Chomsky and BDS

Israel/Palestine
on 115 Comments
Lambs near the wall in Abu Dis, occupied East Jerusalem. Photo by Tom Suarez

Lambs near the wall in Abu Dis, occupied West Bank. Photo by Tom Suarez

Many people who have come to value the courageous and principled stands of Noam Chomsky regarding injustice and imperialism are surprised to learn of his opposition to most aspects of BDS. Precisely because of the stature and influence of this “father of modern linguistics”, it is especially important that his views be subject to the same rigor for which he himself is famous. As it turns out, the perplexing aspect of Professor Chomsky’s arguments vis a vis BDS is how precipitously they fail scrutiny.

Professor Chomsky parses issues, and his views, with great precision, sometimes leading to sloppy interpretation by commentators expediently forcing those views into box “A” or “B”. So it is important to point out that his opposition to BDS is carefully qualified, and there are aspects of its method and goals that he supports. Previously, he was widely misunderstood as supporting a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine, when he simply saw two states as the only possible path to his favored solution, a bi-national state. This system preserves regional autonomy (as either a Jewish or Arab area) within a single nation. In 1947, such a bi-national state was supported by moderates like Judah Magnes and the socialist group Hashomer Hatzair. Most Arabs supported a one-state solution, a single, secular Western-style democracy—as do many people today (including this writer). Five years ago Professor Chomsky clarified his views, and last year he discussed the bi-national solution in context of the developing reality on the ground.

Before addressing Professor Chomsky’s specific points regarding BDS, a few general comments about BDS that raise the issue above the confines on which he bases his critique.

Whatever its imperfectness, BDS is the most powerful tool available for forcing the Palestine issue, so systematically sidelined and distorted by the mass media, to the fore. This is because the very utterance of BDS in relation to Israel begs the question, “Why?” It forces the media to respond where it could otherwise ignore, and it elicits a desire to know why in the mind of the ordinary fair-minded citizen whose understanding has been controlled by that media.

In one key respect, BDS is even more important regarding Israel than old South Africa. That white people were subjugating black people was consistent with the prevailing cultural understanding in the West. Even if some people made excuses for South Africa’s apartheid, white people were seen as racially privileged, black people as exploited. Claiming that South Africa was an apartheid state “rang true”. But our society’s mindset regarding Israel inexorably links the nation-state with the Jewish people, whom we understand as a vulnerable, persecuted people, and Arabs, whom we are conditioned to believe to be their immediate tormentors. Thus BDS’ value in forcing the issue to the fore is especially important, since the West’s collective mindset has turned the Israeli-Palestinian issue upside-down.

Now a brief look at Professor Chomsky’s points.

Professor Chomsky argues that Resolution 194 (specifically regarding Right of Return) is a non-binding “recommendation” since it is from the General Assembly, not the Security Council. This is a straw issue. Right of Return is international law, above and beyond Resolution 194. 194 merely restates it in context of the aftermath of the 1948 war. Right of Return is an individual right that cannot be bargained away on someone’s behalf. Further, abiding by UN Resolutions (including 194) was a specific condition to which Israel agreed for admission to the UN. That was binding. Moreover, Right of Return is simply the antidote to ethnic cleansing. Ethnic cleansing, in this case Plan Dalet, is a war crime, and undoing it not merely a “recommendation”. (Ironically, it is UNGA Resolution 181, the Resolution upon which Israel claims statehood, that exists solely as a General Assembly “recommendation”, yet in that case the Jewish Agency argued that it carried binding force.)

Professor Chomsky also argues that Israel regularly violates even the Security Council resolutions that are binding, and therefore one is asking for something that will not happen. With Professor Chomsky’s precedent, then, all international law by definition becomes irrelevant, because non-compliance becomes self-justifying. Rather, exposing the non-compliance is part of the very value of BDS. Israel has ignored the Security Council for decades precisely because it is confident of impunity, as Professor Chomsky’s attitude demonstrates.

The argument of relative badness is also invoked. The US is the larger offender, so it is hypocritical to target Israeli institutions when we don’t target Harvard. But this linkage is artificial. Israeli wrongdoing is not morally contingent on any other country’s wrongdoing, nor mitigated by the fact that other countries, in particular the US, empower that wrongdoing. With this reasoning, no injustice could ever be targeted except the one that is (according to criteria of one’s choosing) the absolute most egregious on the planet. All others need simply point the finger downward.

Interestingly, however, it is largely thanks to Professor Chomsky’s influence that Stephen Hawking honored the academic boycott of Israel. Inconsistent, or meticulous parsing? The difference appears to have been that the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) asked Professor Hawking to boycott the Israeli invitation. But surely if all Palestinians had such a voice, they would beseech the international community to boycott Israel with a thundering, near-unanimous chorus.

The “D” of BDS does implicitly mean boycott of US interests involved in Israeli militarism. Divestment from American companies such as Caterpillar or Hewlett-Packard is no longer considered a fringe campaign, thanks to BDS. Respected, mainstream institutions have earnestly considered, and sometimes undertaken such divestment. That the economic impact on them may be trivial, is irrelevant: the issue is pushed into the visible world. Bill Gates has divested from G4S evidently because of its complicity in Israeli prisons.

Professor Chomsky says that the abbreviation should be “BD,” not “BDS”, since sanctions are “not on the horizon”. No, professor, the question is whether sanctions are justified, and if they are, they should be part of the strategy. Nor are sanctions against Israel as remote as Professor Chomsky suggests: Already in 2010, 26 ex-EU leaders argued for sanctions.

Professor Chomsky points out that South African apartheid is different than Israel’s. Yes, South Africa had no desire to ethnically cleanse the Africans, as their subjugation was the whole point, whereas an ethnically “pure” settler nation—well, with a sufficient supply of the Other left behind as cheap labor—is Israel’s. But … so? More specifically, Professor Chomsky says that those building the boycott movement against South Africa devoted years to educating and building a case, homework that the Palestinian movement has not done. This is not only a dubious argument on its face, but it is also untrue. People have worked tirelessly since the early 1950s to do precisely what the Professor advocates, but for reasons touched on above, these attempts at informing the public faced a particularly impenetrable wall. Even if we eliminate Palestinian writers and activists, whom the West sidelined altogether, there were people like Alfred Lilienthal and Moshe Menuhin actively and eloquently saying fifty and sixty years ago what still can barely be heard in the mainstream media. Palestinian and Western scholars continued to research, write, expose; and the voices grew numerous over the years, with Israeli scholars eventually joining the ranks. The cumulative wealth of documentation and activism is extraordinary. Yet Professor Chomsky dismisses the movement for justice in Israel-Palestine as not having done its homework?

But perhaps Professor Chomsky’s strangest statement of all, a rather terrifying statement on the face of it, is that “There is no reason to expect Israel to accept a Palestinian population it does not want.” There you have it, all condensed into one sentence, an admission that Israel is a racially predicated state and that the rights of the Palestinians themselves must remain subservient to it. There is no reason to expect a settler nation to accept the people whose land it took. Everything is framed in terms of what Israel wants, or what Israel will or will not agree to. Is this the same Noam Chomsky whose Manufacturing Consent and Fateful Triangle sit on my bookshelf?

Links
BDS Movement  (Palestinian BDS National Committee)
PACBI  (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel)
BRICUP  (British Committee for the Universities of Palestine)

 

About Tom Suarez

Tom Suarez is the author most recently of State of Terror. Ordering and reviews can be found at state-of-terror.net

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115 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    July 6, 2014, 12:27 pm

    A PEP trying to control the narrative of opposition to Zionism, for the benefit the Apartheid state. Nothing new.

    • Giles
      July 6, 2014, 12:42 pm

      Yet one more believe in universal justice done in by tribal loyalty.

      It’s a shame. Chomsky has disgraced himself with this one, along with his insistence that unidentified, non-Jewish, interests determine US policy in the Middle East and not “The Lobby”.

      He is a gatekeeper. I suspect he cannot even see this.

    • Krauss
      July 6, 2014, 1:24 pm

      I’m disappointed in Suarez, his screed comes across as a last stand of a wounded fan boy. Maybe because it is one.

      Chomsky’s opposition to BDS is pretty uniform. He claims to be for a bi-national state but refuses to endorse the path that the Palestinians themselves chose, arguing that we can’t do anything.

      He is whitewashing his latent Zionism behind a veil of “realism”. Well, the same voices were heard in the 50s and 60s when the battle was Jim Crow.

      Chomsky’s Zionism will be a blemish on his legacy, although we can be sure his apologists like Suarez will keep denying it or at the very least try to deflect some of the fire.

      • W.Jones
        July 6, 2014, 4:15 pm

        He is whitewashing his latent Zionism behind a veil of “realism”. Well, the same voices were heard in the 50s and 60s when the battle was Jim Crow.
        It comes across like that. Don’t call it BD”S” because that’s “not on the horizon.”

      • Rusty Pipes
        July 7, 2014, 3:52 pm

        Au contraire: by crediting some nuance in Chomsky’s thought, Suarez is challenging the true Chomsky fan boys to exercise a little critical thought. While there are many other valid critiques of Chomsky’s thought, Suarez covers the major problems with Chomsky’s Nation article.

    • W.Jones
      July 7, 2014, 2:21 pm

      Woody,

      Chomsky is much like Peter Beinart and MJ Rosenberg on IP. Each are outspoken on the topic, bring good insights, are liberal or anarchist nationalists, and support divestment from the territories but not the formal BDS campaign.

      • rosross
        July 8, 2014, 7:01 am

        Which suggests, at some level, conscious or unconscious, they also believe that Jews must remain a majority in Israel and therefore, that they also discriminate on the basis of religion. They are holding to a fantasy that Israel will be able to continue on in the same vein when it is patently impossible.

        They know that BDS will end Israel’s occupation, colonisation and apartheid and that in fact, it is the only power which can, just as it did in South Africa, so they dissemble, because, in a one-state solution the majority will be non-Jews. One could only be concerned about that if there was a belief in the superiority of followers of Judaism, whether lapsed or practicing, otherwise, one would not care.

  2. thetruthhurts
    July 6, 2014, 12:51 pm

    fabulous article esp about the technicalities of the early foundational UN resolutions that i wasn’t aware of.
    and plan dalet? i wonder how many americans know about this. i’ve known about it for many years. surley something out of some futuristically horrible sci-fi movie, but no, its for real.

  3. Donald
    July 6, 2014, 1:00 pm

    What Chomsky actually wrote–

    “The road ahead leads not to South Africa, but rather to an increase in the proportion of Jews in the Greater Israel that is being constructed. This is the realistic alternative to a two-state settlement. There is no reason to expect Israel to accept a Palestinian population it does not want.”

    It’s a description of Israel’s behavior thus far and how they will continue to behave so long as they have US support. And he’s right.

    Here’s Suarez’s hyperventilating on that topic–

    “But perhaps Professor Chomsky’s strangest statement of all, a rather terrifying statement on the face of it, is that “There is no reason to expect Israel to accept a Palestinian population it does not want.” There you have it, all condensed into one sentence, an admission that Israel is a racially predicated state and that the rights of the Palestinians themselves must remain subservient to it.”

    Gosh, that was scary. Or would have been, if it weren’t for the fact that Chomsky is describing what virtually everyone would say about Israel’s willingness to accept several million Palestinian citizens.

    I think Suarez did a fine job dismantling Chomsky’s claim that BDS needs to be preceded by a period of public education–in fact, the BDS campaign is precisely that period of public education. But apparently it’s not enough to disprove someone’s argument–that’s no fun. One has to indulge in a little over-the-top rhetorical misrepresentation.

    Chomsky, btw, hasn’t changed since he wrote “The Fateful Triangle”–he’s been a critic of Israeli repression and a supporter of the 2SS as being the least bad solution according to his view of what is achievable, but he’s always preferred a binational state or no states at all. He doesn’t think a democratic 1SS is achievable. One can argue with this by pointing out the reasons why one thinks he is wrong, or one can do the usual ad hominem thing.

