Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Professor Noam Chomsky at the UN on Israel/Palestine
Many of the world’s problems are so intractable that it’s hard to think of ways even to take steps towards mitigating them. The Israel-Palestine conflict is not one of these. On the contrary, the general outlines of a diplomatic solution have been clear for at least 40 years. Not the end of the road—nothing ever is—but a significant step forward. And the obstacles to a resolution are also quite clear.—Professor Noam Chomsky
by Larry Geller
Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman moderated an important session held in the hall of the United Nations General Assembly last week, at which MIT professor Noam Chomsky spoke before an audience of 800 people, both ambassadors and the general public.
The occasion was the 365th Meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Today’s program featured two edited segments, both accompanied by full transcripts. The second one has some remarks by Professor
Supporters of the BDS (boycott, divest, sanctions) movement may want to skip to the very end of the transcript of the second part for Prof. Chomsky’s comments on the movement.
Alternatively, a video of the entire session (one hour, 48 minutes) can be found on the United Nations website here. The video is very clear—a better view, certainly, than any of the attendees actually had.
noam chomski really doesn't like the single-state solution and he obfuscates, hides information, and uses scare tactics to persuade those who do and who cannot accept the legitimacy of exclusivist ethno-theocratic states reserved for genetically and otherwisely defined "chosen people" and founded in land usurped from "lesser people" after expelling them before foundation (search "ilan pappe" on youtube).
is it a coincidence that chomski never demands -- which would solve immediately the palestinian conflict-- that the privileges in israeli legislation "only for jews (in situ and arriving)" be extended to anybody, in situ and arriving, with a connection to the land?
he must have good reasons for liking such states and for showing retrain in demanding an end to the above discrimination, but first the facts:
he said at the UN us that nobody supports the single-state solution anymore (but he gave special attention to arguing against it and dismiss it!).
he did not tell us why "nobody supports anymore..." etc, etc, albeit as media expert he knows the reasons very well: it's the washington consensus that is force-fed to the world by the western media with help of western enforced-persuasion tools (e.g., no state with significant trade with the EU/USA would ever dare to challenge it).
chomski hints darkly that only the two-state solution can impede that israel finishes off the palestinians (in his pious euphemistic new-speak "that the palestinians end out being even more harmed! Would you like that, you monster!?").
he reveals to us that a south-africa-like solution conform with international law and human rights (including non-discrimination on the basis of biology or creed) is not possible for palestine *because* israel does no need the palestinians as workers, unlike white south-africa that needed the black workforce.
the blackmailing hint is clear: those who support the single-state solution are de facto choosing the full ethnic cleansing --if not worse-- of the palestinians from their land, so people should better stop questioning the legitimacy of exclusivist ethno-theocratic states reserved for genetically and otherwisely defined "chosen people".
but we are *not* really told why his conclusion that "south africa cannot be repeated!" is inescapable. We are not given, e.g., any details about what allowed international law and human rights to have a chance in south africa but cannot be mobilized for palestine. He lets it appear as a "fact of nature" revealed to us by a saintly man.
in this context, is it by chance that this "most important of living intellectuals" avoids always so carefully --including here at the UN-- to mention the specific mechanisms by which israel dominates USA and EU foreign policy, e.g., the USA pro-israel lobby and its phalanx of fifth-columnists among foggy bottom's career staff (see hillary mann-leverett about how pro-israel girls like her "naturally gravitated" towards a foggy-bottom career:
minute 11.oo" on www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKZl71h1_4c )
bottom line: this ivory-tower specialist of surfing the ocean of gullible know-nothing upper-middle-class bleeding hearts might have a weak spot for the continuation of the triumph of his favorite ethnocratic state.
why otherwise denounce israel's crimes so vociferously --if not to create a smoke screen-- while always forgetting to stress the crucial elements that would best derail the colonization process of "the land without (real) people for (chosen) people without land", facts that he mentions as side curiosities but only when challenged?
The Anonymous poster's refusal to use capital letters, as well as their insistence at spelling Chomsky's name as "chomski," suggests we are dealing with a self-important jerk, who thinks they are “cute.” The "analysis" provided confirms that suspicion.
My own views might be described as supporting a two-state solution as a transition to a one-state solution. So I am not completely happy with Chomsky's dismissal of the one-state approach. But unlike Anonymous, I do not attribute Chomsky's arguments to either an "ivory tower" existence, nor to capitulation to the Washington Consensus, to "the USA pro-Israel lobby and its phalanx of fifth-columnists."
The adjectives employed by Anonymous say more about his mindset than about Chomsky's, and it is a dark, conspiratorial mindset, where ethnicity plays a major role. (And it does feel like a male psychology writing behind the mask. )
Anonymous resents the perception of Chomsky as "a saintly man" and as one of the "most important of living intellectuals." I guess in Anonymous' warped perception of How the World Really Works, it was the corporate elite, the Washington power-brokers and the Israel Lobby who have built up Chomsky's status? In reality, they have worked hard to tear down his reputation, to block him from an American audience, to keep him off the editorial pages of the dominant newspapers and magazines, and away from TV cameras. Or have I missed his appearances on ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS?
