Chomsky and his critics

Middle East
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When the Swedish Academy awarded Bertrand Russell a Nobel Prize, the philosopher was uneasy. I have always supposed, he wrote, that one cannot be respectable without being wicked. He conducted his life out of step with the creed of authority. Twice imprisoned and twice removed from his academic post for his broadsides against war and religion, the aristocratic radical actively courted the displeasure of an elite that made his grandfather prime minister of England. And when, of late, it was disclosed that the CIA had spied on Noam Chomsky, it was not much of a revelation that he too is a prime target for the respectable.

An extensive literature has grown up over the years that pegs him as, variously, a Holocaust denier, a neo-Nazi fellow traveller, a Stalin admirer, a Hezbollah adviser, a Saddam Hussein defender, and a Pol Pot sympathiser. These indictments come not just from the remote wilds of the rightwing media. They come from liberal sectors of the press.

What accounts for the obsession? One has long suspected that his critics work in teams to revile him. But the full extent of their collusion has remained unclear. Documents that have come to light reveal that it is a tightly orchestrated network of foreign policy hawks in the press, academia, and politics, some connected with the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a neoconservative think tank with links to political officials in the United States and Great Britain. The remarks that follow will trace the connections between the key figures of this circle, past and present.

It all started with a feud. In May 2013, Marko Attila Hoare, an academic who writes on Bosnia and a member of the HJS, in a running dispute with its leadership, published documents revealing the inner workings of the Society in response to its efforts to deny he had ever held a position in the group. The material proves that he was a staff member from the start, but it sheds light on the anti-Chomsky lobby too.

The documents are the minutes of the HJS. The internal memos, dated November 2005, outline the newly-formed outfit’s main agenda at their first post-launch meeting. One of the items on the minutes, listed prominently in fourth place, was to discredit Chomsky. Their tack was to allege that he is a “denier” of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia. In the art of controversy, slapping the label “denier” on someone is meant to evoke the Holocaust. Chomsky, the furtive charge proceeds, is a kind of Nazi.

Brian Leiter reviewed the merits of this allegation when elements of the HJS launched it, and the blog Indecent Left has combed through what Chomsky has written on the Balkans in painstaking detail. The only conclusion possible after surveying the material is that the evidence for this “denial” has all the merits of the evidence for chastity in a brothel.

But if you cannot argue with critics of militarism on the plane of facts and findings, you do what’s second best, allege they work in the service of foreign powers. In the run up to the Iraq war, it was Saddam for whom the Left was said to swoon. In the Balkan wars, it was Milosevic.

The moment would come to press the attack. When Chomsky was voted by readers of Prospect magazine in 2005 as the most important intellectual alive, a journalist sympathetic to their cause interviewed Chomsky for the Guardian in which, amid a litany of sneering comments about her interview subject, he was quoted as saying that no massacre took place in Srebrenica. The quote was a fake. After complaints from readers and Chomsky alike, the Guardian retracted the piece, pulled it from its website, and disowned the accusation as baseless.

The HJS sprang to action. It sought to overturn the Guardian’s decision and spread the story to other publications. The record of the HJS meeting shows its tactic was to feed damaging allegations to friendly journalists, newspapers, magazines, and, in a novel twist to the methods of neoconservatives, leaders of Muslim organisations, putting it about that Chomsky is a pro-Serb propagandist who covers up crimes against Bosnian Muslims.

The task of getting this slur into circulation was delegated to Marko Attila Hoare and Oliver Kamm. Among the papers chosen to carry the charge were the Guardian, the Times and the Spectator magazine. The individuals to be approached were then Independent columnist Johann Hari, former political editor of the Spectator Bruce Anderson, and the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain at the time, Sir Iqbal Sacranie. The memo, written in shorthand, states:

Push forward on Chomsky / Srebrenica issue: Approach Guardian, Johann Hari, Bruce Anderson, THES, Spectator. Approach Sacranie and ask what he is to do about it. (Marko: coordinate with Oliver Kamm) Marko Atilla Hoare outlines the Chomsky case in the Guardian. In effect, this newspaper endorses genocide denial. Gideon Mailer mentions Jonathan Steel’s piece in the Guardian also. It was agreed that Marko Atilla Hoare would get in touch with Iqbal Sacranie (for example) and ask what can be done about the denial of genocide against Muslims in Europe during the Balkan wars. It was also thought that this should be mentioned to Johann Hari and the THES

The efforts of Kamm, Hoare and their colleagues to win over the Guardian bore no fruit. How could it? In their eyes “this newspaper endorses genocide denial”. It is an evil newspaper. By toiling so manically year after year, polemic after polemic, to vilify Chomsky, they succeeded only in extracting a formal repudiation of their efforts by responsible journals of opinion. In a tribute to the dishonest interview the Guardian was too ashamed to longer host on its website, the piece now enjoys a proud spot on Chomsky’s, there to serve as an object lesson to the scribbler with a creative streak.

The HJS memo puts to rest the mystery of why Michael Gove, the Minister of Justice in the British Conservative Government, and a trustee of the think tank, has accused Chomsky of denying the Srebrenica massacre on TV. It’s all about the oppressed Bosniaks for them, you appreciate, not about leveraging the debatable humanitarian motives of Western intervention in the Balkans as a precedent for invading Iraq and Syria and Iran and whatever enemy of the year beckons after that. It’s a carefully devised strategy to bash NC.

If a network of Pentagon ultras hatching schemes to denigrate Chomsky sounds familiar, it is because it is. The Anti Defamation League maintained a thick file on Chomsky of reports by its operatives sent to monitor his speeches, of newspaper clippings, and of snatches of personal correspondence they had managed to obtain. A copy was supplied to Alan Dershowitz in preparation for a debate he was set to have with him. Some of the leaked contents of the ADL file have since been published by the Electronic Intifada. On a further occasion, an editor of The Partisan Review offered the ADL print space to proceed against him.

Chomsky once spoke of the “defamation industry”. It sounded like rhetoric. But these revelations put things in a new light. An industry of books, websites, magazines, think tanks and organisations have formed to mount an unsurpassable onslaught. So many resources devoted to one man. A testament to how much he is feared.

Marko Hoare, in his entertaining campaign against the HJS– for apostasy wars are always a treat to behold– proves that his gifts in autobiographical revisionism are as well honed as his raillery against Chomsky. He identifies himself as a liberal who, though admiring of the muscularity of US foreign policy, does not like what he sees as the Henry Jackson Society’s lurch to the extreme right. The creeping signs of this rightward lurch were consummated, we are informed by our lurch resistant academic, by the arrival to the think tank of Douglas Murray, a rightwing critic of Islam.

These are strange sounds for Hoare to be making.

He affects not to have known the HJS was a neocon operation, and that only lately, seven years after he lent a hand in founding it, has this tendency emerged. The fact it is named for a senator, Henry “Scoop” Jackson, who backed the Vietnam war told him nothing. The presence of Richard Perle, Bill Kristol, Cliff May and the former CIA director James Woolsey among its patrons rang no alarm bell either.

And if he was uncomfortable with criticism of Islam, for which he has no reason, theology not being just a game for theophiles, he failed to indicate that such was the case when he argued that “Anti-Muslim bigotry is NOT to be confused with criticising Islam as a religion or opposing special privileges for Muslims, both of which are entirely legitimate.” (Emphasis in original.) And quite right too. Evidence of his aversion to the “Islamophobia” charge which he levels against Murray was in short supply when he informed us that “Christopher Hitchens correctly points out that the term ‘Islamophobia’ has been used to stifle criticism of Islam. He is absolutely right to draw attention to the indiscriminate use of the term by paranoid, self-pitying Muslims and guilt-ridden, self-hating Western liberals”.

Not quite the interfaith dialogue type, Hoare. Hints of a more realistic motive for the infighting between our muscular Jacksonians emerge when Hoare relates the shakeup of the organisation’s staff that saw him shafted from a senior role in the team, his position downgraded, his posting privileges on their website withdrawn unceremoniously, his articles rejected for submission, all this coinciding with the arrival of Douglas Murray, instantly promoted over Hoare in spite of his much longer tenure with the anti-Chomsky veterans. Might this be the cause of his enmity against the neocons? More plausible. Always count on a man to discover his principles when his ego is wounded.

Hoare is a mild mannered fellow as measured against the antics of his confederate, Oliver Kamm, a leader writer for the London Times, and the man tasked by the HJS to conspire with him against Chomsky.

A little history about Kamm is in order. The intellectual he most admires, Sidney Hook, true to the pro-military path of so many former Marxists, repaid his debts to patriotism by waging a determined campaign against leftists that his disciple has continued with gusto. Not only did Hook favour that America should stay in Vietnam to the finish once the war began, even if, in his view, the original deployment was a “mistake” (Hook liked the application of that anodyne word to mass murder by the United States), it should also commit to the covert wars in Central America, in support of the Contras in Nicaragua and the military junta of El Salvador.