    • W.Jones
      July 6, 2014, 4:17 pm

      I didn’t see him becoming very ad hominem, since Suarez didn’t go into Chomsky’s past as a nationalist.

    • American
      July 7, 2014, 8:58 pm

      Donald says…..

      ”But apparently it’s not enough to disprove someone’s argument–that’s no fun. One has to indulge in a little over-the-top rhetorical misrepresentation. ”

      The over heated rhetoric is from F.R.U.S.T.R.A.T.I.O.N. Because Chomasky makes all these ‘claims’ about how the Us wags Isr and Isr doesnt really wag the US…BUT he never ever offers proof or any examples to uphold his claim.
      When pushed he will say something like ..well the US made Isr stop sellig US a/craft parts to China. AND he never explains the INFLUENCE that got Isr access to US produced closely held tech to begin with—that the US had Not shared with anyother country.
      But let’s not even pick on Chomsky…let use another follower (after he got bit by the lobby), Joseph Massad that one commenter refered to..here what he said:…and its typical.

      ”One could argue (and I have argued elsewhere) that it is in fact the very centrality of Israel to US strategy in the Middle East that accounts, in part, for the strength of the pro-Israel lobby and not the other way around. Indeed, many of the recent studies highlight the role of pro-Likud members of the Bush administration (or even of the Clinton administration) as evidence of the lobby’s awesome power, when, it could be easily argued that it is these American politicians who had pushed Likud and Labour into more intransigence in the 1990s and are pushing them towards more conquest now that they are at the helm of the US government. This is not to say, however, that the leaders of the pro-Israel lobby do not regularly brag about their crucial influence on US policy in Congress and in the White House. That they have done regularly since the late 1970s. But the lobby is powerful in the United States because its major claims are about advancing US interests and its support for Israel is contextualized in its support for the overall US strategy in the Middle East”
      http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Apr06/Blankfort11.htm“”

      What is he saying?…he is doing nothing but repeating “jingos’…..jingos , jingos jingos and la la the evil empire directing Isr.
      Have you ever heard the Chomsky crowd put forth ONE single real concrete
      example of Isr’s great value and service to the US?
      NO YOU HAVENT.
      All you have heard is jingos and vauge references to Isr intelligence sharing—and babble about they bombed a Syria nuke out house (after Bush told them not to)…and babble about how Isr keeps Arabs down on the farm for the USA cause the US needs to control ME oil–which is total bullshit.
      The ONLY oil disruption the US ever suffered from the ME was the 73 embargo the Sauds imposed ON THE US ito punish us for Israeli agression.

      It really is astounding to me that people here that are so interested in USA-ISR-P/I
      are so ‘uncurious’ and so blankly accepting of ‘statements’ and claims that have nothing behind them to hold them up.
      The feud over Chomsky is not about ‘disagreeing with him on this or that issue within the Isr issue–its about the ‘crux’ of the issue—the one he avoids and tries to downplay—which is where the ultimate blame lies—-and even then its not really about the blame for we critics—-its about the fact that the Chomksys help lead people astray about the only thing that will ever change I/P—which is getting
      the lobby(ies) influence out of congress and our Isr policy.

    • rosross
      July 8, 2014, 5:49 am

      ” There is no reason to expect Israel to accept a Palestinian population it does not want.”

      Why? On what grounds does Israel reject its indigenous people? On the grounds of religious bigotry and a belief that Jews must be a majority because they are superior. There are no other grounds.

      South Africa wanted the same because they believed the blacks to be inferior. Israel’s problem is no different – the indigenous people are and will remain a majority.

      Israel’s ‘solution’ is apartheid but the world will no more tolerate apartheid sourced in religious bigotry than it did South Africa’s sourced in racial bigotry.

      If Israel had not been founded on religious discrimination it would have done what every other coloniser has done, create one state with equal rights for all – a true democracy where there is no bias toward religion or race.

      Israel has worked very hard to ‘stack’ the numbers with so-called Jewish immigrants who can find a Jewish grandparent or great-grandparent and so demonstrate their superiority! It is such a disgraceful reflection of the ‘Aryan’ approach that one can only presume it is deep shadow at work. But whatever it is it is wrong.

      In a modern world we do not and cannot discriminate on the basis of anything – race or religion and Israel’s bigotry will not be tolerated anymore than South Africa’s was.

  4. dbroncos
    July 6, 2014, 1:19 pm

    A consistant theme in Chomsky’s critique of Israel is his belief that behind Israel’s crimes is the Great Satan and its “levers of power”. His is a classic “they’re just taking orders” argument that doesn’t hold water. The craven stooping and bowing to Zionist power from Truman on down tells a different story.

    • seanmcbride
      July 6, 2014, 1:32 pm

      dbroncos,

      A consistant theme in Chomsky’s critique of Israel is his belief that behind Israel’s crimes is the Great Satan and its “levers of power”. His is a classic “they’re just taking orders” argument that doesn’t hold water. The craven stooping and bowing to Zionist power from Truman on down tells a different story.

      Superbly stated.

      I can’t recall the last time Noam Chomsky produced any useful *facts* about the creation of American policies towards Israel — concrete facts which name particular names of people and organizations. He is airy and vague on the matter of the Israel lobby — consistently evasive and, in my opinion, intellectually dishonest.

      Phil Weiss, Max Blumenthal, Adam Horowitz, Alex Kane and Jim Lobe in recent years have provided much more valuable research into the operations of the Israel lobby (and American Mideast policy in general) than Noam Chomsky — their analysis is grounded in the real world — it is highly specific — they connect many dots. Chomsky is flying on fumes.

      How often has Chomsky even mentioned in passing AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents, JINSA, RJC, NJDC, PNAC, ZOA, the neoconservatives, etc.?

      • W.Jones
        July 6, 2014, 4:19 pm

        Some folks don’t talk about those groups because they worry about repercussions. Chomsky on the other hand doesn’t name them because he claims that they make up “one of the smaller lobbies”, as he told an Arab American academic group.

    • American
      July 6, 2014, 8:14 pm

      dbroncos says…..

      ”A consistant theme in Chomsky’s critique of Israel is his belief that behind Israel’s crimes is the Great Satan and its “levers of power”. His is a classic “they’re just taking orders” argument that doesn’t hold water. The craven stooping and bowing to Zionist power from Truman on down tells a different story.”>>>>

      Exactly.
      And how does Chomsky explain all the efforts of the Great Satan’s presidents to stop settlement building and end the occupation?

      How does he explain President Ford calling for a ‘reassement of US-Israel relations?

      How does he explain Bush Sr. efforts—–?

      ”Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir asked the first Bush administartion for $10 billion in loan guarantees in order, he said, to provide for the resettlement of Russian Jews. Bush Sr. had earlier balked at a request from Congress to appropriate an additional $650 million dollars to compensate Israel for sitting out the Gulf War, but gave in when he realized that his veto would be overridden. But now he told Shamir that Israel could only have the guarantees if it freezes settlement building and promised that no Russian Jews would be resettled in the West Bank.
      An angry Shamir refused and called on AIPAC to mobilize Congress and the organized American Jewish community in support of the loans guarantees. A letter, drafted by AIPAC was signed by more than 240 members of the House demanding that Bush approve them, and 77 senators signed on to supporting legislation.On September 12, 1991, Jewish lobbyists descended on Washington in such numbers that Bush felt obliged to call a televised press conference in which he complained that “1000 Jewish lobbyists are on Capitol Hill against little old me.” It would prove to be his epitaph. Chomsky pointed to Bush’s statement, at the time, as proof that the vaunted Israel lobby was nothing more than “a paper tiger. It took scarcely more than a raised eyebrow for the lobby to collapse,” he told readers of Z Magazine. He could not have been further from the truth.{13

      How does he explain Bush Jr.s efforts when he demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdraw his marauding troops from Jenin, saying “Enough is enough!”????
      It made headlines all over the world, as did his backing down when Sharon refused. What happened? Harsh criticism boomed from within his own party in Congress and from his daddy’s old friends in the media. George Will associated Dubya with Yasser Arafat and accused Bush of having lost his “moral clarity.”16 The next day, Safire suggested that Bush was “being pushed into a minefield of mistakes”and that he had “become a wavering ally as Israel fights for suvival.”17 Junior got the message and, within a week, declared Sharon to be “a man of peace.”18 Since then, as journalist Robert Fisk and others have noted, Sharon seems to be writing Bush’s speeches. ”

      (Does Chomsky feel Jewish responsibility for Israel’s crimes?
      Philip Weiss on November 17, 2010)

      Chomsky totally avoids answering and instead to Phil …..”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.”

      Well Chomsky lies and he lies to deflect blame from the Jews to prevent what he would label anti semitism.
      Unfortunately people some are ‘simple’ enough not to notice how he lies by’ ommission’ of the real facts.

  5. notatall
    July 6, 2014, 1:49 pm

    A binational state, with “regional autonomy (as either a Jewish or Arab area)” leaves open the possibility, indeed guarantees, that majority Jewish areas will discriminate against non-Jews (and conceivably the reverse). The only truly democratic solution is the single democratic state—one person, one vote—with religious, linguistic, etc. freedom for every group, but not divided sovereignty.

    • rosross
      July 8, 2014, 6:04 am

      Jewish = religion.
      Arab = culture.
      Palestinian = nationality.
      Israeli = nationality.

      This is a colonial war waged by Israelis against indigenous Palestinians. It is not waged for Jews and it is not waged against Arabs.

      Israel uses the generic term ‘Arab’ to disenfranchise the reality of the Palestinians and it uses the religious term ‘Jew’ to pretend that this is a war for Jews and Judaism. It is not.

      Israel does not represent Jews or Judaism. If it represents anything religious it is Zionism.

      And yes, one state with equal rights for all regardless of religion is the only just outcome.

  6. notatall
    July 6, 2014, 1:52 pm

    A binational state, with “regional autonomy (as either a Jewish or Arab area)” leaves open the possibility, indeed guarantees, that majority Jewish areas will discriminate against non-Jews (and conceivably the reverse). The only truly democratic solution is the single democratic state—one person, one vote—with religious, linguistic, etc. freedom for every group, but not sovereignty over territory. Chomsky’s support for what he calls the binational state is proof of his commitment to Zionism.

  7. mondonut
    July 6, 2014, 2:05 pm

    The RoR as espoused by the Palestinians is not International Law, specifically the claim that whatever law the “right” rests on (what is that anyway?) is retroactive back to 1948 and includes the never ending magical ability to pass that “right” to children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc…

    That 194 is restating existing law would make sense if the RoR was an accepted norm in 1948 (it was not) or if 194 referred to the supposed right or the supposed International Law (it does not).

    Further, Israel was accepted to the UN in the same manner as everyone else, if the GA thinks they got stiffed then they should toss Israel out. But there is nothing in the resolution that elevates GA resolutions into law for Israel and Israel alone.

    Recalling its resolutions of 29 November 1947 and 11 December 1948 and taking note of the declarations and explanations made by the representatives of the Government of Israel before the Ad Hoc Political Committee in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions,…

    • SQ Debris
      July 6, 2014, 9:16 pm

      “The RoR as espoused by the Palestinians is not International Law”
      Mcdonut is incorrect. The right of return of civilians displaced during times of war is enshrined in the Hague Agreement which predates the creation of the State of Israel. Resolution 194 has it’s basis in the Hague Agreement, aka Customary International Law, not some whim of the General Assembly. Beyond that, “the never ending magical ability to pass that “right” to children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc…” doesn’t seem to be a problem if you are genetically a Jew. What possible basis is there for a RoR for Jews, but not for Palestinians? The answer is not some special Jewish magic, it’s racism, pure and simple.

