By Noam Chomsky, written following his trip to the Gaza Strip on October 25-30, 2012.
(Ashraf Amra / APA Images)
Posted Friday, August 25, 2006
On 'Failed States', audio interview, CounterSpin (August 25, 2006). An excerpt:
As the invasion proceeded, there was the usual boilerplate about democracy that nobody pays any attention to. But democracy promotion became the mantra months later. The United States went to war--as Bush, Powell, and others stressed--on the basis of what they called the 'single question': will Saddam Hussein give up his weapons of mass destruction? Well, the single question was answered within a few months in the wrong way. Then there were various efforts to try to conjure up another reason for the war. It turned out, by about August/September of that year, that real reason was what the press called George Bush's "messianic vision" to bring democracy to the Iraq, the Middle East, the world and so on. The press, and the scholarship too to a large extent, immediately jumped on the bandwagon. A couple of months later, November, Bush gave a speech at the anniversary National Endowment for Democracy, in which he proclaimed his vision for democracy. He had rousing applause for this idealistic war, the Iraq war was the "most noble war in history", and so on.
"Anti-American!!", animation with Noam Chomsky and The Dandy Warhols, by Michael Menion (July 8, 2006).
On the Situation in the Middle East, audio interview with Barry Gordon, From Left Field (August 20, 2006). The interview begins at 8:17.
On the US-Israeli Invasion of Lebanon, Al-Adab (August 19, 2006). An excerpt:
Though there are many interacting factors, the immediate issue that lies behind the latest US-Israeli invasion of Lebanon remains, I believe, what it was in the four preceding invasions: the Israel-Palestine conflict. In the most important case, the devastating US-backed 1982 Israeli invasion was openly described in Israel as a war for the West Bank, undertaken to put an end to annoying PLO calls for a diplomatic settlement (with the secondary goal of imposing a client regime in Lebanon). There are numerous other illustrations. Despite the many differences in circumstances, the July 2006 invasion falls generally into the same pattern.
UN Security Council Acts within Constraints Set by Great Powers, interview with Nermeen Al Mufti, The New Anatolian (August 21, 2006). An excerpt:
We know very well that by Western standards, there is no moral or legal justification for the war. Sufficient proof is the fact that for many years, Israel regularly kidnapped Lebanese, sending them to prisons in Israel, including secret prisons like the notorious Camp 1391, which was exposed by accident and quickly forgotten (and in the U.S., never even reported within the mainstream). No one suggested that Lebanon, or anyone else, had the right to invade and destroy much of Israel in retaliation. As this long and ugly record makes clear, kidnapping of civilians -- a far worse crime than capture of soldiers - - is considered insignificant by the U.S., UK, and other Western states, and by articulate opinion within them quite generally, when it is done by "our side." That fact was revealed very dramatically once again at the outset of the current upsurge of violence after Hamas captured an Israeli soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, on June 25. That action elicited a huge show of outrage in the West, and support for Israel's sharp escalation of its attacks in Gaza. One day before, on June 24, Israeli forces kidnapped two civilians in Gaza, a doctor and his brother, and sent them off somewhere in Israel's prison system. The event was scarcely reported, and elicited little if any comment within the mainstream. The timing alone reveals with vivid clarity that the show of outrage over the capture of Israeli soldiers is a cynical fraud, and undermines any shreds of moral legitimacy for the ensuing actions.
Comments on Dershowitz, (August 17, 2006). An excerpt:
Alan Dershowitz's regular little performances are eminently ignorable, including the one reproduced below. But since I've been asked several times for comments on this one, a few follow.
Letter exchange with Alan Dershowitz, Boston Globe, (April-June, 1973). An excerpt:
It is important that the central issue not be obscured. Dr. Shahak and the Israel League, acting with courage and honor, have produced substantial evidence on violations of human and civil rights by the Israeli government, avoiding no relevant instances to my knowledge. Apparently unable to refute the facts, Dershowitz has chosen to defame the man, in a manner which is as familiar as it is deplorable.For some background on the exchange, see the section 'Chomsky "versus" Dershowitz' in Chronicles of Dissent: Interviews with David Barsamian (Common Courage Press, 1992), reproduced below:
[Dershowitz] knows that he can't respond to what I say. He doesn't have the knowledge or the competence to deal with the issues. Therefore, the idea is to try to shut it up by throwing as much slime as you can. There's a famous story attributed to Sam Ervin, a conservative Senator, who once said that as a young lawyer he had learned that if the law is against you, concentrate on the facts. If the facts are against you, concentrate on the law. And if both the facts and the law are against you, denounce your opposing counsel. Dershowitz is not very bright, but he understands that much. If you can't answer on the facts and if you can't answer on the principles, you better throw dirt. In his case there happens to also be a personal reason. He's been on a personal jihad for the last twenty years, ever since I exposed him for lying outright in a vicious personal attack on a leading Israeli civil libertarian. Despite pretenses, he's strongly opposed to civil liberties. Using his position as a Harvard law professor, he referred to what the Israeli courts had determined. But he was just lying flat outright. This was in the Boston Globe (April 29, 1973). I wrote a short letter refuting it (May 17). He then came back (on May 25,) accusing everybody of lying and challenging me to quote from the court records. He never believed I had them, but of course I did. I quoted the court records in response (June 5). He then tried to brazen it out again. It finally ended up with my sending the transcript of the court records to the Globe ombudsman, who didn't know what to do any more with people just taking opposite positions. I translated them for him, and suggested that he pick his own expert to check the translations. The ombudsman finally told Dershowitz they wouldn't publish any more letters of his because he had been caught flat out lying about it. Ever since then he's been trying to get even, so there's just one hysterical outburst after another. That's not surprising, either. He's basically a clown. In that case there's a personal issue overlaying the political issue, which is much more interesting. This personal stuff is not interesting. But if you look at the Anti-Defamation League or the Berkeley professors, and there are plenty of others, it's the Sam Ervin story. You know you can't deal with the material. Either you ignore it, or if you can't ignore it, then defame the speaker. That's the only way you can deal with it if you don't have the brains or the knowledge or you just know your position can't be defended. I think that's understandable, and in a sense you can appreciate it. That's just the hallmark of the commissar.
