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Chomsky: Obama's No Human Rights Crusader

by shergald Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 08:54:29 AM EST

-- Just Look at How He Aids Israel's Atrocities.

Alternet just posted Noam Chomsky's latest analysis of the state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under the above title, replacing the hope for peace many people retain, with a well-articulated pessimism about whether a settlement will ever be achieved in the Middle East. Summarizing the analysis,

Chomsky exposes how the U.S. and Israel have been acting in tandem to extend and deepen the occupation of Palestine.

The article was also published at Huffington Post under the equally pessimistic title, A Middle East Peace That Could Happen (But Won't)  

The first three paragraphs of Chomsky's article are quoted (click the above sources for the full article):

The fact that the Israel-Palestine conflict grinds on without resolution might appear to be rather strange.  For many of the world's conflicts, it is difficult even to conjure up a feasible settlement.  In this case, it is not only possible, but there is near universal agreement on its basic contours: a two-state settlement along the internationally recognized (pre-June 1967) borders -- with "minor and mutual modifications," to adopt official U.S. terminology before Washington departed from the international community in the mid-1970s.

The basic principles have been accepted by virtually the entire world, including the Arab states (who go on to call for full normalization of relations), the Organization of Islamic States (including Iran), and relevant non-state actors (including Hamas).  A settlement along these lines was first proposed at the U.N. Security Council in January 1976 by the major Arab states.  Israel refused to attend the session.  The U.S. vetoed the resolution, and did so again in 1980.  The record at the General Assembly since is similar.

There was one important and revealing break in U.S.-Israeli rejectionism.  After the failed Camp David agreements in 2000, President Clinton recognized that the terms he and Israel had proposed were unacceptable to any Palestinians.  That December, he proposed his "parameters": imprecise, but more forthcoming.  He then stated that both sides had accepted the parameters, while expressing reservations.

Chomsky was once introduced by the late British playwright, Harold Pinter, as having a penchant for telling the truth. He does.

And we have other truth tellers on the scene, like Juan Cole, who said the same thing a few days ago:

Netanyahu Commits to Colonizing East Jerusalem; First Palestinian Expelled under new Policy

April 23, 2010

The new Israeli policy of deporting Palestinians from the West Bank on arbitrary grounds has kicked in with Ahmad Sabah, who has just been deported to Gaza and separated from his family in the West Bank. The measure contravenes the Geneva Convention of 1949 on the treatment of occupied populations, and it also goes contrary to the undertakings Israel made toward the Palestine Authority in the course of the Oslo peace negotiations.

The episode underlines the ways in which their forced statelessness leaves Palestinians (almost uniquely among major world nationalities) completely vulnerable to loss of the most basic human rights. That he was forcibly moved to Gaza by the Israelis suggests that many of those singled out for potential deportation from the West Bank may be moved to the small slum along the Mediterranean, which the Israelis have cut off from its traditional markets and which they keep under a blockade of the civilian population (a war crime). The Israeli establishment has decided not to try to colonize Gaza, and its isolation and hopelessness make it an attractive place for them to begin exiling West Bank residents, thus making more room for Israeli colonists.

The new policy, which is illegal six ways to Sunday in international law, is the brainchild of the government of far rightwing Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu, an Israeli hawk and expansionist, slapped President Barack Obama in the face again Thursday when he confirmed that he refused to halt construction of new homes in Palestinian East Jerusalem, which is militarily occupied by Israel.

Netanyahu's announcement is probably the nail in the coffin of any two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (in which the Israelis have thrown most Palestinians now living beyond the Green Line off their land and deprived them of citizenship in a state and all the rights that go with such citizenship). Palestinians are so despairing that only 57 percent even believe in having an independent Palestinian state any more. The rest are resigned to becoming Israelis in the distant future, when demographic realities and perhaps world-wide boycotts of Israel for its Apartheid-style policies toward the occupied Palestinian will force Israel to accept them.


by shergald on Wed Apr 28th, 2010 at 09:53:28 AM EST
I can understand, but not sympathize with Obama's problem.

In my book, going nuclear would be cutting off Israeli funding and giving equal time to Palestinian people and arguments. What we've seen though is that just chiding Israel for not meeting a technical standard is the nuclear sliding slope for many people. And Obama needs their votes and energy for so many other thing that are more important to him than the deaths of poor people.

Which just makes the eventual rain that's gonna fall a lot harder.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 02:14:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly, you may be right.

by shergald on Thu Apr 29th, 2010 at 10:27:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to be fair, here's a critique of Chomsky's views:

Jeff Blankfort critic of Noam Chomsky

Haitham Sabbah
Apr 29th, 2010

Quite apart from his dismissal of the power of the pro-Israel lobby and, consequently, the role of Congress which I have found to be the foremost obstacle in trying to educate people around that issue, Chomsky's opposition to BDS, (what he now describes as qualified support) and his ongoing efforts to dissuade people from using the term, apartheid, to describe Israel's control over Palestinian society, should raise serious questions about Chomsky's judgment, not to mention that his reason for opposing the Palestinian right of return and a one-state solution is identical to that of most liberal Zionists, i.e., that it would lead to Jews becoming a minority in that single state.

The question as to whether or not to use the term apartheid is a critical one. That Chomsky objects to the use of the term despite the fact that such a description has long been made by both Israeli critics of their country's policies and by former victims of South African apartheid, all of whom are in a far better position than him to know what they were talking about can not simply be dismissed as a difference of opinion.

Everyone knows the negative connotations that word carries and that if widely applied to Israel it would most certainly raise the level of public consciousness in this country and with it the possibilities of changing US policy. The attacks on Jimmy Carter by the entire Jewish establishment for his use of the word in the title of his book was a clear indication of the latter's fear of that happening. Motivations aside, Chomsky should be embarrassed to see whose side he is on when it comes to this issue.

That otherwise intelligent people have not seen through Chomsky's deceptions by this time I attribute to their having confused his admittedly harsh criticism of Israeli actions and US support for those actions with what is needed in the US to counter that support. This requires challenging the power of the Zionist establishment and that is something that Chomsky would have us believe is irrelevant.
If any other public figure revered on the left would take positions on Palestine as those of Chomsky, he or she would be dimissed as a Zionist apologist. (Imagine if someone purporting to be an anti-apartheid activist had taken similar positions on South Africa.) In Chomsky's case, because of the excellent writings and statements that he has made on other issues outside of the Israel-Palestine conflict, he seems to have been given a pass for his questionable positions on Palestine. This amounts, in practice, to saying that the man, Chomsky, is more important than the issue, justice for Palestine. I don't think anyone seriously concerned with the latter actually thinks or would say that but, unfortunately that is the only conclusion one can draw from the fact that Chomsky still continues to be invited to speak by groups whose dedication to justice for Palestine can not be questioned.

As a result of reading Noam Chomsky's statements in a 2003 interview in the South African journal, Safundi, opposing BDS against Israel (because the Israelis would be against it!) and against using the term, apartheid to describe the Palestinian situation, and adding that to his long history of denying the destructive power of the pro-Israel lobby, I decided to write a critical article about his stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict which was published in Left Curve in the Spring of 2004. -- Jeff Blankfort

http://palestinethinktank.com/2010/04/29/jeff-blankfort-critic-of-noam-chomsky-podcast/?utm_source=f eedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PalestineThinkTank+%28Palestine+Think+Tank%2 9

by shergald on Fri Apr 30th, 2010 at 09:39:08 AM EST

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