      • mondonut
        July 6, 2014, 11:46 pm

        @SQ Debris

        Hague Agreement? Really? Please point out where you find that “right” in the Hague Conventions. And as for the Law of Return, that is not a right found in International Law, it is a right bestowed by the State of Israel to all Jewish people regardless of their race.

      • phacepalm
        July 7, 2014, 7:28 am

        Simplified mondonut: there is no RoR for Palestinians, since there is no international law about it. For jews, well, that’s a “right” bestowed by the State of Israel. In other words if you managed to steal the other people’s land, just declare some racist “state” law and you are done – all nice and legal

        So if the Palestinians declare their own internal law “bestowing” the right of return to all Palestinians to all lands prior to 1948 – would that be OK with your zionist logic?

      • Pat Nguyen
        July 7, 2014, 6:23 pm

        @face: The Israeli Right of Return is. It racist as Jews and non-Jews alike have immigrated to Israel under this term. When there is a Palestinian state (as part of 2 states for 2 peoples with an end of conflict provision) they may apply any immigration law that they favor. Now what could be more straightforward and fair?

      • Shingo
        July 7, 2014, 11:03 pm

        The Israeli Right of Return is. It racist as Jews and non-Jews alike have immigrated to Israel under this term.

        Israel right of return only applies to Jews so it is racist.

        When there is a Palestinian state (as part of 2 states for 2 peoples with an end of conflict provision) they may apply any immigration law that they favor. Now what could be more straightforward and fair?

        What is unfair is expelling hundreds of thousands from a land they lived on for millennia, then claiming they are immigrant. What is unfair is moving into someone else’s land against their will and illegally and taking their land.

    • RoHa
      July 6, 2014, 10:07 pm

      “The RoR as espoused by the Palestinians is not International Law,”

      It is, but, more importantly, it is a moral right. However, I do not expect you to recognize the importance of this. Zionist like to argue law, but they have absolutely no moral sense or understanding at all.

      • mondonut
        July 6, 2014, 11:40 pm

        RoHa says: It is, but, more importantly, it is a moral right.

        You are correct that I do not recognize the importance of your so called moral right. You moral right does not trump actual laws and treaties, it does not trump Israel’s national rights, and it does not provide the Palestinians with the right to eliminate the state of Israel by making the Jewish people a minority.

      • RoHa
        July 7, 2014, 2:39 am

        “moral right does not trump actual laws and treaties, it does not trump Israel’s national rights”

        And there you show that you do not understand morality. Morality always trumps law. Actual laws and treaties are imperfect attempts to codify morality, to ensure that even those of shaky morality do the right thing. But Zionists try to use laws to avoid doing the right thing.

        “it does not provide the Palestinians with the right to eliminate the state of Israel by making the Jewish people a minority.”

        But nor is there a right for Jews to be a majority. If ROR leads to that, then no wrong has been done.

      • HarryLaw
        July 7, 2014, 6:23 am

        RoHa,@ “Morality always trumps law” Way back in the 1840’s an anti slavery lawyer called Salmon P Chase from Ohio, took a case right through to the Supreme court, after earlier court judgements had found his arguments thus “All that is morality we are not interested in morality, the law is our only guide”. He went on to lose the Supreme court judgement also 9-0. But his brief was also an appeal to a much wider audience because the final arbiter in cases of a moral or political nature is not the courts judgement, but public opinion, not the public opinion of the American people only, but of the civilized world, the rest is history. Professor Jules Lobel mentioned this case in his wonderful keynote speech at Hastings College ‘Litigating Palestine’.http://www.livestream.com/uchastings/video?clipId=flv_1089b0a3-aaeb-4b53-904d-20d17a406514 Around about 20 mins.

      • Sumud
        July 7, 2014, 6:05 am

        …and it does not provide the Palestinians with the right to eliminate the state of Israel by making the Jewish people a minority.

        By what right (law and treaty right) did zionists ethnically cleanse Palestine to make indigenous Palestinians a minority in their own land?

      • MHughes976
        July 7, 2014, 8:38 am

        Chase was in course of time to be Chief Justice!
        Courts of law are not authorities on morality, I accept, or on what the law should be, only on what the law actually is. But presumably laws are made to reflect ideas about right and wrong, good and evil – ie moral ideas – otherwise there would be no reason, surely, to respect let alone obey them. So morally bad laws ought to be changed – though many think that they should be respected for a time, while the case for change is made. So morality is in some important sense more basic than law and is felt as an obligation of some kind regardless of what the law is. That makes it impossible for a person to ignore morality by declaring it does not apply to him or her, hence impossible for an assembly of persons to remove their moral obligations by forming parliaments or international assemblies and there agreeing, by writing laws or treaties, that something actually immoral shall henceforth be OK.
        So if something bad has been written into a treaty by the mistaken consensus of humanity at the time (though I think that human beings are rational and sensible enough not to let this happen too often) then a future consensus ought to change it – and will change it, because reason and a sense of justice cannot be suppressed for ever.
        As for the alleged rights of ‘peoples’, I often see them claimed and I never see them defined, at least with even remote plausibility and applicability to this discussion.

      • Pat Nguyen
        July 7, 2014, 6:24 pm

        @RoHa: it stems more from a desire to survive. There is no benefit to allow hordes of hostile people into a small country.

      • Shingo
        July 7, 2014, 11:01 pm

        There is no benefit to allow hordes of hostile people into a small country.

        Yeah, what a pity that wisdom wasn’t factored into the Balfour declaration, which sanctioned the immigration of hordes of hostile people into a Palestine from Europe.

    • talknic
      July 7, 2014, 2:14 am

      @ mondonut “The RoR as espoused by the Palestinians is not International Law”

      If you insist. However,UNGA 194 afforded the same RoR for Jewish Arabs from the Arab states

      “specifically the claim that whatever law the “right” rests on (what is that anyway?) is retroactive back to 1948 “

      Strange UNGA res 194 was adopted IN 1948.

      “and includes the never ending magical ability to pass that “right” to children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc… “

      Same for Jewish folk who’re still stateless refugees …. know any who haven’t forgone their refugee status? (Refugee status is lost by becoming citizens of states other than those of return)

      “That 194 is restating existing law would make sense if the RoR was an accepted norm in 1948 (it was not)”

      The UN says it was DEFINITION OF A “REFUGEE” UNDER PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION OF 11 DECEMBER 1948 (UNGA res 194) Also afforded to Jewish Arabs from the Arab States

      “Further, Israel was accepted to the UN in the same manner as everyone else”

      Bullsh*t! Name another country accepted into the UN under similar circumstances

      When Israel was accepted into the UN:
      It promised to adhere to the UN Charter and International Law http://www.knesset.gov.il/docs/eng/megilat_eng.htm . As we can see by the hundreds of UN/UNSC resolutions reminding Israel, reaffirming and emphasizing binding International Law and the UN Charter, Israel has not lived up to its legal obligations

      Israel had armed forces in territories the Israeli Govt had said were “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine”

      Israel was at war in territories the Israeli Govt had said were “outside of the State of Israel” … “in Palestine” (ibid)

      By 1949 Israeli citizens were already settling in territories under Israeli occupation (military control). Territories the Israeli Govt claimed were “outside of the State of Israel” … “in Palestine” (ibid) & http://wp.me/pDB7k-Xk

      “if the GA thinks they got stiffed then they should toss Israel out”

      Can’t while the US exercises the UNSC veto vote in favour of the Jewish state. BTW The veto vote doesn’t absolve Israel of any crimes, it merely keeps the stupid frog in the pot

      ” But there is nothing in the resolution that elevates GA resolutions into law for Israel and Israel alone”

      The law only comes into effect when broken. All law is binding and effects all states equally. The UN Charter is binding in its entirety, conventions are binding on those who have ratified them The laws, UN Charter chapters and conventions re-affirmed and emphasized in UN/UNGA resolutions are binding!

      Thanks again for allowing the opportunity to show honest readers just how hopeless empty your rhetoric is. Keep riding the rotting corpse of zionist colonization and illegal Israeli expansionism, you’re doing a great job!!

      • mondonut
        July 7, 2014, 2:59 am

        @Talknic

        Ugh. any excuse to repeat the same tired nonsense…

        UNGA 194 afforded the same RoR for Jewish Arabs from the Arab states
        Correct. None at all for both parties

        Strange UNGA res 194 was adopted IN 1948.
        And it does not provide the RoR. Claims based on subsequent agreements such as Geneva would have to be retroactive to satisfy Palestinian claims. Work on your reading comprehension.

        Same for Jewish folk who’re still stateless refugees
        What Jewish folk are you referring to?

        The UN says it was DEFINITION OF A “REFUGEE” UNDER PARAGRAPH 11
        No, the UN did not. Your link in no way establishes that in 1948 the International norm for refugees was that they possessed the RoR.

        Bullsh*t! Name another country accepted into the UN under similar circumstances
        Every new member. Every single one.
        http://www.un.org/en/ga/about/ropga/adms.shtml

        Can’t while the US exercises the UNSC veto vote
        Does not change any facts.

        The law only comes into effect when broken. All law is binding and effects all states equally.
        There was no law and nothing was broken. The Israelis were not bound to any GA resolution by joining the UN

      • Shingo
        July 7, 2014, 4:19 am

        Ugh. any excuse to repeat the same tired nonsense…

        We know how facts and reality turn the stomach of Zionists.

        Correct. None at all for both parties

        The fact that Israel has blocked it doesn’t mean 194 does not afford Palesitniasn the right of return. And yes, 194 does provide the RoR.

        Claims based on subsequent agreements such as Geneva would have to be retroactive to satisfy Palestinian claims.

        So what?

        Your link in no way establishes that in 1948 the International norm for refugees was that they possessed the RoR.

        Read it properly. Yes it does.

        Every new member. Every single one.

        Rubbish. No other country has been accepted into the UN under similar circumstances. Your link does proves Talknic’s point, not yours.

        The Israelis were not bound to any GA resolution by joining the UN

        Yes they were. Their memebership was contigent upoin them accepting and upholding UNGA194.

      • talknic
        July 7, 2014, 10:12 am

        mondonut “Ugh. any excuse to repeat the same tired nonsense”

        Strange, you’ve failed to show any “tired nonsense”. Your denial of fact is only evidence of zionutter idiocy

        //UNGA 194 afforded the same RoR for Jewish Arabs from the Arab states//

        “Correct. None at all for both parties”

        Weird .. from the link I provided.

        A definition of the term “refugee” appearing in paragraph 11 of the resolution of 11 December 1948 is necessary for the purpose of determining eligibility for both repatriation and compensation as provided for in that resolution.

        //UNGA res 194 was adopted IN 1948//

        And it does not provide the RoR.

        Weird .. from the link I provided.

        A definition of the term “refugee” appearing in paragraph 11 of the resolution of 11 December 1948 is necessary for the purpose of determining eligibility for both repatriation and compensation as provided for in that resolution.

        “Claims based on subsequent agreements such as Geneva would have to be retroactive to satisfy Palestinian claims. “

        Say… did you know that 1948 (UNGA res 194) comes BEFORE 1950 (GC IV)

        UNGA res 194 is applicable to non-Jewish people who had a right to Israeli citizenship 1948, to territory occupied by Israel by 1949 and Jewish Arabs who were citizens of the Arab states in 1948.

        Meanwhile, Palestinian claims under GC IV are not for the right to return to Israeli territories of 1948. Palestinian claims under GC IV are to territories occupied by Israel in 1967, Jordan being a High Contracting Power in 1967 and the West Bank being sovereign to Jordan at the time of its capture by Israel.

        “What Jewish folk are you referring to?”

        Playing stupid is so cute … tis you who should work on your reading comprehension .. they must be paying you a fortune or do you make a complete idiot of yourself for free? That’s dedicated stupidity! AMAZING!

