APARTHEID COMES TO RUSSIA

Photo © by Bud Korotzer


It looks like I jumped the gun two months ago when I applauded the Russian government for endorsing the creation of a Palestinian state. I said It was not surprising that Russia joined the growing number of nations recognising the State of Palestine. They too had their share of oppression and first hand experiences with nazism.

The post that was taken from can be read by clicking on the following …. MOTHER RUSSIA KNOWS THE MEANING OF FASCISM AND OPPRESSION

But, today dear ‘Mother Russia’ showed its true colours …. by welcoming the King of Israeli Apartheid’s plans to expand his operations to the heart of Moscow;

Leviev opens huge Mall in Moscow

Israeli businessman opens new shopping center in heart of Russian capital’s new business area
The full report can be read HERE

It looks like money talks louder than any commitment to the people of Palestine. It’s not as if Leviev’s activities are not known, even UNICEF has refused to accept donations from him; UNICEF does discriminate when it comes to where they accept funds from to carry out their work…. they do not want blood money!

The UN children’s fund UNICEF has severed ties with an Israeli billionaire and financial backer due to his suspected involvement in building settlements in the West Bank, UNICEF said on Friday. Lev Leviev, a real estate and diamond mogul who is one of the richest men in Israel, has supported UNICEF with direct contributions and indirectly by sponsoring at least one UNICEF fund-raiser. 

He is chairman of Africa Israel Investments, a conglomerate whose units include Danya Cebus, which the Arab rights advocacy group Adalah-NY charges has carried out settlement construction, considered illegal by the United Nations.

UNICEF decided to review its relationship with Leviev after a campaign by Adalah-NY and found “at least a reasonable grounds for suspecting” that Leviev companies were building settlements in Palestinian territory, a UNICEF official said.

So, welcome ‘Mother Russia’ to the list of countries that says one thing but continues to do the opposite.
 

MIKE HUCKABEE, THE IMMORAL MORALIST

Seeing things one way, talking about them a different way…

Mike Huckabee, the pseudo-moralist

By Khalid Amayreh

(The bottom-line: you can’t be a man or woman of honesty and true morality and at the same time support Israeli terror and genocidal policies. The two are simply an obscene oxymoron)

Former Governor of Arkansas and Fox News host Mike Huckabee serves as a classical example of an American politician who is willing to sacrifice conscience, honesty and moral integrity in order to receive a certificate of good conduct from Israel and its powerful lobby in Washington.

He claims, or would want us to believe, that he is an ethical man who follows true Christian values. However, a closer scrutiny of the former presidential hopeful would reveal a confused man who really evades and ignores the hard and harsh issues that expose the utter depravity and  brutal ugliness of the Jewish state.

This is evident from his enthusiastic embrace of Israel’s markedly criminal policies in Occupied Palestine, policies that stand in stark contradiction to everything and anything that Jesus Christ preached and taught.

In the final analysis, we are talking about a man who combines  false religious zeal with willful ignorance, fanaticism and not a small amount of vindictiveness in forming his positions and views with regard to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Huckabee is often carried away by the atmospherics of the moment, saying things that are plainly  mendacious in order to please and appease his  fanatical fans and bank-rollers.

However, in doing so, he betrays, knowingly or unknowingly, every moral value he claims to espouse and hold aloft.

In a recent speech he gave in New York City,  Huckabee sought to curry favor with fanatical Zionist supremacists who were holding a Huckabee  reception in order to raise funds for stealing more Palestinian lands and homes and terrorizing and dispossessing more innocent people in the West Bank.

His very attendance and participation in this most immoral event caricatured a politician who just goes with the flow, regardless of the oppression, suffering and pain  America’s immoral policies are inflicting on innocent victims several thousand miles away.

“This evening is about the lights,” said Huckabee. “The lights that I hope will burn brightly, because they are not just about the Jewish people, but about all people who love freedom and who believe that every single human life matters and has worth and value and should be never devalued by the hate of other government, religion or madman and denigrated into oblivion.”

