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Chomsky is in Gaza

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Noam Chomsky is visiting Gaza for the first time. Today he delivered the keynote address, The Arab Spring and the Future of Foreign Policy in the Region, at The International Conference on Applied Linguistics and Literature (ICALL). The conference is being hosted by The Islamic University of Gaza.

Press TV:

Mr. Chomsky openly slammed on the United States foreign policy, specially its unlimited support to Israel. He said that the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is still more realistic than the one-state solution, despite the continuous expansion of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Mr. Chomsky bitterly criticized the US’s policies in the Middle East, which are based on supporting dictators all the way until it is no more possible to protect them, and then replacing them with new faces keeping the old regime in place. He was not excited about what is called “the Arab Spring”, and was definitely against any foreign intervention in Syria. Chomsky was invited to Gaza by the Islamic University of Gaza.

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is a mom, a human rights activist, and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area and likes to garden. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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18 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther on October 20, 2012, 4:41 pm

    Can’t wait to read all the comments slamming Chomsky for being an American who directs most of his criticism at the American government.

  2. shachalnur on October 20, 2012, 5:07 pm

    goodbye annie,
    I’m gonna go on writing on sites where you can write the truth even when it’s unconvenient.

  3. kapok on October 20, 2012, 8:01 pm

    There’s only ever been one state. At present, there is no state, since the Jewish Colony hasn’t stopped expanding.

  4. HHM on October 20, 2012, 8:54 pm

    I resent that Chomsky is telling the Palestinians what the international consensus is for a solution- as if that mattered – and is highly questionable at that. The issue is human rights and that is something the Palestinians demand and the so-called international community should support. As Palestinian human rights activists, we have no right to compromise for them. Didn’t Chomsky pull out of the Gaza Freedom March along with Finkelstein because the Palestinians in Gaza wanted wording in reference to decades of dispossession in the mission statement? In other words, Gaza is but a chapter in Israel’s on-going oppression of the indigenous people of the land. Isn’t that typical, Americans (sorry, I have to say this) American Jews at that telling the Palestinians how to hold their own non-violent resistance? With friends like these…(Excuse me while I get my finger out of my mouth…)

    • annie on October 20, 2012, 9:02 pm

      HHM, chomsky was invited to be the keynote speaker. i presume they wanted to hear what he had to say. you can find the list of other (invited) International Participant speakers here:

      it is an impressive list

      • Xpat on October 21, 2012, 11:12 pm

        It’s mostly Palestinians and Muslims from around the world.
        This one’s interesting:
        20. Hagit Borer, Department of Linguistics, SLLF, Queen Mary, University of London, UK
        An ex-pat Israeli?

    • sjarjour on October 21, 2012, 4:04 am

      Chomsky is not telling Palestinians what to do, if you simply look at what he’s written. And you should listen to his words carefully. He refers to the “2 state settlement”, not “2 state solution”. His view of an ultimate solution to the conflict (to the extent that states exist) is a binational state. He supports the 2 state settlement currently because it will reduce the suffering of Palestinians by an enormous amount, and because there are real prospects for it since the entire world agrees on it. Human rights would vastly improve if this was implemented. Palestinians are not compromising by being given their own state. That sounds bizarre to me.

      As for the Gaza Freedom March, Chomsky and Finkelstein have been diligently documenting and exposing the decades of Palestinian dispossession perpetrated by Israel. Anyone who has read their works would know this. So I highly doubt that was the reason.

      Lastly, American Jews like Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein are not telling Palestinians what to do or how to act. They are trying to compel their own government, the United States, to stop causing suffering towards Palestinians and support a settlement that everyone agrees on (except the US and Israel of course). And this settlement would significantly reduce Palestinian suffering. So when they’re asked about solutions, they offer them, and they explain why we should support them. They also operate in the real world, and know that we have to be both principled and realistic. For instance, promoting the abolition of the US-Mexican border and creating one state is not going to go anywhere. It may bring about more justice, but it’s a dead end politically. They see the call for one state in Israel-Palestine as a similar situation. How do you implement one state? How do you get there? Does anyone support it? These are important questions that require answering. It would be criminal to dismiss a solution (the 2 state settlement) that would significantly improve the lives of millions of people, and by ignoring that solution we are contributing to the ongoing suffering of Palestinians.

      • libra on October 22, 2012, 8:09 pm

        sjarjour:They are trying to compel their own government, the United States, to stop causing suffering towards Palestinians…

        Whoa there, the US may be aiding and abetting Israel but it is Israel (and only Israel) that is causing the suffering to Palestinians. They could stop it tomorrow if they wanted.

        Inadvertently or not you’ve just encapsulated what’s wrong with Chomsky’s view of the world.

  5. HHM on October 20, 2012, 9:56 pm

    Thank you Annie. I’d certainly like to know what the other speakers had to say both about him and about the appropriate “solution.” I’d like to know more on how Chomsky was chosen to be the keynote speaker. As he’s a famous linguist, I can almost understand it, but he used the occasion to promote his own political views and his views are widely known. I think it just scares me! I cannot help but ask myself, what is going on, who is behind this?

    • annie on October 21, 2012, 3:41 am

      it was sponsored by The Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the Bank of Palestine. did you go to the ICALL link and look around? i’m hoping some people who are attending will contact the site and write something in the coming days. we have some contributors from gaza, from the literature department at the university. i’m also hoping there are fullvideos of his and others speeches that will become available. check back.

