By Noam Chomsky, written following his trip to the Gaza Strip on October 25-30, 2012.
(Ashraf Amra / APA Images)
Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Match Point, letter to The New Republic (June 1, 2007). An excerpt:
It is always intriguing to see just how far Alan Dershowitz will go in his efforts to conceal the fact that Norman Finkelstein exposed him as a vulgar and fraudulent apologist for Israeli human rights violations -carefully, judiciously, with extensive documentation. Knowing that he cannot respond, Dershowitz is reduced to a torrent of slanders and deceit about Finkelstein's alleged misdeeds - which would, transparently, be irrelevant if there were a particle of truth to his easily-refuted charges. The latest chapter in Dershowitz's efforts at self-protection is a campaign to undermine Finkelstein's tenure appointment, actions that are utterly without precedent, even reaching to an op-ed in the Wall St. Journal.. In an attempt to obscure what he is up to, along with other little fibs that I'll ignore, Dershowitz has now invented a new fairy tale: that he is following my course when I "led [my] own jihad" to deny Kissinger a faculty position at Columbia ("Cambridge Diarist," TNR, May 21).
On Recent Developments in Venezuela, interview with Kabir Joshi-Vijayan and Matthew Skogstad-Stubbs, Venezuelanalysis.com (May 18, 2007). An excerpt:
There have been some changes. I don't think they're dramatic. This is probably the first time in Venezuelan history that there's a government that's making more than gestures towards using its huge resources to help the poorer parts of the population. This is mostly towards health, education, cooperatives and so on. Just how great the impact is it's pretty hard to say. But certainly we know the popular reaction to them, which is after all the most important question. What's important is not what we think about it, but what Venezuelans think about it. And that's pretty well known. There are pretty good polling agencies in Latin America, the main one is Latinobarometro, which is in Chile. Very respected organization. There are similar polls in the United States in less detail. They monitor attitudes throughout Latin America on all sorts of crucial issues. The most recent one in Chile, in December, found--as earlier ones have--support for democracy and support for the government have been rising very sharply in Venezuela since 1998. Venezuela is now essentially tied with Uruguay at the top in support for the government and support for democracy. It's well ahead of the other Latin American countries in support for the economic policies of the government and also well ahead in the belief that the policies help the poor, meaning the huge majority, instead of elites. And there are similar judgments on other issues, and as I say it has been rising rather sharply... Despite the obstacles there has been a degree of progress that has been considered by the population as very meaningful, and that's the best measure.
On Religion and Politics, interview with Amina Chaudary, Islamica Magazine (April-May, 2007). An excerpt:
The attitude toward Islam is quite complex. The U.S. has always supported the most extreme fundamentalist Islamic movements and still does. The oldest and most valued ally of the U.S. in the Arab world is Saudi Arabia, which is also the most extremist fundamentalist state. By comparison, Iran looks like a free democratic society--but Saudi Arabia was doing its job. The enemy for most of this period has been secular nationalism. U.S.-Israeli relations, for example, really firmed up in 1967 when Israel performed a real service for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Namely, it smashed the main center of secular nationalism, (Gamal Abdul) Nasser's Egypt, which was considered a threat and more or less at war with Saudi Arabia at the time. It was threatening to use the huge resources of the region for the benefit of the population of the countries of the region, and not to fill the pockets of some rich tyrant while vast profits flowed to Western corporations.
On India-Pakistan Relations, interview with Michael Shank, Foreign Policy in Focus (May 22, 2007). An excerpt:
One has to be a little cautious when talking about terrorism. From the U.S. point of view, there's good terrorism and bad terrorism. And Pakistan has its own problems. The Baloochi areas are very antagonistic to central rule for good reasons. Pakistan also has complex relations with the Northwest Territories and the tribal areas. It's held together in a very fragile fashion, Pakistan. The United States supports the central government and is claiming that it's not acting as militantly as the United States would like to control its sub-populations. And if it tried to, the country might blow up. Musharraf has to walk a very delicate line, also with regard to allowing some democratic opening in the country, which is not easy.
Academics May Boycott Iran Over Scholar's Detainment, by Robin Wright, Washington Post (May 20, 2007). An excerpt:
MIT professor Noam Chomsky also issued a statement yesterday calling Esfandiari's detention "deplorable" and warned that the action by Iran's intelligence ministry was "a gift" to American policymakers trying to organize support for military action against Iran. "Now is a time for diplomacy, negotiations, and relaxation of tensions, in accordance with the will of the overwhelming majority of Americans and Iranians, as recent polls reveal," Chomsky said. "The intolerable treatment of this highly respected scholar and human rights activist severely undermines the efforts of those who are seeking peace, justice and freedom in the region and the world."
Making Sense of What Doesn't Make the News, by Antonia Zerbisias, The Toronto Star (May 18, 2007). An excerpt:
Here at the University of Windsor, where some 300 scholars, students and media guerrillas are revisiting Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky's groundbreaking "propaganda model" on the eve of its 20th anniversary, the talk is of how to take back the public agenda and make it serve the public interest instead of the corporate bottom line.
Chomsky Takes on the World (Bank), interview with Michael Shank, Foreign Policy in Focus (May 16, 2007). Abstract:
Noam Chomsky is a noted linguist, author, and foreign policy expert. On April 26, Michael Shank interviewed him about the conflict between Congress and the U.S. president over Iraq and Syria, the scandal enveloping World Bank head Paul Wolfowitz, and the nature of foreign debt.
Starving the Poor, Khaleej Times (May 15, 2007). An excerpt:
The connection between instability in the Middle East and the cost of feeding a family in the Americas isn’t direct, of course. But as with all international trade, power tilts the balance. A leading goal of US foreign policy has long been to create a global order in which US corporations have free access to markets, resources and investment opportunities. The objective is commonly called "free trade," a posture that collapses quickly on examination.
South America Rising, audio talk, Wake Up Call Radio (May 7, 2007). (Talk begins at 16:17.)
Jamia Names Road after Arjun, The Hindu (May 5, 2007). An excerpt:
Before Mr. Singh inaugurated the brand new Noam Chomsky Complex on Friday evening, Jamia Teachers' Association president M. Rais Khan opened "Shahrah-i Arjun Singh" -- the road leading to Mujeeb Bagh Teachers' Housing Complex on the campus. After opening the new Complex, Mr. Singh said: "It is indeed appropriate that this complex has been named after the leading linguist, writer and activist Noam Chomsky, whose commitment to critical enquiry, we wish our centres of learning and research to imbibe and propagate."