My Dinner with Hassan, audio interview, Open Source (August 14, 2006).
Iraqi Democracy and Anti-Chomsky Tantrums, by Derek Seidman, Left Hook (January 2004).
On Lebanon-Israel audio interview, Wakeup Call (July 24, 2006).
On Corporations, interview with Marian Peleski, Ellen Lebowitz and Dana Garrett, Progressive Voices Broadcast (July 24, 2006). An excerpt:
It's Chomsky the man--the good-hearted, sincere and decent human being--that I have especially come to appreciate and love. I'm so glad we can have you on the show today, Professor Chomsky. Welcome. Today we will be talking about corporations. Over half of the fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware and the interests of corporations dominate much of Delaware's politics and culture as they do elsewhere in the world.
Point Austin: Oppel vs. Chomsky, by Michael King, The Austin Chronicle News (August 11, 2006). An excerpt:
As my headline inevitably suggests an unarmed man charging into a battle of wits, I briefly considered leaving it at that, knowing that regular Statesman readers would understand it immediately, enjoy a quick laugh, and move on. But those of you who aren't blessed with such strong stomachs might just be puzzled, so I'll try to fill in the blanks. Not once, but twice during recent weeks Our Hometown Editor decided to demonstrate he knows more about the Middle East than Noam Chomsky. The results were predictable.
On Israel, Lebanon and Palestine, interview with Kaveh Afrasiabi, Middle East Online (August 7, 2006). An excerpt:
The invasion itself is a serious breach of international law, and major war crimes are being committed as it proceeds. There is no legal justification. The "moral justification" is supposed to be that capturing soldiers in a cross-border raid, and killing others, is an outrageous crime. We know, for certain, that Israel, the United States and other Western governments, as well as the mainstream of articulate Western opinion, do not believe a word of that. Sufficient evidence is their tolerance for many years of US-backed Israeli crimes in Lebanon, including four invasions before this one, occupation in violation of Security Council orders for 22 years, and regular killings and abductions. To mention just one question that every journal should be answering: When did Nasrallah assume a leadership role? Answer: When the Rabin government escalated its crimes in Lebanon, murdering Sheikh Abbas Mussawi and his wife and child with missiles fired from a US helicopter. Nasrallah was chosen as his successor. Only one of innumerable cases. There is, after all, a good reason why last February, 70% of Lebanese called for the capture of Israeli soldiers for prisoner exchange.
