Which Liberals is Chomsky Referring To?

by Lorna Salzman

See his comments below.

Were I ignorant of Chomsky's writings and political positions, I might embrace these reminders from Chomsky and consider him an ally. But on reflecting his support for:

Khmer Rouge leader-assassin Pol Pot and left fascist Milosevic;

his one-sided attacks on Israel;

his silence on sharia law and the oppression and murder of Muslim women;

his failure to address the routine officially sanctioned anti-Semitic declarations from the Arab world;

the denial of human rights in Iran;

the ten thousand unprovoked rocket attacks by Hamas against Israel;

his refusal so far to address in commensurate detail and length the atrocities committed against minorities, with government complicity, in Sudan, Congo, Zimbabwe, Burma, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and elsewhere;

I must therefore declare Chomsky non-credible.

Like another leftist intellectual, Tony Judt, Chomsky has embraced the "..myths and stereotypes we use to elevate ourselves and ignore our complicity in acts of violence of oppression", with regard to the Israel-Arab debate.

A look at the toxic Goldstone Report is revealing, but so far Chomsky, a sharp analyst of propaganda and a devotee of mind-numbing footnotes and supposedly reliable sources, has not commented on this report, which pre-indicted Israel for war crimes but left Hamas almost completely exonerated, despite the declaration by Hamas leaders themselves that they concealed their soldiers, weapons and military headquarters among civilian communities, including inside schools, mosques and hospitals, and that their soldiers donned civilian garb so as to remain undetected.

These Hamas deceptions are in clear violation of international rules of war and military engagement. On the other hand, clear evidence exists of Israel's extensive attempts, against these heavy odds, to minimize civilian deaths and injuries by making phone calls to apartment buildings and homes to alert the residents and allow them to leave and by dropping hundreds of thousands of leaflets in Arabic into Gaza notifying them of imminent attacks.

Nor does Chomsky address existing international law or UN resolutions, policies and statutes, all of which unconditionally support the right and RESPONSIBLIITY of all nations to self-defense, with no discussion of the red herring calling "disproportionality" raised by Hamas and its allies.

Because of the over 10,000 rocket attacks launched by Hamas into Israel over the past eight years, Israeli citizens have been forced into bomb shelters and into a life of continual fear of random unprovoked attack by Hamas. And despite Israeli complaints to the UN over this period, the UN has refused to condemn Hamas, much less take any punitive action against the Hamas unilateral aggression against Israel; instead, the UN, whenever Israel takes protective action, at the behest of the Arab nations and the UN Human Rights (sic) Council, has passed over a hundred condemnations of Israel.....for defending itself.

While Chomsky wrote extensively researched and footnoted books on Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, etc. and the US' actions there, he has yet to concern himself with the distorted and mendacious charges against Israel or the clear human rights violations of Hamas (which summarily executes Gaza civilians who they accuse of collaboration with Israel).

Chomsky has been touted as an impartial and intellectually impeccable historical source, and thus embraced by all those who believe the US is the worst "imperialist" aggressor in the world. Few of us would disagree with the need to change American foreign policy and the policies which have allowed intervention in foreign countries or allied us with repugnant tyrants (though Chomsky saw nothing wrong with supporting Pol Pot and Milosevic, something he has not apologized for yet).

But he has not yet commented on Pres. Obama's creation of a special envoy to Sudan and its president Bashir, indicted for war crimes for his role in slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Darfuri. This is in line with his philosophy, concealed but quite obvious, to support any and all tyrants that oppose the USA, on the philosophy of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". Nor am I aware of any comments from Chomsky on the Rwandan massacre that took place under Clinton's watch, the ongoing atrocities in Congo, on stonings and honor killings of women in the Muslim world, on the complete lack of civil liberties under Islam, or on any aspect whatsoever of islamist terrorism and jihad.

The silence is deafening. So when Chomsky attacks liberals for "supporting power" and thus being "dangerous", one could readily apply this to him for supporting those powers active in the world against human rights, including, notably, Hamas.



"He [Chomsky] reminds us that genuine intellectual inquiry is always subversive.
It challenges cultural and political assumptions.
It critiques structures.
It is relentlessly self-critical.
It implodes the self-indulgent myths and stereotypes we use to elevate ourselves and ignore our complicity in acts of violence and oppression. And it makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable."
“I don’t bother writing about Fox News,” Chomsky said. “It is too easy. What I talk about are the liberal intellectuals, the ones who portray themselves and perceive themselves as challenging power, as courageous, as standing up for truth and justice. They are basically the guardians of the faith. They set the limits. They tell us how far we can go. They say, ‘Look how courageous I am.’ But do not go one millimeter beyond that. At least for the educated sectors, they are the most dangerous in supporting power.”


© 2002 Lorna Salzman. All rights reserved. Material may be quoted with permission.