        //The UN says it was DEFINITION OF A “REFUGEE” UNDER PARAGRAPH 11//

        “No, the UN did not”

        Strange the link I gave is to an official UN document!

        A definition of the term “refugee” appearing in paragraph 11 of the resolution of 11 December 1948 is necessary for the purpose of determining eligibility for both repatriation and compensation as provided for in that resolution.

        “Your link in no way establishes that in 1948 the International norm for refugees was that they possessed the RoR”

        Weird .. from the link I provided.

        A definition of the term “refugee” appearing in paragraph 11 of the resolution of 11 December 1948 is necessary for the purpose of determining eligibility for both repatriation and compensation as provided for in that resolution.

        “Every new member. Every single one.
        link to un.org”

        Uh? The link you gave was to the rules, not to the circumstances. My guess is you can’t provide ANY instances of UN acceptance under the same circumstances

        //Can’t while the US exercises the UNSC veto vote//

        “Does not change any facts”

        Correct. Facts are: Israel is still in breach of International Law and the UN Charter as emphasized and reaffirmed in hundreds of UN/UNSC resolutions. The Israeli frog is still in the pot.

        //There was no law//

        The Israeli Government said there was and that Israel would abide by it!

        “MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: I have the honor to notify you that the state of Israel has been proclaimed as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947, and that a provisional government has been charged to assume the rights and duties of government for preserving law and order within the boundaries of Israel, for defending the state against external aggression, and for discharging the obligations of Israel to the other nations of the world in accordance with international law. The Act of Independence will become effective at one minute after six o’clock on the evening of 14 May 1948, Washington time.” http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/israel/large/documents/newPDF/49.pdf

        Did they get it wrong?

        and nothing was broken”

        Hundreds of UN/UNSC resolutions reaffirming and emphasizing the law tell us you’re full of bullsh*t!

        “The Israelis were not bound to any GA resolution by joining the UN”

        Odd. It was an UNGA resolution that finally granted acceptance! I guess you’ll say anything no matter how bizarre, wrong or utterly stupid and unsubstantiated

        Thanks again for the opportunity to show honestly interested readers how empty idiots for Israeli expansionism are! Keep up th’ good work!

    • rosross
      July 8, 2014, 6:08 am

      If Israelis can use the unjustified ‘argument’ that because some members of their religion lived in Palestine thousands of years ago, after emigrating from Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq, where their religion began, they have a right of ‘return’ which transfers down for millennia then surely that is an argument in full support of the Palestinian right of return across decades?

      There is only one reason Israel opposes the right of return, and in fact opposes a one-state solution and that is because of religious bigotry and a belief that followers of Judaism are superior and must be a majority.

      The laws which apply to Israel are those which apply to any democracy, the bar Israel has set for itself – human rights, international law and justice.

      And none of them will tolerate continued occupation, colonisation and apartheid.

  8. sjarjour
    July 6, 2014, 2:15 pm

    “Whatever its imperfectness, BDS is the most powerful tool available for forcing the Palestine issue, so systematically sidelined and distorted by the mass media, to the fore.”

    If Palestinians aren’t struggling for their self-determination in the occupied territories, then BDS will have no effect. Just like in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement. The only reason people paid attention is because blacks were being ACTIVE in the South.

    “Claiming that South Africa was an apartheid state “rang true”. ”

    It rang true because both sides of the South African conflict didn’t dispute the “apartheid” label, just the justice/injustice of the term. The BDS movement won’t even be clear about where “apartheid” exists and the other side opposes the use of the term. That’s partly why you’re unsuccessful in selling the term’s application to Israel. Israel is different from South Africa. And pretending they are the same is hindering the solidarity movement’s success.

    As for the right of return, Mouin Rabbani states that the right of return was regarded as a humanitarian issue and not a political issue at the time it was prescribed. The Palestinian case for a state vanished after 1948 and only re-emerged in the 1970s. Can you garner international support for bringing back millions of Palestinians to Israel? That’s not even remotely possible. You’re living on Mars. That’s not to say the Palestinians don’t deserve recognition and compensation. They do. But this issue is going to have to be negotiated, and there will probably necessitate some sacrifice on the Palestinian side on full implementation of the right of return.

    “With this reasoning, no injustice could ever be targeted except the one that is (according to criteria of one’s choosing) the absolute most egregious on the planet. All others need simply point the finger downward.”

    This is a political matter. You have to sell this cause. And you have to be careful with what arguments and tactics you use. The US is inextricably linked to the occupied territories. It looks grossly hypocritical to only target Israeli academic institutions. And it raises too many problems regarding academic freedom. Academic boycott toward apartheid South Africa targeted racist hiring practices. Is that what you’re promoting? Academic boycott is just a very hard sell.

    As for Stephen Hawking, that was not an academic boycott. It was the Israeli Presidential Conference hosted by Shimon Peres.

    “The “D” of BDS does implicitly mean boycott of US interests involved in Israeli militarism. Divestment from American companies such as Caterpillar or Hewlett-Packard is no longer considered a fringe campaign, thanks to BDS.”

    You know full well that divestment from those companies had nothing to do with your vague “Israeli militarism” but of the “Israeli occupation”. That’s the kind of deceitful language that’s going to get you in trouble. All your so-called BDS victories have specifically targeted the occupation, not all of Israel.

    “The cumulative wealth of documentation and activism is extraordinary. Yet Professor Chomsky dismisses the movement for justice in Israel-Palestine as not having done its homework?”

    Okay. So are we on the verge of victory? How many people from Congress support our cause? How many prominent politicians? Just like when the Marxists were on the verge of victory in the United States of transforming the US into a socialist republic.

    You don’t understand Chomsky’s statement, “There is no reason to expect Israel to accept a Palestinian population it does not want.” What he means is the one state solution you’re calling for already exists, and it doesn’t look good for the Palestinians. Israel is fully aware of a potential demographic problem, which is why it doesn’t take over ALL of the occupied West Bank. It doesn’t want to incorporate the Palestinians. And when Israel wants land, it expels the population (if it’s able to quietly) and builds an all-Jewish settlement. If it can’t expel Palestinians quietly, it makes life hell for them until they leave. That’s the one state that will materialize if we allow it: an expanded Israel without any Palestinian in sight.

    • rosross
      July 8, 2014, 6:11 am

      The one-state solution looks excellent for the Palestinians. Even if no Palestinians return from the diaspora, they will still be a majority in the one-state solution. And as a majority, one presumes, they will allow some to return.

      Israel’s rejection of the Palestinians is sourced purely in religious bigotry which is no more acceptable than racial bigotry.

  9. HarryLaw
    July 6, 2014, 2:36 pm

    Chomsky is right as regards Israels non compliance with Resolutions on right of return, since the US veto will come into play making enforcement of any Security Council Resolution impossible . This from Wikipedia ..”Article 94 establishes the duty of all UN members to comply with decisions of the Court [the ICJ] involving them. If parties do not comply, the issue may be taken before the Security Council for enforcement action. There are obvious problems with such a method of enforcement. If the judgment is against one of the permanent five members of the Security Council or its allies, any resolution on enforcement would then be vetoed. This occurred, for example, after the Nicaragua case, when Nicaragua brought the issue of the U.S.’s non-compliance with the Court’s decision before the Security Council.[6] Furthermore, if the Security Council refuses to enforce a judgment against any other state, there is no method of forcing the state to comply. Furthermore, the most effective form to take action for the Security Council, coercive action under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, can be justified only if international peace and security are at stake. The Security Council has never done this so far”. The ICJ found against the US in the Nicaragua case, the US promptly ignored the decision.

  10. tommy
    July 6, 2014, 3:08 pm

    Thanks. Despite being an influenced reader, Chomsky’s prejudices are evident in regards to Israel, require analysis, and, perhaps, rejection. BDS not only allows persons like myself agency combating the racist nationalism of Israel and my government’s support of it, it also provides Palestinians with a framework supporting their struggle without arms, which Chomsky might support if it was not the state of Israel who was their oppressor.

    • rosross
      July 8, 2014, 6:15 am

      Absolutely correct. I am not sure why Chomsky is backtracking but his dissembling is dishonourable.

  11. W.Jones
    July 6, 2014, 3:38 pm

    he simply saw two states as the only possible path to his favored solution, a bi-national state. This system preserves regional autonomy (as either a Jewish or Arab area) within a single nation. In 1947, such a bi-national state was supported by moderates like Judah Magnes and the socialist group Hashomer Hatzair.
    This is the core of Chomsky’s thinking. Two separate areas, each made up of their own nationalistic economic, political, and social organizations from top to bottom. In theory, this sounds perfect, but I expect that in practice it would not be.

    In medieval Europe there was a huge Kingdom of Lithuania. It so happened that its subjects were frequently slavs. Some Belarusian slavs have looked with much favor at the Kingdom’s past and used its symbols as their own. And yet, when you think about it, who was more likely in charge of Lithuania- the slavs or Baltic people?

    A huge problem with Segregation in America was racist attitudes about inferiority. And yet, if you took our those attitudes, do you think that dividing a society so thoroughly and deeply would be equal? Or perhaps, like the Kingdom of Lithuania, that one of the two divided groups would be more likely to be in charge, based on economic, political, and academic predominance?

    This goes to, I think, the main problem with Chomsky’s model. As Brown v Board of education said, Separate but Equal is inherently unequal.

    • rosross
      July 8, 2014, 6:16 am

      More to the point, Israel demands a satrapy – in other words, Israel has complete domination over air, land and sea borders so the Palestinian ‘state’ would be a farce, an utterly powerless farce.

      And separate but equal is apartheid, or at least, the idealised version of it. Apartheid, pronounced Apart Hate, was in fact a policy of separate development, but one where the coloniser had and held all the real power.

  12. W.Jones
    July 6, 2014, 3:55 pm

    Professor Chomsky also argues that Israel regularly violates even the Security Council resolutions that are binding, and therefore one is asking for something that will not happen. With Professor Chomsky’s precedent, then, all international law by definition becomes irrelevant, because non-compliance becomes self-justifying.
    Excellent point.

    With this reasoning, no injustice could ever be targeted except the one that is (according to criteria of one’s choosing) the absolute most egregious on the planet. All others need simply point the finger downward.
    Good point. If Country A is doing something bad, and Country B is doing the same thing with the support of Country A, you can morally criticize the action of either. While I suppose it is hypocritical for Country A’s government or society as a whole to only criticize Country B’s “exact-mirror” actions, it would still be upright for organizations in Country A to be more dedicated to Country B’s actions, because it’s important to have a global outlook and because those individuals may have more of a relation to Country B’s mirror actions.

    But in any case, reality is not the “mirror” that Chomsky presents. There are ways in which Israeli and US actions are quite different, and there are reasons why it may simply be more practical and effective to use BDS in the latter case than in the former. A US congressman may actually be more open to discussing problems with US intervention in Latin America or the Middle East than about the IP conflict, leaving BDS as one of the few avenues that people working on the IP issue can pursue. So even if US policy in the Mideast were worse like Chomsky claims, activists may still have other options like finding politicians who will agree with them, while this may be much harder when it comes to IP, leaving BDS as one of the few avenues open.

  13. W.Jones
    July 6, 2014, 3:56 pm

    Suarez took the bull by the horns like a top class matador.

  14. Dan Crowther
    July 6, 2014, 4:21 pm

    “This might not work as well as you think” is not “I am opposed to you.”
    The rank immaturity and yes, cultishness displayed in this piece and in the comments is really off-putting. The guy doesn’t agree with the platform whole-hog, Big Friggin Deal. Grow the F up, seriously. Learn to take some criticism without calling into question the life and work of people, especially Noam Fucking Chomsky. Next we’ll probably have a piece about his work on behalf of the “Un-people” all his life was just a ruse to gain sympathy and the benefit of the doubt for himself and by extension his zionism.

