Tuesday, July 24, 2007

An Exercise in Perspective Taking

Most of this blog’s current readers are conservative Jewish or Christian supporters of Zionism and the state of Israel’s policies including the policies relevant to the occupied territories. I would like to offer a unique challenge to these readers—a challenge that will likely result in a broadening of horizons and possibly even encourage humanity and benevolence toward suppressed peoples.

It has often been said that one cannot fully understand one’s own position until having taken on an alternative. Or, as a question, “How can we appreciate the micro and macro implications and reaches of our perspectives unless we also can explain and even defend polar points of view?” In the exercise that follows, I am asking for Zionists to attempt to think like a Palestinian in the Occupied Territories. Take on the perspective of one who considers Palestine a homeland and Israel a non-democratic oppressor.

At the risk of stating too much in favor of one position, I am refraining from describing a Palestinian perspective. Naturally, there are many micro perspectives within a broader ideology. And, this is very important; this is an exercise, an attempt to take on a perspective that is very new to many readers. I ask for sincerity not perfection in the posts.

Be prepared for me (and possibly others) to offer soft criticism of your post. Feelings run high in these matters, and many do not realize the sociological and humanitarian implications of a given perspective. Yet, if you dignify yourself to attempt this exercise with appropriateness, you will receive an appropriate response. I will erase inappropriate replies.

As thought fodder, I will quote a combination of two passages by the Jewish linguist and political analyst Chomsky. In these passages he presents the Israeli-Zionist perspective in a nutshell. Consider his approach a model. One does not need to justify every point—just give a paragraph or two.

Israelis may content that one cannot balance the simple desire to live in peace in the state established by decision of the United Nations against the demands of those who resort to violence and terror and who threaten the very existence of Israeli society (11).

The Zionist case relies on the aspirations of a people who suffered two millennia of exile and savage persecution culminating in the most fantastic outburst of collective insanity in human history, on the natural belief that a normal human existence will be possible only in a national home in the land to which they had never lost their ties, and on the extraordinary creativity and courage of those who made the desert bloom (46).

Chomsky, Noam. Middle east illusions. Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group: Maryland, 2003.

32 comments:

Andrew T. said...

This one seems a little difficult for me to do. I think I could be more effective if I add to an existing conversation.

PeterS said...

Hello Andrew,

Let me add some points which can be addressed. This might help jump start the process. Points to consider from a Palestinian perspective:

 The Israeli exclusion of non-Jewish Arabs from the democratic process (e.g., citizenship, representation, etc.)

 Post-1967 War: the Israeli re-occupation of territories granted to Palestinians (e.g, West Bank, Gaza Strip, etc.)

 The Israeli-Jewish “law of return” based on abstract-ethnic (e.g., Jewish-only) connections to the land vis-à-vis a near-complete restriction on diaspora Palestinian Arabs who desire to return to recent losses

 The progressive degradation of pre-1948 Arab-Palestinian society in lieu of ongoing amelioration of Israeli-Jewish society or, nuanced as a question: “Why should Arab Palestinians shoulder the punishment for the sins of European society against the Jews (the Shoah)?”

 The Israeli policy of forceful reprisal in which Israeli forces target innocents in retaliation for acts of terrorism

More could be added to this. But, thought about one or more of the above would lead to a good answer. The manner in which I have stated some of the above does lend toward a particular bias. But, this post is about bias. It is about encouraging awareness of heterogeneous bias.

Andrew T. said...

" The Israeli exclusion of non-Jewish Arabs from the democratic process (e.g., citizenship, representation, etc.)"

Actually, I think it's more the other way around; most of the Arabs refuse to call themselves Israelis, while the Israelis ask why the Arabs refuse to wish to do so. I There are a couple of Arabs in the Keneset, if I remember correctly. I do find it interesting that you specifically referred to non-Jewish Arabs (whereas Jewish Arabs are Yemenites).

" Post-1967 War: the Israeli re-occupation of territories granted to Palestinians (e.g, West Bank, Gaza Strip, etc.)"

Between 1948 and 1967, was about the most chaotic time for that country's history, and the surrounding countries rather than Israel could still be considered the aggressor. History, of course, has occurred, and the only way that the disputed land can be re-negotiated between both groups in an orderly fashion is gradually. Muslims already get to keep their Dome of the Rock standing proudly atop the ruins of the Beit ha-Miqdash. Have the mandatory evacuations of some of these regions brought any more stability, though?

" The Israeli-Jewish “law of return” based on abstract-ethnic (e.g., Jewish-only) connections to the land vis-à-vis a near-complete restriction on diaspora Palestinian Arabs who desire to return to recent losses"

Israel is a Jewish state, therefore it would make perfect sense that immediate citizenship and an air-lift to a better country are open just to Jews (again, not based on ethnicity).

" The progressive degradation of pre-1948 Arab-Palestinian society in lieu of ongoing amelioration of Israeli-Jewish society or, nuanced as a question: “Why should Arab Palestinians shoulder the punishment for the sins of European society against the Jews (the Shoah)?”"

They shouldn't shoulder it, because they didn't cause it. The Israelis should start looking more closely at the Arab plight, and wasting no time about it.

" The Israeli policy of forceful reprisal in which Israeli forces target innocents in retaliation for acts of terrorism"

I find the trigger-happiness of the IDF appalling. How secure would someone feel when the IDF is always around flexing military muscle?

PeterS said...

Hello Andrew,

A brave soul you are for so willingly taking part in this exercise. This might have been a benefit to you as I can see that you have attempted to be sympathetic to Palestinian concerns.

Before I go into specific discussion of your reply, I want to share a thought that came to me recently in response to an earlier post of yours. Earlier, you reminded me of how non-European Jewry (especially the Oriental Jews like the Temmani and the Bavli) received maltreatment at the hands of European Jewry. You stated that it was ironic that the most-maligned and mistreated sector of mankind (European Jewry under fascist rule) would turn around and malign and mistreat another “under dog” in such a quick time frame.

The Oriental Jews do benefit from the rights and privileges conferred by the state of Israel; however, they have received a disproportionate degree of negative treatment by European Jewry. The Temmani, as I am sure you are aware, have had dozens of children removed from families in order to have them brought up in “superior” Ashkenazi ways—often relocated as far as New York City. I believe that the state of Israel is in need of indigenous reform, and I believe that the Oriental Jews may be in a unique position to bridge the emotive gap between European Jewry and Arab Palestinians.