The iconic symbol of the latter intervention was the El Mozote massacre, in which US-trained death squads rounded up 800 civilians in the town square, half of them children, and went about slitting the throats of men, women and children. Torture and rape in the presence of CIA officers were common. 70,000 would die, but Hook was unrepentant. Kamm applauded these views, published in Hook’s letters, as a defence of the free world against communism, just as he applauded the US sponsored overthrow of the democratically elected leader of Chile, Salvador Allende, whom he describes as a “totalitarian”.

Hook would go on to denounce Chomsky in his memoir for his protest against the Vietnam War, indignant that Chomsky should compare the mass killing of two million Vietnamese civilians to Nazi-like behaviour, a charge that Kamm would borrow frequently from Hook in his attacks on Chomsky to make it appear as though Chomsky said that the US and Nazi Germany are equal in every respect. By career’s end Hook was awarded the Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan for his services to anti-communism. It was well earned.

Decades later, the intellectual protege of old Sidney would carry on a Homeric obsession with the intellectual heir to Russell. And thus we have the saga of Kamm’s one sided feud with Chomsky.

Since 1998, the earliest record on cyberspace to one’s knowledge of his preoccupation with Chomsky, Kamm trailed him round and round the Web; he intruded on Usenet groups about his work to deposit taunting remarks culminating in eloquent putdowns like “ha ha”; he left one star Amazon reviews on seemingly all of Chomsky’s books, even when it was demonstrable that his knowledge of the contents consisted merely of its author’s name; he maintained a blog consecrated to the denunciation of all things and persons connected to Chomsky.

In view of the foregoing, it will be seen that “obsession” is a descriptive, not a pejorative, term for Kamm’s online behaviour, altogether distinct from the less excitable Marko Attila Hoare’s.

After long years of failing to break Chomsky’s monastic vow of silence, and forced to content himself with fielding derision from leftists not convinced that his prescription for re-electing George Bush was the best use of their ballot, Kamm got what he so infernally desired, a battle of wits with Chomsky in a polemical exchange in the pages of Prospect; and in so getting, left to his family name the distinction, unique in the annals of medical science, of being guillotined and surgically reattached to his shoulders and guillotined again so many times that no miracle known to God could patch up the vulgarian.

This too, it will be admitted by the impartial and disinterested, is only descriptive.

For the exchange see Kamm here and Chomsky here. After the spectacle one feels a little sorry and a little obscene for taking relish in the whole thing when the realisation hits that Kamm is a vigorous booty-clapper for the war lobby not, perhaps, because he enjoys gyrating pornographically to wild applause, though one might be easily fooled by the talent with which he swings from the dance pole, a G-string the only garment in sight, but simply and unavoidably to ward off starvation.

If getting humiliated by Chomsky was not punishment enough, Kamm, lusting after peaks of humiliation still grander, was demolished by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson in the most comprehensive and forensic critique of his work. Kamm likes to scream “genocide denier”, but Herman and Peterson prove that when Kamm is not denying Western backed genocides of his own, he is an active proponent of genocidal policies against official enemies.

Not since the fate which befell Richard Perle when he made the mistake of consenting to debate Chomsky, was a man so ritually dismembered. It is fitting that Perle is a patron of the HJS, and thus an elder statesman to Kamm, because it was the fate of Perle all over again. A man needs someone to commiserate with.

Perle’s involvement with the HJS is significant: he had served as an aide to Scoop Jackson, and after the way Chomsky toyed with him in 1988, had rather a more personal reason for getting even with his tormentor. It is beyond the power of speech to describe how bruising that encounter was. Perle will suffer other indignities in his life, but he can draw solace from the fact that he will not suffer quite like that again.

The greatest eruption of imbecilities in the anti-Chomsky industry, the most gorgeous and ornate buffooneries, come from Sam Harris whose book jacket for The End of Faith triumphantly announces that he has exposed “the secular fanaticism of Noam Chomsky” in a blurb supplied by Alan Dershowitz, which has Chomsky compared to the “fanaticism of Islamic suicide bombers”.

We are fortunate beyond words, are we not, to have these sages for all the ages protect us from the “secular fanaticism” of Mr Chomsky? Humanity shall not forget their dauntless sacrifice. Where else but in a pop atheist book is the fight against secular fanatics to be waged? Where else indeed.

Given that Sam Harris confides that “At various points I was a dogmatic Buddhist and a dogmatic Hindu believing in all manner of nonsense”, it is delightful to hear a convert not just to one religious fundamentalism, but fully two, speak of other people’s fanaticism, all the more so when he states that he was born into a “very secular household”.

Professor Dershowitz continues the gushing praise for Harris: “The End Of Faith shows how the perfect tyranny of religious and secular totalitarianism demonizes imperfect democracies such as the United States and Israel. A must read for all rational people.” Secular totalitarians who demonise imperfect democracies you say. Truly a must read for all rational people.

The odds are good that Dershowitz, known to conspire with anyone he can find against Chomsky, was an influence on Harris’s attack on him in light of the book’s fulsome tribute to the brilliance of Dershowitz’s moral arguments for torture and the unique humanity of the Israeli Defense Force’s treatment of Palestinians. Perhaps it is the bit on how Bush’s Iraq invasion was unfairly stigmatised by Chomsky. Like many pro-war liberals Harris would later deny he favoured the Iraq War once it could no longer be defended, preferring to say that he was agnostic, but as noted before in these pages, Harris argued in this speech at University Synagogue that we should have invaded Iraq with international support because civilisation has to be defended from its Muslim enemies:

Intelligent people could disagree about whether it was the right thing to do to go into Iraq. But one thing is pretty clear, going in we should have gone in with everybody. We need a truly international effort. We need to convince civilised democracies everywhere that civilisation itself has genuine enemies. These totalitarian, theocratic, tribal eruptions on many parts of the globe on a hundred fronts, many if not most of them are Muslims.

So much for our man of reason and science. You start off making funny gags about religion and you end in the gutter. As is the case with Hook and Kamm, the Harris-Dershowitz nexus is an example of the defamation industry’s generations-spanning enmity against the M.I.T. scholar.

Attacks on Chomsky that seem isolated and unconnected are often the handiwork of journalists and authors who move in the same circles. Kamm for instance is an associate of Nick Cohen’s; he admits to having advised Cohen on how to frame his denunciation of Chomsky in his apostasy book, What’s Left?. Cohen in turn is an ally of Christopher Hitchens who gave him a rave review. In many ways Hitchens was the centre of gravity in this circle around which the rest orbited, its most admired and leading member, a friend to Kamm, Cohen, Francis Wheen, David Aaronovitch, Norman Geras and other contributors to the anti-Chomsky genre of the national letters, in a mutually supportive club of hate against not just him, but against all dissenters on both sides of the Atlantic.

What the last named have in common is they are nearly all British former Trotskyists. Chomsky would not be surprised. He was speaking of the habit of Leninism to inspire waves of apostates because of its despotism and moral vacancy while the USSR was still a force to reckon with. As Chomsky was getting himself banned from the Soviet Union however, these fellows were still in thrall to Comrade Trotsky.

A recanted Marxist is not content to leave error behind. He must devote the rest of his life to harrying those who remain on the Left. Some of them, mindful of this well trodden path, try to evade cliche by still calling themselves Marxists whilst advocating the same policy objectives as the Republican Party. Hook did this. Hitchens did this. And Geras did this. The rest are too full of horror of old Karl to bear his name and are satisfied with passing themselves off as Leftists. Well, gentlemen, good luck with that.

Chomsky, more sensible, says that Marxism-Leninism is a religion and has always favoured a libertarian credo. What is notable is that although Chomsky is a critic of Bolshevism, he is not a Red-baiter, provocations from some of their number over the years notwithstanding. But you cannot read the work of an ex-Marxist without endless sneers about the “far left”.

The members of the HJS, in particular, are a marvel of nature. An all too common jibe of theirs is that the antiwar Left makes common cause with Muslim fundamentalists in opposing US foreign policy; and yet when it favours their cause they clamour to rope in just such a fundamentalist to assist their castigation of the peace movement. The man they chose to be their Muslim figleaf, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, former head of the Muslim Council of Britain, invited mockery when he was knighted by Tony Blair for having said that death is too easy for Salman Rushdie, from whose Satanic Verses publishers he made four demands: “One, to withdraw and pulp the remaining copies of the book. Two, to undertake not to publish in any form or manner any further additions or translations of the novel. Three, to tender an unqualified apology to all the followers of Islam. And four, to pay damages to an agreed Muslim charity.”

