THE TWO FACES OF NOAM CHOMSKY

The following was brought to my attention via Antony Loewenstein’s Blog today.
Here is the short intro that he wrote….

Why is Chomsky now warm to Ramallah’s embrace?

Could somebody please explain why Noam Chomsky now appears to be supporting the dictatorial and corrupt Palestinian Authority when only a short while ago he rightly called the body fundamentally corrupt and complicit in selling out the rights of Palestinians?

Antony was referring to what was written in the following piece by Ali Abunimah, a co-founder of The Electronic Intifada.

I’m baffled by Noam Chomsky’s contradictions on Palestine

I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Noam Chomsky, one of the foremost intellectuals of our time, whose work opened my eyes on a great many issues. But like many others, I have been increasingly baffled by the many inconsistencies in his views on Palestine. A few months ago, for example, I responded to his opposition to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement on Khalil Bendib’s radio program Voices from the Middle East and North Africa.

After Chomsky was outrageously barred by Israel from traveling to the occupied West Bank over the weekend, I could not help but be struck by yet another glaring contradiction.

In his 17 May interview on Democracy Now he told Amy Goodman that his planned itinerary included a meeting with Salam Fayyad, the unelected US- and Israeli-backed “prime minister” of the Ramallah Palestinian Authority imposed after the US helped overthrow the Hamas-led “national unity government” that came after the 2006 election. Chomsky told Goodman:

I was going to meet with the Prime Minister [Fayyad]. Unfortunately, I couldn’t. But his office called me here in Amman this morning, and we had a long discussion.

He is pursuing policies, which, in my view, are quite sensible, policies of essentially developing facts on the ground. It’s almost—I think it’s probably a conscious imitation of the early Zionist policies, establishing facts on the ground and hoping that the political forms that follow will be determined by them. And the policies sound to me like sensible and sound ones. The question, of course, is whether—the extent to which Israel and the United States, which is a determining factor—the extent to which they’ll permit them to be implemented. But if implemented, and if, of course, Israel and the United States would terminate their systematic effort to separate Gaza from the West Bank, which is quite illegal, if that continues, yes, it could turn into a viable Palestinian state.

Really? Chomsky the great critic of US efforts to undermine democracy and impose its clients around the world is now effusively endorsing what is in effect a US-backed puppet regime? Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Chomsky said about precisely the same Ramallah Palestinian Authority whose “prime minister” he now finds so “sensible” during a lecture in Boston on 21 January 2009.

After describing at length Israel’s plans to rob Palestinians inside Israel and the occupied territories of any remaining rights and to complete the colonization of remaining Palestinian lands, Chomsky says:

Well, those proposals can only be implemented if there’s no resistance to them. In the West Bank by now there’s very little resistance, because of Israeli violence which has indeed subdued the population. And by now because of collaborationist Palestinian forces. As I’m sure you know Israel, the United States, with its allies, the Arab dictatorships — Jordan, Egypt — have trained security forces, Fatah security forces, whose main task is to subdue the population. If they have a demonstration, you know, against the atrocities in Gaza, instead of the Israeli army going in, they’ll do it. That’s a typical colonial pattern. The whole history of colonialism works like that. I won’t run through the details but it’s absolutely common, very common. Like, say, India, the population was mostly kept under control by Indian soldiers under British command. It’s just a typical and natural procedure. In Chechnya today it’s kept subdued and quiet and developing and so on under Chechen military forces with the Russians in the background in case anything goes wrong. It’s routine and its being duplicated in the West Bank. Well, okay, so they’ve pretty much subdued protest in the West Bank so they can carry out their policies without disturbance, but they haven’t yet subdued Gaza. In Gaza you still have resistance.

Later, Chomsky speaks about Israel reneging on the 2005 deal to keep the borders of Gaza open and its imposition of the current blockade:
A couple of months later, in January 2006, Israel rejected the agreement as did the United States. And the reason is the Palestinians had committed a really grave crime. They voted the wrong way in a free election. And you don’t do that. The Godfather doesn’t like that and therefore you have to be punished. And so the international community has to write uplifting articles about our yearning for democracy, so again, that’s how international affairs work and how our cultural system works…

What has happened to Chomsky that he is offering his cachet, endorsement and support to what he himself has described as a colonial collaborationist regime?