--Democracy and Arab Nationalism--

Israel is a Jewish state. The ethnic basis for its existence as a “Jewish” state makes it fundamentally discriminatory. Arab Palestinians form a very significant minority yet they exist as second-class citizens—deprived of basic democratic rights. Many Arab Palestinians do not have Israeli citizenship status despite being born in the state. Some Arab participation is present in the Knesset (available only to the privileged Palestinians who are citizens) yet there are restrictions on involvement such as prohibitions against the formation of Palestinian political parties or nationalist groups.

How can Israel be both a Jewish state with non-Jewish citizens and yet be a democracy? The answer is that Israel cannot be a true democracy as it deprives its most significant minority of democratic dues.

Arab nationalism is seen as perennial threat to Western imperialistic ideals and interventions. Yet, it is not just Arab nationalist that is a threat as any form of third-world or non-Imperial “economic nationalist,” “radical nationalist,” or “ultranationalism” which “embraces policies designed to bring about a broader distribution of wealth and to raise the standard of living of the masses” is seen as a menace to the “welfare of the world capitalistic system” (Green, 1971). These quotes are derived from U.S. State Department records dealing with the rise of nationalism in Latin America and were delivered at the 1945 hemispheric conference where the U.S. imposed its Economic Charter of the Americas. They have nothing to do with the “communist threat” as Latin America was not undergoing socialist revolutions.

Arab nationalism likewise threatens the hegemony of Western capitalistic gains and interests. In addition to the threat to capitalism, Arab-Palestinian nationalism also threatens the idea of an exclusivistic “Jewish” state of Israel. As such, it is considered a threat to the state regardless of any real or potential threat it may pose to the state. Arab nationalism is likely an aspect of why Arab-Palestinians refrain from the epithet “Israeli” or the like. Oddly, Imperialistic nationalism is a virtuous while non-Imperialistic nationalism is venomous. A double standard.

--Occupied Territories—

You ask a very good question. Let me quote you, “Have the mandatory evacuations of some of these regions brought about stability…?” Let me alter this question in order to better address it. My question is as follows: What is the correlation between stability or security and the annexation of the occupied territories? This question can be addressed well.

Many parties can be criticized for the aggressions displayed between 1948 and 1973. It would be wrong to offer wholesale criticism of Israeli policy and response at this time without openness to criticism about Arab national policy and response during this same time. I will attempt openness to both ends as I believe that both sides have a just case yet both sides have committed irresponsible steps toward the establishment of said cases.

Morgenthau (1973) captures a common Western propagandistic interpretation of “Arab aggression” during this time period in the following interpretation:

“Four times the Arabs tried to eliminate Israel by war…it is an undisputed fact that none of the violent encounters in the Middle East between the Arabs and the Jews—from the 20s to the Six Day Ware—had anything to do with the boundaries of the Jewish State. They concerned first the presence of the Jewish settlers in Palestine, and then the existence of a Jewish state in the midst of the Arab world.”

Chomsky (1973) offers the following criticisms of the above. Chomsky states, “The interaction over the years has been far more complex than Morgenthau’s remarks indicate.” The 1956 Israeli-British-French “aggression against Egypt” cannot be characterized as Arab aggression against the Jewish state. The 1947 and 1948 Arab involvement was in response to the UN partition plan of 1947. This plan led to localized civil war, the declaration of a Jewish state on May 14, 1948, and the intervention of Arab states. Multivalent factors lead Arab state involvement, but it was not a simple desire to eliminate the neo-Palestinian Jewry that propelled the response.

The 1967 and 1973 wars were hardly aimed at the annihilation of the Jewish state. Israeli forces greatly outnumbered the Egyptians in the Sinai and the technological balance was tipped heavily in favor of Israel (Chomsky, 99). Rather, these were attempts to herald the attention of the superpowers to the injustices inflicted on the Palestinian minority in the Jewish state—issues that do relate to the borders of the Jewish state.

There is little question that annexation of the occupied territories propels international hostility against Israel. Despite UN resolutions and international opinion piled against the continued Israeli annexation of the occupied territories, Israel (with U.S. as its primary supporter and ideological backbone) continues possess and take advantage of the first-national peoples in the occupied territories.

Continued possession of the occupied territories ignites ongoing hostility. Continued “Jewish state” ethnic discrimination does the same. Chomsky (2003) recommends the relinquishment of the territories to Palestinian control as demilitarized zones. Demilitarized, these areas could not be used to launch attacks on Israel yet their return would warm Arab-Israeli sentiments. Oddly, Egypt and Syria are meeting today with Israel to discuss just this.

--Law of Return—

The “law of return” has been called the Achilles heal of Israeli democracy as it demonstrates that Israel is not a true democracy—granting equal rights to minority voices.

The great injustice of the Shoah is not sufficient means to justify inflicting injustice on another party. Many early Zionist socialists seem to understand this in their vision for a bi-national country consisting of Arab-Palestinian and world Jewry. Let me demonstrate from two poignant statements taken from Ben-Gurion:

“We declare before world opinion, before the workers’ movement, and before the Arab world, that we shall not agree, either now or in the future, to the rule of one national group over the other. Nor do we accept the idea of a Jewish state, which would eventually mean Jewish domination of Arabs in Palestine” (Seventeenth Zionist Congress, 1931).

“Zionism has not come to inherit its (Palestinian’s) place or to build on its ruins…We have no right to harm a single Arab child, even if with this we could achieve all that we wish” (1927).

The injustice of the Shoah can no longer be utilized as the basis for justifying a “Jewish state” when the injustice of the death, sorry, refugee camps and the injustice of the Palestinian is compromised in its wakes. Injustice does not justify injustice.

--Criticisms of IDF and Israeli Policy—

I appreciate the openness that you demonstrate in your concluding remarks. It is true that the Israeli policy of forceful reprisal is actually damaging the security of the state.

Oddly, the Palestinian Muslim is a lot closer to the ger toshav status of the Mishnah than the average Christian. Muslims also adhere to more forms taharat than Christians. Religiously, Islam is a lot more compatible with Judaism than Christianity. It is sad that the politics get in the way of what could be a mutually beneficial relationship between Islam and Judaism.


Green, David. The Containment of Latin America: A History of the Myths and Realities of Good Neighbor Policy. Quadrangle: Chicago, 1971.

