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Chomsky used to need police protection when he spoke about Israel, no longer


Noam Chomsky was interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! Wednesday and offered this nugget:

Opinion in the United States is shifting, not as fast as in most of the world, not as fast as in Europe. It’s not reaching the point where you could get a vote in Congress anything like the British Parliament a couple days ago, but it is changing, mostly among younger people, and changing substantially. I’ll just illustrate with personal experience; Amy has the same experience. Until pretty recently, when I gave talks on these topics, as I’ve been doing for 40 years, I literally had to have police protection, even at my own university, MIT. Police would insist on walking me back to my car because of threats they had picked up. Meetings were broken up, and so on. That’s all gone. Just a couple of days ago I had a talk on these topics at MIT. Meeting wasn’t broken up. No police protection. Maybe 500 or 600 students were there, all enthusiastic, engaged, committed, concerned, wanting to do something about it. That’s happening all over the country. All over the country, Palestinian solidarity is one of the biggest issues on campus—enormous change in the last few years.

That’s the way things tend to change. It often starts with younger people. Gradually it gets to the rest of the population

Thanks to Lysias.

James North and Philip Weiss

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24 Responses

  1. mikeo on October 24, 2014, 10:55 am


  2. just on October 24, 2014, 11:10 am

    Heartening news.

    I watched the interview– twice now. It’s worth everyone’s time, imho.

    (I do wonder when Gideon Levy will be able to ‘live in peace and security’ in Israel.)

  3. amigo on October 24, 2014, 11:22 am

    Well , well, The Israeli President tell,s his people , (80% of them ) that they are a sick .The British Parliament tell Israel it recognises the State of Palestine as did Sweden.The Spanish are about to do so as are several other European states.And now Noam Chomsky tells Israel , the gig is up.

    Meantime Israel is clamping down even harder on legitimate Palestinian resistance to oppression and theft and murder and nietanyahu is claiming he will win.

    Maybe Israeli society is suffering from collective Alzheimer,s .All the classic symptoms are there.

    • just on October 24, 2014, 11:37 am

      “Maybe Israeli society is suffering from collective Alzheimer,s .All the classic symptoms are there.”

      Alzheimer’s is usually involuntary. Israeli dysfunction is not– it’s completely and deliberately voluntary.

      • amigo on October 24, 2014, 12:00 pm

        “Alzheimer’s is usually involuntary. Israeli dysfunction is not– it’s completely and deliberately voluntary.”just

        Israel is not dysfunctional.Everything is going according to the Zionist plan.

        So far , so good??.

      • just on October 24, 2014, 12:05 pm

        Perfect, amigo!

      • pabelmont on October 24, 2014, 1:00 pm

        Israel is a tiny bit mentally sclerotic. In the valuable book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”, Pappe tells us that Ben Gurion moved his military away from what they called “retaliation” (for Palestinian resistance) and toward “cleansing” (expulsion into exile) when he sensed that the world would permit it. He was reading Arab strength but also reading world opinion. Zionists have done so ever since.

        World opinion is beginning to change, quite possibly because Israel has gone so far, so very far, into its despicable brand of imperialism. The signs are that the control of Israel is no longer in the sole hands of one clever (if unscrupulous) leader but, rather, in the hands of an ever more demanding group of extremists.

        My belief? Israel will go down the tubes because the ideologues have beaten the realists.

      • seafoid on October 24, 2014, 1:56 pm

        ” My belief? Israel will go down the tubes because the ideologues have beaten the realists.”


        Decision making bias . Past as prologue.

        1 Extrapolation bias (Projection bias, Overinference)

        “When predicting future outcomes based on the past, placing more weight on the most recent events” ie We can always get the Yanks to agree

        2. Confirmation bias (Myside bias)

        “The inclination to place greater weight on and to actively seek information consistent with prior beliefs” Sharon was right

        3 Overconfidence bias (Over-optimism bias, miscalibration)

        “A tendency to predict outcomes too positively and to overestimate the accuracy of predictions” The British will always back us

        4 Ambiguity aversion (Aversion to Knightian uncertainty, Illusion of explanatory depth)

        “Greater willingness to take risks in contexts where people feel able to quantify the risk, or where people feel relatively competent in assessing the risk.”

        It’s just another 400 houses

        5 Behavioural convergence
        (Bandwagon effects, Herding, Information cascades, Conformity, Groupthink)

        “The tendency to copy similar decisions made by others, or conform to majority views”

        29 standing ovations in DC

        6. Time inconsistency (Present bias, hyperbolic discounting)
        “Systematic changes in individual preferences over time, whereby more immediate rewards become disproportionately attractive”

        Replacing Shlomo Ben Ami with Lieberman

        7 Loss/gain asymmetry (Loss aversion, endowment effect)
        “Giving greater weight to losses than to equivalent gains, including willingness to take risks to avoid or recover losses”

        $100 bn spent on yesha, too late to change course..

