Chomsky sloppy on Gaza —and timid on Palestine’s future

Noam Chomksy is held in such God-like reverence by the leftoid legions we get a kick out of calling him out on the things he gets egregiously wrong. Now he has just visited the Gaza Strip, and his screed about it on In These Times, "Gaza, The World's Largest Open-Air Prison," is of course getting gobs of attention. And it would serve as a basic primer on Israel's official choking of Gaza—if it weren't for some sloppy corner-cutting where the facts are concerned. Chomsky sets the background for the discussion in his usual terms:

The Oslo Accords, celebrated with much pomp in 1993, determined that Gaza and the West Bank are a single territorial entity. By that time, the U.S. and Israel had already initiated their program to separate Gaza and the West Bank, so as to block a diplomatic settlement and punish the Araboushim [an Israeli pejorative for the Palestinians, used ironically] in both territories.

Punishment of Gazans became still more severe in January 2006, when they committed a major crime: They voted the "wrong way" in the first free election in the Arab world, electing Hamas.

Displaying their "yearning for democracy," the U.S. and Israel, backed by the timid European Union, immediately imposed a brutal siege, along with military attacks. The U.S. turned at once to its standard operating procedure when a disobedient population elects the wrong government: Prepare a military coup to restore order.

Gazans committed a still greater crime a year later by blocking the coup attempt, leading to a sharp escalation of the siege and attacks. These culminated in winter 2008-09, with Operation Cast Lead, one of the most cowardly and vicious exercises of military force in recent memory: A defenseless civilian population, trapped, was subjected to relentless attack by one of the world's most advanced military systems, reliant on U.S. arms and protected by U.S. diplomacy.

Of course, there were pretexts–there always are. The usual one, trotted out when needed, is "security": in this case, against homemade rockets from Gaza.

In 2008, a truce was established between Israel and Hamas. Not a single Hamas rocket was fired until Israel broke the truce under cover of the U.S. election on Nov. 4, invading Gaza for no good reason and killing half a dozen Hamas members.

The Israeli government was advised by its highest intelligence officials that the truce could be renewed by easing the criminal blockade and ending military attacks. But the government of Ehud Olmert–himself reputedly a dove–rejected these options, resorting to its huge advantage in violence: Operation Cast Lead.

OK, to start with a small point: it is true that "not a single Hamas rocket" was fired during the 2008 truce, but other Gaza-based factions, like Islamic Jihad, did get off a few rockets in this period. Not that this in any way justifies the massive war crime of Cast Lead, but by failing to acknowledge it, Chomksy leaves himself vulnerable to easy counter-attack by Israel's apologists. It's just bad talking points tactics.

Noam commits numerous other such errors, which are called out by the Israelli human rights group Gisha, dedicated to closely monitoring the Gaza blockade. On their Gaza Gateway blog, they note numerous distortions in Chomsky's report. Note that Gisha have applied themsleves for years to intimately watching Gaza and advocating for the freedom and dignity of its inhabitants; Chomsky just parachuted in (metaphorically, of course) for a quick junket. Contrary to Chomsky's assertion, construction equipment in Gaza is not "lying idle" for lack of materials; "official" projects are stalled (those overseen by NGOs working with the Strip's administration), but the private sector is getting construction materials through the tunnels, actually resulting in a recent "building boom."

Chomksy cites the notorious "red lines" document (actually mentioning Gisha, which went to court to force the Israeli government to release it) delineating minimum caloric intake necessary for physical survival of the Strip's inhabitants, and quotes Dov Weisglass, adviser to ex-Prime Minister Olmert, who said: "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger." In our coverage of the "red lines" document we had to call out mainstream media acounts for inaccurately reporting that the Gaza blockade ended in 2010. It certainly didn't; that's only when the blockade was officially "eased." Now we have to call out Chomsky for the exact opposite distortion: he doesn't mention the "easing" and allows his readers to believe that nothing has changed since 2008, when the "red line" document was produced. Writes Gisha: "Widespread poverty in Gaza is the result of many factors, but restrictions on the entry of goods is currently not one of them."

