December 16, 2012

Chomsky supports BDS

Funny bloke, Chomsky.  I can't keep up with him.  I always thought he was for the two state solution and against BDS.  Well now according to Anthony Loewenstein and Chomsky's own letter in The Australian.

Let's look at the foil first from Friday's edition, telling people to take Chomsky's advice:
ON what basis does the University of Sydney lend institutional support to a group with a guiding objective of boycotting Jewish business and cultural institutions?
In case university leaders are interested, even that virulently pro-Palestinian, Noam Chomsky (cited by Jake Lynch to refute claims of anti-Jewish racism at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies), considers the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement with its boycott of Israeli universities as pure anti-Semitism, aimed at the destruction of Israel.
Chomsky further characterises the BDS movement as inimical to the interests of and lacking any genuine support from the Palestinian people. Perhaps, on this issue, the peace centre should heed the views of the winner of its own 2011 Sydney peace prize?
Whatever may occur within hearts and minds at the peace centre, the university must swiftly dissociate itself from anti-Semitic activists in its midst. Their conduct damages the reputation of a great institution.

James Miller, Woolloomooloo, NSW

And what must have been a surprise response the next day:
I WAS surprised to read a letter to the editor of The Australian claiming that I regard the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement's tactics targeting Israel as "pure anti-Semitism, aimed at the destruction of Israel" and that I said BDS efforts are "inimical to the interests of and lacking any genuine support from the Palestinian people" (Letters, 14/12).
These tactics have enormous support among Palestinians, and the charge of anti-Semitism should be dismissed with disdain.
When Human Rights Watch "calls on the US and European Union member states and on businesses with operations in settlement areas to avoid supporting Israeli settlement policies that are inherently discriminatory and that violate international law", it is advocating BDS tactics, rightly, and there is no hint of anti-Semitism.
I have personally been involved in such forms of opposition to the Israeli occupation for years, long before there was a BDS movement.
Any tactics, however legitimate, can of course be misused. But they can also be used quite properly and effectively against state crimes, and in this case regularly have been.
Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA
Well that's news to me. Without digging around I am sure Chomsky has been against BDS and I'm sure he supports the two state solution.  Of course, you could say that a person can support BDS but support the TSS.  But if we're using BDS "properly and effectively against state crimes" and those crimes stop as a result, what would be left of The State of Israel.

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