    • W.Jones
      July 6, 2014, 6:50 pm

      Hello, Dan.
      You have a lot of good comments here on MW, and I am glad that you care about Palestinians.

      “This might not work as well as you think” is not “I am opposed to you.”

      About this, Chomsky says:

      Boycotts? Yeah i still oppose boycotts… and the reason is that it is so hypocritical that it discredits the whole effort.

      (28:30)
      youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=t_LygPVxY8A
      He gives the same broken explanation in the video that he did about the “glass house analogy”. So it is worth having an article explaining why it is not hypocritical: First, there is a major difference in practicality and efficiency in boycotting when it comes to boycotting the US and the Israeli State for their abuses, and second, BDS is one of the few avenues when it comes to IP, unlike other abuses about which some politicians may at least give a sympathetic hearing.

      In addition, I like Chomsky overall and believe that he has made important contributions. However, a thinker may have a weak spot in some area. Chomsky has stated that his personal connection to the state, where he served as a nationalist youth leader, may affect his views.

      • Dan Crowther
        July 7, 2014, 10:30 am

        This is actually a really illustrative example, if only discovered unintentionally by Jones.

        Weir, Blankfort and Chomsky are all Americans. Yet Only one of them is interested in discussing the crimes of the United States. What’s more, Weir and Blankfort contend that if Israel and “The Lobby” weren’t around, the US would be free to pursue it’s “national interests” (which of course are never defined – you can ask yourself why) and it would pursue these interests in a peaceful way. They think this because there are so many other examples of the United States – since it’s founding – acting in such a rational and benevolent way in it’s foreign policy, especially toward non white countries.

        Chomsky is point is so basic and easy to understand it’s not surprising that few here can comprehend it: If you are an American, you are a member of a society that deserves to be boycotted. Your country has killed – Murdered- or displaced tens of millions of people since the end of WW2. It’s overthrown democratically elected governments the world over and most of the time it’s replaces them with out and out fascists. Does anyone disagree with this? Can anyone here claim this to be untrue?

        So, why don’t the Weirs, the Blankforts, the Walt’s, the Weiss’s talk about this – why wasn’t there a “boycott businesses who benefit from the US occupation of Iraq” mass movement active on US campuses? I’ll tell you why, because as hard as it is to criticize Israel here in the US, it’s impossible to tell the truth about the United States – it’s government and society without being pilloried by all sides, like Noam Chomsky has been for fifty years.

        “If Americans only knew” is bullshit propaganda. It assumes that if Americans did know, they would do something about it, because Americans are good and decent people. ‘Mericuh! Is there ANY evidence for this being true? And what does it say about Americans that they could not know so much for so long – all the wars, all the coups, all the killing; in fact each time the United States is shown to be murdering and torturing or what have you, the same pathetic shit is thrown out there by “decent minded Americans” like Weir and Walt: “This not us, we as Americans are inherently against such behavior, our government is captured by dark forces etc etc” This is just the radical opposite of serious. I just got done reading Nick Turse’s “Kill Anything that Moves” and one of the take away lines from it is: My Lai wasn’t an aberration, it was an operation. The same can and should be said about US policy in the ME and in I/P in particular. Chomsky is comfortable saying these things, the others clearly aren’t, they have to make themselves and their prospective partners feel better. Or as Jones says, it isn’t practical.

        So, to me, on the point of “is it hypocritical for Americans to boycott Israel given the US’s record” the answer is a resounding yes.
        On the question of divestment, Chomsky supports it – again, for a simple reason: it’s directed (in the case of American citizens and groups) internally, to American corporations. It’s Americans themselves “boycotting” American corporations.

        The last point I’ll make is probably the most important – the failure of most BDS folks and especially the folks at Mondoweiss to see beyond themselves is what is going to really do them in. Right now their focus is on Presbyterians, EU councils and rock stars playing Israel when the real threat is marching toward Baghdad. And when they get to Jordan, and when the black flags can be seen through Israeli binoculars, that’s the end of Palestine forever – because everyone will respect the right of Israel to defend itself (and Jordan) against the Jihadi’s and no one will be there to see what happens on the ground. Some astute folks will know that ISIS is the creation of the US and Prince Bandar, but it won’t matter. The goal has always been to “Arabize” the Palestinians, and there’s no better tool for that than ISIS style pan-arabism. Israel dreams of the caliphate.

      • lysias
        July 7, 2014, 11:06 am

        If a caliphate unites the Arabs, what makes you so sure that Israel can defeat it?

      • Dan Crowther
        July 7, 2014, 11:16 am

        Who says they’re really going to fight it?

      • Citizen
        July 7, 2014, 11:55 am

        @ Dan Crowther
        You imply that Israel does not, will not fight an Arab attempt to implement a caliphate? What is the logic of your thinking? I look forward to your explanation.

      • rosross
        July 8, 2014, 6:19 am

        This is not about Arabs and Israelis anymore than it is about Arabs and Europeans, that being what Israelis are in essence… this is purely a colonial war waged by Israel against the indigenous Palestinians.

      • W.Jones
        July 7, 2014, 11:31 am

        Weir, Blankfort and Chomsky are all Americans. Yet Only one of them is interested in discussing the crimes of the United States.

        You are not wrong about Weir: she said that she began reading about IP as a regular journalist years ago and was shocked to find that it was the most misportrayed story in the media, with the most intense pressure against showing what was really happening. So this is why she focuses so much on IP, rather than other US issues.

        Blankfort was formerly deeply involved in Solidarity with Latin America, so it’s not his only issue. He has a radio program where he focuses on other issues like Venezuela too: http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/contributor/1752

        Naturally, when Weir wishes to host a radio program on IP and bring in Chomsky, that’s the issue they will focus on. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about other issues.

        They don’t say that the US would be so peaceful even if lobby interests didn’t affect it. However, you can look at the Clean Break Document and notice that our policy may be even more distorted due to the role of lobbies in US politics in general. For example, were it not for the Miami Cuban lobby, our policy on Cuba might be much different, as some who have researched our relations with Cuba have said. It doesn’t mean that our relations with Cuba would be perfect.

        The president wants to improve relations with Iran, but the Lobby is a major obstacle. It doesn’t mean that relations would be great were it not for the lobby.

        why wasn’t there a “boycott businesses who benefit from the US occupation of Iraq” mass movement active on US campuses?

        There may have been some boycott calls, however the main thing is that there were Congressmen and major media figures like Michael Moore who were willing to take a dissident position on the war. How many Congresspeople are willing to openly oppose Israeli policies about Palestinians.

        “If Americans only knew” is bullshit propaganda. It assumes that if Americans did know, they would do something about it, because Americans are good and decent people. Is there ANY evidence for this being true?

        Sure, I and others here on MW. We grew up thinking in terms of Israeli democracy and Palestinian Muslim violence. Then once we “knew” we decided to do something. BDS, which Chomsky opposes, means doing something.

        Chomsky is comfortable saying these things, the others clearly aren’t, they have to make themselves and their prospective partners feel better. Or as Jones says, it isn’t practical.

        Blankfort has a long history of Left activism, including in Latin America. If it was just a standard matter of US domination of a region, he would say that. But take a look at John Judis’ book, where he shows that the establishment was more favorable to Palestinians, but then concern about the lobby lead Truman to take the opposite position from them.

        So, to me, on the point of “is it hypocritical for Americans to boycott Israel given the US’s record” the answer is a resounding yes.

        No, because there are differences in the reasons for the strategies, the circumstances, and because it was not hypocritical to boycott South Africa. One of the practical differences is that it makes a stronger, more effective impact in using BDS on a smaller abuser that relies on foreign trade than on a superpower that is far more self-sufficient. Another one is that avenues like Congresspeople are more open on other issues – including Iraq, than on IP. Look at Rep. John Murtha and others who opposed the Iraq war.

        Some astute folks will know that ISIS is the creation of the US and Prince Bandar, but it won’t matter.

        And why did the US create them, except because its foreign policy is so distorted?

        You seem to think that what is happening in the Mideast is standard fare for US foreign policy. And yet when else do you see the US supporting openly anti-American forces that are destroying a region. Chomsky says that Israeli policy is about removing the Palestinians, unlike South African policy, which was about exploiting them. US foreign policy has usually been about exploiting regions for their resources too. And yet in the Mideast it looks like it is about ruining the region, rather than exploiting it. Thus, US foreign policy is distorted beyond its normal role. Support for the proxy forces that started in Syria is out of the pages of Clean Break.

      • Citizen
        July 7, 2014, 12:14 pm

        @ W. Jones
        All points astute and well taken. Thank you for sharing your brain and knowledge. There’s no question that all the non-exclusively Zionist imperialistic motives of the USA discussed by Smedley Butler long ago are still around, working away. Do I have to go beyond mentioning Dole Pinapple? I appreciate your fishing out how the rubber-stamping of Israel is a different fish, though not lacking in Butler’s view of US imperialism. Beyond how US campaign finance works, just add on the ideological view of US exceptionalism, plus Jewish chosen, amped by Zionist takeover–there’s a Jewish star on every free US F-16 that is the Israeli Air Force, etc. And, more, add in US protestant fundies, Christian Zionists, employing the US assets for the End Days (When most Jews seduced into Israel will die by the hand of God, while Christian Zionists will rapture up to haven in a nice escalator with more oiled buttons to push that all the Jews wafting over to Israel under the only ROT that passes over thousands of years of human history in the ME region.

      • libra
        July 7, 2014, 6:30 pm

        @W.Jones

        Very good rebuttal. Another fine example of the tremendous contribution you have made of late to the debate on the substantive issues to hand – as opposed to the theological issues Professor Ellis diverts us with from time to time.

      • W.Jones
        July 7, 2014, 11:48 pm

        Thanks, Libra.
        I have come to the conclusion that in substance Chomsky on IP is very similar to Peter Beinart and MJ Rosenberg, however he is more outspoken and his ideal is a nonstate, divided nationalist society there. They all supported boycotts of the occupation, and their positions are thus between JVP and J Street.

        Consequently, M.Ellis is to the left of Chomsky, since I think he supports BDS. I think that his theological writing has a good side because he wants to side with people under oppression. In fact, were he to now and then write in a real, scholarly, theological way about IP issues (like about Neturei Kartei or the ACJ’s religious views on it), it could be an improvement. M.Ellis also offers an open stream of consciousness, kind of like writing a diary. So you can see where his mental thought goes. It is like a window into the mind.

        Chomsky on the other hand does not really show, I think, where his reactions come from. When the normally radical Chomsky throws out “the destruction of Israel” and “pure antisemitism” about the BDS campaign, it’s like a bullhorn announcement that came out of nowhere. His more zealous followers are left trying to explain how actually he is a BDS campaign supporter. But since his reasons (eg. It’s 100 times worse in England) don’t really make sense, one wonders what he is really thinking.

      • Citizen
        July 7, 2014, 11:45 am

        @ Dan Crowther

        I doubt Weir, Blankfort, Walt etc would deny the charges made against the USA by the likes of Smedly Butler long ago, and still apropos today. I think they would all agree with him, and many here would too, and with the view that rubber-stamping Israel makes it all even worse. Whether you think US is the Big Satan and Israel the Little Satan (Chomsky), or visa-versa (AIPAC rules by virtue of the US campaign finance system), to castigate those of us who deplore what Israel is doing in the name of God and American values (and thanks to US tax dollars and UN SC veto) is a conflation that is a bad joke echoed by Bibi N. No other country in the world except Israel is constantly said by US politicians and Israeli leaders like Bibi N as having the same values as the US. Even Colin Powell blamed “the Jinsa crowd” for his own boldface lies to the US public which brought us into the US copycat (Of Israel) preemptive wars mode. The US model ideal is not Chaney, but MLK. We are being dragged backwards to the stone age by our own greedy 1% and Likud politics. Who here thinks the US reputation as a good guy in the world is being helped by US rubber-stamping of Israel’s agenda? In the end, the USA’s best interests are not helped by giving America the lead role in duplicity and hypocrisy. Because of AIPAC power and what OWS called the 1% elite rulers here; and given the relevant characterization recognizing the America as a de facto plutocracy/oligarchy, e.g., Soros, Koch Bros, Adelson, etc), I fail to see what you, Dan, are asking of us Mondoweisers.