Statement in Solidarity with the Peoples of Lebanon and Palestine:
The US-backed Israeli assault on Lebanon has left the country numb, smoldering and angry. The massacre in Qana and the loss of life is not simply “disproportionate.” It is, according to existing international laws, a war crime. The deliberate and systematic destruction of Lebanon's social infrastructure by the Israeli air force was also a war crime, designed to reduce that country to the status of an Israeli-US protectorate. The attempt has backfired, as people all over the world watch aghast. In Lebanon itself, 87 percent of the population now support Hezbollah's resistance, including 80 percent of Christian and Druze and 89 percent of Sunni Muslims, while 8 percent believe the US supports Lebanon. But these actions will not be tried by any court set up by the “international community” since the United States and its allies that commit or are complicit in these appalling crimes will not permit it. It has now become clear that the assault on Lebanon to wipe out Hezbollah had been prepared long before. Israel's crimes had been given a green light by the United States and its ever-loyal British ally, despite the overwhelming opposition to Blair in his own country. The short peace that Lebanon enjoyed has come to an end, and a paralyzed country is forced to remember a past it had hoped to forget. The state terror inflicted on Lebanon is being repeated in the Gaza ghetto, while the “international community” stands by and watches in silence. Meanwhile the rest of Palestine is annexed and dismantled with the direct participation of the United States and the tacit approval of its allies. We offer our solidarity and support to the victims of this brutality and to those who mount a resistance against it. For our part, we will use all the means at our disposal to expose the complicity of our governments in these crimes. There will be no peace in the Middle East while the occupations of Palestine and Iraq and the bombings of Lebanon continue. Initial signatories: Tariq Ali - John Berger - Noam Chomsky - Eduardo Galeano - Ken Loach - Arundhati Roy - Howard Zinn Further signatures: Mona Abaza - Faleh Abdul-Jabbar - Matthew Abraham - Bashir Abu-Manneh - Gilbert Achcar - Radwa Achour - Etel Adnan - Fabio Alberti - Gadi Algazi (Tel Aviv) - Anthony Arnove - Naseer Aruri - Aziz el-Azmeh - Nadia Baghdadi - Chris Bambery - Mourid al-Barghouti - Tamim al-Barghouti - David Barsamian - Helga Baumgarten - Joel Beinin - Walden Bello - Tony Benn - Hamida Bensadia - Daniel Bensaïd - Marco Bersani - Olivier Besancenot - Azmi Bishara (Haifa) - Luciana Bohne - Saïd Bouamama - Timothy Andres Brennan - Michaelle Browers - Suzanne de Brunhoff - Mauro Bulgarelli - François Burgat - Andrew Burgin - Judith Butler - Alex Callinicos - Paola Canarutto - Salvatore Cannavò - Vivek Chibber - Alberto Clarizia - Alexander Cockburn - Geraldina Colotti - Dan Connell - Jeremy Corbyn - Giorgio Cremaschi - Mahmoud Darwish - Liz Davies - Richard Falk - Mireille Fanon-Mendès France - Stefano Galieni - Elisabeth Gauthier - Irene Gendzier - Lindsey German - Fausto Gianelli - Rachel Giora (Tel Aviv) - Charles Glass - Nacira Guénif Souilamas - Serge Guichard - Habdellali Hajjat - Yassin al-Haj Saleh - Eric Hazan - Sherif Hetata - Ahmad Hissou - François Houtard - Sonallah Ibrahim - Salam Ismael - Emilie Jacir - Marcel-Francis Kahn - Assaf Kfoury - Michel Khleifi - Elias Khouri - Alain Krivine - Yitzhak Laor (Tel Aviv) - Francesco Locantore - Jennifer Loewenstein - Orly Lubin (Tel Aviv) - Moshe Machover - Piero Maestri - Kamil Mahdi - Yamin Makri - Luigi Malabarba - Henri Maler - Harriet Malinowitz - Nur Masalha - Gus Massiah - Anat Matar (Tel Aviv) - Norbert Mattes - Luisa Morgantini - Antonio Moscato - Luciano Muhlbauer - Fatimah Muhsin - Craig Murray - Karma Nabulsi - Cinzia Nachira - Ahmed Okasha - Ilan Pappe (Haifa) - Luigia Pasi - Walter Peruzzi - Paola Piacenza - John Pilger - Harold Pinter - Omar al-Qattan - John Rees - Tanya Reinhart (Tel Aviv) - Hilary Rose - Steven Rose - Eric Rouleau - Werner Ruf - Nawal el Saadawi - Dalia Sachs (Haifa) - Hannah Safran (Haifa) - Mariam C. Said - Catherine Samary - Maria Antonietta Saracino - Patrick Seale - Ronen Shamir (Tel Aviv) - Sandra Shattuck - Ahmed Shawki - Eyal Sivan - Ahdaf Soueif - William Thelin - Enzo Traverso - Lea Tsemel (Jerusalem) - Franco Turigliatto - Dominique Vidal - Gore Vidal - Pasquale Vilardo - Michel Warschawski (Jerusalem) - Salma Yaqoob - Stephen Zunes
Apocalypse Near, interview with Merav Yudilovitch, ynet (August 4, 2006). An excerpt:
The "real issue" that is being ignored is the systematic destruction of any prospects for a viable Palestinian existence as Israel annexes valuable land and major resources, leaving the shrinking territories assigned to Palestinians as unviable cantons, largely separated from one another and from whatever little bit of Jerusalem is to be left to Palestinians, and completely imprisoned as Israel takes over the Jordan valley. This program of realignment cynically disguised as "withdrawal," is of course completely illegal, in violation of Security Council resolutions and the unanimous decision of the World Court (including the dissenting statement of US Justice Buergenthal). If it is implemented as planned, it spells the end of the very broad international consensus on a two-state settlement that the US and Israel have unilaterally blocked for 30 years--matters that are so well documented that I do not have to review them here.
War crimes and Lebanon, letter to the editor by Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Eduardo Galeano, Howard Zinn, Ken Loach, John Berger and Arundhati Roy, The Guardian (August 3, 2006). An excerpt:
The US-backed Israeli assault on Lebanon has left the country numb, smouldering and angry. The massacre in Qana and the loss of life is not simply "disproportionate". It is, according to existing international laws, a war crime.