In addition, Sacranie’s view on homosexuality is that it is not acceptable because “it spreads disease” and that gay civil partnerships are “harmful”. The Henry Jackson Society’s desired outreach to this bigot, a man who championed a parliamentary bill to make expression of “religious hatred” concerning Islam a crime, what civilised people call free speech, is now a matter of public record. If Kamm and Hoare must throw free speech and gay rights under the bus to spite Chomsky, under the bus let them go.

The HJS memos show they wanted to recruit Johann Hari to their anti-Chomsky fraternity. Their attraction to Hari was during his hawkish phase, it must be said, before his retraction of liberal interventionism and his public disavowal of the war lobby. He has since gone on to produce some of the finest journalism on the subject of empire, the failed war on drugs, the obscenities of religion, and on much else besides. Far from joining their sect, it’s not uncommon for militarists to come to grief at the hands of Mr Hari.

It’s unlucky days for the HJS. Its infighting has forced an exodus of sponsors from the Labour party that gave it the flimsiest pretence of a cross-party think tank. It was a cross-party merely of neocons and neolibs without any leftwing pedigree.

Honest critiques of Chomsky are not to be confused with the defamation industry. It would be nothing short of a miracle if a man of Chomsky’s prolific output and breadth did not invite disagreement. He has published in excess of a hundred books on multiple disciplines, on science, on philosophy, on government, on economics, on the media, on history, often with a view to upset conventional platitudes. A critical appraisal of his work is useful to the student of political science, and the first to undertake such a critique ought to be those who share his ideals to make his analysis more effective.

What is salient about the professional Chomsky hounders though is how little error they uncover. It is because they are not engaged in criticism, in the inspection of whether his arguments hold up against the evidence. They are simply practitioners of vilification.

In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Bertrand Russell ruminated that “I think every big town should contain artificial waterfalls that people could descend in very fragile canoes, and they should contain bathing pools full of mechanical sharks. Any person found advocating a preventive war should be condemned to two hours a day with these ingenious monsters”. Well, it’s never too late.

In the end I think of those two men, Bertrand Russell and Noam Chomsky, those crowning ornaments of our moral age, those benefactors of humanity, those models of integrity, and reflect on the crooks who defame them and who aspire to be their equals, and a deep roar of laughter escapes from the depths of my being.

Correction: This article originally failed to state that David Peterson was co-author of “The Oliver Kamm School of Falsification: Imperial Truth-Enforcement, British Branch”, cited as “the most comprehensive and forensic critique” of Oliver Kamm’s work. Our apologies ~ Ed.

About Theodore Sayeed

Theodore Sayeed is a contributor to Mondoweiss. He may be reached at: [email protected]

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38 Responses

  1. Donald
    February 19, 2016, 1:14 pm

    Good post, though nowadays I think Chomsky is less relevant. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way–I learned a tremendous amount from him. Reading him makes it clear that you don’t have to commit oneself to some decade long study of Marx or some other person with a grand theory to understand something very simple–the dominant elites in any society always portray their activities as good and noble and most of the time they are only trying to grab more power or hang on to what power they have. And only an idiot would think that somehow, miraculously, the US is different.

    But I mean he’s less relevant in the present because of the internet and this is a good thing. When I was first reading about the I/P conflict, my first indication that the standard US view was full of crap was finding three of Chomsky’s books in a pile at a used book sale. One was “The Fateful Triangle.” It was a revelation. A bit of the pro-Israel propaganda had seemed fishy to me–the part about how the Palestinians all fled when the Israeli Jews begged them to stay seemed just a bit too cute to be true as stated. (I gather there was one mayor who did this, while some of his Zionist cohorts were busy shooting people, presumably without him knowing it.) But I had no knowledge of an alternative view or even any knowledge of how to find an alternative view except by accidentally stumbling on Chomsky. (Local libraries and the old small bookstores in those days rarely had many dissident writers.) Chomsky was, on the subject of US atrocities, a one man internet before there was an internet. He read everything and then summarized the evidence. You could use his footnotes to track down some of it for yourself if you had the time. I did this in some cases., but I wouldn’t have even known about the various HRW and Amnesty International reports without reading about them in his books first. On Israel, I found a David Hirst book “The Gun and the Olive Branch” in a used bookstore. Later (the late 80’s) the Israeli revisionist historians started to appear.

    Now we have websites and easy access to various human rights reports directly online and the Oliver Kamms of the world can’t do a damn thing about it. They can still do the character assassination game, but the cat is out of the bag. The mainstream press still tries to act as gatekeeper, but that only works if people let it. It was much harder to find up to date alternative sources of info 20 or 30 years ago, and that’s when Chomsky was indispensable.

    The character assassination game, though, works in a very limited way. People still do it. Try quoting a Glenn Greenwald article (GG is in some ways the closest thing to a new Chomsky, but not as important) and if you are at a liberal blog you will probably find some Glenn haters. They will do their best to change the issue from drone strikes to Glenn’s alleged character flaws. That was always the case with Chomsky. Cite him on El Salvador or East Timor or Israel and invariably the discussion would be turned into his real or alleged character flaws, or what he did or didn’t say about Faurisson or Pol Pot. But this stuff doesn’t work anywhere near as well anymore, because it’s not about what one particular dissident individual says.

    • Keith
      February 19, 2016, 8:53 pm

      DONALD- “But I mean he’s less relevant in the present because of the internet….”

      Good point. It wasn’t that long ago that Chomsky and a handful of others constituted the very core of alternative information. Alternative sources are much more plentiful nowadays. How long that will last is another matter. And now we must exercise care regarding social media disinformation. Overall good comment.

      • Donald
        February 20, 2016, 9:43 pm

        Thanks.

  2. Krauss
    February 20, 2016, 12:09 am

    Chomsky certainly has a loyal fanbase. His latent cultural Zionism, his vicious opposition to BDS, will never shake the moral certainty of the cult followers. But it has for those of us who are not blind followers, we see a man, like Finkelstein, who is unable to shake off his childhood sympathies and background and endorse BDS. It’s unconscionable and there is no excuse, there has never been an excuse and there will never be an excuse for it. Except for the fanboys.

    It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are on other topics, and Chomsky certainly is brilliant, if you flunk this basic test. Imagine, would anyone forgive Chomsky if he was against BDS in the case of South Africa? It amazes me that his fanboys are willing to see through anything in their defence of this man.

    • Whatt
      February 20, 2016, 11:03 am

      Agreed. It is a bothersome aspect of Chomsky’s “makeup” that leads him to oppose BDS, and the notion of the Israel Lobby etc. And as in Donald’s post above correctly noted he has become increasingly less relevant. These flaws will taint him whether his fanbase like it or not.

    • Donald
      February 20, 2016, 9:41 pm

      Chomsky is imperfect like everyone. He is way better than Sanders on the Palestinian issue and foreign policy in general. You like Sanders, so do call yourself a fanboy, or do you praise him where he deserves it and criticize him where he falls short?

      Okay, rhetorical questions aside, you aren’t consistent. If you want moral perfection you’re not going to find it in anyone. Evidently MLK really did say dumb things in praise of Israel– people had that discussion here months ago. It was disappointing. And King should have known better. Do I still think he was a moral giant? Yeah, I do, and the idea of either you or me setting ourselves above King is laughable.

      Chomsky and Sanders aren’t King either, but there is no reason why people can’t admire them within reason, without being silly about them or attributing moral perfection to them. The whole ” fanboy” term is basically a cheap shot. I know you are unhappy with Krugman’s trash talk of Sanders supporters. Do you appreciate being called a ” Bernie bro” ?

      • Keith
        February 21, 2016, 12:36 am

        DONALD- “Chomsky is imperfect like everyone.”

        Exactly! And on balance, his criticisms of Israel and championing of Palestinian rights has been praiseworthy. Yet, irrational Chomsky animus seems to emanate from many unlikely sources. Kind of a cottage industry hoping for elite funding. Yet another strong comment from you!

    • echinococcus
      February 20, 2016, 10:27 pm

      Krauss,

      Dangerous reasoning, if your opinion revolves around BDS only.

      BDS is being used for the intended purpose of saving the Zionist entity, by the “liberal” Zionists and the tribals of JVP etc, i.e. those very people who not only are “unable to shake off [their] childhood sympathies” but impose their paranoia on the leadership of the entire Western BDS movement and limit it to the Zionists’ goals. Right now, the Zionists in the BDS movement, possibly dictating policy, are definitely more harmful than some people who do not see the boycott as a useful move.

      I wouldn’t know if Finkelstein is a tribal like the ones circulating here, at any rate he has offered reasoned grounds for his BDS stance. I don’t agree with them but they are based on efficiency and do not sound like some residual nostalgia. Chomsky, of course, is a whole nother story.

    • ASBizar
      February 21, 2016, 8:25 am

      Chomsky is not anti-BDS. He is for it, if it works. The thing is he doesn’t think it works. And then, there are multiple tactics that can be used for BDS. Chomsky is not opposed to them all. Whether wrong or right, he is one of the few ones who uses a consistent reasoning method in that regard.