      • Mooser on October 24, 2014, 2:35 pm

        “Israeli dysfunction is not– it’s completely and deliberately voluntary.”

        Exactly. It is definitely not due to some drug they all take, (although the intoxicated appearance of sufferers appeared to confirm that, and gave rise to the name.) nor can it be traced to any genetic anomaly. (Or there wouldn’t be Ziocaine-Syndrome-by-Proxy victims, would there?)

        It is entirely a behavioral malady, and it is called ‘The Ziocaine Syndrome’. Unfortunately, it may not be entirely voluntary, either. People whose information and influences can be controlled can probably have things imposed on them to a certain extent, I guess.

      • seafoid on October 24, 2014, 8:06 pm

        Israel more than any country needs time travel. Send the IDF back in time to fight the Nazis and leave the Palestinians in peace. Give sabras the courage to change what they can and the serenity to accept what they can’t or absolutely should not and the beginning of some wisdom to know the difference.

      • Mooser on October 27, 2014, 12:12 pm

        “Israel more than any country needs time travel. Send the IDF back in time to fight the Nazis and leave the Palestinians in peace.”

        Given the relations of Zionists and the Nazis, that might be problematic. And what about the Mufti? Why go all the way to Europe to find Nazis?

      • seafoid on October 27, 2014, 12:17 pm


        I though Mufti was a Yiddish euphemism for the holiest of holies

  4. seafoid on October 24, 2014, 12:01 pm

    He is so right about change being a generational thing.
    Zionism will go the same way as 20 year ago attitudes to gay marriage.

    Laura Dern played in the Ellen episode where Ellen came out back in 1997

    She didn’t get any more work for 2 years

    GOP stalwart Ann Coulter was recently booed for her backward attitude to gay marriage

    Gay marriage/Palestinian basic rights – it’s about humans who are denied their dignity because of reactionary a**holes

    • just on October 24, 2014, 12:35 pm

      Spot on seafoid!

      Just the other day I received a call from an acquaintance who was spewing fire and brimstone about folks finally being ‘allowed’ to marry in AK.

      I asked this person “what difference does it make to you if people are allowed civil/ human rights?”

      End of call, after some more spluttering.

      • Horizontal on October 24, 2014, 4:31 pm

        just ~

        You and your unfair logic.

    • Horizontal on October 24, 2014, 5:17 pm

      Zionism will go the same way as 20 year ago attitudes to gay marriage.

      The world is gay, and Israel is Anita Bryant.

      • seafoid on October 24, 2014, 9:21 pm

        And being Palestinian is not a sign of a “deviant lifestyle ”

    • seafoid on October 24, 2014, 9:23 pm

      Moving the masses takes time but it’s such fun

  5. concernedhuman on October 24, 2014, 3:31 pm

    The US should live up to its own laws in regards to arming other countries, specifically considering its own policy on Israel, which has, according to the world-renowned academic Noam Chomsky, itself been violating both US and international law.

    Chomsky cited the Leahy Law divulged by Senator Patrick Leahy. The human rights amendment prohibits the US Department of State and Department of Defense from dispatching any weapons supplies to states which are involved in human rights violations.

    • lysias on October 24, 2014, 5:06 pm

      And Chomsky didn’t even mention the Symington Amendment, which bans U.S. economi, and military assistance and export credits to countries that deliver or receive, acquire or transfer nuclear enrichment technology when they do not comply with IAEA regulations and inspections.

  6. Horizontal on October 24, 2014, 5:11 pm

    This post is great news, although taken another way, I could see some Zio attack Chomsky just to prove him “wrong.”

    But, yeah, the hope for changing this lies with the younger generation. We’ve seen some posts around here recently mostly dealing with BDS featuring older authority figures telling the rest of us what can and cannot work, what is and is not realistic. I think there’s a thread of fear running through those comments.

    That’s the beauty of being young; you can’t tell yet what’s impossible.

  7. seafoid on October 24, 2014, 8:01 pm

    That is because of israel’s policy of ambiguity on whether or not Israel has nukes/Israel is run by deluded assholes. Israel is allowed get away with things but it hasn’t helped its challenging behaviour, has it?

    • lysias on October 28, 2014, 1:41 pm

      The policy of ambiguity was agreed upon by Israel and President Nixon in 1969 so that the U.S. would not be exposed as failing to follow U.S. law on nuclear weapons.

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