Gisha similalry charges Chomsky with an oversimplified view of the roots of the squeeze on medical services in Gaza: "Israel does not limit the entry of medicine into the Gaza Strip. Shortages of medicine that have occurred in Gaza were and are the result of disputes between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip. Travel to Israel and the West Bank by patients in need of medical care is far from satisfactory, but here too, the responsibility has to be accorded correctly."

Gisha sums up:

We understand the grave impression Chomsky got from visiting Gaza. In our work, we come into daily contact with the painful stories of Gaza residents who are prevented from reuniting with a spouse or child, getting an education or pursuing their professional goals. When this happens as a result of Israeli restrictions, we do our best to help.

The great challenge we and others face is convincing more and more people in Israel and abroad that despite the fact that the Netanyahu government "eased" the closure, it continues to impose restrictions on movement which can and should be removed. International law requires it. Common sense requires it. The interest of Israelis and Palestinians to create a better future requires it.

A description that can be easily refuted with facts is a weak tool in any public debate. For those who are hard to convince, one small inaccuracy is enough to make all the rest of the information suspect. In the same way, inaccuracies in one critique lead to suspicion about all other critiques on the same topic. This is why we ask Chomsky, and anyone else who, like us, works to promote the human rights of Palestinian residents of Gaza, to continue to sharply criticize anyone who violates these rights, but without making compromises on factual accuracy.

OK, now moving on to a more conceptual and ultimately more important critique… It is something of an irony that Chomsky accuses the European Union of "timidity" with Israel. On the occassion of his visit to Gaza, the Jerusalem Post reported his endorsement (in a lecture at Gaza's Islamic University) of a two-state solution:

In his first visit to the Gaza Strip, prominent Jewish-American academic, author and linguist Noam Chomsky advocated a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying that any other formula is "not sensible," speaking on Saturday.

Chomsky explained that "in spite of continued settlement expansion," a two-state solution is more realistic because of the near unanimous support it enjoys in the international community.

To push for a solution that nobody supports, he said, is not sensible.

It is rather disappointing to have someone who considers himself to be an "anarcho-syndicalist" (as Chomsky apparently does) lecturing us about how nothing outside mainstream Consensus Reality is "sensible." Hopefully, Chomsky is aware that even within the Israeli left, there is a vigorous debate on whether to advocate for a two-state solution or a single secular state covering all of historic Palestine. Advocates of the latter consider the former to be acquiescencing in a raw deal for the Palestinians (consigning them to a divided and reduced territory at best) and a betrayal of Arabs on the Israeli side of the Green Line (consigning them to permanent second-class citizenship). One would hope (in vain, it seems) that someone with Chomsky's radical creds would at least acknowledge this critique—or, better, actually loan some encouragement to efforts like the One Democratic State Group.

Even this falls short of an anarchist position, of course. If anyone were to ask Bill Weinberg's opinion (which nobody ever does, of course), it is this: If there has to be a two-state settlement as an interim solution in the name of pragmatism, it must be without equivocation on the three taboo questions: future of the Israeli settlers, right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the status of Jerusalem. If there isn't a forthright facing of this taboo trio, a two-state solution will never work anyway. Obviously the refugees cannot return to villages that were destroyed generations ago, yet there has to be some kind of justice for them, arrived at with their participation and informed consent. The Israeli settlers are by and large a deeply reactionary lot that it is impossible to sympathize with, but it must be recognized that they were encouraged by successive Israeli governments to colonize the West Bank, and arrangements made for their re-integration west of the Green Line. If any remain after usurped Palestinian lands have been returned to their rightful owners (none of this tweaking-the-border business, and the Apartheid Wall has got to go), they must accept Palestinian rule, with guarantees for their religious and cultural rights. And finally, Jerusalem: Everyone forgets that under the 1948 UN division plan, it was to be a unified city under international administration. This idea should be restored, and Jerusalem looked to as a model for equalitarian co-existence between Jews and Palestinians—which could eventually be replicated elsewhere, and exported to the rest of historic Palestine.