  3. Whatt
    February 20, 2016, 9:10 am

    Great article and very informative.
    Yes Chomsky is a giant, a giant with serious flaws.
    I will list two.
    1. His main sources has been almost exclusively the western media, primarily the New York Times and in the case of Israel, in addition to the NYT, it would be Haaretz English edition. ( The inimitable Israel Shahak provided Chomsky’s with regular translation of Israel’s press when Shahak was alive in the late 70s and 80s). This reliance on NYTis most evident when one listens to his long lectures/speeches, where every second sentence is peppered with the NYT wrote on such and such a date… while that may impress any researcher, however the fact is that the starting point has always been flawed by the nature of the sources since the sane sources controlled what they wrote/reported about. If you discuss and theorize about what the censors allowed to print, then the resulting analysis will be skewed . So in essence what Chomsky engaged in is,in the end, a criticism ( a very strong one admittingly) of an echochamber. ( a recent and interesting take on the subject of the NYR and the New Yorker is noted in the article by Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh in Modoweiss: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/02/new-yorker-glosses-my-reality-when-it-renders-death-to-arabs-chant-as-i-hate-all-arabs/)

    2. Until very recently, and very weakly and in passing during an interview only, he never recognized that the Israel lobby, and Prominent and influential Jewish Americans had influence on American policies, even in the middle of the neocon flourishing during and after the Iraq invasion when it was glaringly evident. Chomsky continued to explain US foreign policy and interventions in the Middle east as a lust for oil. It is a serious flaw, in my opinion. He held to the idea that corporatism and corporate interest is what drove American policy in general and adamantly insisted that that was also the case when analysing American foreign policy toward the Middle East.. A strange and surprising deficiency from Chomsky’s part and from Chomsky’s powerful intellect.. There are a few possible theories or explanations of why that is so.

    • Donald
      February 20, 2016, 9:25 pm

      I think he read a lot more than the NYT–he had sources from many places. He used the NYT as a foil, an example of what respectable liberal opinion was in the US.

      I mostly agree with your second criticism though.

    • ASBizar
      February 21, 2016, 8:29 am

      That’s simply not true. He cites newspapers and journals from all over the world. If you read him, you’d see. Yesterday, I was reading his “Power Systems” and he was talking about the “Frontline” magazine from India.

      • Whatt
        February 21, 2016, 5:14 pm

        if you listened to him you’d note how NYT is his main font of news. Main does not mean only.

  4. traintosiberia
    February 20, 2016, 9:13 am

    Witch hunt against Chomsky should be understood as the elite run onslaught on dissent anywhere in the world . But elite maintain their caste, hierarchy ,and food chain also . Israel is at the top of the pecking order . Muslim as a group at the bottom unless the muslim can be fed to sate the hunger at the top. The elite inform the perimeter of debates,talking points,social issues and also the status of the contenders .Electability is the new word in place of Brahmin who can officiate the Puja ceremony and no one else . Chosmky has punctured the balloon way before other looked into the deflated vainglorious balloon

  5. traintosiberia
    February 20, 2016, 11:43 am

    This nice powerful but hidden arrangement between the left and the right ( HJS,ADL and Kamm, Cohen, Francis Wheen, David Aaronovitch, Norman Geras – ) ,remind me of the plans hatched by the oligarch to shape the political orientation of the entire spectrum of Russia . It was ignored by Putin .( Berezovsky also had another brilliant idea, which to his regret Putin did not grasp: creating a fake two-party system, with Putin at the head of a socialist-democrat sort of party and Berezovsky leading a neoconservative one, or the other way around

    http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/till-death-berezovsky-defends-backing-putin/) But has not been ignored by Sheldon Saban or by the duo’s hangers -on in GOP,and Clinton camp

    The baiting of Bosnia’s muslim leader in UK is is not at all unexpected given the tarck record of Arab Royals produced by British in and around two WW, or unheard of . Evangelicals have been courted by Zionist succeessfully for years despite open antiapthy towards Palestinian Christian and misery of the Christin in Arab lands after 2003 war .Blacks recently have been approached with flowery language and embridered words by Clinton for votes despite not admitting of the disastrous effects of Clinton era on Black and open antipathy to policies of Obama before elction and after assumption of office of the presidency

  6. fagburn
    February 20, 2016, 12:59 pm

    Excellent piece.

    Think you’re wrong about Johann Hari, though – he’s exposed himself as a lie machine mainly concerned with career advancement.

    • Bumblebye
      February 20, 2016, 8:02 pm

      @fagburn

      Johann certainly blew it as a columnist a few years ago. So for a couple of years he crawled into a hole and pulled the cover over. Then he came back out and went back to work in an ethical manner. Look it up.

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 21, 2016, 4:47 am

      FROM WIKIPEDIA (Johann Hari):

      Johann Eduard Hari (born 21 January 1979) is a British writer and journalist who wrote columns for The Independent (London) and The Huffington Post and made contributions to other publications. In 2011, he was suspended from The Independent after charges of plagiarism. He also publicly apologised for making improper edits to several of his critics’ Wikipedia pages under a pseudonym.[1][2] The news led to his returning his 2008 Orwell Prize.[3]

      ● Early life
      Hari was born in Glasgow and raised in London from the age of 1. He attended John Lyon School, (an independent school affiliated to Harrow School) and then Woodhouse College, a state sixth-form in Finchley.[4] He read Social and Political Sciences at King’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 2001 with a double first.[5]

      ● Career
      In 2000 he was joint winner of The Times Student News Journalist of the Year award for his work on the Cambridge student newspaper Varsity. After university he joined the New Statesman, where he worked between 2001 and 2003, and then wrote two columns a week for The Independent. At the 2003 Press Gazette Awards, he won Young Journalist of the Year.[6] A play by Hari, Going Down in History, was performed at the Garage Theatre in Edinburgh, and his book God Save the Queen? was published by Icon Books in 2002.[6]
      In addition to being a columnist for The Independent, Hari’s work also appeared in The Huffington Post, New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, The Nation, Le Monde, El Pais, The Sydney Morning Herald and Ha’aretz. He appeared regularly as an arts critic on the BBC Two programme The Review Show, and he was a book critic for Slate. In 2009 he was named by The Daily Telegraph as one of the most influential people on the left in Britain.[7]
      In January 2012, Hari announced that he was writing a book on the war on drugs, which was subsequently published as Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.[8]

      ● Plagiarism and Wikipedia scandal
      In June 2011 Hari was accused of plagiarism through the use of unattributed quotations in interviews, by using previously published quotes in place of his interviewees’ recorded answers. The Orwell Prize, which he had won in 2008, was withdrawn following a comparison between one of the articles for which he had won the award and the original Der Spiegel article on which it was based. Hari was also revealed to have harassed, under a pseudonym, Wikipedia editors who were publicly critical of him.[9][10][11] Hari later wrote a public apology in The Independent. While the apology was received well by some colleagues, the British magazine The Economist questioned Hari’s sincerity in accepting blame.[12] Hari left The Independent shortly after.[13]

      ● Plagiarism
      Allegations against Hari of journalistic impropriety were made in the magazine Private Eye in 2003.[14] In 2011 bloggers at Deterritorial Support Group and Brian Whelan, editor of Yahoo! Ireland, alleged plagiarism by comparing Hari’s interviews with previous interviews by other journalists and previous written works by his interview subjects. The story was taken up by The Guardian,[15] The Telegraph,[16] and The Washington Post.[17] Initially, Hari denied allegations of plagiarism, maintaining that in presenting interview subjects’ previous writing as part of the interview, he was not passing off someone else’s thoughts as his own.[18] Later, in The Independent,[19] Hari said his use of unattributed quotes was only a clarification. Reviewing this defence, The Guardian‘s media law consultant focused on copyright issues.[20]
      The Guardian later reported that a 2009 interview with Afghan women’s rights activist Malalai Joya appeared to represent quotations from her book Raising my Voice as though they were spoken directly to Hari in his interview with her.[21] The newspaper’s former editor, Peter Preston, wrote that Hari had been foolish, but not dishonest as his attackers alleged.[22] In July 2011, Hari was suspended from The Independent for two months[23] “pending investigation” by Andreas Whittam Smith.[24]