Needless to say, and given the ideology and mindset of his audience, Huckabee should have condemned outright  the systematic and unrelenting  oppression meted  out by Israel to millions of Palestinian Muslims and Christians whose only “crime” is their being not part of the “holy tribe.”

It is never sufficient  for  a true Christian to pay lib service to freedom. He or she should also denounce in the strongest terms  relentless  efforts by the Israeli government to deny Palestinians their  God-given freedom and narrow their horizons in order to force them to emigrate so that others would take over their homes and property.

Huckabee should have told his fanatical audience that the crimes  Israel is committing  in Occupied Palestine on a daily basis  were totally incompatible with the universal values of justice and equity.

True Christians, of all people, should not flinch from calling a spade a spade, even if doing  so would  make many people upset. A true Christian, and Huckabee claims to be one, must not seek to please and appease power at the expense of morality.

After all,  Jesus would have never sided with  the oppressors  against the oppressed, the rich against the poor and the strong against the weak. Similarly, Jesus would have never condoned  the  acts of savagery, hate, and persecution with which Israel is tormenting the Palestinian people.

If so, why do those who claim to be followers of Christ play deaf and dumb and look the other way whenever Israel is criticized for its manifestly evil behavior, which happen to be antithetical to every imaginable Christian ideal and virtue.

In the final analysis, it is a sign of hypocrisy  and moral duplicity to invoke higher moral principles about  freedom and equality of men while constantly helping  effect and expedite policies that  seriously undermine both.

Huckabee and similar hypocrites ought to realize that all the standing ovations in the world don’t warrant harming a child, who is made to suffer because Israeli bulldozers, driven by nefarious young  soldiers, came and destroyed his home while he was at school.

On the Day of Judgment, this child and the tens of thousands of other victims of Israeli oppression will point an accusing finger toward the likes of Huckabee who helped Israel carry out her evil acts against helpless Palestinians. Then there will be no Fox News to spin the facts and turn the big lie into a “truth” glorified by the ignorant rabbles.

Unfortunately, conscience and the American political discourse don’t usually go hand in hand.

Huckabee readily condemns the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize Israel (this is a mendacious observation because the Palestinian Authority recognized Israel as part of the Oslo Agreement).  But he says nothing and remains silent about Israel’s refusal to recognize Palestine. So where is the moral consistency, Mr.  Huckabee?

Grass root work

If Huckabee is truly serious about justice and morality, he should first challenge and denounce the manifestly fascist and criminal  policies and practices of the  Israel  government.

He should declare that Israel should immediately stop all the persecution and oppression meted out to the Palestinian people. He should say “No” to the unmitigated ethnic cleansing of Christians and Muslims in East Jerusalem,  including  the banishing of citizens because of their political views.

He should at  the very least denounce recent Jewish edicts that non-Jews, including  Christians,  are infra-humans, or de facto  animals,  whose lives have no sanctity.

He should strongly condemn the racist views of many rabbis in Israel who openly teach that God created Gentiles to be merely water  carriers and wood hewers for the master race.

He should condemn the acts of savagery and criminality meted out to Christians and Muslims in occupied Palestine at the hands of  murderous settlers who think of themselves as God’s representatives on earth.

I am sure that Huckabee would unhesitatingly condemn any discriminatory acts against Jews in any American city.

But why does he not utter even a word in  protest  against discriminatory acts against Muslims and Christians in Israel like the recent edict by dozens of rabbis who ruled that it is forbidden to rent property to Palestinian students or Arabs in general.

The principles of freedom and justice are universal  and ought to apply to all men and women regardless of race and faith.

However, approaching these values selectively by ignoring the immense oppression inflicted on  the Palestinian people at the hands of Huckabee’s darling state several thousand miles away does represent the apex of hypocrisy.

This is what Huckabee obviously doesn’t understand.

