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‘Israel was the absolute darling of progressive, liberal America,’ but no more, says Chomsky

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Noam Chomsky made news on several fronts in an interview on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. Gaza should be a thriving Mediterranean paradise. Israel interferes in our politics way more than Russia. And Israel has lost the American left.

Israel used to be “the absolute darling of progressive, liberal America.” But it’s shifting its support to rightwing regimes, and losing the Democratic Party.

Israel should be preparing itself for a period in which it loses the support of sectors of the world that have some concern for human rights and international law, and should be returning towards alliances with the countries that just don’t care about this. Say, India, under the recent ultranationalist Modi government, shares with Israel the move towards ultranationalism, repression, a hatred of Islam; China doesn’t pay attention to these things; Singapore; Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates.

And we can see it happening in the United States, as well. So, not too long ago, Israel was the absolute darling of progressive, liberal America. That has changed. By now, among self-identified Democrats, they have considerably more support for Palestinians than for Israel. Support for Israel in the United States has shifted to the ultranationalist right and evangelicals, who, for the wrong reasons, support Israeli actions, with some passion, in fact…. [T]he base of Israeli support in the United States has shifted to the right wing of the Republican Party. So, these things are happening all over the world.

And on Gaza, which he reminds us the UN has predicted will be unlivable by 2020. The killings by Israel are “hideously ugly,” he says and Gaza ought to be a Mediterranean paradise.

So, here’s a population kept in a prison, in an occupied territory, fed a diet to keep them at bare survival, constantly used as a punching bag for what’s called—what calls itself the most moral army in the world, now reaching a point where within a couple years it will be uninhabitable, yes, and in addition to that you have sadistic acts like highly trained snipers killing a young Palestinian woman medic when she’s tending a patient…

Can we do something about it? Sure, of course we can. Gaza should be a thriving Mediterranean paradise. It has a wonderful location, has agricultural resources, could be marvelous beaches, fishing, sea resources, even has natural gas offshore, which it’s not being allowed to use. So there’s plenty that can be done. But we’ve—the U.S. has preferred, under repeated administrations, but much worse now, to, as usual, support the murderers…

[The world should] live up to the terms of the November 2005 agreement. Allow Gaza to reconstruct. Open the entry points to Israel and Egypt. Rebuild the seaport that was smashed. Rebuild the airport that Israel destroyed. Allow them to reconstruct the power plants. Let them become a flourishing Mediterranean site.

The long time MIT linguistics prof who now is a professor at the University of Arizona, Chomsky also said what we have said here, that Israel’s interference in our politics far surpasses Russia’s:

So, take, say, the huge issue of interference in our pristine elections. Did the Russians interfere in our elections? An issue of overwhelming concern in the media. I mean, in most of the world, that’s almost a joke. First of all, if you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support. Israeli intervention in U.S. elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done, I mean, even to the point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president’s policies—what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015. Did Putin come to give an address to the joint sessions of Congress trying to—calling on them to reverse U.S. policy, without even informing the president? And that’s just a tiny bit of this overwhelming influence. So if you happen to be interested in influence of—foreign influence on elections, there are places to look. But even that is a joke.

Thanks to Annie Robbins.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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16 Responses

  1. ckg on August 1, 2018, 11:18 am

    Chomsky: “By now, among self-identified Democrats, they have considerably more support for Palestinians than for Israel.”

    2018 Pew Research Center report: “As was the case last year, Democrats are divided in views of the Middle East conflict: Currently, 27% of Democrats say they sympathize more with Israel, while 25% say they sympathize more with the Palestinians;”

    Could Chomsky be thinking of a different opinion poll?

    • ckg on August 1, 2018, 1:28 pm

      The 2018 Gallup analysis was even more favorable to Israel than the Pew report:

      Again, party differences in these attitudes are notable, with Republicans more positive than Democrats about Israel and Democrats more positive than Republicans about the Palestinian Authority.

      83% of Republicans, 72% of independents and 64% of Democrats view Israel favorably.
      27% of Democrats, 21% of independents and 12% of Republicans view the Palestinian government favorably.

      Gallup, however, asked for opinion on the “Palestinian Authority” rather than the “Palestinians”. Many people who sympathize with the Palestinian people also dislike the Palestinian Authority.