Morgenthau, Hans J. “The Geopolitics of Israel’s Survival.” New Leader, Dec. 24, 1973. As quoted in Chomsky, Noam. Middle East Illusions.

Andrew T. said...

Chomsky is an anarchist. Almost straight away, that would disqualify him from being a realist.

I think I'm good when it comes to western politics, but it all breaks down for me once you head east. I can't easily work my way through such a complex quagmire in a sound, self-assured way.

Islam isn't really an closer to Judaism than Christianity is. In fact, Christianity's origins were not only semitic, but also apostate-Judaic. Christians use a corrupted interpretation of the Bible, whereas Muslims do not use the Bible. The founder of the one religion happened to be a gentile named Muhamed, and the founder of the other happened to be a hellenistic Jew named Paul, and his followers the Notzrim. Geir Toshav status is granted exclusively by an Orthodox Beit-Din.

PeterS said...

Hello Andrew,

Chomsky is a lot of things, but he definitely is not an anarchist. He advocates democratic socialism. I do realize that there are lots of people critical of his view and writings. None can deny his genius, though, in linguistics and politics.

Islam is closer to Judaism than Christianity in a number of significant ways. By Judaism I am referring to status quo rabbinic Judaism as it has existed in the last sixteen hundred years. Islam does not advocate a belief in incarnation nor does it allow plurality in the nature of the Creator. Christianity teaches incarnation and plurality in the divine essence. Islam, like rabbinic Judaism, has a two-part legal system consisting of revelation and subsequent case or oral law. In this sense the ahadith are similar to the Talmuds.

Yes, the extent of similarity is not perfect…but Islamic piety is much more akin to Judaic piety in my experience.

Andrew T. said...

Chomsky is, if not an anarchist, a long-time supporter of anarchism. If I were to define him, the most accurate would be somewhat pragmatic anarcho-syndicalist. Of course, no one can deny the man's linguistic and academic genius. He is person of many dimensions.

Christianity's origins are obviously much more in line with Judaism, but yes, Islam as concretely practiced in modern times is more similar to how Judaism is practiced than is Christianity.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

I perceive that your admittedly biased views reflect an unbalanced feeding at the trough of liberalism. Here is an interesting alternative perspective from a well-credentialed Muslim for your consideration:

Turkey is the only country that can represent Islam. Any person on Earth who does not accept this is an Islamic Terrorist. This should be made clear all over the world....All the states that emanated from the Ottoman Empire are illegitimate entities owing their existence to nefarious colonial infiltration that promoted the diffusion of the fallacious Western Islam through machination tactics that remind of the prisoner’s dilemma. Legitimacy could be given to these dysfunctional and anachronistic state-relics, only when The Enlightenment will be diffused and imposed on them. Otherwise, these useless, tyrannical realms of Barbary, the likes of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine, will be the source of hysteria, darkness, hatred, ignorance, and semi-cannibalistic behaviour.

Turkey has to impose to these barbaric and uneducated masses the rule that hatred is prohibited in Islam, the concept that the Jews are highly venerated in Islam, and the principle according to which the Law of Consequence critically applies within the World of Islam too. The deeds of the ancestors leave an irrevocable stamp and impact on the heirs. When the Palestinians deserted the Ottoman army fighting against the British in 1916 – 1917, they should know that from that moment their existence in Palestine was shaken, their birthright removed, and their right to Jerusalem lost.

Of two things both are correct, according to one’s ideology; if you are a secular, non religious, nationalist, you should understand that when Germany was defeated in WW I, the country lost several territories. And again, when Nazi Germany was crushed in WW II, more territories were lost for Berlin, and in addition the country was divided into two separate parts, and four zones of influence and control. Consequently, the disreputable and shameful Palestinian desertion of the Ottoman army fighting against the British consisted in overt high treason against their own country. They should therefore pay for it, and the rightful consequence is that they will have to be en masse removed from that place. It is not theirs, as their forefathers did not defend it.

It should additionally be reminded to everyone on earth that when Palestinians were calmly selling their lands to newly arrived European Jews in the 20s, the 30s, and the 40s – at a moment they had already lost their only possible Protector, namely the Caliphate and the Sultan – they were – practically speaking –committing suicide. It must become clarified to all that the Palestinians lost their land not because of any other’s plan but because of their disastrously uncontrolled greed, low level materialism, miserable covetousness, and utmost inanity.

What followed was just normal; a few more ‘mistakes’ perpetrated between 1948 and 1973 worsened the situation. And with the last deception being worse than the first, the terrorist acts from Entebbe to the current suicide bombings did not help ameliorate the case of the ramshackle Palestinians in anything. It’s over!

.... Religious Palestinian persistence on Palestine is not the expression of an Islamic Wish, but emanates from a purely Satanic, incorrigible, egoism, insensitivity and egotism of the worst sort. A real Muslim accepts the consequence his ancestors’ deeds and pays the penalty; he then repents and seeks expiation and atonement.

The ultimate solution of the Palestinian problem is comprehensive expulsion of the entire Palestinian population from Palestine (West Bank and Gaza). Turkey and Israel should set up a detailed plan and implement it to the most detailed point....

Excerpted from: Turkey and Israel: Facing Common Threats and Sharing Great Perspectives

By Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
7/5/07


http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=31386

Peter, I have sympathy for all oppressed and abused people. I read recently that Sudanese Christian and Moslem refugees are seeking and finding refuge in Israel and are being well treated, better than they were treated in Egypt. One Moslem refugee is quoted here:

Moussa: In the Arab countries they don’t see the good in the Jews. Before I came to Egypt, we saw in our television that the mass media in the Arab countries refuse to believe you if you speak positively about the Jews. They believe that the Jews only kill. After I came [to Israel] I changed my view of the Jews.

http://israeltoday.co.il/

July 2007 print edition


Andrew,

I was interested in your reference to the Turkish dam project and the Euphrates River prophecy. Maybe you could quote the relevant passage from the publication you mentioned. I am intrigued by Turkey's role in the End-Time scenario.


My testimony is now posted at my blog if anyone is interested.

http://tandi-1964.blogspot.com/

--Maureen

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

Would my views be any less biased if I was in support of Israel? Yes, I have bias. My bias was formed, though, not by default or through social osmosis. My bias was formed after reviewing the pro-Zionist position that was my default and was received through social osmosis. That is, I received a pro-Zionist perspective as part of my cultural involvement with Evangelical and later Messianic Christianity. I have rejected modern Zionism as a result not of bias but rather as the result of study and research.

