Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Chomsky and the Media: From the Inside

How many letters of yours have [The New York Times] printed?

Occasionally, when an outlandish slander and lie about me has appeared there, I've written back to them. Sometimes they don't publish the letters. Once, maybe more, I was angry enough that I contacted a friend inside, who was able to put enough pressure on so they ran the letter.

This was pointed out by a Oliver Kamm on Amazon.com. He stated:
The booklet [The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many] concludes with a section entitled 'Outside the Pale of Intellectual Responsibility'. The words are apparently a description of Chomsky by Martin Peretz, and Barsamian implicitly invites the reader to be shocked that so damning a judgement could be uttered of so upright a man as Chomsky. But then Chomsky discloses something remarkable. He complains that the New York Times doesn't always print his letters, and reveals that on at least one occasion, and possibly more, "I contacted a friend inside, who was able to put enough pressure on so they ran the letter." Read that statement again. On Chomsky's own account, he used personal connections in order to gain access to newspaper columns reserved for the public, rather than allowing his arguments to be considered on their merits. So far as I am aware, this aspect of Chomsky's political activism has received little comment, and it deserves to be better-known.

I guess the media isn't so bad after all; well at least not when Chomsky controls it with his friends from the inside.

Read what Chomsky said in Hanoi on April 13, 1970:

The people of Vietnam will win, they must win, because your cause is the cause of humanity as it moves forward toward liberty and justice, toward the socialist society in which free, creative men control their own destiny.

Seems eerily reminiscent of something Michael Moore has said recently:
The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win.

Draw your own conclusions.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Petitions, Chomsky and Hypocrisy

One of the staples of the Chomskyan lifestyle is to sign petitions. Chomsky has signed and lent intellectual support for petitions that proclaim, "Robert Faurisson [Dhimmi: a know holocaust denier] has served as a respected professor ... [who] has been conducting extensive independent historical research into the 'Holocaust' question" to one which condemned Israel in advance for an expulsion that never occurred. It almost seems as if doesn't matter how controversial or how bizarre Chomsky just needs just to sign them.

One of the more interesting petitions that Chomsky has supported in recent years is one that calls for the divestment of Israeli companies by Universities. At first he called divestment "a big mistake", sighting fodder for US-Israel atrocities, how he has yet to explain, but it seems he gave into his anti-Israel temptation and signed the petition anyway. Furthermore, Chomsky was instrumental in getting people to sign the petition, as Steven Pinker noted, "There is no question that Chomsky influenced the petition-signers". He also was a keynote speaker at a teach in sponsored by HarvardMITdivest.org.

The petition is by all accounts an anti-Israel screed. It attacks Israel on all fronts and claims that Harvard and MIT should cease all contact with Israeli companies until they and they alone acquiesce, "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from occupied territories... Israel's use of legal torture be ended... Israel ceases building new settlements, and vacates existing settlements" The article makes no mention of Arab crimes against Israel, Arab torture, or Syria occupied Lebanon, only Israel and Israel alone is condemned.

Leaving those points aside, the petition ends with condemnation of what the signers perceive as Israel's non-acceptance of UN Resolution 194:

Israel acknowledges in principle the applicability of United Nations Resolution 194 with respect to the rights of refugees, and accepts that refugees should either be allowed to return to their former lands or else be compensated for their losses, as agreed by the Palestinians and Israelis in bilateral negotiations.

If until now the duplicity of the divestment petition doesn't become apparent it should. To claim that one will sanction Israel until it recognizes the rights of the Palestinians to "return to their former lands or else be compensated for their losses", while ignoring the millions of Jewish refugees that where expelled from Arab lands is above and beyond hypocrisy. In fact the resolution specifically left out claims as to which refugees because of the fact that Jews where made refugees as well. When Chomsky was once asked about the double standard he sneered, "Even if the petition had singled out Israel ... it would be an absurdity reminiscent of the worst days of Stalinism to call that anti-Semitic."

Chomsky once said:
There's a famous definition in the Gospels of the hypocrite, and the hypocrite is the person who refuses to apply to himself the standards he applies to others. By that standard, the entire commentary and discussion of the so-called War on Terror is pure hypocrisy, virtually without exception. Can anybody understand that? No, they can't understand it.

I think there is a need for a rewrite here and it should go something like this:
There's a famous definition in the Gospels of the hypocrite, and the hypocrite is the person who refuses to apply to himself the standards he applies to others. By that standard, the entire commentary and discussion of the so-called divestment from Israel is pure hypocrisy, virtually without exception. Can Chomsky understand that? No, he can't understand it.