Chomsky offers charged picture of Middle East, in speech at Barnard


Note: Noam Chomsky is commonly regarded as a Jewish Intellectual.  Notice the subtlety in the irony in the article pasted below as he refers to “people” and “unpeople”.  There are times when Noam reminds one of Uri Avnery (03:29).  I have highlighted the concluding six (6) words in this article in order to emphasize their importance.   Peace, Roy

Article by Katie Bentivoglio from…. Published on October 19, 2011.

Christina Phan / Senior Staff Photographer

Chomsky said that the United States and Israel share a history of removing indigenous peoples from their lands. “We did it, so it’s got to be right. Jews are doing it, so it’s got to be right,” he said, explaining why the two countries make natural allies.

Painting the world in stark dichotomies, famed linguist Noam Chomsky explained the Israel-Palestine conflict in simple terms to a crowded audience in LeFrak Gym: “Israeli Jews are people and Palestinians are ‘unpeople.’”

Sponsored by the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University, Chomsky’s speech “America and Israel-Palestine: War and Peace” was a harsh critique of American foreign policy in Israel. Professor of Linguistics Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chomsky is one of the foremost American intellectuals to speak against American foreign policy concerning Israel and Palestine.

In a speech that read like a laundry list of Israeli-Palestinian history, he returned to the people/unpeople theme many times to explain Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and America’s acquiescence.

“Remember, these are all ‘unpeople,’” he said. “So naturally, no one cares.”

In addition to his psychological analysis, Chomsky focused on what he considers to be the greatest obstacle to moving forward in the peace process: the United States. The United States is one of Israel’s last allies, offering political and financial support to the country despite decades of criticism from the international community.

“Israel offers a lot to the United States,” Chomsky said, referring to American investments in Israel—especially in military capital and military technology—and its role as a strategic American ally in the Middle East. He also referred to “cultural” similarities, saying that both the United States and Israel share a history of removing indigenous peoples from their lands. “We did it, so it’s got to be right. Jews are doing it, so it’s got to be right,” he said.

In the end, Chomsky said there are two simple options: that things continue the way they are or Israel and the United States allow for a two-state solution.

“If you’re opposed to a two-state settlement at this point, you’re telling the Palestinians to get lost,” he said. “Of all the problems in the world, this has to be the easiest to solve,” he said.

Following his speech, questions ranged from aggressive attacks on his political positions to practical inquiries about the details of his proposal for peace.

One student challenged Chomsky’s claim that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak walked away from a peace settlement during the 2000 Camp David Accords, saying it was Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat who refused Barak’s offer to give Palestinians all of Gaza and most of the West Bank. But Chomsky said that the terms of the agreement were unworkable from the beginning. “Clinton recognized that no Palestinian, no Arab, would ever accept the terms that they proposed,” he said. “There’s no need to discuss it.”


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