May 21, 2010

The real Noam Chomsky?

I was just browsing the JSF blogroll, which I don't do nearly enough, and I noticed a gripe by Anthony Lowenstein titled, Why is Chomsky now warm to Ramallah’s embrace?. I had a quick read (it's only short) and followed his link to Ali Abunimah's blog, where the co-founder of Electronic Intifada expresses what he politely calls his bafflement at Chomsky's twists and turns over Palestine over the years and the, er, weeks:
I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Noam Chomsky, one of the foremost intellectuals of our time, whose work opened my eyes on a great many issues. But like many others, I have been increasingly baffled by the many inconsistencies in his views on Palestine. A few months ago, for example, I responded to his opposition to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement on Khalil Bendib's radio program Voices from the Middle East and North Africa.
After Chomsky was outrageously barred by Israel from traveling to the occupied West Bank over the weekend, I could not help but be struck by yet another glaring contradiction.
In his 17 May interview on Democracy Now he told Amy Goodman that his planned itinerary included a meeting with Salam Fayyad, the unelected US- and Israeli-backed "prime minister" of the Ramallah Palestinian Authority imposed after the US helped overthrow the Hamas-led "national unity government" that came after the 2006 election. Chomsky told Goodman:
I was going to meet with the Prime Minister [Fayyad]. Unfortunately, I couldn’t. But his office called me here in Amman this morning, and we had a long discussion.
He is pursuing policies, which, in my view, are quite sensible, policies of essentially developing facts on the ground. It’s almost—I think it’s probably a conscious imitation of the early Zionist policies, establishing facts on the ground and hoping that the political forms that follow will be determined by them. And the policies sound to me like sensible and sound ones. The question, of course, is whether—the extent to which Israel and the United States, which is a determining factor—the extent to which they’ll permit them to be implemented. But if implemented, and if, of course, Israel and the United States would terminate their systematic effort to separate Gaza from the West Bank, which is quite illegal, if that continues, yes, it could turn into a viable Palestinian state.
Really? Chomsky the great critic of US efforts to undermine democracy and impose its clients around the world is now effusively endorsing what is in effect a US-backed puppet regime? Don't take my word for it. Here's what Chomsky said about precisely the same Ramallah Palestinian Authority whose "prime minister" he now finds so "sensible" during alecture in Boston on 21 January 2009.

So where does the real Chomsky stand?


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