Once Jews and Palestinians have some experience in getting along with each other, they can hopefully move towards a single state—and then, joining with other peoples of the region, unify against the captains of industry and lords of property regardless of ethnicity or religion, and struggle for the No State Solution: a decentralized Middle East federation of autonomous communities and worker assemblies bound by principles of voluntary association.

Utopian? Sure. But no more so than the "sensible" discourse of Consensus Reality that dodges all the sticky questions. And by advocating such ideas, we at least begin to move the debate in the right direction.

Since the world's foremost anarchist intellectual has abdicated this task, it is up to you and me.


  1. Chomsky on Palestine: Furthermore…
    In over 40 years of prolific work, Chomsky has been making the same point over and over. Yes, it is a vital point, but he never gets to anything else. All he has to say about Hamas’ victory in the 2006 elections is the obvious reality that the US and Israel refused to accept it, exposing all their prattle about “democracy” as illegitimate. OK, a lot of people need to hear that. But most of them probably aren’t reading Chomsky anyway. Where is an analysis of how the co-optation of Fatah into Israel’s de facto gendarme force has been exploited by reactionary political Islam in the form of Hamas, how the void left by the capitulation of secular oppositional forces has turned the conflict into a clash of conservatisms? This critique is left to the Middle East’s Worker-Communist movement, which takes a far more principled and sophisticated view than most stateside voices on the left. See, e.g. this interview with leaders of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran on Maryam Namazie‘s refreshingly entitled Nothing is Sacred blog…

    1. Here we go again…
      The utterly impractical ultra-leftist criticising his more conservative elder collegue on the beleaguered branch of the politcal tree they share for the latter’s not being as true and sincere to the cause.
      It would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic and predictable.

      Noam Chomsky flew to Gaza presumably to focus international attention back on the Palestinian issue.
      Perhaps he didn’t get his facts IOO% straight.
      I have no idea if he’s truly misinformed since it’s just as possible that Gisha has its facts wrong, instead of Chomsky.

      More than nitpicking is the claim that Mr. Chomsky is not a true anarcho-syndicalist or general good guy because he insists on discussing only things which he believes have a possibility of being implemented.
      How gauche of Mr. Chomsky!
      Let’s also chide him for ignoring the explanation of human linguistic ability which says that God just granted it as a gift.

      Chomsky might be wrong about what’s politically possible, it’s true, but he’s a scientist and, by his own claims, a realist.
      He’s not claiming to be an idealist, but to be trying to help those factions in all countries who are trying to help the Palestinians get some justice.
      If Mr. Chomsky denied that a single, secular state was a good idea or that anyone had ever had it, or that anyone had ever supported the idea, then criticism would be appropriate, but he hasn’t.
      He’s just said, as I heard him say about peace in Central America years during the American-sponsored horrors there, that there was zero chance of it so he wasn’t going to waste time discussing an impossibility.;

      So, what earthly good does it do to criticize a good scholar and an effective political activist because he isn’t you?

      1. Cult of Chomsky strikes back
        You mean here you go again.

        I utterly refute your charge that my critique is “ultra-left.” My token invocation of an anarcho-syndicalist solution in the Middle East was one line out of my entire screed, towards the very end. The basic thrust of my critique was in favor a single secular state. I hardly think this qualifies as “ultra-left.” It doesn’t even break from the supposed norms of bourgeois democracy.

        Your bogus equivalism between Gisha and Chomsky is utterly condescending. As I stated: “Note that Gisha have applied themsleves for years to intimately watching Gaza and advocating for the freedom and dignity of its inhabitants; Chomsky just parachuted in (metaphorically, of course) for a quick junket.” If you place equal credence in both, it is because you want to. Utterly unserious. 

        I’m not criticizing Chomsky because he “isn’t me.” There are 7 billion people on the planet who are not me, and more power to ’em. I am criticizing Chomsky for getting his facts glaringly wrong, and betraying secular-democratic principles through his uncritical embrace of a two-state solution.

