 5:12 pm

        BOB- My comment to Kathleen was short and sweet and easy to comprehend. I consider the neocons to be strongly pro-Israel, but not part of the “Israeli Lobby.” It doesn’t take an online dissertation with multiple links to make that simple point. You disagree? Fine. It doesn’t take an online dissertation with multiple links to make that point. Interestingly, with all your quotes and links I don’t know if you consider the neocons to be part of the “Israeli Lobby,” implementing Israeli initiated policy.

  13. Sin Nombre
    November 18, 2010, 1:40 am

    I don’t think Chomsky should feel “jewish” responsibility for Israel’s “crimes.” If he’s against them he’s against them.

    On the other hand I think that it’s with the issue of Israel that Chomsky’s fundamental invalidity is laid bare: Like some painter who only works with the color blue, to me at least his only real oeuvre has always been anti-Americanism. My suspicion is that it’s because it might be regarded as the center of capitalism. But, regardless, I have always felt that this utter lack of any balance—and hence invalidity because of course any broad, sensible political evaluation would have to include at least some if not lots of same—showed the man’s analyses to be essentially worthless.

    Of course however one can only come to this conclusion by making a value-type judgment based on the entire body of his work. But then it’s on the I/P issue that it’s just logically cinched I think: After all while America may well be called a facilitator of Israel’s behavior, it’s still Israel that’s been doing the behaving. (Often—clearly—in ways detrimental to America’s interests.) And yet who (irresistibly! pathologically!) does Noam always bring it back to principally?
    Gee … America.
    Whaddya know.
    What a surprise.
    Was there ever really any doubt?
    Will there ever be?

    Worthless political analyst, I at least feel. Just worthless. Just the antipode to a “my country can do no wrong” person, with his simplistic reductionism disguised by oceans of ridiculously dressed-up and convoluted language and writing and theories and blah blah blah however. Makes his opinions seem sophisticated, but somehow they always and eternally lead to the same apparently religiously held belief oddly enough.

    I know of course he’s become an icon of sorts, but even that just further confirms my estimation of him: One might think very very highly of an analyst, but one doesn’t make ’em into an icons. The latter is a moral and not an intellectual judgment.

    • Donald
      November 18, 2010, 11:24 am

      Chomsky is flawed, but he was a hero to me for years because he was the first person I’d read who engaged in a no-holds barred critique of American crimes. Most so-called liberals are too constrained by the fear of being called “anti-American” to do this. The “liberal” press is often worthless for precisely this reason.

      We don’t need Chomsky anymore, because there are numerous websites and authors nowadays who show no concern for being charged with “anti-Americanism” and write what they please, even if the MSM continues to marginalize them. And one needn’t always agree with the radical critique of US policy. But it’s good to have someone like Glenn Greenwald, for instance, writing regularly for a borderline mainstream online site like Salon. For a long time Chomsky was the only prominent person in this niche, and boy, did the people in the mainstream hate him for it.

      • Kathleen
        November 18, 2010, 6:48 pm

        “Chomsky is flawed, but he was a hero to me for years because he was the first person I’d read who engaged in a no-holds barred critique of American crimes.”

        Agree. The only time he cuts into the consistency of his arguments is when he holds the U.S. responsible for Israel’s choices.

  14. Mooser
    November 18, 2010, 10:38 am

    “I ascribe a huge part of the blame to neoconservative Jewish thinkers; and the neoconservatism is all over the liberal Jewish community because of Israel; and we can’t begin to undo the damage till we look at the role of Zionism in Jewish life.”

    Damn those neo-con “thinkers” (it is to laugh) and Zionists. If it wasn’t for them forcing us into adultery and whoring after false gods, the Jewish community in America would be perfect!
    Hoo-boy, have you got a lot to learn. Jews are just like other people, Phil. They do what they want, what they think is in their interest, and they blame God for it. And if there was no Zionism or neo-conservatism, they would do the same. If you can find anybody (who is not oppressed by the most extreme exigencies) who acts any different, let me know.

  15. anomalous
    November 18, 2010, 11:41 am

    I as well am a great admirer of Chomsky for decades. That said, it’s always puzzled me that while he takes principled positions of advocacy on most issues of international law and human rights, he seems to make a glaring exception in the matter of Palestine, suggesting that the right of return, while noble and just, is never going to happen, and that the appropriate role of friends of Palestinians should be to help them select goals which are more realistic or pragmatic. He suggests that international Palestine solidarity activists who uncompromisingly support the right of return are ultimately being cruel to Palestinians.