      ● Orwell Prize withdrawal
      In June 2011, the Media Standards Trust announced that they recognised the potential of allegations of plagiarism to damage the reputation of the Orwell Prize,[25] which Hari had been awarded in 2008 (as the youngest-ever recipient[26]), and instructed the Council of the Orwell Prize to take action[27] to examine the allegations. A month later the spokesman for the Council of the Orwell Prize announced that it had “arrived at a clear and unanimous decision” as to whether Hari would be allowed to retain the prize he had been awarded in 2008. Public announcement was delayed after the Independent had “requested that the council consider further representations by Johann Hari before announcing the decision”,[28] which could not be made while the Independent inquiry was ongoing.
      In July 2011, both Private Eye and Damian Thompson in his Telegraph blog accused Hari of inventing an atrocity for his Orwell Prize winning article on the Central African Republic. Thompson said that this “horrified the charity so much that it complained to Simon Kelner, the editor of The Independent“.[29][30][31]
      In September 2011 Johann Hari announced that, though he stood by the articles which won the Orwell Prize in 2008, he would be returning it as an act of contrition for the errors he had made elsewhere.[32] The return of the plaque by courier was confirmed by the Council of the Orwell Prize.[33] Later the Council confirmed that the Orwell Prize would have been withdrawn had Hari not returned it, because after reviewing one particular article, ‘How multiculturalism is betraying women’, “The Council concluded that the article contained inaccuracies and conflated different parts of someone else’s story (specifically, a report in Der Spiegel). The Council ruled that the substantial use of unattributed and unacknowledged material did not meet the standards expected of Orwell Prize-winning journalism”.[3] The magazine Political Quarterly, which had paid the prize in 2008, suggested that rather than returning the prize money, Hari make a donation to the writers’ association English PEN in honor of George Orwell.[3]

      ● Wikipedia editing
      In July 2011 Nick Cohen in The Spectator[34] wrote that he had been attacked on Wikipedia by a “David Rose” following a dispute with Johann Hari, as had Telegraph columnist Cristina Odone,[35] and Oliver Kamm, a leader writer for The Times.[36] Cohen also wrote that Hari’s own Wikipedia entry had been edited by Rose “to make him seem one of the essential writers of our times”.[34] “David Rose” was later shown to be Johann Hari himself.[37]

      ● Awards
      ~ Newspaper Journalist of the Year at Amnesty International Media Awards 2010[38]
      ~ Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism 2010[39]
      ~ Journalist of the Year at the Stonewall Awards, 2009[40]
      ~ Cultural Commentator of the Year at the Comment Awards 2009[41]
      ~ Author of Story of the Year at the Environmental Press Awards 2008[42]
      ~ The Orwell Prize for political journalism, 2008[43] (withdrawn 2011)
      ~ Newspaper Journalist of the Year at Amnesty International Media Awards 2007[43]
      ~ Young Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards in 2003[44]
      ~ Student News Journalist of the Year by The Times in 2000[45]

      ● Books . . .

      SOURCE – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Hari

  7. JLewisDickerson
    February 20, 2016, 3:18 pm

    RE: “The Anti Defamation League maintained a thick file on Chomsky of reports by its operatives sent to monitor his speeches, of newspaper clippings, and of snatches of personal correspondence they had managed to obtain. A copy was supplied to Alan Dershowitz in preparation for a debate he was set to have with him. Some of the leaked contents of the ADL file have since been published by the Electronic Intifada. On a further occasion, an editor of The Partisan Review offered the ADL print space to proceed against him.” ~ Theodore Sayeed

    SEE – “The AIPAC Politics of Smear: The Secret Section in Israel’s U.S. Lobby That Stifles American Debate” | By Gregory D. Slabodkin | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs | July 1992 | pages 7-8, 89-91

    [EXCERPTS] During the reign of terror that Senator Joseph McCarthy unleashed in the 1950s, when the reputations and lives of many loyal Americans were ruined by false charges of “communism” and “treason,” American Jewry was overwhelmingly opposed to the Wisconsin senator and his blackmail by blacklists. According to the Gallup polls of the time, the percentage of U.S. Jews who opposed McCarthy’s smear tactics was twice that of the rest of the population. Many Jewish organizations passed resolutions condemning McCarthy’s ruthless character assassination.
    Today, however, such national Jewish organizations as the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) are using the same tactics to stifle open debate of U.S. policy in the Middle East.
    • Secretly Circulated Lists
    To conduct this “neo-McCarthyism,” AIPAC operates a covert section within its research department that monitors and keeps files on politicians, journalists, academics, Arab-American activists, Jewish liberals, and others it labels “anti-Israel.” AIPAC selects information from these files and secretly circulates lists of the “guilty,” together with their alleged political misdeeds, buttressed by their statements, often totally out of context.
    Just as McCarthy’s permanent investigations subcommittee labeled criticism of specific policies of the U.S. government as “anti-American,” or “pro-Soviet,” AIPAC labels criticism of Israeli government policies “anti-Israel,” “pro-Arab” or “pro-PLO.” Still worse is the pro-Israel lobby’s redefinition of “anti-Semitism” to include any such criticism of Israel or its actions. . .
    . . . AIPAC’s “opposition research” department traces its roots to I.L. (Sy) Kenen, who founded AIPAC in 1954. As editor of AIPAC’s weekly Near East Report, he often attacked critics of Israel in his aptly titled column, “The Monitor.” Besides monitoring, analyzing, and responding to “anti-Israel” comment and activities in the United States, Kenen also kept files on AIPAC’s “enemies.” In his final year AIPAC began to expand its intelligence-gathering operations.
    Kenen’s memoirs, “Israel’s Defense Line: Her Friends and Foes in Washington”, record how AIPAC pooled resources in 1974 with the American Jewish Committee and other national Jewish organizations to create a “truth squad.” Its purpose was to combat “pro-Arab propaganda” and the emerging “Arab lobby,” which Kenen believed to be a growing threat to the U.S.-Israel relationship.
    “While vigorously defending Israel’s perceived interests, the organizations that created the truth squad turned into a kind of Jewish thought police,” journalist Robert I. Friedman explains. “Investigators—sometimes overzealous Jewish college students, sometimes sources with access to U.S. intelligence agencies—were used to ferret out critics of Israel, Jew or gentile, wherever they might be. At ADL and AIPAC, files were opened on journalists, politicians, scholars and community activists. Their speeches and writings were monitored, as were, in some cases, their other professional activities. And they were often smeared with charges of anti-Semitism or with the pernicious label of self-hating Jew. The intention was to stifle debate on the Middle East within the Jewish community, the media and academia, for fear that criticism of any kind would weaken the Jewish state.”
    When Kenen stepped down as executive director of AIPAC in December 1974, the task of monitoring Israel’s “enemies” was left to the department of research and information at AIPAC, where it has remained ever since. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.wrmea.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10030:the-secret-section-in-israels-us-lobby-that-stifles-american-debate&catid=141
    P.S. Gregory D. Slabodkin was an opposition researcher for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 1990 and 1991.

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 20, 2016, 3:26 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE (OR LISTEN TO): “Why the U.S. Media Barely Covered Brutal Right-Wing Race Riots in Tel Aviv”, By Joshua Holland, AlterNet, 6/17/12

      [EXCERPTS] Several weeks back, Israel was rocked by a night of right-wing race-riots targeting African refugees. . .
      . . . The story received very little coverage in the. . . States. . .
      . . . Recently, Middle East analyst MJ Rosenberg appeared on the AlterNet Radio Hour to discuss the Tel Aviv riots, the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program and how the Israel lobby helps narrow the discourse around Israel in the United States. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the discussion (you can listen to the whole interview here.)

      [EXCERPTS]
      • JOSHUA HOLLAND: From your inside perspective on that organization [AIPAC], what did you see as far as their tendency to call out criticism that they think is illegitimate or beyond the pale?
      • MJ ROSENBERG: They [AIPAC] consider all criticism of Israel illegitimate. It’s all beyond the pale. I suppose their definition would be if by some miracle someone like Joseph Lieberman made a statement critical of Israel it would be legitimate. When I worked there in the ’80s, back before everyone had computers, they had a big war room where all they did was assemble every bit of data on members of Congress, on candidates, but also on writers, celebrities – anyone in the public eye.
      In those days they would just put them in these folders. They always had at hand all this negative information — what they considered negative information — to tar people as being anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic. That stuff would be given to reporters if something came up. They were either initiated on their own to give to reporters or some reporter called them because they had a treasure trove of information.
      They still operate that way. In those days they did it directly; now they have former staffers and people who are close to the organization in the blogging world and political world who do it for them. They do it so much. When you read that someone is anti-Israel they’re the ones putting it out there. They’ve got the data. . .
      [snip]
      • JOSHUA HOLLAND: . . . Speaking of our discourse, I want to talk about an issue that came up recently that’s gotten very little coverage in the United States. There were a series of violent race riots by right-wing Israelis against African immigrants in Tel Aviv. This was a big deal. I was looking at the US coverage and it was amazing at how little attention these riots received. . .
      • MJ ROSENBERG: . . . This is a common thing. When there are bad things going on inside Israel — the way they treat the Palestinians and in this case the way they’re treating these poor African refugees from loathsome regimes who wind up in Israel — these stories are … I don’t want to say suppressed in the United States, but it’s striking how much coverage they get in Israel itself and how a paper like the New York Times is too scared to touch it.
      I have to say they’re afraid to touch it. The reason is when an American outlet talks about Israel in any way that’s negative, or reports on anything negative about Israel, they will be inundated with complaints from powerful people who will tell them, “why are you picking on Israel?” They always say, “why is it that China is doing all these things and you’re not writing about that?” Of course, they do. You even see it in the blogosphere too, the intimidation. If you aren’t utterly secure in your position in the media then you don’t mess with Israel. More to the point, you don’t mess with the people here who are Israel’s enforcers…