      • W.Jones
        July 7, 2014, 12:43 pm

        The US model ideal is not Chaney, but MLK.

        Citizen,
        Strong nations, including the US, have a long history of wielding power over smaller ones. The US model is not necessarily MLK in foreign affairs as you may be implying. But nor is it the “total ruination” IP-style model that it has been imposing on the Mideast as Chomsky portrays it. Were it not for IP overlap, one would expect the US relationship to be more like it has been with Latin America. The US is not running a 10+ year direct occupation or backing of anti-American forces in Bolivia or Argentina.

      • Citizen
        July 8, 2014, 5:29 am

        @ W.Jones

        The “IP overlap” is actually not an overlap because the US “special relationship” with the tiny state of Israel does not overlap with conventional big power foreign policy. It’s a distinct departure, which is why it’s characterized as “special” or unique.

      • W.Jones
        July 8, 2014, 9:17 am

        Citizen,

        There is both “overlap” and departure. There is overlap, because the US found it amenable at times to also cooperate with South Africa, and oil companies hoped to profit from a conquered Iraq.
        But there is departure, because normally the model is its relations with Latin America, where it sends in companies to exploit resources. Backing anti-American forces is nonsensical from the normal globalist POV, but it’s not nonsensical not if the goal is ruination, rather than economic exploitation. Look at the Clean Break Document- that’s not about oil.

      • aiman
        July 8, 2014, 8:21 am

        “And when they get to Jordan, and when the black flags can be seen through Israeli binoculars, that’s the end of Palestine forever – because everyone will respect the right of Israel to defend itself (and Jordan) against the Jihadi’s and no one will be there to see what happens on the ground. ”

        You have eluded more facts than you have missed. Netanyahu was bombing Syria and helping the Takfiris, now he’s making oil deals with the Kurds. Israel is not some tourist with binoculars in this mess. It is partly responsible for it.

      • rosross
        July 8, 2014, 8:38 am

        The Palestinians have time, justice and numbers on their side. They cannot lose. If Israel tried to ethnically cleanse Palestine world outrage would impose a one-state solution in a nano-second. And even if Israel killed all of the Palestinians there are still 8million in the diaspora waiting to come home and world outrage would ensure that they did.

        Israel lost this colonial war long ago. It cannot win. It cannot remove the Palestinians; it cannot maintain occupation, colonisation and apartheid; it cannot hold out against justice and human rights.

      • Antidote
        July 8, 2014, 10:42 am

        “Strong nations, including the US, have a long history of wielding power over smaller ones. The US model is not necessarily MLK in foreign affairs as you may be implying’

        Remind me: how long did it take until the US, despite it’s famous declaration of self-evident truths, went MLK in its DOMESTIC affairs?

        I have a book tip for you and everyone else:

        Meeting the Enemy: American Exceptionalism and International Law

        Nov 3rd, 2011 | By msimpson | Category: 23-2: Climate Commitment, Book/Media Reviews
        By Natsu Taylor Saito
        New York University Press (2010)

        Review by Michael W. Simpson

        The cover for this book shows that it is slated for the law section of the bookstore. But it should also be stocked in the American Indian/ Indigenous Studies and History sections, as well as in the Serious Stuff We Need to Confront for Human Survival section.

        Earlier this year, the United States was confronted with an embarrassment when it was revealed that Osama bin Laden’s secret code name was Geronimo. This book explains why we should not be surprised that such was the case. The alleged newness of U.S. policy toward global terrorism isn’t anything new. Rather, the choice to annihilate the perceived Other is deeply ingrained in U.S. policy and practice.

        This book explains the connections to and the continuations from American colonists to the “war on terror” and how the United States both claims international law and excepts itself from it. Further, the book explains how the United States has claimed itself the greatest beacon of freedom, liberty, and democracy while justifying the denial of such to a substantial number of persons and groups over time. Finally, we get a glimpse at how American exceptionalism can be confronted and why it is important for us all to do so.

    • American
      July 6, 2014, 8:19 pm

      If Chomsky or you supporters dont want him called into question I suggest you tell him to quit lying. Even when you mix truth with lies the lies still stand out.
      I could care less about his opinion on BDS—I do care that he lies about the real crux of the issue.

  15. MHughes976
    July 6, 2014, 4:50 pm

    Chomsky is credited with persuading Hawking to snub Peres, which was BDS of a sort and one of the most significant statements of disapproval of what Peres stands for by a leading Western thinker. It might be that Chomsky is unenthusiastic about BDS rather than bitterly opposed to it.

  16. Nevada Ned
    July 6, 2014, 5:21 pm

    You can agree or disagree with Chomsky, but let me make a point that is ignored.

    Chomsky is an opponent of US imperialism, and has devoted many books to the topic.

    He thinks the Israel Lobby is not as important as most Mondoweiss readers believe.

    The history of US empire-building includes many chapters in which the US invaded other countries and imposed a puppet government. In the Monroe Doctrine, proclaimed in 1823, the US staked a claim to the entire New World, whether people in Latin America liked it or not.

    After the Second World War, the US emerged as the most powerful country in the world, and became a global imperial power. After World War II, the US invaded Korea (1950), Cuba (1961), Dominican Republic (1960’s), Lebanon (1958), Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (1950’s-1970’s), Granada (1980’s) Panama (1980’s), Iraq (1990, again 2003), and carried out regime change in Chile (1973), Nicaragua (1980’s), Honduras (recently), Indonesia (1965), Iran (CIA installed the Shah, 1979) Libya (2012) and Ukraine (happening now). [I’m doing this from memory and might have a few dates discrepant].

    What irritates Chomsky (IMHO) is that articles in Mondoweiss seem to assume that the middle east mess is all the fault of the Israel Lobby. US intervention in the rest of the world is ignored. In US invasion of these other countries, there wasn’t anything like the Israel Lobby in operation.

    My conclusion is that, while the Israel Lobby is important in Washington politics, even if there were no Israel Lobby US policy probably wouldn’t be very different.

    The US is supporting thugs in Israel. So? Who do you think we’re supporting in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt (first Mubarak, now Sisi), Iran (under the Shah) etc. ? Thugs.

    Chomsky thinks that Mondoweiss writers and readers are letting US imperialism off the hook.

    By the way, FWIW, Joseph Massad (prof at Columbia) agrees with me. And Massad is one of the last people on earth to underestimate the power of the Israel Lobby, because the David Project tried to get him turned down for tenure. [Check out Massad’s wikipedia page for an account of the David Project, which concocted a film (Columbia Unbecoming) which accused Massad of being an anti-Semite.]

    • just
      July 6, 2014, 6:34 pm

      NN– exactly.

    • Tom Suarez
      July 6, 2014, 6:42 pm

      Thanks — I ,too, think the power of the Israeli lobby is over-rated. While it certainly helps, ultimately the powers actually running the US must have their own vested interests for empowering Israel, else it wouldn’t be this … weird. But all this is irrelevant to the issue of Chomsky. (Or at least I don’t see the connection.)

      • W.Jones
        July 6, 2014, 7:01 pm

        But all this is irrelevant to the issue of Chomsky. (Or at least I don’t see the connection.)

        Tom,

        That’s true. Chomsky did not address the issue of the lobby in his article, nor did you mention it.

        Nevada N. is raising a separate issue about Chomsky, who calls it “one of the smaller lobbies”.
        youtube.com/watch?v=oPLAsu8_-p8

      • Tom Suarez
        July 6, 2014, 9:32 pm

        Ah… Thanks.

  17. amigo
    July 6, 2014, 5:33 pm

    I am reminded of a debate Chomsky had with two of his protaganists!!.

    The Dersh and Hitchens .

    As I recall . he cleaned both of their clocks and defended the Palestinian cause quite vociferously.I wonder what Edward Said would have to say about his change of heart.

  18. just
    July 6, 2014, 6:29 pm

    I am not jumping on the anti- Chomsky bandwagon. If people feel so strongly that he is wrong, then prove him wrong. Perhaps that is what needs to happen, and what he is hoping to see happen.

    It’s going to take a lot of ideas, actions, and people to move this appalling situation toward justice. In America, we have to take it to OUR government and do other things that make sense to us.

    He never said not to engage in BDS, you know.

    Thanks for the absolutely gorgeous picture, Tom! And iirc, you also shared some great photos with us for the Pope’s visit– thanks for them as well!

    • W.Jones
      July 6, 2014, 7:15 pm

      Just,

      He never said not to engage in BDS, you know.

      What about:
      “Boycotts? Yeah i still oppose boycotts…”
      (28:30)
      youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=t_LygPVxY8A

      “I am opposed and have been opposed for many years, in fact, I’ve probably been the leading opponent for years of the campaign for divestment from Israel…”

      Alan Dershowitz cites Chomsky as saying this in The Case for Israel – Page cvii

      One of the important tactics against the apartheid government was the eventual use of sanctions. Do you see that as a possibility?
      Chomsky: No. In fact I’ve been strongly against it in the case of Israel.

      http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/20040309.htm

      David Weinfeld writes: MIT Institute Professor of Linguistics Noam Chomsky recently gave the greatest Hanukkah gift of all to opponents of the divestment campaign against Israel. By signing the Harvard-MIT divestment petition several months ago—and then denouncing divestment on Nov. 25 at Harvard—Chomsky has completely undercut the petition.
      http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2002/12/12/chomskys-gift-mit-institute-professor-of

      • just
        July 6, 2014, 9:22 pm

        So he’s “against” BDS. I think he’s “against” it because the citizenry in the US doesn’t really want to hold their government accountable for their complicity in the awfulness of so many places, least of wrt Israel. So many don’t even care about our foreign policy, unless ‘somebodies’ tell us of the great threat we face and ramp the nation back to a warmongering mode. (By the way– we never really ever leave that mode!)

        I see our lack of a sane foreign policy as our greatest threat. I am not rich. I worry about the economy and the lack of decent standards of living for many in the US… I worry about the number of people incarcerated here in the US and the disparity evidenced by the stats. I worry about the elderly and infirm. I worry that our SCOTUS is completely unbalanced. I worry about the racism that is visible and palpable and still acceptable. I am good at worrying.

        At the end of the day, this is what I think: our DoD budget is insanely OUT of CONTROL. Our fears are manufactured on Capitol Hill, in the WH, in boardrooms, at conferences like Bilderberg, and among neocons (all stripes) and PNACians. Unless and until US citizens get a clue, it will continue and morph…into something even worse.

        I don’t care what Dershowitz says.

        I will stop there.

      • W.Jones
        July 6, 2014, 10:30 pm

        So he’s “against” BDS. I think he’s “against” it because the citizenry in the US doesn’t really want to hold their government accountable for their complicity in the awfulness of so many places, least of wrt Israel.

        I strongly sympathize with your concern about the economy and how people are treated in America, along with our foreign policy. Unfortunately I am afraid that this does not really explain why Chomsky is so set against BDS. Tom rightly explained:

        But this linkage is artificial. Israeli wrongdoing is not morally contingent on any other country’s wrongdoing, nor mitigated by the fact that other countries, in particular the US, empower that wrongdoing. With this reasoning, no injustice could ever be targeted except the one that is (according to criteria of one’s choosing) the absolute most egregious on the planet. All others need simply point the finger downward.

        I don’t see how people being imprisoned at an astonishing rate means that people should be against avoiding buying products from an abusive state that wishes to continue its policies but is concerned about boycotts. If a person actually is concerned about human rights here and there, then it is nonsense to oppose actions that will help people there.