So, yes, I have bias. Yes, I feed at the trough of liberalism. But, I also feed at several troughs. I learn from multiple perspectives--conservative and liberal.

I am not especially impressed with the article that you posted. It is quite simplistic, insulting, and insensitive. I asked for people to post from the perspective of a Palestinian Arab in the occupied territories not from an Orientalized student of the West.

PeterS said...

Hello Andrew,

I am more than a little impressed with what you do know of Chomsky. The impression of him that you have as an anarchist suggest to me that you have not read enough of his primary writtings. Many conservatives perceive Chomsky as anything from a Jew-hating anti-semite (though he is a Jew), to a communist, or, as you evidence, an anarchist. I suspect that your perception of Chomsky is second hand; I doubt that you would arrive at the conclusion that he was an anarchist from reading his materials.

With your interest in and proclivity toward the humanities and political science, I think that you would really enjoy reading Chomsky. He authored Failed States in 2005 or 2006. In this book he identifies the key characteristics of a "failed state" (i.e., a state that fails to represent the security and interests of the common citizen) and draws concrete parallels between US domestic and foreign policy and a "failed state." With your background you would have the knoweldge network and critical discernment to appreciate this read. I highly suggest it for you. You would probably gobble it up.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

"Social osmosis" is a descriptive way of explaining your radical changeover!

Reading/studying leads to intellectual osmosis....which is why we should be very discerning about what we allow into our minds.

Dennis Prager had this to say about Noam Chomsky:

"Noam Chomsky has devoted much of his life to working against America and Israel. He is alienated from the very two identities into which he was born. Indeed he has vilified both his whole life. To cite but one example, he traveled to Lebanon to appear with Hizbollah leader Sayyed Nasrallah and lend his support to a group that is committed to the annihilation of Israel and is officially listed as a terrorist organization by the United States....

People with no national or religious roots who become politically active will often seek to undermine the national and religious roots of others, especially those in their own national/religious group. It is akin to the special animosity some ex-Catholics have toward the Church. Non-Jewish Jews are far more likely to work to weaken Christianity in America than Jewish Jews, especially religious Jews. Religious Jews celebrate religious Christians.

Jews with no religious or national identity do not like Jews who have those identities.....

Just as chauvinism -- excessive and amoral nationalism -- can lead to nihilism, so, too, the absence of any national or religious identity can lead to nihilism. The radical non-Jewish Jew loves humanity, but hurts real humans, especially his own."

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/DennisPrager/2007/02/27/george_soros_and_the_problem_of_the_radical_non-jewish_jew

Daniel said...

Peter… a critique of your latest
To save time I will flag some false assumptions in bold without comment
Most of this blog’s current readers are conservative Jewish or Christian supporters of Zionism and the state of Israel’s policies including the policies relevant to the occupied territories. I would like to offer a unique challenge to these readers—a challenge that will likely result in a broadening of horizons and possibly even encourage humanity and benevolence toward suppressed peoples.

It has often been said that one cannot fully understand one’s own position until having taken on an alternative. Or, as a question, “How can we appreciate the micro and macro implications and reaches of our perspectives unless we also can explain and even defend polar points of view?”
I will address this last point. One cannot defend the indefensible even in theory without suppressing the relevant facts. Your claim is a classic relativistic liberal paradigm that is really a siren song to induce others to muddied and confused thinking
In the exercise that follows, I am asking for Zionists to attempt to think like a Palestinian in the Occupied Territories. Take on the perspective of one who considers Palestine a homeland and Israel a non-democratic oppressor.
This Impossible unless you are one. One does not need to assume the role of evil in order to judge evil justly. One does not need to be evil to judge it correctly.

At the risk of stating too much in favor of one position, I am refraining from describing a Palestinian perspective.
You already risked too much
Naturally, there are many micro perspectives within a broader ideology. And, this is very important; this is an exercise, an attempt to take on a perspective that is very new to many readers. I ask for sincerity not perfection in the posts.
I said before that one must see the macro level first. Israel is righteous compared to Palestinian terrorists. Only the macro counts when choosing whose side to be on.

Be prepared for me (and possibly others) to offer soft criticism of your post. Feelings run high in these matters, and many do not realize the sociological and humanitarian implications of a given perspective. Yet, if you dignify yourself to attempt this exercise with appropriateness, you will receive an appropriate response. I will erase inappropriate replies.
Actually you've been giving propagandistic critics wrapped in diplomatic whitewash. One who is on the side of the enemy cannot give an appropriate response.

As thought fodder, I will quote a combination of two passages by the Jewish linguist and political analyst Chomsky. In these passages he presents the Israeli-Zionist perspective in a nutshell. Consider his approach a model. One does not need to justify every point—just give a paragraph or two.
Chomopsky was a good linguist. But he is to the left of Jimmy Carter on everything else. He is a known Israel hater. Hizbullah, the destroyer of Lebanon would welcome him to push the missile buttons.
Israelis may contend that one cannot balance the simple desire to live in peace in the state established by decision of the United Nations against the demands of those who resort to violence and terror and who threaten the very existence of Israeli society (11).

I agree with their contention


The Zionist case relies on the aspirations of a people who suffered two millennia of exile and savage persecution culminating in the most fantastic outburst of collective insanity in human history, on the natural belief that a normal human existence will be possible only in a national home in the land to which they had never lost their ties, and on the extraordinary creativity and courage of those who made the desert bloom (46).

This is only part of the truth, because it leaves out the conflict with the Arabs. But if you think we are going to fall into a trap over this concession, then be disappointed. The flip side does not apply to the so called 'Palestinians' of today. In fact, Israeli's were called 'Palestinians' at the beginning of their return to Israel. The vast majority of the Arabs in Israel went there because they were attracted by economic opportunities created by Jewish businessmen. Many also were sent their by hostile Arab governments in an attempt to change the demographics. Those Arabs were Arab, and did not have a unique culture to Israel that tied them to the land. Except for the original 30,000, they were all immigrants or migrants. And it is truly said that Israel creates and makes the desert bloom. The Arabs in Israel destroy whenever they get control. Latest example: they destroyed all the Green houses in Gaza when Israel withdrew.

Andrew T. said...