US DEMONSTRATES ITS HYPOCRISY ON HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

Human Rights Day & U.S. Hypocrisy: Defensive America’s Contempt for Full Court, Press

Nima Shirazi *

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.” – André Gide

“WikiLeaks has shown there is an America in civics textbooks and an America that functions differently in the real world.” – James Moore

Sixty-two years ago today, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration, to which the United States is undoubtedly beholden, affirms:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Well, except for WikiLeaks, of course.

Internet giant Amazon.com, which hosted the whistle-blowing website, dropped WikiLeaks last week, “only 24 hours after being contacted by the staff of Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate’s committee on homeland security.” Lieberman’s call for censorship was also heeded by the Seattle-based software company, Tableau, which was hosting some informational, interactive charts linked to by WikiLeaks. These graphics contained absolutely no confidential material whatsoever and merely provided data regarding where the leaked cables originated and in what years they had been written. Nevertheless, for fear of government retribution, Tableau removed the charts, explaining,

“Our decision to remove the data from our servers came in response to a public request by Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, when he called for organizations hosting WikiLeaks to terminate their relationship with the website.”

Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal have all since followed suit. 

But Lieberman hasn’t stopped there. A few days ago, the Senator suggested that the New York Times could potentially be charged with violating U.S. law by publishing the leaked diplomatic cables. “To me, New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship,” Lieberman said, during an interview with Fox News. “And whether they’ve committed a crime, I think that bears very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department,” he continued.

 

Direct connections can, and should, be made to the 2006 revelations in the New York Times about the Bush administration’s widespread domestic surveillance program, when then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales suggested that “the government has the legal authority to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information.”

 

In addition to being a perfect example of the exploitation of state power to protect unflattering, revealing, and possibly damaging information about the government, Lieberman’s censorship crusade is also amazingly ironic considering statements he has made in the past regarding internet freedom. Lieberman is a member of the less than nine-month-old “Global Internet Freedom Caucus,” founded in late March 2010 by Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Ted Kaufman (D-DE) in an effort to further demonize countries that occasionally push back against American imperialism and hegemony.

In his announcement of the new caucus, Brownback proudly declared, “Walls of oppression today are built out of networks and software as much as bricks and mortar. In China, Iran, and around the world, authoritarian governments censor information, suppress communication, and persecute free speech. Just as we stand against physical brutality of oppressive regimes, so too we must stand against this new digital tyranny that violates human rights and threatens all free nations.”

 

Not wanting to be outdone, Lieberman chimed in, saying, “Cyberspace is a critical battlefield in the global struggle for human freedom. The United States has both a strategic interest and a moral imperative to ensure that the Internet works to empower people everywhere to secure their inalienable human rights – rather than allow the dictators who hope to use new technologies to achieve greater control and stifle dissent.”

Apparently, according to Lieberman, these “inalienable human rights” do not include knowledge of one’s own government’s war crimes and whitewashing. Serial violations and violators of human rights abuses are to be unconditionally protected from exposure, scrutiny, investigation, prosecution, and punishment, while those who reveal the truth are crucified on the altar of vital state secrecy and false cries of national security threats.

 

The hypocrisy of the U.S. government was yet again on display with characteristic oblivious-to-irony and self-unawareness on Thursday, when State Department spokesman and professional liar P.J. Crowley posted this on Twitter:


Crowley, whose lies about whether or not the U.S. was responsible for illegal drone attacks in Yemen that killed dozens of civilians were exposed in the first round of leaked diplomatic cables (spoiler: the U.S. was of course responsible for the attacks, despite Crowley’s straight-faced denials to the press), was tweeting with regard to the State Department’s announcement that the United States will host UNESCO’s 2011 World Press Freedom Day event in Washington D.C. The statement, released by Crowley himself on Tuesday December 7, contains the following: 

“New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information.”

If only someone could identify which authoritarian, secretive, and oppressive governments would do such a thing! Maybe Joe Lieberman knows.