      ENTIRE (LIGHTLY EDITED) TRANSCRIPT – http://www.alternet.org/story/155866/why_the_u.s._media_barely_covered_brutal_right-wing_race_riots_in_tel_aviv/

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 20, 2016, 3:30 pm

      P.P.S. AND SEE: “The New McCarthyism of Jewish Organizations: Where Is Our Murrow?”, by Bernard Avishai, bernardavishai.blogspot.com, 12/26/12

      [EXCERPT] I am just old enough to remember grown-up disquiet when speaking of McCarthyism—the first thick book I read was Louis Nizer’s My Life in Court, which was largely about the libel case of Quentin Reynolds against Westbrook Pegler, the impresario of the scurrilous Red Channels—and I remember feeling a certain pride in the very large number of Jewish liberals who, like Nizer, helped bring America back to its senses.
      Let the galoots disgrace themselves attacking war-heroes like General Marshall. Let weird groups like the John Birchers and Daughters of the American Revolution and Republican Tafters impugn a man’s integrity, then repeat each others’ insinuations, then spread them to widening circles in captive media (where sympathetic pens were waiting). Let them point to the public doubts they themselves manufactured “out of whole cloth,” as my father used to say. Jews, and Jewish organizations, knew where they stood in the face of such smears. They stood for fairness, patience, sanity. We knew for whom an unfair, impatient, insane America would not “be good for.”
      There was Fred Friendly, who collaborated with Edward R. Murrow in challenging McCarthy on CBS. There was Arthur Miller, whose 1953 play, “The Crucible,” about the Salem witch trials, was a thinly veiled attack on the House Un-American Activities Committee. There was I.F. Stone who, forced to strike out on his own, proved the grandeur of the first amendment. There was Commentary Magazine before Norman Podhoretz lost his mind. In the America I knew, which only grew more so during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, American Jews—with their worldly souls and experience of the social margins—were the natural opponents (because potential victims) of the fear, flocking, and fanaticism that produced political libels.
      Which brings me to Sen. Hagel. I think it is time to acknowledge, bluntly, that certain major Jewish organizations, indeed, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations—also, the ADL, AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, political groups like the Republican Jewish Coalition, along with their various columnists, pundits, and list-serves—are among the most consistent purveyors of McCarthyite-style outrages in America today. Are there greater serial defamers of public officials in fake campaigns against defamation? Starting with Andrew Young and the late Charles Percy, and on to Chas Freeman and (now) Chuck Hagel, the game has been to keep Congresspeople and civil servants who might be skeptical of Israel’s occupation and apologetics in a posture that can only be called exaggerated tact.
      Fault Israel and you are accused of faulting Jews in our collective state, or, the same thing, overlooking the venality of our enemies—things only an anti-Semite would do and, of all times, in the wake of the Holocaust. This is not a charge anyone in public life wants to suffer or try to deny. My Israeli friends love that old Borsch-belt joke, that anti-Semitism means disliking Jews more than necessary. For American Jewish organizations, the very idea that dislike is ever warranted is proof of bigotry, like Philip Roth’s early novels were proof of “self-hatred.” . . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://bernardavishai.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-new-mccarthyism-of-jewish.html

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 20, 2016, 4:06 pm

      P.P.P.S. WHILE YOU’RE AT IT, YOU MIGHT AS WELL ALSO SEE:
      “Board of Deputies Treasurer Laurence Brass Resigns to Speak Out on Israel” | by Tony Greenstein | azvsas.blogspot.com | February 20, 2015

      Shocked by What he Saw on the West Bank

      The Board of Deputies of British Jews has an appalling record on most issues. In the 1930’s it told Jews to keep their heads down and stay indoors as Sir Oswald Moseley and his British Union of Fascists strutted through the East End. At the Battle of Cable Street, when Moseley and the BUF were prevented from marching, the Jewish population, in alliance with ordinary trade unionists, Catholic dockers and the unemployed, ignored them as 100,000 people defied the Metropolitan Police’s defence of the anti-Semitic BUF. Today the Met opposes ‘anti-Semitism’ as part of its attacks on Muslims.

      The Board of Deputies also has an appalling record when it comes to Israel. It sees, hears and speaks no evil. It defends Israel right or wrong and attacks all critics as ‘anti-Semites’. It is therefore doubly surprising that a senior officer of the Board, Laurence Brass, has spoken out against human rights abuses on the West Bank and settler attacks and now resigned. According to reports in Ha’aretz he received a standing ovation.

      Naturally he has been criticised by people like Gerald Steinberg of the McCarthyist organisation NGO Monitor, which is dedicated to supporting all attacks on Palestinian civilians. Steinberg, a fascist Professor, would have made an excellent PR advisor to a certain Adolf Hitler. Eric Moonman, who was a failed right-wing Labour MP, was another to criticise Brass for having the temerity to object to settler attacks on Palestinians.

      Laurence Brass is an asylum judge and certainly no anti-Zionist. He is a supporter of Yachad, which is the equivalent of J-Street in the US, which describes itself as pro-Israel and pro-Peace, i.e. a 2 State organisation which sees Israel as losing the propaganda war. Nonetheless Brass’s resignation is a significant step, not least in his criticism of the Board of Deputies’s silencing of all criticism of Israel.

      The Board of Deputies today opposes what it terms ‘anti-Semitism’ i.e. criticism of Israel, and loses no opportunity to identify British Jews with Israeli attacks on Palestinians, which is the main motor for anti-Semitic attacks such as we have seen in France and Denmark.

      SOURCE – http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2015/02/board-of-deputies-treasurer-laurence.html

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 20, 2016, 4:18 pm

      P.P.P.P.S. LASTLY (I HOPE, BUT DO NOT PROMISE), SEE:
      “The ‘Israel First’ Industry and CEO Profiteering” | by James Petras | DissidentVoice.org | January 16, 2016

      [EXCERPTS] During the first half of the 20th century, socially conscious Jews in the United States organized a large network of solidarity and charity associations financed mostly through small donations, raffles, and dues by working and lower middle class supporters. Many of these associations dealt with the everyday needs of Jewish workers, immigrants, and families in need. . .

      . . . Over the past fifty years a far-reaching transformation has taken place within Jewish organizations, among its leaders and their practices and policies. Currently, Jewish leaders have converted charities, social aid-societies and overseas programs for working class Jews into money machines for self-enrichment; converted charities funding health programs for Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism into the funding of colonial settlements for armed Zionist zealots intent on uprooting Palestinians; and organized a powerful political machine which buys US Congress people and penetrates the Executive in order to serve Israeli military aims. From defending human rights and fighting fascism, the leaders of the principle Jewish organizations defend each and every Israeli violation of Palestinian human rights – from arbitrary arrests of non-violent dissidents to the detention of children in ‘cages.’ Israel’s Kafkaesque prolonged administration detention without trial is approved by contemporary leaders. In the past Jewish leaders, especially labor and socially-engaged activists had joined forces with Leftists in opposition to political bigots, McCarthyite purges and blacklists. Today’s leaders practice the very same bully, blackmail and blacklist politics against critics of Israel and its Zionist appendages.

      In the past Jewish leaders of social aid organizations received modest salaries, not any more than those of skilled workers. Today the leaders of the major Jewish “non-profit” organizations are millionaires drawing between $200,000 and $800,000 a year plus lucrative allowances for “business expenses” (travel, housing, meals, etc.) which add another 30% to their income.

      The moderately social liberal Jewish weekly, The Forward, recently completed a survey of the salaries of Jewish “not-for profits” leaders, with the aid of a professor from the Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania). Among the leading profiteers was Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) earning $688,280, Howard Kohr of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — $556,232, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) — $504,445, Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) — $435,050, Janice Weinman of Hadassah — $410,000, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (PMJO) — $400,815, Mark Helfield of the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society — $268,834 and Ann Toback of the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring — $185,712. These salaries and perks put the Jewish leaders of non-profits in the upper 10% of US incomes — a far cry from the not-too-distant past. According to the analysis by the Forward and the Wharton team, ‘most leaders (CEOs) are vastly overpaid – earning more than twice what the head of an organization of their size would be expected to make”.

      While the membership has declined in many organizations, especially among working and lower middle class Jews, the funding has increased and most important the plutocratic leaders have embraced a virulent militarist foreign policy and repressive domestic policies. Forward describes Abraham Foxman as “diverting the ADL from its self-described mission of fighting all forms of bigotry in the US and abroad to putting the ADL firmly on the side of bigotry and intolerance.” . . .