Daniel, Chomsky actually does consider himself a Zionist. Though he is somewhat alone in the Zionist category when it comes to his methods for it.

PeterS said...

Hello Daniel,

I find that you are trying to place the political dilemmas of Israel-Palestine into religiously and ethically black-and-white thinking. As the situation exists today, Israel has a just case for its societal existence *and* Palestinians have a just case for the ongoing existence of their society. I believe that there can be harmony between both sides, but inability to understand heterogeneous perspectives is one of the major obstacles in the way of such a just goal. Another significant obstacle is the attempt to mire politics with religious imperatives. To justify the removal of rights or even the annihilation of another people group on the basis of religion is psychopathic and terroristic regardless of whether one uses the Bible or the Qur'an for support.

The following quote from your reply demonstrates the black-and-white of your thinking. You state, "Israel is righteous compared to Palestinian terrorists." This statement lends itself toward the idea that all Palestinians are terrorists. Few Palestinians engage in terrorism. To stereotype the general Palestinian people as terrorists is to grossly generalize. The logic of this thinking suggests that if any Palestinians are terrorists than all Palestinians are terrorists. Again, this is not the case any more than it would be true to point to individual Israelis who have engaged in terrorism as a rational for labeling all Israelis as terrorists.

In addition to the above criticism, the quoted statement demonstrates a double standard. When Israel is the victim and a Palestinian is the agent, then Western benightedness labels the agent a terrorist. However, when the victim is a Palestinian and the agent is the Israeli government, then the perpetrators are security or freedom fighters, or perhaps the event was an "inadvertent error" or a "silly shenanigan" that got out of hand (Chomsky 164). Israel and the United States are terroristic states. Though their actions do not justify terroristic responses, it would be inconsistent to point a singular finger at Palestinians (for the deeds of the few) when Israel conducts deprivation of right and terrorism against the Palestinians.

You ask why it is necessary to take on the position of evil. Well, to start, you already have taken a position of evil. I am sorry to burst your bubble...but there are evils done by both parties. This is why, Daniel, this exercise would be very beneficial for you. The Talmud records that the 2nd Temple Sanhedrin required a candidate for a seat be able to understand multiple perspectives. The specific case law states that the candidate had to argue from the Torah that unclean insects were permitted to eat. Obviously the eating of unclean insects was non-normative among 1st century Judeans, but such an exercise demonstrated the ability of the candidate to think from alternative, heterogeneous points of view. Hence, it is within the tradition that you esteem to engage in such an exercise.

Your criticisms of Chomsky are fear tactics. Note what Chomsky wrote about his critics back in 1973:

"Left-liberal criticism of Israeli government policy since 1967 has evoked hysterical accusations and outright lies. Anyone associated with the peace movement or the American left who has opposed expansionist or exclusivist tendencies within Israel has been reviled, without documentary evidence, as a supporter of terrorism and reactionary Arab states, an opponent of democracy, an anti-Semite, or if Jewish, a traitor afflicted with self-hatred" (129, 130).

This is what you have done. Chomsky is pro-Israel but he is against the present forms of Zionism in vogue in Israel. He is also pro-Palestinian. To call him pro-terrorist is really just to throw scare tactics out against the unread or unresearched on these issues. Hizbullah is much maligned and misunderstood. I will not address this movement at present.

PeterS said...

Hello Andrew,

Yes, Chomsky does consider himself a Zionist. He is not alone--there are several Israeli and American analysts that agree with is models. I have the link to one such organization -- B'Tselem -- in the right margin of my blog.

Chomskys envisions a binational democratic Israel in which Arab and Jew share democratic rights. He is opposed to the racially segregated Israel as it exists today.

Tandi said...

My attempt at a Palestinian perspective.....

If I were a rational Palestinian who had not been brainwashed with hatred from childhood, I would desire to live in peace under Israeli authority. I would welcome the economic opportunities available to me through Israeli ingenuity. I would be happy to work in an Israeli greenhouse, amazed at how successful the accomplishments of making the desert bloom. I would embrace the faith of the believing Jew in the God of Israel and forsake my false religion, as Ruth did. I would expect those who had won the war in 1967 to be the rightful rulers of the Land of Israel, their ancient homeland. I would not consider "Palestine" my homeland...and if I preferred Arab society I would move to one of the surrounding Arab Muslim countries.

PeterS said...

Tandi,

Give me a break...you have not done what I asked you to do. It amazes me how difficult it is for some (most) people to take on alternate perspectives. Shallow minds...brainwashed minds....sad.

Tandi said...

Peter,

You promised "soft criticism" to those who would attempt the exercise. That's OK--spit on me--as your former classmates did to you when you tried to share the Gospel with your "shallow, brainwashed" mind...the mind I once respected and admired.

Sad what has happened to you.

Andrew T. said...

I don't think any of us have yet done the activity that Peter has assigned here: commenting on the Israel-Palestine conflict, from the perspective that the average Palestinian resident would take (not the perspective we think they should, but the one they have), in order to better understand their life situation and why they believe the way that they do. He didn't ask us to do so from the Israeli side because most of us have thought from that side a lot already.

Am I understanding the activity correctly, Peter?

Daniel said...

Hi Peter,
I see I have merited a long response. Grin.


I find that you are trying to place the political dilemmas of Israel-Palestine into religiously and ethically black-and-white thinking. As the situation exists today, Israel has a just case for its societal existence *and* Palestinians have a just case for the ongoing existence of their society.

This can be granted as long as legitimate existence of a society is not confused with national sovereignty. A society does not require sovereignty to exist. As the Christians and Jews were forced to have a society under the sovereignty of Islam, so the Palestinians must accept their society under the sovereignty of Israel

I believe that there can be harmony between both sides, but inability to understand heterogeneous perspectives is one of the major obstacles in the way of such a just goal.

There is only one necessary perspective, and that is there will be no peace in the midst of the Palestinians unless it is an enforced peace. An enforced peace does not require anyone to 'understand' the Palestinian malaise for producing suicide bombers or firing missiles every time they get the opportunity. The goal of peace is not to understand the Palestinians so as to make them feel happy. The goal is to secure the peace by force or arms (or act of God). Maybe some will realize that there is peace after that

Another significant obstacle is the attempt to mire politics with religious imperatives.