Why do we have to turn to “samizdat” sources like Democracy Now to hear Chomsky's voice if he has the support of the Powerful Insiders of Anonymous' dark imagination?
What are the reasons-- and Reason is a virtue, even if not for Anonymous--what are the reasons for Chomsky believing a "one-state" solution is not realistic? Public opinion is not ready for it. Not in the US--yes, I do not believe US public opinion should be privileged to "call the shots" worldwide-- not in Europe. Not in most of the world. Perhaps in the Arab world and perhaps specifically among Palestinians. But even in that population, where is the leadership advocating for a one-state solution? Hamas? You think the people of the world--and by that, I mean majority opinion in almost any country or region you might choose, is not willing to turn control over a "secular, democratic," "bi-national" One State Israel/Palestine to Hamas? Conditions, and "conditions” are important for those operating in either the real world or an ivory tower (though maybe not in an armchair in a darkened room in front of a computer screen), "conditions" do not make a Hamas-dominated government acceptable to world opinion. It does not "approximate justice" in the eyes of many people, including many supporters of justice for Palestinians.
"World opinion," an admittedly slippery and sometimes dangerous concept, has attained a "consensus" opinion and Chomsky is quite correct about this. That "consensus" is not the same as the "Washington Consensus" favored by the Israel Lobby and many Washington security state/ corporatist Grand Strategists. It upholds respect for the national aspirations and security needs of BOTH peoples. It opposes the bullshit conception of a two-state solution which Netanyahu is willing to offer of a "bantustan" or an archipelago of isolated Palestinian bantustans, dominated and controlled by the Israeli military.
The world consensus around a Two-State Solution for Israel-Palestine reflects a "democratic" recognition of the right of a people to self-determination. That includes the Israeli people. Even if Israel can correctly be described as a "European colonial-settler state" in its origins, it has persisted. People have been born into that society and have created a "stubborn fact" of Israel's existence. While it has been said that "History is a Long Time," and Israel may someday be dissolved into a regional form of governance, or by a transnational organization in which "national" rights fade in importance relative to those of corporations or other ways of organizing decision-making, we are not at that moment in time. The "conditions" are not ripe. In the current conditions, the "one-state" solution would mean the liquidation of Israel's identity and the (likely) brutal suppression of Jewish identity and self-organization in the region. "Karma is a bitch."
Neither the dominant players in the region nor world public opinion is willing to let that happen. Even if Anonymous might relish the idea. The time is ripening, however, for a two-state solution based (largely) upon the pre-1967 borders, with some adjustments.
I don't know enough about how rooms are secured at the United Nations to fully understand how Amy Goodman managed to get Noam Chomsky an opportunity to address a large audience in that venue. I suspect Chomsky's recognition by many world leaders and activists globally may have played a role. But contrary to what Anonymous's delusional thinking might suggest, Noam Chomsky will not be afforded an opportunity to speak from the podium of the US Congress, nor will he get the honor of ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
The great working class Marxist leader August Bebel famously said—and it is a potent saying, worthy of deep reflection (or “unpacking”)-- that "Anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools." That appears to be relevant here. Both directly and indirectly.
Conspiracy theories reflect the political and historical understanding of fools.
I remember the Berlin Wall, the fascist dictatorship in Spain. I remember the cruel apartheid state of South Africa. All of those looked to be permanent, intractable and unacceptable situations that nevertheless persisted. The world did not act cooperatively to oppose these and other profoundly oppressive situations. As a young person, I felt that the world looked like that, as though it were an aspect of nature. Grass was green, the sky is blue, and Francisco Franco ran a European country as its dictator.
Change did not seem likely. But change did happen. In fact, all that did change fueled hope for the future.
Meanwhile, the situation in the mid-East remained unchanged, unacceptable, and intractable. And so it is today. Israel/Palestine does not look like it will be resolved any time soon. In Saudi Arabia, a government supported by the US continues to repress women--and if we get upset about ISIS beheading captives, what about Saudi Arabia, which carries out beheadings as well? In that country, which, again, we consider an ally and support militarily and economicall, public executions by beheading were described in Wikipedia as the "only form of public entertainment" in Saudi Arabia "apart from football matches." Beheading is sometimes followed by crucifixion of the body, it says.
There is much in the world that could use improvement.
We are not on a path to improve anything. In fact, we (and by this I mean our government) is supporting practices and policies that it should be condemning and working to change, if it had any sense of humanity.
But it is not just us--for example, the nations of the world failed to stop two recent massacres by Israel in Gaza. It's pitiful to hear the head of the UN say over and over again "stop it"-- which reminds me of the mothers on the trains in Tokyo repeating "stop it" to their children running amok up and down the aisle but never moving out of their seats to take charge. The UN appears useless, but it's all that there is.
But who knows. the BDS movement has made an impact against SodaStream, which is reported to be planning to remove its factory from the occupied West Bank. According to a Wikipedia article, "As of 30 October 2014, 135 (69.9%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations have recognised the State of Palestine."
So who knows.
Well, I think Chomsky might know.