Recent American history contradicts Crowley’s tweet. Though the United States is without a doubt the world’s leading preacher on the fundamental necessity of human rights and transparency, its actions reflect somewhat different priorities. As the 16th century French essayist Michel de Montaigne wrote in On Anger, “Saying is a different thing from doing; we must consider the sermon and the preacher distinctly and apart.”

On his first full day as president, Barack Obama signed a memorandum on Transparency and Open Government which stated his supposed commitment to a new level of openness in government. The memo stated, “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.”

In what ways these pretty words square with the recent, petty efforts of Obama’s own Attorney General, Eric Holder, to try and threaten WikiLeaks with criminal charges is unclear and most likely not forthcoming. Holder, in the most honest example of the Obama’s administration openness, explained, “We are looking at all the things we can do to try to stem the flow of this information.”

This past September, in front of the United Nations General Assembly, Obama declared that “the strongest foundation for human progress lies in open economies, open societies, and open governments,” continuing that “the arc of human progress has been shaped by individuals with the freedom to assemble and by organizations outside of government that insisted upon democratic change and by free media that held the powerful accountable…Open society supports open government, but it cannot substitute for it.”

Nevertheless, the Obama administration has relentlessly prosecuted those who have sought to publicize government wrongdoing, while simultaneously refusing to even investigate those in the previous administration for domestic spying and authorization of torture.

Regarding the indictment of Thomas Drake, who revealed failures and wasteful spending of the NSA’s illegal spying and eavesdropping program, the New York Times reported in June that “the Obama administration is proving more aggressive than the Bush administration in seeking to punish unauthorized leaks,” and that, in his first year and a half in office, “President Obama has already outdone every previous president in pursuing leak prosecutions. His administration has taken actions that might have provoked sharp political criticism for his predecessor, George W. Bush, who was often in public fights with the press.”

Sometimes, though, George W. Bush was not merely content to have “public fights with the press.” Sometimes he kidnapped them, imprisoned them, and tortured them. Other times, he just killed them.

On December 15, 2001, Sami Al-Haj, a Sudanese journalist and cameraman for Al Jazeera, was seized on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan and was subsequently held without charge, let alone trial, by the U.S. military at Guantánamo Bay for six and a half years. Over that period, al-Haj was interrogated 130 times and repeatedly mistreated, beaten, and sexually assaulted. British human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, who represented al-Haj, was finally allowed to visit his client at Guantánamo in 2005 and revealed that “The only reason he has been treated like he has is because he is an Al Jazeera journalist. The Americans have tried to make him an informant with the goal of getting him to say that Al Jazeera is linked to Al Qaida.” Al-Haj was unconditionally released on May 1, 2008 without ever being charged with a crime or presented with any evidence for his illegal incarceration.

Associated Press photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner Bilal Hussein was taken into U.S. custody on April 12, 2006 in the Iraqi city of Ramadi. He was held in Iraq, without charge, for nearly two years, eventually being released on April 16, 2008.

Furthermore, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported in 2007:

“Hussein’s detention is not an isolated incident. Over the last three years, dozens of journalists – mostly Iraqis — have been detained by U.S. troops, according to CPJ research. While most have been released after short periods, in at least eight cases documented by CPJ Iraqi journalists have been held by U.S. forces for weeks or months without charge or conviction. In one highly publicized case, Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein, a freelance cameraman working for CBS, was detained after being wounded by U.S. military fire as he filmed clashes in Mosul in northern Iraq on April 5, 2005. U.S. military officials claimed footage in his camera led them to suspect Hussein had prior knowledge of attacks on coalition forces. In April 2006, a year after his arrest, Hussein was freed after an Iraqi criminal court, citing a lack of evidence, acquitted him of collaborating with insurgents.”

CPJ has since reported that “In at least 12 cases in Iraq, journalists were held for prolonged periods. No charges were substantiated in any of the cases.”