    • annie on October 21, 2012, 6:54 pm

      HHM, i just got an email from a friend in gaza who is a student at the literature department at islamic university where the event was held. she wrote this:

      “I really don’t know what to say about chomsky. He’s a great Linguist. His input to the human civilization is enormous. The whole academic delegation’s visit under the purpose of ending the blockade means the world to us. “

      • HHM on October 21, 2012, 9:15 pm

        Thank you Annie,

        As you can probably tell, I am a strong supporter of both the Palestinian global and academic/cultural boycott (PACBI) of Israel.

        Here is a useful link to the Alternative Information Center’s 64-page 2009 booklet on the Complicity of Israeli Academic Institutions in the Occupied Territories. I include it here because Chomsky seems hesitant to endorse the tactic the Palestinian people have asked us to promote.

        On page 40-41, (number 23) they list reasons (with documentation) to boycott Tel-Aviv University:

        T-A U takes pride in having conducted 55 research projects with the Israeli army.
        T-A U hosts a convention about weapons’ development for the Israeli army.
        T-A U hosts a convention, part of which directly deals with weapons’ development for the Israeli army.
        T-A U is a sponsor of the Psagot academic reserve program.
        T-A U is located on the destroyed Palestinian village of Sheikh Muwanis, whose residents have been deported, and has never recognized this fact.
        T-A U appointed a military colonel whose military past includes overseeing and approving military attacks on civilians during the 2008 Gaza attacks, to a lecturer on international law.

        The Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel is not directed at individual Israeli scholars but is directed at institutions. Readers can view UCLA history professor Robin D. G. Kelley’s Mondoweiss interview on the necessity of academic boycott. He is a board member of the U.S. Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI).

      • sjarjour on October 22, 2012, 5:32 pm

        I can only suggest that you learn why he opposes an academic boycott. You can just google “noam chomsky academic boycott” to find your answer. You don’t have to agree with him, but you should at least understand his reasons. And they seem pretty logical and legitimate to me.

  6. Nevada Ned on October 21, 2012, 12:54 am

    I have been reading Noam Chomsky’s writings since the 1960’s. He is a man of principle, and is the world’s leading public intellectual. He is indeed a strong opponent of US imperialism. I recall antiwar rallies in the Boston areas in the late 1960’s, and the speakers often included Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn. And (believe it or not) other antiwar activists of that era included Michael Walzer and Martin Peretz. (The last two have since gone their own way, needless to say.)

    Chomsky’s position is that the one-state solution is more just. But, while there is international support for the two state solution, there is no international support for the one-state solution. So, Chomsky concludes, people who demand “the one-state solution or nothing”, will have to wait a long time. And the Palestinians have already waited a very long time. Feel free to disagree, but that’s his position, and I can’t say that it’s an idiotic position. Among Israeli Jews, there is significant support for the 2SS, virtually none for the 1SS.

    By the way, in the late 1960’s and early 70’s, Chomsky made the reputation of the New York Review of Books. But since some time in the 1970’s he has been banned from the pages of the NYRB, which instead has run articles by people like Bernard Avishai. (If you don’t know who Avishai is, you haven’t missed much). So his principled opposition to US imperialism and to Israeli policy has cost him.

  7. sjarjour on October 21, 2012, 4:08 am

    Nevada Ned, your summation is excellent.

  8. thankgodimatheist on October 21, 2012, 6:37 am

    Some clarification on his one-state/two-state/no state views in an Electronic intifada interview:
    RA (Rami Almeghari): Some call for a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel, while others call for a one democratic state solution. Which is more workable for you?

    NC (Chomsky): It is not a choice. I have been in favor of the what’s called a one-state-solution or binational state solution for seventy years and, so ok, I’m in favor of it. I am also in favor of peace in the world and … getting rid of poverty. There’s a lot of things I’m in favor of.
    But if you are serious, you say, “how do we get from here to there?” That’s the question. We can all say it’s a wonderful idea. In fact I don’t think one state is a good idea, I think there should be a no-state solution that should erode the imperial borders. There’s no reason to worship French and British decisions on where to draw borders. A no-state solution would be much better, but again we ask, how do we get there?

    • sjarjour on October 21, 2012, 3:54 pm

      Very good work thankgodimatheist. It’s important to read more than a couple of quotes by Noam Chomsky to understand his views and positions. You can’t get all the answers you want in a few short sentences, which is why it’s mind-boggling when people make judgments about others based on a few extracts, especially out of context, which has happened to both Noam Chomsky and more recently Norman Finkelstein.

  9. jayn0t on October 23, 2012, 8:34 pm

    Afrikaaners argued that the abolition of white apartheid was impractical too, but the USA and the other Western countries didn’t listen. The Chomskyite argument that the abolition of Jewish apartheid is impractical puts the cart before the horse – it fails to ask the question – “why did the USA oppose white apartheid, but is unable to oppose Jewish apartheid?”. If the USA did that, it would suddenly become very practical, especially for the Israeli Jews, whom Nevada Ned informs us are in favor of apartheid. Their South African counterparts, who ended up advocated a two-state solution, were swept aside. Why are Jews treated as special by gentile societies? That’s the question.

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