Thursday, June 24, 2010

Beyond Against Chomsky - Hypocrisy on Israel

by Denis G. Rancourt

In two recent articles [1][2] I described Noam Chomsky as a service intellectual who serves to neutralize his readers by advancing intellectualization instead of concrete opposition to institutional controls.

Beyond this, especially Ghali Hassan has argued [3][4] that the intellectualization itself is US-Israel pro-establishment propaganda that serves to shield Israel and to cloud the mechanisms of power.

In his latest article Ghali Hassan quotes Chomsky from an Israeli TV media interview posted to youTube:

Hassan points out that Chomsky states "I don't regard myself as a critic of Israel. I regard myself a supporter of Israel." Hassan also quotes Chomsky as saying "I think the U.S. should continue to support Israel" [3]. However, I was not able to find the latter statement in the audio of the TV interview.

At 10:02 on the video Chomsky reaffirms his astonishing opposition to the academic boycott of Israel, consistent with his longstanding separation between radical "dissident" writing and reform by action [1][2]; and with his shielding of the Israeli state [3][4][5].

The truest statement in the video is uttered (in error) by the media host at 8:30 "[Israel's] right to exist is questionable."

In the video Chomsky goes to great lengths to explain that he is not a critic of Israel but is only trying to prevent Israel from hurting itself. Chomsky primarily wants to prevent Israel from hurting itself rather than primarily being concerned with stopping Israel's continuous barrage of war crimes against Palestinians.

Chomsky spends most of the 22-minute interview justifying himself and casting his benevolent role rather than explicitly describing and persistently denouncing Israel's murderous interventions and constant disregard for international law. His message is not intended to be effective using needed aggressor self-image leverage tactics [5] but is instead concerned with his own image and standing within the Israeli establishment.

His again expressed conflict with Alan Dershowitz is seen for what it is: Two service intellectuals vying for attention and favour with the US-Israel establishment, vying for preferred recognition of service.

Chomsky's paternalistic stance that he is trying to help Israel away from its most self-damaging behaviour is analogous to explaining to any oppressor that the oppression hurts the oppressor's public image and security. Obviously Israel puts significant resources in making this cost-benefit calculation [5] and does not need Chomsky's opinion in the matter. In my opinion Chomsky can't possibly believe that his explanation of his intentions will make any positive difference to the conditions for Palestinians and his spin must be understood as deference to the US-Israel establishment.

Chomsky states that he views himself as a dissident but I fail to see how he can be considered a dissident. He compares Cold War Russian state treatment of Russian dissidents to his own treatment by "irrational hysteria" from his co-citizens while maintaining his professorship and establishment status in the US.

It appears that with all his book knowledge, Noam Chomsky does not know himself.


[1] "Against Chomsky", July 2008;

[2] "Data in the study 'Against Chomsky'", May 2009;

[3] "Chomsky's Hypocracy", June 2010;

[4] "Protecting Israel: Chomsky’s Way", April 2006;

[5] "Psycho-biological basis for image leverage and the case of Israel", June 2010;


jack kane said...

Dennis, I respect you and so I wish you'd lay off the Chomsky bashing. Yeah, Chomsky isn't always right, for example he's demonstrably wrong on the JFK and 9/11 issues, and this Palestinian-issue criticism is also valid, but in general Chomsky is a stand up guy with an impressive record. We shouldn't waste our energies bickering with each other.

Denis Rancourt said...

hi jack,

please see the discussion about this article on MWC-News and my further comments/explanations here:

I think it is particularly useful to examine those items where Chomsky is wrong, because we tend to believe that he is mostly right. Therefore, why would he be wrong on this particular items? How does that occur?

Amerie said...

i agree, i think that chomsky hasnt really show explicit agreement that Israel is in fact an Apartheid state.

i remember watching a youtube video where he was speaking about how its NOT and also IS a apartheid state :-/

its important to point out when he is wrong because most people sign on to what ever he says as being right -- and in this issue, i think he is in the wrong.

Anonymous said...

Nobody gets it all right all the time. The man is in his 80's for heaven's sake. What he did do for me was make me think for myself. I am in my sixties. I protested the war in Vietnam etc. etc. Chomsky helped me understand brainwashing and low and behold also my fucking stupid Marxist professors who skipped out as soon as their jobs were threatened and left us students to hold the bag, so to speak. He has the right to choose his role, as we all have. Grow up.