        For him to put so much effort, writing repeated articles, spending his whole moderator Q&A session at Harvard IAW, etc. instead of addressing the important domestic and foreign issues you mention shows that it is not really our of concern about those domestic issues that he opposes human rights intervention like BDS. If domestic issues were his concern, then he could, like Jeff Halper has emphasized, show how Israeli actions unfortunately set a bad example for US policies (eg warehousing). By taking the initiative with BDS, we are actually more likely to head off bad “example setting” here. So by stomping on BDS, Chomsky unfortunately makes activism more difficult both there and indirectly here.

  19. Kay24
    July 6, 2014, 7:24 pm

    After the recent events, where the entire world was able to see Israel’s unbelievable violence and collective punishment of an entire people, and the sorry way Bibi handled the entire situation, the inciting and calling for avenge, the blood thirsty statement of other Israeli leaders, the blatant lies, the blame on victims, the unleashing of Jews against Arabs, and Bibi looking aggressive, but certainly not like a statesman – I wonder if anyone in the world would think that Israel does not deserve to face BDS.
    It has all backfired on Israel.

  20. eGuard
    July 6, 2014, 7:38 pm

    So we have Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, MJ Rosenberg, Jerremiah Haber/Charles Manekin and Peter Beinart who come to tell us that BDS is wrong. On their very, very first true test in where do you stand, they back off and weasel back to support Zionism.

    There is pattern with these five, their behavior and their support. But what could it be?

    • W.Jones
      July 6, 2014, 8:41 pm

      Guard,

      I don’t know about Finkelstein. He is a former Maoist who said that after leaving Maoism Chomsky is the main guide for him. So my guess is that with Finkelstein it is a matter of following one’s mentor. And normally, Chomsky would be an excellent mentor. He is not all bad either for Finkelstein, because it looks like he gave Finkelstein more confidence in his objection to abuses in IP.

      There are people here who seriously believe in BDS but also strongly believe in Chomsky and their way of harmonizing the two is to say that Chomsky supports the BDS campaign. If they can achieve this, then I suppose that Finkelstein may end up listening to his mentor, even if other factors would weigh on him the other way.

    • SQ Debris
      July 6, 2014, 9:22 pm

      Maybe it’s that unimportant, unmuscular, insignificant little Israel lobby? Maybe? Just wondering what could turn those mental giants into apologists.

      • W.Jones
        July 6, 2014, 9:50 pm

        SQ,
        Nobody forced Chomsky to write the article. His vehemence comes across in his interviews on the topic:
        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/chomsky-bds-consensus.html/comment-page-1#comment-680174

      • Citizen
        July 7, 2014, 3:56 am

        In the MW link W.Jones gives us, the last audio is an interview of Chomsky by Allison Weir; Jeff Blankfort calls in also. Chomsky says BDS is hypocritical because the US is a much larger culprit, and is more responsible for the state of affairs than Israel is. He says calls for Boycott will just feed “the hard right” in this country, e.g., the WSJ–big business it represents (and I guess: military industrial complex?) and moreover, that AIPAC too will call the BDS supporters hypocritical (which will dilute BDS).

        Chomsky also says BDS will hurt the Palestinians. When Weir points out that BDS was initiated by Palestinian civil society, by over 100 organized and prominent elements of that society, Chomsky gets testy.

        Blankfort comments that Chomsky always downplays AIPAC.

        There’s something missing from Chomsky’s prediction. I think it’s that he’s not aware of just how many people in USA will agree that their own government is hypocritical and the most responsible is what is symbolized in the 1%.

      • Shingo
        July 7, 2014, 4:25 am

        He says calls for Boycott will just feed “the hard right” in this country

        He sounds exactly like Susan Rice. Israel is in violation of the international law, but if we do anything about it, the right will be empowered. So what?

        I wish someone would mention that Finkelstein’s “cult” comment has become a cornerstone of right wing Israeli supporters.

        AIPAC too will call the BDS supporters hypocritical

        Amazing how hypocritical Shomsky is. He has refused to mention or even aknowledge the existence of AIPAC all this time and finally does when criticising BDS.

        When Weir points out that BDS was initiated by Palestinian civil society, by over 100 organized and prominent elements of that society, Chomsky gets testy.

        Yes, and he shows hiw white man’s burder alter ego by suggesting that even if that was true, we shouldn’t support the Palestinians in making such a bad choice. You know, he knows what’s best for Palestinians even if they don’t.

      • Citizen
        July 7, 2014, 4:15 am

        Chomsky’s objections to BDS are very weak. He says it will harm the Palestinians. But it’s Palestinian civil society, represented by over 100 organizations, that initiated BDS. His objection that BDS is hypocritical because the US is the bigger culprit, and the most responsible, and so why feed “the hard right” such ammo, is not well-thought out. And the WSJ and AIPAC sure won’t be trying to undercut BDS by such characterization.

    • Jeremiah Haber
      July 7, 2014, 10:56 am

      eGuard, I have supported global BDS on numberous blog posts, argued with Beinart about it on Open Zion, have endorsed it in the New York Times, and endorsed it as recently on this site as last week! So unless you can’t read English, I have no idea what you are referring to. And yes, my kind of Zionism can support BDS because, my friend, global BDS requires the existence of the State of Israel to make sense. Again: if you don’t accept the existence of the State of Israel — albeit, a state of all its citizens — then you cannot support BDS. Read the 3 calls — they are addressed to the State of Israel: end occupation, end discrimination, recognize the right of the refugees to return according to 194 — all this is addressed to the State of Israel.

      But maybe, eGaurd, you don’t support global BDS….

      My point in my post last week was that there should be an unofficial coalition between my crowd (Barghouti, Abunimah, etc.) and the liberal Zionist BDS crowd. As it is, the major victories on BDS have been directed towards the Occupation, and even those academics like Hawking who boycotted Israel do so because of the Occupation. So I have yet to hear a serious argument — no, I have yet to hear any argument — why there shouldn’t be what I called an unofficial coalition of the BDS’ers, one, by the way, that would include Chomsky.

  21. Faisal
    July 6, 2014, 9:55 pm

    BDS is the least anti-Zionists can do. Full stop.

    I personally can be in favor of military action; if Uncle Sam and neocolonial Europeans invade and destabilize countries all the time to make more money, why not do something similiar to rid the Middle East of its only settler-colonial ethnocracy?

    And what’s the matter with supposedly left-wing dissidents like Slavoj Žižek
    having authoritarian views about stuff? Is that a trend?

  22. joer
    July 6, 2014, 10:09 pm

    I think there is an element of Chomsky being old and wanting to see some sort of resolution to this issue before he dies-and since there is some sort of framework for a two state solution, he feels that is the most realistic. Personally, I don’t feel a two state solution is any more realistic than a single state-and lately I’m thinking a single state solution is actually more realistic. It is certainly more desirable to me, the whole everyone being equal thing appeals to me…plus, I’m Jewish, but my whole life doesn’t have to be Jew Jew Jew.

    And about BDS, I think it could stand some improvement, but it’s really the only game in town and criticism should be directed to make it more effective, not start another movement over from scratch. It is quite an accomplishment that a pro-Palestinian somewhat mainstream movement has been able to coalesce around this concept, and that is something that should be noted by Chomsky et al.

    • W.Jones
      July 6, 2014, 10:48 pm

      Joer,

      Chomsky has opposed BDS for decades, and was quoted in Dershowitz’s Case for Israel about this. It’s not that he is starting to think this now out of old-age “realism.”

      • Citizen
        July 7, 2014, 4:33 am

        @ W. Jones
        Allison Weir reminded him. He got testy.

  23. chuckcarlos
    July 6, 2014, 10:21 pm

    tom jefferson, robespierre, nguyen ai quoc, ho chi minh, eamon devalera, lenin, trotsky, juarez, zapata, mao, castro, daniel ortega …now the muslims have taken over the wars of liberation…

    chomsky saw the future…but he got weak in the knees

    muslims don’t have that handicap or hangup and they’re going to win in the end…make no mistake about that…

  24. Shingo
    July 6, 2014, 11:05 pm

    But perhaps Professor Chomsky’s strangest statement of all, a rather terrifying statement on the face of it, is that “There is no reason to expect Israel to accept a Palestinian population it does not want.”

    Strange indeed. I guess there was no reason to expect the government of South African to accept a black African population it did not want.

    I guess there was no reason to expect the government of Iraq withdraw from Kuwait if it did not want to.

    But there is another matter of Chomsky’s hypocrisy that has not been mentioned. He keeps arguing that BDS proponents are playing into the hands of right wingers by not explicitly sticking to the international consensus on a 2ss.

    The fact is that he and Fink have made statements about BDS that have become prized talking points for anti BDS activits. How often do Israel’s apologists cite Fink “cult” statement?

  25. unverified__5ilf90kd
    July 7, 2014, 12:33 am

    We keep discussing the personalities and listing their irrational statements about Israel but I am curious about why we seldom ask the question “Why is the Jewish State so bad ?”

    It is just like after 9/11 we refused to ask “Why did they do it ?” but the Fatwas of BinLaden had outlined the reasons for years. It was clear why they did it. But the MSM did not want to deal with the stated reasons so we said things like “They are jealous of our freedom.” Perhaps, Zionists do not ask the question “Why is the Jewish State so bad ?” because they do not want to confront the answer. So they find a way to dismiss the question by saying that Israel is not bad (the questioner is an anti-Semite) or saying that others are worse or just blaming someone else for the fact that Israel is bad. The response is irrational so I would like to analyze it.

    We can start by asking why Zionists label the critics of Israel as anti-Semites.
    My theory is that Zionists and anti-Zionists often label Israel’s critics as anti-Semitic because this is a way of bonding with the tribe by sharing an emotional response. A Zionist like Indyk will call Walt an anti-Semite and a progressive like Max Blumenthal will label a much more extreme voice such as Atzmon as an anti-Semite because Blumenthal agrees with Walt. There is a great emotional need to share something with the tribe and it is still easy for even a critic of Israel to share the antipathy towards a perceived anti-Semite. There is therefore a strong tendency for even anti-Zionists to be part of the problem. Chomsky is a good example of this irrational behavior. We keep looking for a complex argument to justify his statements but there is none. He has only an irrational and protective tribal understanding that was learned at an early age and is hard for him to reject, even when logic and the facts are not on his side.

  26. W.Jones
    July 7, 2014, 1:00 am

    Further articles on Chomsky’s recent article in the Nation:

    The Chomsky, Guardian and Israel triangle
    Jonathan Cook
    http://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/2014-07-03/the-chomsky-guardian-and-israel-triangle

    Who Decides for the Palestinians?
    by Kim Petersen
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/07/who-decides-for-the-palestinians/

    Nowhere is it made clear in Chomsky’s article that Palestinians have the dominant say in what fate they choose… The supporters of the “Palestinian cause” can make their concerns known, but in the end, it is up to the Palestinians to decide what constitutes a settlement they can accept. It is up to Palestinians to decide what they will endure

  27. Jeremiah Haber
    July 7, 2014, 11:00 am

    I would just add that I obviously don’t agree with Chomsky, since not only do I support BDS, I support the Palestinian BDS movement.

    But all the people who say here that Chomsky doesn’t support bds at all are simply dolts who not only don’t understand Chomsky, they also don’t understand Tom Suarez’s excellent article.

    • W.Jones
      July 7, 2014, 12:29 pm

      Jeremiah,

      Hello, it’s nice to have you commenting here.

      “Boycotts? Yeah i still oppose boycotts…” ~Chomsky

      (28:30)
      youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=t_LygPVxY8A

      “I am opposed and have been opposed for many years, in fact, I’ve probably been the leading opponent for years of the campaign for divestment from Israel…” ~Chomsky

      Quoted in Alan Dershowitz, The Case for Israel – Page cvii, discussing Chomsky’s opposition to the Harvard BDS petition.