    I am grossly paraphrasing here from materials that are not fresh in my mind, so forgive me if this is a bit imprecise. I don’t intend to mischaracterize or besmirch Chomsky, but doesn’t this sort of position come across as rather dramatically more patronizing than one would expect from Chomsky on virtually any other issue?

    It is a mark of the respect I feel for Chomsky that I find myself compelled to ask WHY Israel is afforded by Chomsky this unique generosity, and why Palestinians get simultaneously burdened with this unique exemption from justice?

  16. MHughes976
    November 18, 2010, 12:20 pm

    The Roman Republic had by 100 BC generated a system of client states, one of whose functions was to provide election funds for senators, whose needs were insatiable. The African king Jugurtha, first a client and later an enemy, described Rome as ‘a city for sale’ and we can see analogies at present. We can still ask whether the clients were drawn into Roman wars or whether they drew Rome into wars: a bit of both, I suppose, hard to distinguish. They were spear-fodder and they were lobbies. The merry-go-round starts to turn so fast that its two phases, the one where the superpower directs its clients and the one where the clients claim their piece of action, start to blur. It’s obvious that a foreign lobby is manipulating US elections through campaign financing as lustily as Jugurtha once did in Rome. But whether the US or the West in general was ever prepared to accept an Arabia or Islamia that would be our equal (as its oil would make it if it were reasonably united and peaceful) is quite doubtful.

  17. annie
    November 18, 2010, 12:47 pm

    sorry for the OT but a question of samuels jumped out at me:

    Was it the idea of the kibbutz, or was it the fact of speaking Hebrew, or what was it?

    It was political. I was interested in Hebrew, but that wasn’t the driving force. I liked the kibbutz life and the kibbutz ideals. It has pretty much disappeared now, I should say. But that time was incredible in spirit. For one thing it was a poor country. The kibbutz I went to, and I picked it for this reason, was actually originally Buberite [11]. It came from German refugees in the 1930s and had a kind of Buberite style. It was the center for Arab outreach activities in Mapam [12]. There was plenty of racism, I should say. I lived with it. But mostly against Mizrahim.

    When you think of the motivations of people like your parents or the people who founded those Mapam kibbutzim, you don’t think of those motivations as being inherently linked to some desire to oppress others?

    By then I was old enough to separate from my parents. I’d been on my own intellectually since I was a teenager. I gravitated toward Zionist groups that were not in their milieu, like Hashomer Ha’tzair [13].

    chomsky doesn’tt address to this question. but i can’t help wonder what prompted samuels to ask it. this is a theme i’ve encountered several times over the last couple weeks on blogs including jerome slater’s post yesterday. he argues zionism is not inherently racist, and he prefaces the word racist w/’inherently’ repeatedly. this theme:

    Zionism is not inherently or necessarily racist: the driving force behind the Zionist quest for a Jewish state was not the belief that it was imperative because the Jews were superior but the belief that it was imperative because the Jews were vulnerable.

    notice both samuels and slater approach the idea of attaching intent to the idea of superiority. this argument was thrust into another conversation byway of denying israel’s apartheid on the grounds in SA it was based on a belief in superiority and not so in israel????? AS IF some lack of intent changes the nature of the crime and arguing against intent is the better argument to prove.

    you may not think this is significant but i watch talking pts. in my extensive experience following i/p arguments i cannot recall another time i have heard the meme of the denial of ‘inherent racism’ or ‘inherent superiority’ so many times in one week. so excuse me if this caught me by surprise. coincidence? i don’t know. here’s slater again:

    However, there are also important differences, among other reasons because South African apartheid was inherently racist, based as it was on the belief that whites were superior to blacks and therefore

    i very much wonder what prompted samuels to ask this question particular question.

  18. Jeffrey Blankfort
    November 18, 2010, 12:59 pm

    I am pleased to see Phil’s percerptive comments on Chomsky’s inability or unwillingness to accept Israel’s primary responsibility for its crimes against the Palestinians and will only add that the most significant of these, the ethnic cleansing of the Nakba in 1948, and the seizure of the West Bank, Gaza with the further expulsion of Palestinians to Jordan were carried out by Israel without the backing of any imperial power, something Chomsky and those who support his position do not mention.