9 Comments

  1. Paul Rigby said,

    May 21, 2010 at 18:49

    Chronicle of autobiographical deceit: Building the “legend”

    One of the major problems in dealing with the real career and purposes of Chomsky the pseudo-dissident is the widespread refusal of his readers to pay attention to his actual words and texts. Such is the desire to believe in the Chomsky myth that a great deal of contradictory and, in many instances, plainly dishonest, rubbish is permitted to pass unchallenged. Here’s a classic example of what I’m getting at.

    Readers of The Chomsky Reader, edited by the sycophantic James Peck, learn that the great one visited Israel in 1953 “at the time of the Slansky trails in Czechoslovakia”(1).

    We are first informed that the kibbutzim on which he stayed was “a functioning and very successful libertarian commune,” that he “liked…very much in many ways”(2), so much so that he “came close to returning there to live”(3). OK. So far, so clear.

    Yet in the very next paragraph, we learn that this same “functioning and very successful libertarian commune” was nothing of the sort. It was, instead, a sectarian hellhole: “…the ideological conformity was appalling. I don’t know if I could have survived long in that environment because I was very strongly opposed to the Leninist ideology, as well as the general conformism…”(4).

    This is ridiculously contradictory as straight autobiographical reminiscence, but then to read these paragraphs in that conventional way is to miss the point. For these “recollections” have nothing to do with an accurate history of Chomsky’s life and intellectual development. Instead, the great, shameless, absurd volte-face is “legend” creation. If his opinions were to carry weight with the CIA’s particular target audiences, and thus help set the limits of 1960s dissent, Chomsky had to be armoured against two principal likely objections: that he was a self-hating Jewish intellectual, and/or a Stalinoid fellow-traveller. Now we have the key to unlocking the contradictory farrago that is Chomsky’s characterisation of the kibbutzim he visited in 1953.

    (1) James Peck (Ed.) The Chomsky Reader (London: Serpent’s Tail, 1992 reprint), p.10.

    (2) Ibid., p.8.

    (3) Ibid., pp.8-9.

    (4) Ibid., p.9.

  2. noamsucks said,

    May 21, 2010 at 18:55

    Maybe it’s because so many people stopped adulating the guy once it became clear that he’s the ultimate left gatekeeper, and now the only people that give him that kind of adulation are the zionists within Fatah.

  3. steve said,

    May 21, 2010 at 19:00

    Just listen closely to Chomsky. He addresses your points in excruciating detail in several places. He says a lot with just a few words, so listen closely.

  4. Big M said,

    May 21, 2010 at 19:33

    The question should be: why does anybody pay attention to this two-faced shill any more?

  5. Paul Rigby said,

    May 21, 2010 at 22:36

    The Loyal Tool Quiz, part 1: Match the CIA propagandist to the right quote

    Quotes:

    (1) “The CIA, as the President’s loyal tool – tainted to some extent by involvement in Watergate-related activities – also became vulnerable.”

    (2) “CIA: The President’s Loyal Tool.”

    (3) “One thing I would mention is that when it’s a CIA operation, that means it’s a White House operation. It’s not CIA. They don’t do things on their own…If it’s a CIA operation it’s because they were ordered to do it…”

    (4) “[T]he CIA is not a mysterious body with its own brand of politics: it is a tool in the hands of the President of the United States…”

    (5): “While the CIA deserves no kudos for its part in the scheme [Bay of Pigs], it is a misjudgement to credit it with more than an agent’s share of the blame…”

    (6) “The Central Intelligence Agency has never assumed the ‘right to meddle in other nations’ internal affairs.’ The charter legislation for the CIA makes it the instrument for such special activities, but only when they are proposed by the policy agencies, directed by the President and financed by Congress after proper notification.”

    (7) “Let me say again flatly that CIA does not make policy, and does not operate outside or contrary to established policy.”

    (8) “He was disillusioned, he said, because the CIA had become ‘not an intelligence gathering organisation but a covert operations arm of the Presidency.’”

    (9) “The White House knows, or is made aware of, every important step of the CIA…The CIA operates both independently and secretly, but the much circulated view that there are two governments is groundless. There is only one government in the United States and it is directed from Washington.”