    2. Commies, Conservatives and Comedy Gold
      Sweet mother of Jesus, is this sainted Maryam Namazie about whom you write so fondly the same character who shared a platform with Douglas Murray of the Henry Jackson Society in support of the motion that progressives must treat the Muslim rightwing as “Enemies, Not Allies”, but is cool with chumming around with all manner of chickenhawks and bomb-throwers a la Christopher Hitchens and Nick Cohen? Some “principled” heroine. 

      Not that she falls in with just any anti Muslim crowd. A very choosy girl our Maryam. To her mind the English Defence League are “far-right” because they are common riff raff and plebs, but Murray is kosher because he went to Oxbridge and wants only to strip Muslims of their citizenship, deport them back to their homeland, and bomb them whenever they play up. 

      No doubt she is a very devout commie with a rabbinical mastery of dialectical materialism, but a man keen to ignite a “clash of conservatisms” and proud of his ideological purity might have chosen a less comic embodiment of rightwing collusion I might have thought.

      1. In defense of Maryam Namazie
        Dude, did you actually listen to what she says in the video? She doesn’t have the lovefest you portray with the Henry Jackson Society. The Henry Jackson dude shamelessly defends Islamophobia and xenophobia, and she responds by repudiating “the far right that is hijacking that issue [political Islam] in order to attack Muslims.” Elsewhere she uses the same slogan, “Enemies Not Allies,” in reference to the secular left and the far right! She rejects making common cause with the xenophobe right to oppose political Islam as much as she rejects making common cause with political Islam to oppose imperialism. Her letter to Hitchens is merely congratulating him on his forthright atheism, which is indeed refreshing. And Nick Cohen is praising her, not the other way around! This supposed dupe of the right also accuses the Israeli Defense Forces of “genocide” in Gaza. Not exactly the politics of the Henry Jackson Society!

        I have no idea what you mean by “keen to ignite a ‘clash of conservatisms.'” I was decrying that the struggle in Palestine (and the Islamic world) is degenerating into a “clash of conservatisms”—something which has been starting to turn around over the past two years of Arab revolutions, by the way.


        1. …and in defense of accuracy
          Furthermore, I merely linked to an interview on Maryam’s website with Hamid Taqvaee of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran. So you are venting at the wrong target! Did you even click on the link? Do you really disagree with anything he says?

          I’d be curious to know.

          1. Be Wary of Authoritarians
            My apologies to you Bill. I should have been more forthcoming. I did not watch the video of the Namazie speech as you correctly sussed. I attended it. I am a resident of the UK. Like your heroine I am an Islamic apostate and a veteran observer of the Muslim scene in Perfidious Albion. 

            You’ve only seconded what I have said, and mixed in some inverities of your own. I noted that Namazie is a foe of what she calls the “far-right”, a term she applies soley to working class movements that hate Islam such as the English Defence League, as well as devout Muslims. That is what the title of the speech, Enemies Not Allies, is about, namely that progressives ought to spurn the friendly overtures of unsavoury groups that may share their opposition to religion or imperialism. So far, so halal.

            But she runs afoul of this maxim at the very symposium in which she speaks by sharing a stage with Doug Murray who is far more disgraceful than the EDL as part of a “broad coalition” to oppose Islamism. Would she dignify a rally by the EDL toward the same end? No. So why the contradiction? Easy: Because Murray and his kind are middle class pillars of the establisment with newspaper columns and media slots. In contrast, the blue collar Islamophobes are just riff raff. There is no “sophisticated” taxonomy here that sets apart these disparate Muslim revilers. It’s just rank opportunism. 

            On Cohen, you are being a mite legalistic are you not. You are a chap who works in the media. Do you think glowing newspaper profiles just pop out of thin air? Fat chance. They are bosom buddies, they are comrades in the war against Islamofascism, they attend the same public rallies. Cohen was present at the aforesaid symposium. Their mutual friend Richard Dawkins promotes anti-Muslim bigots like the failed internet comedian Pat Condell, the pro-Zionist fraud Sam Harris and Cohen himself. But these guys are not rightwing in her books, leave alone “far-right”. That would consign her to neglected obscurity, make her as ideologically lonely as Bill Weinberg. And we wouldn’t want that now would we. 