    I was caught by Phils’ reference to Weizmann’s invention of acetone being rewarded by the Balfour declaration which is a popular fiction that covers the truth and which Weizmann himself denied.

    The declaration, stated in a letter to Lord Rothschild, letter violated an earlier promise made in writing by Sir Henry McMahon to Arab leader Sherif Hussein that promised the peoples of the Middle East their independence if they joined in the war to defeat the Turks and end four centuries of occupation by the Ottoman Empire.

    The efforts to set up what in 1948 became the state of Israel was resisted from the very beginning by Palestine’s Moslem and Christian inhabitants.

    Trying to keep the two sides from fighting while enabling the Zionists to establish Jewish settlements gave the British nothing but headaches, presaging the problems that face the US in dealing with Israel and the Palestinian Arabs today.

    A review of the historical record, including the foreign office and colonial office correspondence of the time, makes it appear that the British got nothing for their role in allowing the beginnings of a Jewish state to thrive.

    The theory that its support of the Zionist project was part of imperial Britain’s plans to control the Middle East which is the explanation usually offered by The Left is not backed by any evidence.

    Why then, did the British issue the Balfour Resolution (and why is there not mure curiosity about it from the Left)?

    The answer was explained by the Edward Cavendish, the 10th Duke of Devonshire, who succeeded Winston Churchill as Secretary of State.

    In a memorandum circulated to the British cabinet in 1923 designed to explain the government’s policy regarding Palestine, Cavendish wrote:
    “Briefly stated, the object [of the Declaration] was to enlist the sympathies on the Allied side of influential Jews and Jewish organizations all over the world…

    “It is arguable that the negotiations with the Zionists, which had been in process for many months before the Declaration was actually published, did, in fact, have considerable effect in advancing the date at which the United States government intervened in the war.

    “However that may be, it must always be remembered that the Declaration was made at a time of extreme peril to the cause of the Allies…

    “The Balfour Declaration was a war measure . . . designed to secure tangible benefits which it was hoped could contribute to the ultimate victory of the Allies.

    “These benefits may or may not have been worth securing and may or may not have been actually secured; but the objections on going back on a promise made under such conditions is obvious.

    “The Jews would naturally regard it as an act of baseness, if, having appealed to them in our hour of peril, we were to throw them over when the danger was past…”

    What the Duke of Devonshire was carefully referring to was the fact that when the negotiations between the Zionists and the British began, the British and the French were losing the war. Since Britain and France were allied with Czarist Russia where the Jews were severely repressed, the leaders of the European and American Jewish communities, as well as the bankers, would take no sides in the conflict.

    With the abdication of the Czar in February, 1917, the most important barrier to Jewish support had been removed and in the US, the leading American Zionist, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, led on by the British, began pressuring his friend, President Wilson, to go back on the pledge he had made to the voters in 1916, that he would keep the US out of the war. (There were other pressures on Wilson to go join the war but the historians who describe them, such as Walter Karp, make no mention of the Zionist influence.)

    Believing that the Zionists would succeed with Wilson, the new British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, turned down a German peace offer which would have brought the war to an end with no change in borders.

    What is generally not known ss that Lloyd George, while a member of parliament had served as the lawyer for the Zionist Organization in London going back to 1903 and consequently was quite sympathetic with their efforts, which was not the case with Lord Hebert Asquith who preceded him.

    On April 2, the US declared war on Germany and effectively saved Britain and France from defeat. Walter Lippmen and Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud and the father of modern propaganda was enlisted to build public support for the war and soon George M Cohan’s, “The Yanks are Coming,” was on everybody’s lips

    Of course, the irony, is clear. Had the British accepted the German peace offer, there would have been no punitive Versailles agreement following the war.

    Germany would not have experienced the devastating effects which fertilized the soil that gave rise to Hitler and the Third Reich and the war that he launched, in revenge.

    And there would have been no Jewish holocaust. This seems to be confirmed by Samuel Landman, a leading British Zionist who was involved in the negotiations that led to the Balfour Declaration.
    In 1936, in a pamphlet entitled “Great Britain, the Jews, and Palestine,” after describing in considerable detail how the Declaration came into being, Landman concluded:

    “The fact that it was Jewish help that brought U.S.A. into the War on the side of the Allies has rankled ever since in German – especially Nazi-minds, and has contributed in no small measure to the prominence which anti-Semitism occupies in the Nazi programme.”