    10) “…all the murders, coups, bribes, intrigues, provocations and other foreign interventions committed by the CIA – a whole litany of which is recited in the Times report itself – are the policies of the United States Government. Far from being at odds with the CIA, “it was [United States] policymakers who chose to make the agency the instrument of political and military intervention in other nation’s affairs…”

    Answers/Sources:

    (1) Victor Marchetti & John D. Marks. The CIA And The Cult Of Intelligence (New York: Dell, February 1975), p. 328.

    (2) Victor Marchetti, “CIA: The President’s Loyal Tool,” The Nation, 3 April 1972, p. 430.

    (3) Noam Chomsky. Class Warfare (London: Pluto Press, 1996), p. 92.

    (4) Philip Agee, as quoted by Claude Bourdet, in “The CIA Against Portugal,” as found in Jean Pierre Faye (Ed.). Portugal: The Revolution In The Labyrinth (Nottingham: Spokesman Books, 1976), p. 194.

    (5) Carl Marzani & Robert E. Light. Cuba v. CIA (New York: Marzani & Munsell, 1961), p. 52.

    (6) Gary E. Foster, (Director of Public and Agency Information, CIA), “C.I.A. Isn’t Lone Wolf of Foreign Policy,” New York Times, (Wednesday), 17 February 1993, p.A18.

    (7) Admiral William F. Raborn, outgoing Director of Central Intelligence, U.S. New & World Report, 18 July 1966, pp.75-76.

    (8) Ralph W. McGehee. Deadly Deceits (1989), as quoted, without objection, by John Pilger. Heroes (London: Pan Books, 1989), p.184.

    (9) George Morris. CIA and American Labor: The Subversion of the AFL-CIO’s Foreign Policy (New York: International Publishers, 1967), pp.23 & 145.

    10) M.S.Arnoni, “…and More About the CIA,” The Minority of One, June 1966, (Vol VIII, No 6), pp.8-9.

  6. Sam said,

    May 21, 2010 at 23:02

    It’s not surprising to me at all that Chomsky would say opposite things about Palestine, as the article points out. For over 30 years he’s been deliberately posing as the Left’s leading light, while secretly poisoning people’s thinking on the key issues where a real discussion would lead to real changes.

    Here’s a quote from Barrie Zwicker’s book, Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-up of 9/11. And this is from a long chapter in the book called: “The Shame of Noam Chomsky and the Gatekeepers of the Left”:

    “. . . Chomsky, the most quoted ‘Leftist’ in the Left media, systematically engages in deceptive discourse on certain key topics, such as JFK’s assassination, 9/11, and with regard to the CIA. In warning the Left against examining the evidence on JFK and 9/11, he lines himself up with George Bush and the corporate media, thereby advancing their agenda – which he otherwise opposes. When he is not appearing to undermine the American Empire, which is the main thing he does, he is buttressing it by undermining the most effective and therefore dangerous foe the Empire faces – the conscious Left.”

    Here’s a very interesting and informative review of Barrie Zwicker’s book, and the part of the review where it discusses the chapter about Noam Chomsky is about 4/5 of the way down at this link:

    http://www.mujca.com/zwicker.htm

  7. dannylaroo said,

    May 22, 2010 at 01:54

    Chomsky has obviously been told that it’s the elected representatives of the Palestinians that are the bad boys, he must be nice to the puppets of the West Bank. Without them who would Israel be able to negotiate ‘peace’ with?

  8. May 22, 2010 at 10:10

    […] via THE TWO FACES OF NOAM CHOMSKY « Desertpeace. […]

  9. Rachel Bartlett said,

    May 22, 2010 at 14:01

    If you are smart enough to notice two-facedness, then you should be smart enough to think for yourself, and you should be strong enough to leave the right versus left paradigm. Take what turns out to be true after you tested it, and reject the rest.

    I would not waste energy getting upset over people like Chomsky, Alex Jones, David Icke, Glenn Beck, etc. They are human, they have their own limits and interests. Thank them for whatever they helped you realize, and walk on. There are many phantastic people out there who have ideas and insights to offer; no point in trying to kick somebody who is on the way down anyway when you can discover and embrace somebody new.


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