The attempt to dichotomize the political realm away from the religious realm is a western misnomer created by the need for the religious world view to compromise with the secular world view in order to make a temporary peace. Those truly religious men, who made that compromise, understood that politics will always reflect a type of religious belief, and that religious ideology cannot be divorced from politics. Every ideology is religion. The only question is which religion/ideology is correct. There is no such thing as non-religious neutral government. Even the promotion of pluralism is a religious world view. Thou shalt not murder is a religious imperative. That's what terrorists do. They murder the innocent.
Peter, you must stop listen to the arguments of secular humanists on the dichotomy between religion and science or religion and politics. It is a pathetic attempt to demonize religion as bad and secularism as good.


To justify the removal of rights or even the annihilation of another people group on the basis of religion is psychopathic and terroristic regardless of whether one uses the Bible or the Qur'an for support.
Let's take common murderers as a class. By your argument there should be no capital punishment, and they should keep their right to life, and those punishing them you would call psychopathic terrorists. Since this is clearly absurd, so is your statement above. The law against murder was religious to begin with, and so was the law punishing murderers. The question of justice must recognize that a people or class can lose their rights to life by wrongdoing.

The following quote from your reply demonstrates the black-and-white of your thinking. You state, "Israel is righteous compared to Palestinian terrorists." This statement lends itself toward the idea that all Palestinians are terrorists.

Do I see an attempt at logical deduction here? If cats are better than dogs, does it follow that all dogs are bad? Of course not! You are confusing the properties of classes with particulars of the class.

Few Palestinians engage in terrorism.

But most approve of it and support it. So the polls say, and so the glorification of the suicide bombers of martyrs in public says. So also does the electoral victory of Hamas. Palestinians tell the English world what they want to hear in English, "we don't approved," but in Arabic with their own, they say "we approved". Even the Greek Orthodox Christians support the terrorists.

To stereotype the general Palestinian people as terrorists is to grossly generalize. The logic of this thinking suggests that if any Palestinians are terrorists than all Palestinians are terrorists.

Which is more evil, to be on the front line shooting innocent Israeli's or to support the shooting of innocent Israeli's? There is no moral difference. The only difference is the moral struggle of the actual perpetrator of the crime, which is more severe than the supporter at a distance. Also, the supporter at a distance has a better chance to deny his or her involvement.
Again the majority do support the terrorism, enough to say that Israel as a class is more righteous than the Palestinians as a class.
The few individuals who oppose the majority are incapable of changing that conclusion on either side. Israeli's who go too far cannot change the basic righteousness of Israel in this, and Palestinians who refrain from supporting terrorism cannot change the basic depravity of Palestinians on this issue.


Again, this is not the case any more than it would be true to point to individual Israelis who have engaged in terrorism as a rational for labeling all Israelis as terrorists.

The problem for you Peter, is that you do not count or enumerate. To determine which side is right, you have to compare the relative numbers of those supporting the good to those supporting evil aims.

In addition to the above criticism, the quoted statement demonstrates a double standard. When Israel is the victim and a Palestinian is the agent, then Western benightedness labels the agent a terrorist. However, when the victim is a Palestinian and the agent is the Israeli government, then the perpetrators are security or freedom fighters, or perhaps the event was an "inadvertent error" or a "silly shenanigan" that got out of hand (Chomsky 164). Israel and the United States are terroristic states.

I am quite aware of the Palestinian propaganda. Their effort to justify their actions by adding lying to the mix is just an additional evidence why they are in the wrong. There is no double standard in the west on this point. A terrorist is someone who aims to kill non-combatants. Neither Israel nor the west aims to kill non-combatants, therefore they are not terrorists by their own definition. No double standard. On the other hand, it is a principle of Muslims that one can make a treaty with the enemy, and then break it. Now that IS a double standard – that is not allowed in the Bible. God made Israel keep its treaty with the Gibeonites.

Though their actions do not justify terroristic responses, it would be inconsistent to point a singular finger at Palestinians (for the deeds of the few) when Israel conducts deprivation of right and terrorism against the Palestinians.

Now you have a double standard. You just said we should not overgeneralize, but you are saying "Israel conducts … terrorism". By what measure? Are you willing to grant Israel the same degree of disassociation from soldiers who go too far as you are granting the PA government from the terrorists? It doesn’t appear so. That's your double standard. Even so, there is no quid quo pro of moral equivalency for the two sides. I would say that those on Israels side who go too far occasionally, i.e. Sharon's mistake with the Shatilla camp concerning the Phalange, are still justified in a certain sense, because the fault for creating the temptation to do so lies with the overall perpetrators of the conflict: the Arabs.

This is why, Daniel, this exercise would be very beneficial for you. The Talmud records that the 2nd Temple Sanhedrin required a candidate for a seat be able to understand multiple perspectives. The specific case law states that the candidate had to argue from the Torah that unclean insects were permitted to eat.

That's basic moot court. But such arguments are all theoretical. The candidate does not actually eat the bugs. One does not emotionally unite with the errant point of view to play devil's advocate. It is not necessary to build an emotional attachment to the errant argument to understand it. That will only get you sucked in against your better judgment. Neither is it necessary to bond with the emotional side of the Palestinian error to understand that their perspective is in error. In fact, the reason they are in error is that their ideology is not based in reason at all, but in emotions like hatred derived from perceived harms rather than just deserts.

Obviously the eating of unclean insects was non-normative among 1st century Judeans, but such an exercise demonstrated the ability of the candidate to think from alternative, heterogeneous points of view. Hence, it is within the tradition that you esteem to engage in such an exercise.

You have misapplied that tradition to your claim that I don't understand the Arab mind. I do. You should read Raphael Patai's book

Your criticisms of Chomsky are fear tactics. Note what Chomsky wrote about his critics back in 1973:

Chompsky, ca. 1973 is not Chompsky today. The new Chompsky is on record as regarding Hizbullah as righteous and Israel as evil in comparison.


This is what you have done. Chomsky is pro-Israel but he is against the present forms of Zionism in vogue in Israel.

If Chompsky says so, then he is a duplicitous liar. Hizbullah is truly characterized as a terrorist group in Israel and in the West. They are the ones who indiscriminately launch rockets against Israeli civilians, and try to frame the Israelies for doing the same by getting journalists to doctor their photo's! There is no good in Hizbullah, not even for the people of Lebanon. Their aim is to annihilate Israel, and they are the long arm of Iran in south Lebanon. Your claim that Hizbullah is misunderstood is basically you saying that Hizbullah is justified and Israel is not. Chompsky was pro-Hizbullah, not just pro-Palestinian in his statements. Whatever degree of wrong there is here though, the only important issue is that Hizbullah, and al the rest of Israel's enemies are wrong and Israel is right. That's all that counts.