      One of the important tactics against the apartheid government was the eventual use of sanctions. Do you see that as a possibility?
      Chomsky: No. In fact I’ve been strongly against it in the case of Israel.

      http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/20040309.htm

      • Jeremiah Haber
        July 7, 2014, 5:27 pm

        http://www.kabobfest.com/2010/04/noam-chomsky-endorses-berkeley-divestment.html

        “April 13, 2010 I would like to express my support and appreciation for the principled statement of the ASUC Senate calling for divestment from US corporations providing military technology for Israel to use in the occupied territories and in its past and possibly future invasions of Lebanon. Amnesty International has gone further, calling for a full arms embargo during Israel’s murderous attack on Gaza in January 2009, with pretexts that do not withstand a moment’s scrutiny, one of the most egregious of recent US-backed Israeli crimes. There can be no question about the right, in fact responsibility, of students to express their concerns about official actions of their university, and to call on university authorities to refrain from improper actions — in this case, indirect participation in ongoing crimes. The statement appropriately focuses on our own responsibilities: on our own actions — or inaction — and their consequences. That much is hardly more than moral truism. In the present case, the decision goes beyond moral truism: the US plays a decisive role in implementing illegal Israeli takeover of occupied territories, harsh repression, violence and aggression. It is our responsibility to do what we can to act ourselves, and to mobilize others, to change the US government policies that foster serious crimes and bar the path to peaceful diplomatic settlement. Terminating support for US corporations that participate in US-backed Israeli crimes is a significant step towards this end, both in its policy and educational implications. Noam Chomsky”

        I WAS surprised to read a letter to the editor of The Australian claiming that I regard the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement’s tactics targeting Israel as “pure anti-Semitism, aimed at the destruction of Israel” and that I said BDS efforts are “inimical to the interests of and lacking any genuine support from the Palestinian people” (Letters, 14/12).

        These tactics have enormous support among Palestinians, and the charge of anti-Semitism should be dismissed with disdain.
        When Human Rights Watch “calls on the US and European Union member states and on businesses with operations in settlement areas to avoid supporting Israeli settlement policies that are inherently discriminatory and that violate international law”, it is advocating BDS tactics, rightly, and there is no hint of anti-Semitism.

        I have personally been involved in such forms of opposition to the Israeli occupation for years, long before there was a BDS movement.
        Any tactics, however legitimate, can of course be misused. But they can also be used quite properly and effectively against state crimes, and in this case regularly have been.
        Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA

      • just
        July 7, 2014, 5:38 pm

        Thank you Jeremiah.

        And, thank you Noam Chomsky.

      • Shmuel
        July 7, 2014, 5:44 pm

        Yet the Chomsky Wars will go on.

      • just
        July 7, 2014, 5:53 pm

        I really don’t understand the “Chomsky Wars” at all.

        Aren’t people smart enough not to denigrate an ally for justice for the Palestinians and others that are suffering– many millions because of US policies ? Listen/read/get active. Be your own leader. Don’t we have enough to do without arguing “who is the bestest” among ourselves?

        Parsing Noam Chomsky’s words without looking at the entire context is dumb.
        But then again, that’s only my opinion.

      • Shmuel
        July 7, 2014, 5:59 pm

        But then again, that’s only my opinion.
        +1

      • W.Jones
        July 7, 2014, 7:35 pm

        Aren’t people smart enough not to denigrate an ally for justice for the Palestinians and others that are suffering– many millions because of US policies ?

        What’s denigrating, Just?
        I am just listening to what this well known figure says about BDS and I do not agree with him, so I say that I don’t, and I explain why.

      • W.Jones
        July 7, 2014, 7:21 pm

        Hello again, Jeremiah.
        You posted two letters from Chomsky. In the first, he writes:

        I would like to express my support and appreciation for the principled statement of the ASUC Senate calling for divestment from US corporations providing military technology for Israel to use in the occupied territories

        This is in accordance with his position that he shares with MJ Rosenberg about divesting from US companies and from the occupation, rather than from the Israeli State. This is why in “The Case for Israel”, Chomsky is quoted as saying “I’ve probably been the leading opponent for years of the campaign for divestment from Israel.”

        Likewise, in the second letter, Chomsky writes:

        I WAS surprised to read a letter to the editor of The Australian claiming that I regard the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement’s tactics targeting Israel as “pure anti-Semitism, aimed at the destruction of Israel”… Any tactics, however legitimate, can of course be misused.

        However, in his interview with Frank Barat, Chomsky explained that boycotting tactics are the right thing to do, but that the BDS petition was “pure antisemitism” because it was directed against the Israeli State, rather than against the US, which is “100 times worse”.

        The way to understand this, is that while Chomsky supports using the tactics that BDS does, he opposes the formal BDS petition based on his incorrect claim that its 100 times worse “in the US, England or any other place you talk about”. Based on this claim he incorrectly concludes in the interview that the formal BDS petition is “pure antisemitism.”

        If you think that Chomsky supports the BDS campaign, then I recommend you watch the interview where he listens to the BDS petition and mislabels it as “pure antisemitism.”

  28. chinese box
    July 7, 2014, 2:48 pm

    Chomsky claims that the Israel lobby isn’t that powerful, but the main locus of support for Israel is in the congress, where the lobby has the most sway. On the rare occasions where steps are taken against Israel they usually originate in executive branch (ex: Baker, Bush41). And then the executive invariably backs down after pressure from congress. And if dissent originates in the congress, the representative gets voted out when AIPAC finances their opponent. Doesn’t this give the lie to Chomsky’s thesis?

  29. Rusty Pipes
    July 7, 2014, 9:07 pm

    So, after the last Chomsky thread, has Hostage really cancelled his subscription and picked up the remote or is he just taking a holiday.

  30. RoHa
    July 7, 2014, 9:51 pm

    I desperately hope not. I don’t give a hoot about Chomsky, and I don’t care whether Hostage is right or wrong about him.

    I just don’t want Hostage to leave us.

    His awe-inspiring, supernatural ability to track down and present detailed analyses of the relevant law, treaties, and history, is too valuable to lose.

    • ritzl
      July 7, 2014, 10:21 pm

      Major DITTO!

      • Shingo
        July 7, 2014, 11:04 pm

        Major DITTO DITTO.

        I am sure Hostage is still around.

  31. phacepalm
    July 8, 2014, 4:38 am

    For what it’s worth, here’s my take on Chomsky.

    First: it is now an irrefutable fact that Chomsky does not support BDS. That’s a given. The question then becomes whether his refusal to support BDS is (a) a manifestation of some latent zionism (as a lot of people here seem to think), or, (b) he *really* does think BDS is a bad tactic/strategy/whatever, which will do more harm than good to the Palestinian cause.

    I vehemently disagree with Chomsky on BDS. I think it’s not only the best tactic available but, contrary to his claims, it’s been successful (and continues to grow), even though not at the rate I would personally would like to see. It’s the *only* tactic so far employed by the Palestinians that really scares Israel, and that’s saying something.

    I have too much respect for Chomsky to judge his motives, so I give him the benefit of the doubt on BDS and simply accept that I disagree with him while we both share the same ultimate goal – justice for the Palestinians.

    I can not however, in good conscience accept his take on the Israel lobby in which he basically suggests that it barely exists or that it has no influence. I vividly remember reading his comments on the Walt/Mearsheimer thesis as presented in their article (and subsequent book), and I practically fell of my chair when I read his dismissal of its influence. It was a shock – and still is to this day.

    Let’s think about this for a moment: The United States is most powerful and most wealthy country that has ever existed. The 100 clowns (also known as US Senators) in the US Congress cannot for the life of them, pass meaningful legislation on even the *simplest of majorities* to provide comprehensive healthcare for the people of this country. That’s right folks, they cannot agree even on the most basic needs of their fellow citizens, yet they will routinely vote 98-2 to pass pro-israel legislation written and submitted by AIPAC staffers. And Chomsky would like me to believe they have no influence. Or that the fact that the US gets involved in every conflict in the Middle East (that’s to the advantage of the Zionists in Israel) is somehow an …imperial US interest that happens irrespective of the Israel lobby??

    I just can not trust Chomsky anymore. I appreciate his past contributions, but this is where we part ways. I simply do not understand his take on the israel-lobby and it’s too hurtful to read his nonsense on the issue.

    • Shingo
      July 8, 2014, 5:02 am

      I just can not trust Chomsky anymore. I appreciate his past contributions, but this is where we part ways. I simply do not understand his take on the israel-lobby and it’s too hurtful to read his nonsense on the issue.

      That sums up my sentiments exactly. I owe a lot to Chomsky for opening up my eyes to the realities that because of their very nature, governments cannot be trusted, and less so the most powerful.

    • rosross
      July 8, 2014, 8:05 am

      Well, the US is actually not the most powerful or most wealthy country that has ever existed – both the Roman and British Empires can lay claim to that.

      And given the political corruption in the US it is hardly any wonder that it is as ineffective as it is.

      But I agree with you on Chomsky.

    • W.Jones
      July 8, 2014, 9:36 am

      Phacepalm,
      Chomsky participated in a formal debate on the lobby, arguing against the ADC:

      You asked about explaining Chomsky’s view. In his interview with Frank Barat (part 4/4), he explains in it that the reason he opposes BDS is because he sees it as demanding the Israeli State’s “destruction”. Rephrased, the reason he opposes it is because he is a supporter of having a nationalist State. Unfortunately, he did not explain why he believes BDS demands the State’s “destruction”, and in fact it doesn’t. The call’s demand for human rights is simply compatible with a two state solution. Nowhere does it mention “destruction”.

  32. rosross
    July 8, 2014, 5:41 am

    I would just make the point that the article plays into Israeli propaganda by perpetuating the myth that a religion can create a people. Judaism, like Christianity, comprises all races and dozens of nationalities. There is no more a Jewish people than there is a Christian people although one can understand that the religious culture of each, and indeed, religious teaching, would make use of the word ‘people.’ But it does not apply and it has never applied.

    Zionism made use of the term ‘people’ as literal and not as the metaphor which Judaism would have it. Orthodox Jewry rejected the concept of a literal State of Israel because they said, quite rightly, that it was religious metaphor and never meant to be made a physical reality.

    As long as Jews are called a people, the people of Palestine, the Palestinians are disenfranchised. In the same way that Zionist/Israeli propaganda does not call them Palestinians, but Arabs, a generic and cultural connection which is as insulting to their Palestinian reality as it is to deny a German or Italian their nationality and culture by dismissing them all as Europeans.

    Most Jews do not live in Israel, never did and never will. There is no Jewish race, no Jewish people – it is a religion. You convert and you are Jewish – you do not change race or nationality. You drop the religion and you are not Jewish – you do not change race or nationality.

    Until the correct terminology is used to define this colonial war by Israelis against indigenous Palestinians, the fantasy that Jews somehow comprise a people with a right to a homeland will continue.

    Although even if being Jewish or Christian did make a people it would never be justification to deny the rights of members of other religions, nor to colonise their land.

  33. notatall
    July 8, 2014, 10:20 am

    Rosross: “There is no Jewish race, no Jewish people – it is a religion. You convert and you are Jewish – you do not change race or nationality. You drop the religion and you are not Jewish – you do not change race or nationality.”

    Could not agree more. People need to hear this, and pay attention. But there is more: in Israel, “Jew” is a legal status, buttressed by law (just as “white” was in the U.S. and South Africa). The zionists took people from fifty countries, speaking different languages and practicing different religions (or no religion at all) and declared them “Jews” based on the fiction (taken seriously only by zionists and nazis) that they share common descent from Abraham.

  34. hellsbells
    October 25, 2014, 6:35 am

    Opposition to Israel is bound up to a single viewpoint. It’s good to celebrate our critique.

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