            I grant you the Hitchens point. In my defence she does praise him for his “rationality” as well as his atheism, but let’s be charitable and chalk that up to prolixity. 

            Fact is, I don’t give a toss about Maryam and her contortionism, nor have I said that she is is anything but “a very devout commie” and a Red, although of an authoritarian bent: her support for the hijab ban in France and her insistence that Muslims cannot voluntarily avail themselves of the services of a legally non-binding Islamic tribunal is hard for non-statists like me to bear, but let’s not open that can of worms before we wrap this up. The point is that you take indecent relish in talking smack about “The Chom” and assorted leftwing malefactors that goes far beyond reasoned criticism when as strong a case could be made that your own gods labour under the reverse handicap. 

            Goodnight Billo! 

            1. Is “sharing a stage” verboten?
              I’m the first one to admit that doing so would be haram—if she didn’t distance herself from the Henry Jackson dude. But she did. And I don’t think the Henry Jackson Society is worse than the English Defense League by a longshot. Both are repugnant, but the EDL is openly fascist, and I reject that notion that this distinction is mere classism.

              I have no gods. I am merely seeking allies in what I insist must be a ruthless struggle against reaction in all its guises—the “far right,” the neocon right, Zionism, political Islam, you name it.

              At least you give me creds for being ideologically lonely.

              1. Fascism is meaningless
                Nothing wrong with breathing into the same microphone as crooks like Murray and Cohen, but that is not my objection. The problem is she was there to promote ” a broad coalition” against Islam with every stripe of Likudnik and warmonger. That is what the One Law For All campaign is about: Drawing as many people together to oppose the inflated threat of Shariah law in the UK. 

                The EDL are fascist only if the word is void of meaning, a point arguably we passed long ago when Orwell remarked that it has become a catch-all for anything unpleasant. They have multi-ethnic and multi-religious divisions, and an enthusiasm for Israel. They are contemptible. Not fascists. I would suggest they are not even rightwing: They have no brief for capitalism, nor family values, nor a strong national defence and save for teir hostility to Islam and only Islam, they are apolitical.

                Ditto conservative Muslims. They have many objectionable things about them, but Eurocentric lables such as Right and Leftwing don’t quite fit. They are not nationalists and espouse wealth redistribution. But Namazie has never been one for careful analysis. 

                And Doug Murray is absolutely worse than the EDL. He wants not just a cessation of immigration, but for Muslims to be deported. 

                1. Fascism is NOT meaningless
                  Of course I oppose any alliance with the likes of the Henry Jackson Society. But taliking about the terms for forming an alliance is not the same as forming one. I’m not convinced Maryam crossed any proverbial red lines here.

                  Orwell in Poltiics and the English Language was protesting promiscuous use of the word “fascist,” but I am using it in a sense he would have agreed with. The fact that EDL are pro-Israel hardly means they aren’t fascist.

                  Political Islam is a phenomenon of the right. Your litmus tests such as nationalism and economic conservatism are handy but do not constitute a sine qua non. The far right frequently plays to economic populism, in fact. And Christian fundis, who I’m sure you would agree are on the right, also place religion above nationalism.

                  I will have to look into the charming Doug Murray, but if what you say is true he seems to hold more extreme positions than most of the Henry Jackson Society crew.

                  1. Occidental labels don’t apply to the Orient
                    Christian Fundies? How dare you insult my people you scoundrel. I’m on my way to your house right now. Repent dark soul.

                    Actually, I was alluding not to Politics and the English Language, but Eric Blair’s What is Fascism? Come, come Mr Weinberg, you must try to keep up. I surrender to your well made retort about the populist strain of Hitlerism. That is sound. But you lend sophistication to the angry white man phenom that just isn’t there. These people are post-ideological. Tommy Robinson, the honcho of the EDL, admits that before he founded the group he was innocent of what Left and Right mean. Their mission statement commits them to such classic fascist goals as women’s rights, gay rights and equality for all. You can dismiss this as propaganda, or you can see it as one-upman-shipping Islam. These jokers are one issue protesters.