Another Iraqi photojournalist, Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, was working for Reuters when he was abducted by U.S. and Iraqi forces from his home in Mahmudiya on September 2, 2008. Even though, as Reuters reported in late 2008, “The Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled on November 30 that there was no evidence against Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, and ordered the U.S. military to release him from Camp Cropper prison near Baghdad airport,” the U.S. military refused to abide by the decision, claiming that Jassam was still considered “a threat to Iraq security and stability.”

At the time, a military spokesman told the press, “He will be processed for release in a safe and orderly manner after December 31st, in the order of his individual threat level, along with all other detainees.” Jassam was finally released on February 11, 2010, after 17 months of imprisonment.

And still, these were some of the lucky ones.

On November 16, 2001, U.S. bombs destroyed the Kabul office of Al Jazeera in what was almost certainly a deliberate attack. A report in The Guardian, published two days after the bombing, warned that the attack “opens up a worrying development for news organisations covering wars and conflicts: now they could be targeted simply for reporting a side of the story that one party wants suppressed.”

Al Jazeera cameraman Tareq Ayyoub died from wounds sustained during a U.S. bombing raid in Baghdad that targeted the offices of both Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV, another Arabic-language news network on April 8, 2003. Three other journalists were wounded in the attack.

The very same day, a U.S. tank fired heavy artillery at Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel, the well-known base for most of the foreign media covering the invasion of Iraq at the time. The assault killed Reuters cameraman Taras Protsyuk and Spanish television network Telecinco cameraman José Couso. The recently leaked embassy cables have now revealed that the U.S. government pressured Spain to drop all investigation into the death of Couso.

After WikiLeaks released the Iraq War Logs this past October, The Guardian reported that “US troops killed several Iraqi journalists at checkpoints or near US bases, in most cases without accepting responsibility. Often they promised to hold investigations but never released their findings.” The article continued,

“One of the most notorious incidents was the killing of Asaad Kadhim and his driver, Hussein Saleh, who worked for the US-funded TV station al-Iraqiya. They were shot by US troops outside a base at Samarra, 80 miles north of Baghdad, on 20 April 2004. At a press conference Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, the deputy director of operations for coalition forces in Iraq, said there were signs banning filming or stopping near the base. US forces at the entrance warned the driver to stop by firing several shots. When they were ignored, Kimmitt said, forces fired at the car.”

Perhaps the most well-known case of the U.S. military killing journalists has also been made public by WikiLeaks. On July 27, 2007, a U.S. Army Apache helicopter in Baghdad repeatedly opened fire on a group of civilians, killing over a dozen people, including Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and assistant Saeed Chmagh. 

News agency Bikya Masr reports that 230 journalists have been murdered in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Four journalists have been killed since the announced withdrawal of the U.S. combat forces at the end of August of this year.

 

But, of course, as P.J. Crowley tweeted: no one believes in press freedom like the United States. Then again, the U.S. government is no stranger to double standards, especially when it comes to the importance of addressing past crimes in order to build a stronger country in the future.

Despite Obama’s repeated insistence that “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” thereby somehow prohibiting him from launching investigations into well documented and publicly admitted U.S. war crimes even though the UN Convention Against Torture unequivocally and explicitly compels him to do so, the United States consistently tells other countries to do precisely what it refuses to do itself.

 

Amazingly, during an interview in March 2010 with an Indonesian television outlet, Obama was asked his opinion on an Indonesian national commission charged with investigating the human rights atrocities perpetrated by its own government under the U.S.-backed Suharto regime “in an attempt to finally bring the perpetrators to justice.” When Obama was asked, “Is your administration satisfied with the resolution of the past human rights abuses in Indonesia?,” he replied, “We have to acknowledge that those past human rights abuses existed. We can’t go forward without looking backwards.”

 

Obama should have added, “Oh, and by we, I of course mean you, not us.”