      . . . The overwhelming response of the Jewish readers to the Forward’s survey was one of indignation, disgust, and anger. As one reader commented, “The economic disconnect between their (CEOs) salaries and the average incomes of those who contribute to their charities is unacceptable”. Another indignant reader remarked succinctly: “Gonifs! (Thieves!)”. Many announced they could cut off future donations. One formerly orthodox reader stated, “I would rather give to a street beggar than to any of these”.

      The drop-off of donations from lower-middle class Jews, however, will have little effect in reducing the salaries of the ‘non-profit’ CEO’s or changing the politics of their ‘non-profits; because they increasingly depend on six and seven digit contributions from Jewish millionaires and billionaires. Moreover, the contributions by big donors are linked to the politics of repression at home and securing multi-billion dollar military aid and trade programs for Israel from the US Treasury. The billionaire donors have no objection to funding the millionaire leaders – as long as they concentrate their efforts on buying the votes of US Congress members and aligning their politics with Israel’s war aims. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/01/the-israel-first-industry-and-ceo-profiteering/

    • JLewisDickerson
      February 21, 2016, 8:35 pm

      P.P.P.P.P.S. Remember, I didn’t promise!

      The puzzle ribbon is an often used symbol for the autism spectrum, as it represents the diversity of conditions and people within it.

      The rainbow-colored infinity symbol represents the diversity of the autism spectrum as well as the greater neurodiversity movement.

      SOURCE – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism_spectrum

      NOTE: Although Asperger’s Syndrome is not considered a “mental illness”*, it was finally included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders beginning with the DSM-IV in 1994, when it was placed on the autism continuum near the least affected end.
      In the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published in May 2013, Asperger’s Syndrome, as a separate diagnosis, was eliminated and folded into autism spectrum disorder.

      * DSM-IV Definition of Mental Disorder
      DSM-V Proposal for the Definition of Mental/Psychiatric Disorder

      FROM WIKIPEDIA (Asperger syndrome):

      [EXCERPT] Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger’s syndrome, Asperger disorder (AD) or simply Asperger’s, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical (peculiar or odd) use of language are frequently reported.[1][2] The diagnosis of Asperger’s was eliminated in the 2013 fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and replaced by a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder on a severity scale.[3]
      The syndrome is named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger who, in 1944, studied and described children in his practice who lacked nonverbal communication skills, demonstrated limited empathy with their peers, and were physically clumsy.[4] The modern conception of Asperger syndrome came into existence in 1981[5] and went through a period of popularization,[6][7] becoming standardized as a diagnosis in the early 1990s. Many questions and controversies remain about aspects of the disorder.[8] There is doubt about whether it is distinct from high-functioning autism (HFA);[9] partly because of this, its prevalence is not firmly established.[1]
      The exact cause of Asperger’s is unknown. Although research suggests the likelihood of a genetic basis,[1] there is no known genetic cause,[10][11] and brain imaging techniques have not identified a clear common pathology.[1] There is no single treatment, and the effectiveness of particular interventions is supported by only limited data.[1] Intervention is aimed at improving symptoms and function. The mainstay of management is behavioral therapy, focusing on specific deficits to address poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness.[12] Most children improve as they mature to adulthood, but social and communication difficulties may persist.[8] Some researchers and people on the autism spectrum have advocated a shift in attitudes toward the view that it is a difference, rather than a disease that must be treated or cured.[13][14] In 2013, Asperger’s was estimated to affect 31 million people globally.[15] . . .

      IMAGE: Quinn, an ~18 month old boy with autism, obsessively stacking cans. Date: Late 2002. Place: Walnut Creek, California.

      FROM WIKIPEDIA (Autism spectrum):

      [EXCERPTS] Autism spectrum or autistic spectrum describes a range of conditions classified as neurodevelopmental disorders in the fifth revision of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5). The DSM-5, published in 2013, redefined the autism spectrum to encompass the previous (DSM-IV-TR) diagnoses of autism, Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and childhood disintegrative disorder.[1] Features of these disorders include social deficits and communication difficulties, stereotyped or repetitive behaviors and interests, sensory issues, and in some cases, cognitive delays. . . .

      . . . • Autism Rights movement
      [Further info: Autism rights movement and Neurodiversity ]
      The autism rights movement (ARM) is a social movement within the neurodiversity movement that encourages autistic people, their caregivers, and society to adopt a position of neurodiversity, and to accept autism as a variation in functioning rather than a mental disorder to be cured.[90] The ARM advocates for several goals, including a greater acceptance of autistic behaviors,[91] therapies that teach autistic individuals coping skills rather than therapies focused on imitating behaviors of neurotypical peers,[92] the creation of social networks and events that allow autistic people to socialize on their own terms,[93] and the recognition of the autistic community as a minority group.[94]
      Autism rights and neurodiversity advocates believe that the autism spectrum is genetic and should be accepted as a natural expression of the human genome. This perspective is distinct from two other likewise distinct views: (1) the mainstream perspective that autism is caused by a genetic defect and should be addressed by targeting the autism gene(s) and (2) the perspective that autism is caused by environmental factors like vaccines and pollution and could be cured by addressing environmental causes.[90]
      The movement is controversial. A common criticism leveled against autistic activists is that many are high-functioning or have Asperger syndrome, and therefore do not represent the views of all autistic people.[95]

      • Mooser
        February 22, 2016, 11:25 am

        “NOTE: Although Asperger’s Syndrome is not considered a “mental illness”*, it was finally included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders beginning with the DSM-IV in 1994,”

        But next time they do an edition, they need to include the Ziocaine Syndrome. That will decrease misdiagnoses, and the syndrome episodes won’t be mistaken for chemical intoxication, as they often are.
        And make Ziocaine Syndrome sufferers eligible for disability payments, too. What a deal!

  8. MHughes976
    February 21, 2016, 10:46 am

    Long ago I got a letter published in the Independent critical of the right wing campaign against the Serbs, particularly in its philosophical garb designed by BH Levy. I believe a comparable argument, at least a very pro-Bosnian one, has since been developed by Professor David Campbell of Newcastle University, (of whom more below) though I have not studied it properly. Later on, I wrote in support of Ken Livingstone when Oliver Kamm was accusing him of anti-Semitism. So I have some form here. But I don’t think things are as rosy for Chomsky as the article here – and the referenced essay by Herman, with its account of a famous libel trial – would claim.
    The libel trial mentioned was initiated by Independent Television News, a huge organisation, against a small magazine called Living Marxism, which for this purpose had distinguished supporters not by any means all on the Far Left, notably the BBC foreign correspondent John Simpson. It concerned pictures of a Serb-controlled refugee centre for Bosnians which featured ‘Nazi-style’ barbed wire and emaciated figures. LM had claimed that all this was deceptive and that it was right-wing propaganda smearing the Serbs. The judge advised the jury that there was something mistaken about the way the barbed wire was portrayed and that they had to consider how much this mattered in view of the plaintiffs’ claims, which were absolutely not that they had made an honest mistake but that their arresting images conveyed and did justice to the truth that the centre was a place of coercion, cruelty and crime. The jury decided in effect that the plaintiffs’ claims were valid and furthermore that Living Marxism was so much in the wrong – this was not a decision on legal technicalities – that it deserved to suffer heavy damages, which put it out of business.
    There is widespread agreement that the jury was mainly influenced by the plaintiffs’ star witness, a Bosnian doctor and former inmate of the centre. The defendants did not cross-examine him, which must have made the impact of his words much greater.
    The only person involved to have changed his mind since is John Simpson.
    This experience led to some scepticism about all questioning of the conventional anti-Serb wisdom, Chomsky’s questioning included. The degree to which he merely questions and the degree to which he endorses counter-narratives has been disputed. Some of his critics, including David Campbell in ‘Chomsky’s Bosnian Shame’ of 2009 and George Monbiot in 2012 do not seem to me to have come off worse in their exchanges with him.

    • Donald
      February 22, 2016, 12:10 am

      I’m not sure what you are saying, but I don’t think Chomsky denied Serb atrocities– he said there were other atrocities committed by the West or by the sides it favored that gor much less attention. He probably did express skepticism about some of the numbers in the press, but others have done that. I’ve seen revised estimates of the death toll in the Balkan wars that were much lower than some used at the time. I never followed it that closely though.

      Herman is a bit more extreme, but my memory is fuzzy, so I won’t say more.

    • Donald
      February 22, 2016, 12:33 am

      I just read the debate he had with Monbiot. Neither comes out well. Monbiot wants Chomsky to take a firm stand on exactly what happened in Rwanda and Srebrenica and Chomsky points out, quite correctly, that nobody is harangued this way in mainstream circles about Western crimes. I think Chomsky should have left it at that, but Monbiot insists on an answer and Chomsky finally says he doesn’t know and no one could. Which is dumb. He should have said nothing if he hasn’t examined the evidence.