                    Left and Right are useful descriptors, but sometimes it runs aground. What do you call a man who supports both abortion and the death penalty, immigration and war, the welfare state and drug prohibition? Is he a bleeding heart liberal or a stern conservative? Perhaps you call them independents. That sounds to me like post-ideological. Some things are just incoate.

                    If you call Islamism rightwing, are its secular opponents leftwing by virtue of being secular? Consider the AKP in Turkey. They’ve tried to overturn the hijab ban in state run institutions. My view is that state enforced sartorial codes are authoritarian. But the anti-hijab lot say that progressives must counter religious pressures to don the scarf with the power of the state. And both devout women who wish to observe the hijab voluntarily and those who don’t appeal to freedom. On which side does the Left come down? Nowhere. Because it is incoherent to define all moral questions by the seating arrangement of the 18th century French Assembly.

                    But as with fascism, the word rightwing appears to mean simply Things I Dislike.

                    The Christian Right are so called because they selectively follow the gospel. JC was a bleedin’ commie. They are godless Randians in economic terms. Liberation theology is the Christian Left. And I am not so sure that for the Christian Right theology quite trumps nationalism. A European like me is not quite as well versed in the American scene as you, but my impression is that the Stars and Stripes forms the fourth addition to the triune God. The old “God Bless America” refrain signals to me the marriage of the Lord and the Land. But I’m on shaky ground here and cannot put up too much resistance.

                    1. Occidents will happen
                      Orwell makes the same point in Politics and the English Language: “The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable.'” But he was implicitly protesting this as a degenration of the language. Orwell put his life on the line to fight fascism in Spain, so invoking him in defense of a “fascism is meaningless” argument is absurd. I am not “degrading it to the level of a swearword.” I have called out those who use such impresicse constructions as “Islamo-fascism.” The EDL smells fascist to me.

                      There is a single globalized capitalist system, and the nomenclature you dismiss as “occidental” applies everywhere in the world today. No, secularists are not necessarily on the left (see Ayn Rand, Christopher Hitchens, Saddam Hussein), but religious fundamentalists are overwhelmingly on the right. The fact that the left is divded on the hijab ban (I have mixed feelings on it myself) doesn’t mean the left doesn’t exist. 

                      Liberation theology is hardly fundamentalist. The Pope tried to excommunicate its adherents, remember?

                      Yes, we have this phenomenon of “Christian nationalism” in the US. Political Islam sometimes intersects with nationalism too (e.g. Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq, Wahhabism as the state doctrine of Saudi Arabia, etc.)

                    2. East is East, West is West & Never the twain shall meet
                      I was born in Absurdistan don’t you know. To call me absurd is just to acknowledge my nationality Bill. I grant the Christian Fundies point. They are rightwing. But what makes them so? Social issues one imagines. Would it change if they were not also for markets and militarism? The KSA has an expansive welfare state and, though I forget what their abortion policy is, Islam does allow for it before fourty days. Suppose they were pro-choice too. How does your 18th century classification describe it? I note you evaded the Q about the hypotheical man with equal degrees of liberalism and conservatism. Sneaky boy!

                      I would not call Wahhabism nationalist. My understanding of nationalism is jingoistic feeling about the primacy of one’s country. Saudis may have that due to being custodians of the two holy mosques, but all non-Saudi Wahhabis think KSA is top dog too. Like the way Western communists prized Moscow over the world. Muqtada was nationalist only in the anti-colonial sense of throwing off foreign powers. I support Third World nationalism because it is not predatory, it is defensive.

                      Don’t run away with the Orwell theme. I am not his fanboy. Got nothing against the Moustachoid Scribbler. But nor do I have anything for him. It was just a fleeting comment. The debasement of English was what I was pointing to myself. For instance the modifier “far” is certainly an abusive term. Few identity themselves as “far-left” or “far-right”. It means little more than extreme.