People in comfortable western societies cannot fathom the evil and depravity of the terrorist actions and methods. Perhaps a few New Yorkers near ground zero on 9/11/2001 for a brief moment grasped the evil of terrorism. But it is points of view like yours, Peter, which are taking by propaganda -- taking away that all important lesion we learned on 9/11

Andrew T. said...

"There is only one necessary perspective, and that is there will be no peace in the midst of the Palestinians unless it is an enforced peace. An enforced peace does not require anyone to 'understand' the Palestinian malaise for producing suicide bombers or firing missiles every time they get the opportunity. The goal of peace is not to understand the Palestinians so as to make them feel happy. The goal is to secure the peace by force or arms (or act of God). Maybe some will realize that there is peace after that"

You realize there's a very good chance that, in this situation, violence will only work to produce further violence?

"The attempt to dichotomize the political realm away from the religious realm is a western misnomer created by the need for the religious world view to compromise with the secular world view in order to make a temporary peace. Those truly religious men, who made that compromise, understood that politics will always reflect a type of religious belief, and that religious ideology cannot be divorced from politics. Every ideology is religion. The only question is which religion/ideology is correct. There is no such thing as non-religious neutral government. Even the promotion of pluralism is a religious world view. Thou shalt not murder is a religious imperative. That's what terrorists do. They murder the innocent.
Peter, you must stop listen to the arguments of secular humanists on the dichotomy between religion and science or religion and politics. It is a pathetic attempt to demonize religion as bad and secularism as good."

An ideology is only religious if it makes reference to divine or spiritual beings.

"I am quite aware of the Palestinian propaganda. Their effort to justify their actions by adding lying to the mix is just an additional evidence why they are in the wrong. There is no double standard in the west on this point. A terrorist is someone who aims to kill non-combatants. Neither Israel nor the west aims to kill non-combatants, therefore they are not terrorists by their own definition. No double standard. On the other hand, it is a principle of Muslims that one can make a treaty with the enemy, and then break it. Now that IS a double standard – that is not allowed in the Bible. God made Israel keep its treaty with the Gibeonites."

I do agree about the non-combatants. I also disdain the Muslim tolerance for breaking treaties and "enemy of my enemy" logic.

PeterS said...

Hello Andrew,

Yes, you are correct. You are the only person to attempt the exercise. And, though we did not agree on every point, our dialogue is a demonstration of how two divergent perspectives can rationally discuss an area of disagreement. Notice, too, that our dialogue resulted in mutual benefit. You pointed out the special place of non-Ashkenazi Jews in Isarel (particularly the Temmani), and I was able to synthesize your comment with my own thinking about their hypothetical ability to sympathize with the Palestinian plight. Likewise, I believe that you have been stretched in this exercise with a possible example being that of your view of Chomsky.

Tandi's posts have not attempted to accomplish the basic goal of the exercise. My most recent comments reflect my frustration with the basic and nearly universal inability of bigots to see outside of their perspective. And, as I stated earlier, it is the inability (intentional or not) of one side to understand the other that further propels injustice and ignorance.

Tandi's post assumes a lot of negative generalities on the part of the Palestinians. She, for example, assumes that the Palestinians are idolaters. I guess that she must lump Palestinian Christians in this category too, and if so, she is basing their idolatry on a convenient need to demonize an ethnicity--a form of latent racism. This assumption might also be based on the recent Evangelical apologetic fallacy that Allah is a moon-god--a fallacy that leads to the conclusion that Islam is idolatry. Oddly, Jewish halakhah does not deem the Islamic view of Allah to be idolatry for the non-Jew or the Jew. If Allah is etymologically a moon-god, then Elohim and Y-H-W-H are similarly in trouble for their pagan roots and connections, and she is an idolater for worshiping a deity by such titles.

Had Tandi engaged in the exercise as requested, she would have received soft criticism. She did not.

Andrew T. said...

Well, Allah is simply the Arabic term for "God", a rough Arabic equivalent of "Elohim". Arab-speaking Christians use the term Allah just as much as Arab-speaking Muslims do, because that's simply the Arabic word for "God".

Tandi said...

Hello Andrew,

You do not believe you actually did the exercise, yet Peter commends you anyway! Beware of his flattery.

Apparently Peter is so frustrated with me in my resistance to his intellectual seduction attempts that he won’t even address me personally any longer. That hurts....but I’m getting used to the pain.

Let me see if I have Peter’s glossary of terms correct:

Christian/Messianic/Israeli perspective = shallow, brainwashed, bigoted, terroristic, black & white, simplistic, psychopathic, unjust, ignorant, idolatrous.

Heterogeneous perspective = the opposite of all of the above

The closest Bible term I can find to heterogeneous is “double minded.” The Bible defines a double minded man as unstable, restless.

There was a time 7 or 8 months ago when Peter and I were like minded. Maybe he did not enjoy being thought of in such insulting terms as a Bible believer, so he went to the Dark Side where he would be respected by intellectuals of his caliber. He would like us all to join him in a liberal, Pro-Palestinian mindset.....but we choose the fear of the LORD.

Stay strong.

PeterS said...

Tandi,

I address issues and behaviors--not people. The attempts to generalize my thinking are not appreciated.

There are many Isarelis and many Christians who are opposed to the modern state of Israel's oppressionistic and discriminating zionist policies. Almost the entirety of the Jewish community that I belogned to was also opposed to the existence of the state of Israel (though for theological or legal reasons). It is very dangerous to marry theology to state policy...especially when such theological connections allow one to blindly ignore injustice including racism.

Seduce? I am not trying to seduce anyone. No one is a captive participator in this blog. Come and go as you please. Your behavior is demonsrtrative of the wanton inability of people to refuse alternative perspectives.

Andrew T. said...

Hello Tandi,

1. Can you honestly say to yourself that you are addressing the Arabs as human beings with real needs and aspirations, like ourselves?

2. Do you believe that your position on how Israel should go about solving its troubles with its neighboring enemies would actually work when applied to Israeli foreign and state policy, and still allow both sides to remain dignified?