      • MHughes976
        February 22, 2016, 3:56 am

        I think I was saying, and I think you agree, that Chomsky does not emerge totally and obviously vindicated, as Sayeed’s article would have it. We have to avoid the temptations of a Heroes vs. Bad Guys world.

      • Donald
        February 22, 2016, 4:33 pm

        I agree with that, MHughes. But there are few people who think Chomsky gets it right every time. As I think you pointed out some months back, Martin Luther King didn’t get it right on Israel/Palestine, and I’d consider MLK one of the few people deserving of a title like moral hero.

  9. mikerol
    February 21, 2016, 12:24 pm

    The label “Srebrenice denier” has also been attached to Peter Handke even though in his second trip report SOMMERLICHER NACHTRAG/ A SUMMER REPRIEVE http://handkeonline.onb.ac.at/node/99/material
    — ​Handke specifically has a surrogate exclaim at the sight of S. that “he does not want to be a Serb” any more, which elicited the side comment of mine that no one had ever asked him, a part Slovene, to be a Serb! x michael roloff

    http://handke-yugo.blogspot.com/2010/05/lead-page-periodically-updated_10.html

  10. palar
    February 21, 2016, 6:53 pm

    It is also interesting to see how the mainstream media seems to come out with similar material which seems to cover up the story yet in other ways.

    I recall the movie Conspiracy Theory starring Mel Gibson which came out at pretty much the same time as Chomsky work in 1988. It portrayed the main person as someone out of touch with reality, something which the main stream media would have us think of Chomsky. This also extends to music in which it seems to be to much of a coincidence that much sleasy material in the forms of music and movie seem to come out before campaigns in which the incumbent is Democratic, implying that the country has slipped up morally while under them.

    In the case of Nelson Mandela he had to stay in prison for 25 years and it was only in his last years that he was able to bring about meaningful change, much of which is being undermined by the current leadership. One wonder whether the public’s belated discovery of Chomsky’s ideas will continue have much influence after his passing. To overcome what happened in the case of Mandela how can Chomsky’s baton be passed onto future generations without it being extinguished.

  11. DaBakr
    February 22, 2016, 1:52 pm

    nicely written and presented expose of anti-chomsky journalism. it is obvious and well known that chomsky has been a lightning rod for right to far right journalists/pundits for quite a long time.

    the only critique would be along the lines of the author crying about the “obsession” with ideological critics attacking chomsky while he himself seems to have a budding obsession himself with ‘taking down’ sam harris, among others as well.

  12. RogerLippman
    February 23, 2016, 8:18 pm

    This article could better be entitled “Chomsky’s critics,” since it doesn’t say much about Chomsky, and certainly not about the substance of what his critics have to say about him – which would be much more interesting. Sure, people from all over the political spectrum have had plenty to say about him, some of it justified and some not. But a person reading this article certainly wouldn’t know where to start in trying to understand where Chomsky has been right or wrong.

    Chomsky has made numerous statements on the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo that have been incorrect and uninformed. And – there’s no way to gloss over it – he states apparent falsehoods, when he knew better. He has associated himself, by endorsement, with outright liars who deny the Srebrenica massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims.

    Chomsky has made numerous statements that are at odds with the extensively documented facts, although when challenged he claims not to be denying those facts. As editor of Balkan Witness, I have worked with other researchers to compile detailed documentation on Chomsky’s record of misinformation. Articles on this topic are cataloged at http://balkanwitness.glypx.com/chomsky.htm . I will summarize a few of them here and in postings following this one. Not all of them are by people with whom I have complete political agreement, on this subject or others, but I find them to be accurate and reasonable in the realm of the subject of my expertise.

    I urge interested readers to study the articles for what they say, rather than engaging in the sort of ad hominem attacks that characterize Mr. Sayeed’s article.

    While I have been a progressive political activist for decades, and I have learned much from Chomsky, his poorly thought-out position on the wars of dissolution of the former Yugoslavia have disillusioned me about his perception and his intellectual integrity. Though he might have taken the positions he did in order to focus attention on the crimes of Western governments, he is not justified in minimizing, ignoring, or misrepresenting the crimes of other nations.

    Chomsky statements denying or minimizing Serbian crimes against the peoples of Bosnia and Kosovo. See http://balkanwitness.glypx.com/chomskydenial.htm

    Professor Noam Chomsky has made misleading statements with the effect of denying or minimizing Serbian crimes against the peoples of Bosnia and Kosovo. We list some of those statements below.

    When challenged, Chomsky has not denied or retracted his statements. Rather, he switches the subject to freedom of expression, unbalanced reporting, or the worse crimes of U.S. imperialism.

    Chomsky appears not to be particularly knowledgeable about the history of the former Yugoslavia or about the recent conflicts there. Rather, he speaks off-handedly and inaccurately.

    While we respect the contribution that Chomsky has made to our understanding of media, propaganda, and the framing of messages, we are saddened that in this case he has become a denier of major crimes of war. Unfortunately, he has not applied his prodigious analytical abilities to the former Yugoslavia.

    We invite Professor Chomsky to clarify or retract the positions enumerated in this discussion.

    1. Serbian concentration camps in Bosnia / Living Marxism (LM) controversy
    2. The Srebrenica massacre
    3. The Kosovo War
    4. John Norris book Collision Course: NATO, Russia, and Kosovo

    See http://balkanwitness.glypx.com/chomskydenial.htm for details.

    • Keith
      February 24, 2016, 12:16 pm

      ROGER LIPPMAN- ”Chomsky has made numerous statements that are at odds with the extensively documented facts, although when challenged he claims not to be denying those facts.”

      You comment says volumes about who you are and what Balkan Witness is. I am traveling and unable to more fully respond, however, I can say that Chomsky’s version of events is entirely consistent with that of Edward S. Herman, John Pilger, Diana Johnstone, Michael Parenti and others on the principled left, and with my personal research. Your reference to “documented facts” I assume refers to the imperial version of events. At the time of the imperial dismemberment of Yugoslavia, I was astonished at the extent of the across the board nature of the propaganda, much of it coming from the Jewish Left as some sort of support for Clinton in repayment for his unprecedented capitulation to Jewish Zionist control of US Middle East foreign policy. It was proof to me that when a Democrat makes war there will be no effective political opposition.

      • RogerLippman
        February 25, 2016, 11:31 pm

        When you return from your travels and you get around to reading what I actually referred to, I’m sure we will be interested to hear what you have to say about the facts. Meanwhile, you are saying that you disagree, without saying what you disagree with.
        You might be interested in the arguments of progressive Serbs, for example, whose positions are very reminiscent of those of anti-Vietnam War westerners. They (at least in small numbers) are true internationalists who have acted in solidarity with the peoples oppressed by their own government, and unlike Herman, Johnstone, and Parenti, they don’t lie about what Serbia did to Bosnian and Kosovo Muslims.

      • Keith
        February 26, 2016, 6:45 pm

        ROGER LIPPMAN- ”When you return from your travels and you get around to reading what I actually referred to, I’m sure we will be interested to hear what you have to say about the facts.”

        Roger, let me be blunt. I know who and what you are. You are a cheerleader for imperial interventions which you try to excuse as humanitarian. Yugoslavia was the first and precedent setting in a serious of murderous and destructive interventions including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and the Ukraine. Countries destroyed, people killed and lives ruined as Uncle Sam went on an ongoing rampage. Every country “helped” by you R2P propagandists is now a failed state disaster. In the case of Kosovo, a failed statelet disaster where the economy consists primarily of foreign aid, Camp Bondsteel, and organized crime. Ultimately, the carnage in the Yugoslavia conflict is a direct consequence of the imperial intervention which, among other things, provided the rationale for not eliminating NATO but, instead, expanding NATO as a US controlled and directed out of area mercenary strike force.
        As such, as a cheerleader and apologist for imperial war crimes, you have blood on your hands. So, I am not interested in what you or Richard Holbrooke or any of your phony State Department/Soros NGOs have to say. As for me, if you are really interested, you can go to my commenter profile and enter “Yugoslavia” in the search function. I stand with Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman, William Blum, Diana Johnstone, Michael Parenti, David Gibbs, and John Pilger in opposing imperial destabilizations and imperial mass murder.

  13. NumanAbdalWahid
    May 28, 2016, 11:27 am

    A very good piece. A couple of points. Firstly, Russell did oppose inter-European wars but I don’t think he payed much attention to British imperialist wars on the people of Asia and Africa. For example he had something to say about Vietnam but what about British imperialist aggression in Malaya and Kenya in the 40s and 50s?

    Secondly, where has Hari come out against the Empire, can you provide links?

    Nu’man Abd al-Wahid

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