  2. Kay24 on August 1, 2018, 11:51 am

    The big question is, will they now stop supporting Israel, now that it has turned into something they do not like, or will it be Israel right or wrong?
    Something tells me at least the US and the Congress, will continue their unwavering support for this apartheid right wing nation.
    Will Israel’s crooked PM still get standing ovations in Congress now?

  3. Stogumber on August 1, 2018, 3:31 pm

    Israel was the darling of th “progressive liberal Left” – the reason was wishful thinking on both sides.
    But what happens when wishful thinking is replaced by realism? Israel remains what it is – the country and the population can’t change. But what happens with the “progressive liberal Left”? Will they simply look out for another dreamland? Will they get more sober? Will they cease to exist?

  4. Keith on August 1, 2018, 3:33 pm

    NOAM CHOMSKY- “By now, among self-identified Democrats, they have considerably more support for Palestinians than for Israel.”

    Among the Democrats who count – the major funders – Israel has overwhelming support. Arguably, the Democratic Party is owned by Zionist money. What the little people say on polls is no big deal. Democratic policies and actions are imperial policies and actions, emphasizing warfare and neoliberalism. Only the rhetoric contains echoes of liberalism past. And the notion that Israel marches to the beat of evangelical drums is ludicrous.

    • echinococcus on August 1, 2018, 9:06 pm

      Chomsky makes even less sense with time. Does he really believe that the peons in both parties have any say? Or that, if they change their mind while these parties are dominant, they can do more than voting for a maverick snake-oil salesman?
      The most absurd, though, is the way he uses “progressive” for anything compatible with Zionism –maybe it still sticks to him.

  5. JWalters on August 1, 2018, 6:56 pm

    My thanks to both Noam Chomsky and Amy Goodman for this interview. This appears to me a step forward for each. Zionism’s castle wall of lies is being bombarded with facts, and the bombardment is increasing steadily. Once people learn the truth it’s very tough to re-fool them.

  6. Nevada Ned on August 1, 2018, 11:07 pm

    If you’re looking for examples of left-wing and liberal support for Israel, look no farther than Dissent magazine, under founding editor Irving Howe and later Michael Walzer.

  7. Ejosephweixel on August 2, 2018, 1:36 pm

    Maybe, possibly, perhaps, if Gazans renounce their human rights to return to their home, there will be announcements, a big cardboard facsimile of a $60 bn. check. A few projects get started, then pffffft.

    Don’t Noam and Amy understand that?

  8. James Canning on August 2, 2018, 2:00 pm

    Israel’s highly successful program of interference in US elections is of course a topic not to be found discussed in US newspapers.

  9. DaBakr on August 5, 2018, 10:33 pm

    Nobody, even the young radical left wing youth that are still clutching to their 1% entitlements but screaming about oppression in the world, gives a shit what Chomsky has to say. He’s a relic.

  10. DaBakr on August 5, 2018, 10:39 pm

    Nobody, even the young radical left wing youth that are still clutching to their 1% entitlements but screaming about oppression in the world, gives a shit what Chomsky has to say. He’s a relic. Things have moved in many different directions, the far left being only one of many. Conspiracy theorists on the left and the right are both afflicted with the same mediocre mindset and fixated thinking.

  11. Ossinev on August 6, 2018, 7:05 am

    Whoops in your first comment you obviously forgot to type in the full text of the Hasbara script you had been sent. Ziocentral just can`t get the staff these days.

  12. Mooser on August 6, 2018, 4:15 pm

    “forgot to type in the full text”

    Yeah, that line about the “young radical left wing youth that are still clutching to their 1% entitlement” was just too good to let go to waste. Especially when contrasted with the hard-working Zionist who has pulled himself up by his own sandal-straps.

    • DaBakr on August 9, 2018, 1:25 am


      If you think that comment was anything that a real hasbarist sticking to a supposed script would write then I understanding of the appreciation for the word.

      . I’m glad you liked that line, I pieced it together all by myself. Baby 1%’ers is another phrase I think I read. Your saying it’s not true? The extreme right typically comes from less privilege. Both think they are superior.

      • Mooser on August 9, 2018, 5:07 pm

        .” I’m glad you liked that line, I pieced it together all by myself”

        You stick with it, “DaBakr”. Use it a lot. I’m sure it really hits home.

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