An open letter published by Harper’s magazine, and signed by 150 prominent writers and public figures, has focused attention on the apparent dangers of what has been termed a new “cancel culture”. It is easy to agree with the letter’s generalized argument for tolerance and free and fair debate, but the intent of many of the letter’s signatories is the very reverse of their professed goal: they want to stifle free speech, not protect it.
Some 377 scholars and artists from more than 30 countries have signed a pledge opposing litmus tests and political interference by institutions, municipalities, and public officials in Germany aimed at silencing advocates for Palestinian rights under international law. The campaign began due to official efforts to rebuke writers Achille Mbembe and Kamila Shamsie for their advocacy.
“It’s a crime that the Israeli military would pull a gentle soul like Ubai [Aboudi] out of his home in front of his family in the middle of the night,” Noam Chomsky said in a joint statement published by Scientists for Palestine. “They are clearly sending a signal to anyone who works with Palestinian civil society.” The group seeks the release of political economist Aboudi, arrested by Israel on November 13 and held in administrative detention.
Journalists have relied on Wikileaks for years to show readers in riveting detail the extent of the State Department and the Democratic Party’s catering to Israel, for instance to undermine the Iran deal. Whatever you think of him personally, Julian Assange has been a critical journalistic source, allowing news organizations to show the public how our government makes policy.
“Gaza should be a thriving Mediterranean paradise,” if only the siege were lifted, Noam Chomsky says on Democracy Now! And: “Israeli intervention in U.S. elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done.”
Noam Chomsky has said something that even Israeli officials haven’t – that Israel would use nuclear weapons to avert the Palestinian right of return. He refers to the “hishtaganu” policy of Israeli leaders, the threat to go crazy, which they have used to intimidate possible opponents. He is invoking that tactic to support boycott of only the settlements, and to question international law regarding refugees.
Chomsky on pro-Israel fanatics: In years gone by, 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.
An Egyptian protester outside the Israeli embassy last August (Photo: AP) Noam Chomsky’s analysis of…