                      The EDL smell fascist? No Mr Weinberg. Fascism smells fragrant. It has to. The EDL just stink.

                    3. From Orwell to Kipling?
                      We are rapidly degenerating. If I had said that, I’d be accused of “Orientalism.” 

                      Your hypothetical dude is irrelevant. The existence of gadflies who defy categorization does not mean the ctaegories don’t exist.

                      I didn’t call Wahhabism nationalist, exactly. But in KSA it is mixed up with nationalism.

                      Presumably you don’t support all “Third World nationalism.” Moqtada, to mention the obvious? Ask the Iraqi Kurds if Saddam’s “Third World nationalism” was “non-predatory.”

                      Fascism is fragrant? Not to me.

                      When comments are squeezed into a shrinking narrow space like this, it generally means the discussion is approaching exhaustion. Can we quit now?

                    4. Your fatwa has been lifted
                      Yes, I did wonder about the tightening space of my comments. I was afraid you might try to crush me. So many questions, so few minutes in the day. I think we had better retire from the scene before the Second Coming.

                      Billy, you are a strange mammal. I’m new to your blog and stumbled on it yesterday only because I was hunting for Chomsky news and the time-stamp on your post promised fresh gossip. My first sentiment upon reading your disparaging tone was near homicidal. I’m a sycophant who worships Great Men you see. A man needs a little superstition. But a little excavation of your archives convinced me that you ain’t a fraud. I hate to confess but I think I would even buy you, troublemaker and obsessive fault finder, a cold beer and shoot the breeze with your excellency. Hell, I would even let you marry my grandson. Mr Weinberg, you’re a great man. Just learn to respect my superstitions will ya.

                      Later …

  2. Stealing Their Homeland

    Besieged Palestinian Gaza is an experiment in provocation. Stuff one and a half million people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods, and humiliate them regularly…and, surprise, surprise – they turn hostile. Now why would you want to make that experiment? Because the hostility you provoke is the whole point. Now under attack you can cast yourself as the victim, and call out the helicopter gunships and the F16 attack fighters and the heavy tanks and the guided missiles, and destroy yet more of the pathetic remains of infrastructure that the Palestinian state still has left. And then you can point to it as a hopeless case, unfit to govern itself, a terrorist state, a state with which you couldn’t possibly reach an accommodation. And then you can carry on with business as usual, quietly stealing their homeland

  3. Understanding Israel

    This Times of India excerpt of June 18, 2012 facilitates understanding of Israel’s behavior.

    RABBI OVADIA Rabbi Ovadia Yosef is the former Chief Rabbi of Israel and the spiritual leader of the Shas party, Israels “kingmaker” party. In a sermon given on Saturday on laws concerning what non-Jews are permitted to do on Shabbat, Yosef said: “Goyim [non-Jews] were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel. Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat.” According to Yosef, death has “no dominion” over non-Jews in Israel. “With gentiles, it will be like any person – they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant… That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew.”

    MENACHEM BEGIN “Our race is the Master Race. We Jews are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.”



    1. Understanding Internet Quote Invention
      You don’t provide links or sources for these quotes. The Rabbi Yosef quote seems to be real, and we have noted elsewhere his penchant for such indiscretions. The Rabbi’s Wikipedia page tells us the quip was roundly condemned by the internaitonal Jewish establishment (AJC, ADL, etc.)

      The Begin quote doesn’t pass the smell test. The controversy around it has been aired on various right-wing and pro-Israel websites, and the debunking seems pretty convincing. See, CAMERA.

      You didn’t answer my question.

  4. Chomsky disses BDS

    So here's Noam Chomsky in The Nation July 2 arguing against boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, calling the South Africa analogy "very dubious," and saying the demand for right of return for Palestinian refugees is "a virtual guarantee of failure."

    Is this guy starting to wear out his credibility on the left yet?

    Just wondering.