This past November, while in Cambodia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “visited a former Khmer Rouge torture house…and urged the nation to proceed with trials of the former regime’s surviving leaders in order to ‘confront its past.'” Perhaps without even realizing the painful irony of her statements, Clinton also declared that “a country that is able to confront its past is a country that can overcome it,” continuing, “Countries that are held prisoner to their past can never break those chains and build the kind of future that their children deserve. Although I am well aware the work of the tribunal is painful, it is necessary to ensure a lasting peace.”

 

An identical double standard has also be presented by the United States with regards to scrutinizing Burma’s past.

 

This past August, the Washington Post reported that the Obama administration declared its support for “the creation of a United Nations commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma, a sign of a tougher U.S. policy against a regime long accused of murdering and raping its political foes.”

 

Even more recently, in Honolulu, Clinton reaffirmed the U.S.’s support for an official, international inquiry into Burma’s atrocities, in an effort to, as she herself put it, “underscore the American commitment to seek accountability for the human rights violations” and to “make clear to Burma’s new leaders, old and new alike, that they must break from the policies of the past.”

 

Clinton’s comments echoed those of ubiquitous spokesman P.J. Crowley who, a couple weeks earlier in mid-October,

 

declared the administration’s “hope that a new government will take a different approach than it has in the past.” 

If only Crowley, Clinton, and Obama realized that Americans – at least the ones who are actually offended by wholesale slaughter, torture, rendition, indefinite detention, a totalitarian surveillance state, extrajudicial assassination, the lack of due process, drone attacks, and the illegal and immoral invasion, destruction, and occupation of two countries (while bombarding and murdering civilians in many more) – still hold the same hope for their own government.

With the New York Times reporting early this year that “the Obama administration has decided to continue to imprison without trials nearly 50 detainees at the Guantánamo Bay military prison in Cuba because a high-level task force has concluded that they are too difficult to prosecute but too dangerous to release,” these issues are not going away.

 

With regard to the perceived necessity of punishing WikiLeaks for its crime of telling the inconvenient truth about American conduct in Afghanistan, Iraq, and within US Embassies worldwide, Senator Joe Lieberman recently opined, “And, again, why do you prosecute crimes? Because if you don’t, well, first you do because that’s what our system of justice requires. Second, if you don’t prosecute people who commit crimes, others are going to do it soon and again. And I’m afraid that’s what’s going to happen here.”

Indeed, Joe, we all are. But not about WikiLeaks; rather, about what we already know and WikiLeaks has once again revealed.

*****

 



*Nima Shirazi is a writer and musician from New York City.  His political commentary is published on his website, Wide Asleep in America.com.   His analysis of United States policy and Middle East issues, particularly with reference to current events in Iran, Israel, and Palestine, can also be found in numerous other online and print publications.

HYPOCRICY IN MOTION ~~ THE TWISTED LOGIC OF THE JERUSALEM POST

In reference to Noam Chomsky being barred entry to PALESTINE,…. NEVERTHELESS, WHILE one might empathize with an instinctive response to bar Chomsky – a response apparently shared by the Interior Ministry officials who initially denied him entrance to the West Bank – blocking free speech is the wrong approach. That freedom is too precious to sacrifice in circumstances such as this one.

I never saw such ramblings in the form of an editorial. The title they choose as the heading is ironic considering the recent fiasco involving Naomi Chazan. I am sure they would have fired David Forman as well if he was not literally on his death bed at the time of the witch hunt. Even after death, it was HaAretz that published a more glowing tribute to the man than the Post did.

One can’t help but wonder if the following is nothing more than an attempt to keep the handful of Progressive readers they still might have. But, if that were the case why would the following appear in the same issue?…

Elvis, you’re singing for the rejectionists

‘We are not done with Goldstone’

The answer is obvious! The Jerusalem Post is the English language mouthpiece for the Israeli government. Free Speech and Democracy are the last two issues on their agenda.