    That was written two years before Kristallnacht.

    • VR
      November 18, 2010, 11:05 pm

      “…the ethnic cleansing of the Nakba in 1948, and the seizure of the West Bank, Gaza with the further expulsion of Palestinians to Jordan were carried out by Israel without the backing of any imperial power, something Chomsky and those who support his position do not mention.”

      Absolute poppycock, in the introduction of Zionism to the area, the Mandate Period (and what transpired during this time), even down to the weaponry given and employed. That there were just Zionists trying to prevail on Wilson, I mean this is all so droll, a complete rewrite of who the actors were pre-WW1 trying to make a major out of one influence. Jeez, go read Karp’s The Politics of War, please.

      • Max Ajl
        November 19, 2010, 12:12 am

        He did VR, what’s wrong with you? He wrote, “The leading American Zionist, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, led on by the British, began pressuring his friend, President Wilson, to go back on the pledge he had made to the voters in 1916, that he would keep the US out of the war. (There were other pressures on Wilson to go join the war but the historians who describe them, such as Walter Karp, make no mention of the Zionist influence.)”

        Translated into English, that means that yes, Karp made a convincing case, yes, I can’t take it on, yes, there’s no reason to think it’s incorrect, yes, there’s no reason to impute causal relevance to Brandeis’s intervention. But the minute possibility of Zionist blame = the certainty of Zionist blame, the certainty of Zionist blame = 100 percent Zionist blame, and so on. One can of course write and prove anything with such standards of argumentation and evidence, but that has not stopped Cpt. Blankfort in the past and won’t in the future.

    • Printe
      November 18, 2010, 11:49 pm

      “Chomsky’s inability or unwillingness to accept Israel’s primary responsibility for its crimes against the Palestinians and will only add that the most significant of these, the ethnic cleansing of the Nakba in 1948, and the seizure of the West Bank, Gaza with the further expulsion of Palestinians to Jordan were carried out by Israel without the backing of any imperial power, something Chomsky and those who support his position do not mention.”
      And here we go again – the tender embrace of oppotunism

  19. hophmi
    November 18, 2010, 1:30 pm

    And if Jesus had never been born, there probably would have never been any Christianity, Catholic Church, or deicide allegations leading to the Holocaust. Read all about it in my new book, “Historical What-ifs That Totally Miss The Point.”

  20. Jeffrey Blankfort
    November 18, 2010, 7:12 pm

    “Things that you’re liable to read in the Bible, they ain’t necessarily so,” quickly comes to mind in reading hophmi’s attempt to dismiss what is a matter of traceable record. Shall I add to the Zionists’ crimes their efforts, in the case of the mainstream movement, to sabotage all rescue efforts that would have had Europe’s Jews going anywhere (presumably to safety) but Palestine? These are all well documented, as was their collaboration with the Nazis in the decade preceding WW2. Perhaps we should re-issue the medal coined by Adolph Eichmann after his trip to Palestine to meet with the Zionists which had a swastika on one side and the Magen David (star of David) on the other. Suggested reading: Ben Hechts “Perfidy,” now out in a reprint after being suppressed by the Zionists for years, and Lenni Brenner’s “51 Documents.” It’s all there, hophmi.

    The fact that most historians, across the political spectrum, have avoided pursuing the answer to one of the more important questions of the last century, “Why did Lord Balfour issue his declaration?,” is to me, just another of the myriad examples of how the Zionists and their friends have distorted key aspects of the history of the last century. It apparently represented the first victory of the Zionist lobby and that is something that those in denial on the subject obviously do not want to talk or write about.

  21. seth
    November 18, 2010, 11:49 pm

    “…the Diaspora can safeguard the State of Israel from turning
    in the direction of narrow nationalism. There is a strong
    temptation for a small people that has regained power,
    after having suffered for a long time from oppression and
    persecution, to become over-aggressive and chauvinistic.
    A strong international-minded Diaspora would serve as a
    brake and would induce Israel to resist such temptation.”

    William Chomsky, Hebrew: The Eternal Language, p. 276

    • Antidote
      November 20, 2010, 5:53 pm

      Too bad most Diaspora Jews ended up in the US. No wonder Chomsky junior became a major critic of the US as an ‘over-aggressive and chauvinistic’ country. Can’t fix one problem without fixing the other.

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