The editorial follows…..
Photo by: ASSOCIATED PRESS

The value of free speech

By JPOST EDITORIAL

Blocking Chomsky makes it easier for him to win over new critics.

Though an Interior Ministry spokesperson later called it a “misunderstanding,” the blocking of Noam Chomsky’s entrance to the West Bank by an Israeli border official earlier this week has been hailed by some prominent Israelis. MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union), for instance, has argued that an incendiary anti-Zionist like Chomsky should not be permitted to further exacerbate anti-Israeli sentiment among the Palestinians.

Chomsky, 81, had been on his way to Ramallah’s Bir Zeit University to lecture. A day after he was prevented from entering, the Interior Ministry denied that the linguist had been blacklisted and announced that if he still wished to cross into the West Bank, he would be allowed to do so.

Chomsky, who in the 1970s publicly defended French neo-Nazi Holocaust-denier Robert Faurisson, represents a particularly pernicious strain of anti-Zionism. He embodies the “proud to be ashamed to be a Jew” figure, so unfortunately rampant in recent years in certain academic circles.

Not much is more attractive to extremist Palestinians and their supporters than a respected Jewish professor from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology vocally delegitimizing the Jewish state.

Chomsky, to some extent, is the intellectual grandfather of a growing number of Jewish university professors and intellectuals who link anti-Zionism to anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, anti-globalization and anti-racism.

Others plowing a similar course include Jacqueline Rose, professor of English at Queen Mary, University of London, who has defined Zionism as “a form of collective insanity”; Michael Neumann, professor of philosophy at Trent University in Canada, who has accused Israel of waging a “race war” against Palestinians; historian Tony Judt, who has called for dismantling Israel and replacing it with “a single integrated, binational state,” and Joel Kovel, professor at Bard College, who claimed that “to be a true Jew,” an Israeli had to “annihilate the Jewish Zionist state.”

Chomsky, in short, should not be seen as an isolated eccentric. Any country with a healthy instinct for survival would want to protect itself against the likes of him. And it is not inconceivable that his opinions, expressed among Palestinians, could lead to violence. Consider, for instance, remarks he made in Boston in January of last year.

“In the West Bank by now there’s very little resistance, because of Israeli violence which has indeed subdued the population,” said Chomsky then. “And by now, because of collaborationist Palestinian forces, as I’m sure you know, Israel, the US, 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.”

Given statements like that, indeed, it would not be surprising were the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, primarily interested in blocking a Chomsky visit to Ramallah.

NEVERTHELESS, WHILE one might empathize with an instinctive response to bar Chomsky – a response apparently shared by the Interior Ministry officials who initially denied him entrance to the West Bank – blocking free speech is the wrong approach. That freedom is too precious to sacrifice in circumstances such as this one.

If Chomsky had been allowed to pass freely into Ramallah and to speak, the attendant risks notwithstanding, his visit would have received just a fraction of the media attention he ended up enjoying. His lecture, incidentally, was relayed by video-conference from Amman to Bir Zeit University anyway.

But more substantively, Chomsky should be allowed to voice his crackpot claims – such as that Fatah is collaborating with the US, Jordan and Egypt to subjugate its own people – so they can be scrutinized for their veracity and logic, or lack thereof. The marketplace of ideas should be open to Chomsky and others like him. In the end, reason will win out.

Our dismay and fury at Elvis Costello for canceling his appearances in Israel next month stems from the correct conviction that, had he come here and seen our country for himself, he would never again be fooled by those who distort and manipulate our reality to peddle false stereotypes and advance rejectionist boycotts.

Chomsky is doubtless far too set in his hostility to internalize that reality and be swayed by it, but in blocking him, Israel makes it easier for him to win over new critics.

In contrast, by ensuring Chomsky’s civil liberties, as Israel did when he visited in 1997 and spoke freely at Israeli universities, the Zionist state that Chomsky so vilifies helps prove to a watching, uncertain world just how baseless are his attempts at delegitimization.


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