PeterS said...

Hello Andrew,

I appreciate the depth of perception that you display through your questions. It is true that all sides need to be aware of the human perspective from heterogeneous perspectives. No side is innocent--though I do believe the onus for justifying past and current activities is on the state of Israel more than on Palestinian society.

Regardless of one's religious convictions and conventions, this is an issue that transcends dogmatic commitments. The modern state of Israel is a self-proclaimed democracy not a theocratic state. It is not exempt from exercising concern for the human needs of its most significant minority. And, even as a theocracy, it would have no business ousting out the largest segment of its society that, though it is not Jewish, is not idolatrous by Jewish legal standards. This segment is the Palestinian Muslim sector of the Palestinians. The Christian sector would have more of a burden to absolve itself of idolatry than the Islamic sector.

Tandi said...

Chomsky is so influential on this blog that I cannot help but post this balancing opinion for the consideration of readers here:

The intellectual significance of Chomsky-ism:
Perfecting the art of prevarication

24.06. 2006
http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000133.html
Original content copyright by the author.
Zionism & Israel Center http://zionism-israel.com

Noam Chomsky's "Failed States" has elicited a perceptive analysis (you will have to read it in its entirety as Jeff Weintraub presented it here ) of the methods by which truths are converted to half-truths, half-truths to lies, and lies are transmuted to truth. Fascists can be given the moral protection of liberalism and Holocaust Denial is made respectable. When George Orwell wrote 1984, he could not imagine the potential of the method in the hands of a master. From Jeff Weintraub's compilation, quoting Peter Beaumont in the Observer:

Reading Failed States, I had an epiphany: that by applying a Chomskian analysis to his own writing, you discover exactly the same subtle textual biases, evasions and elisions of meaning as used by those he calls 'the doctrinal managers' of the 'powerful elites'. The mighty Chomsky, the world's greatest public intellectual, is prone to playing fast and loose.

It is important to recognise this fact because the Chomskian analysis has become the defining dissident voice of the blogosphere and a certain kind of far-left academia. So a sense of its integrity is crucial. It is obsessively well-read, but rather famished in original research, except when it is counting how often the liberal media say this or that in their search for hidden, and sometimes not-so-hidden, bias.



Indeed, Chomsky is the master of elision, quite literally. He always has an apposite quote to back his points, from an impeccable source. The "..." in the quote are barely noticed by even the most attentive readers. In this way, for example, Chomsky could make Anthony Lewis of the New York Times write that Yitzhak Rabin wanted a state that was small and poor, while Lewis in fact never wrote any such thing. It would be a fruitful exercise to set a graduate student to comparing Chomskyian quotes to their originals, and document the subtle or not so subtle shifts in meaning that are achieved in this way.

At the same time, Chomsky mastered the art of stating his own views, however, outrageous, so that their meaning is clear and yet he can maintain absolute deniability. Chomsky was a consistent and persistent apologist for the Serbian war criminal regime of Bogdan Milosevic. He also took up the cause of a pro-Nazi Holocaust denier, smothered the murderous regime of Hafez Assad in encomiums and pioneered the idea that anyone who objects to Syrian war mongering and obstructionism (the "refusal front") is a racist. However, it is not surprising that nobody can ever pin him down as really advocating any of the execrable things he advocates. His invariable response will be "I never said that." "Show me where I said that." There are numerous examples in Weintraub's compilation. The precise technique of destructive ambiguation and decontextualization needs to be documented and analyzed in detail.

The propaganda that was churned out in the first half of the twentieth century by the apparatus created by the Great Dictators was crude. It was effective primarily for masses of uneducated people. Pravda and the Volkischer Beobachter were not meant to stand the scrutiny of free academic discourse, and did not have to do so. Chomsky however, perfected the art of disinformation to the point where it allows him to carry any point, however outrageous, and generate a following of earnest intellectuals who are convinced that these grotesque distortions are the true gospel of progressive theology.

The basics of the message of Chomskyism and its variants however, are not different from the basic tenets of the gospel of the comintern: America is responsible for all evil in the world, together with its colonialist imperialist lackeys, the Zionists. This principle, not much different from the rantings of Mahmud Ahmedinejad, is masked in verbal sophistry and conceptual indirection, to the point where its adherents think they have discovered a powerful tool of intellectual analysis.

What is important about Chomskyism however, is not Chomsky himself, but the fact that he has produced a whole new methodology of deception, that will be used by his students and emulators for generations to come. There is no God but Chomsky. Finkelstein is the prophet of Chomsky. Chomsky has shown how, by tweaking the facts ever so slightly, removing a word here and there from a quote, embedding morally outrageous ideas in careful qualifiers and other techniques, one can generate a wholly false version of reality and history, that is difficult to challenge, and turn morality on its head. War criminals and racists like Assad and Milosevic become good guys, and heroes like Yitzhak Rabin and Vaclav Havel are turned into villains.

What makes Chomskyism effective? There are many discernible techniques, some quite legitimate, though beyond a doubt the "will to believe" on the part of the faithful is a big factor. Other important points:

The spearhead of their attack is often based on legitimate issues - The US intervention in Iraq is a disaster, no doubt about that. It is an issue ready-made for Chomsky. You have to agree with him about that central point, and consequently you must be cautious not to be swept along and accept his more dubious contentions. This is an old tactic. In the 1930s and late 1940s, Stalinist propaganda highlighted racial injustice in the United States. They pointed to real injustices, and too many people were trapped into accepting their solutions as well.

They are frightfully well prepared and they marshal the facts - Chomsky and his acolytes can come at you with two dozen facts and quotes before you can say "Joe Stalin." All of these facts and quotes have been specially "dressed" and served up to prove the point. In some cases they might be true, in others not, and in still other cases they contradict facts that Chomsky used previously. When you do follow up the quotes, you find that Anthony Lewis did indeed include the words that Chomsky quotes about Rabin, but that he in fact meant something quite different, a meaning destroyed by omitting crucial text. Or else you find that indeed, Economist published an allegation that the Khmer Rouge genocide never took place, but they only published it as a letter from a reader, not as their opinion. One after another, the "facts" and citations and quotes fade out of reality. However, you get the feeling you would need a team of research slaves to verify each fact and judge its significance. This sort of intellectual "shock and awe" has bested some very good debaters.

They obscure principles by harping on inconsequential flaws in the arguments of opponents. - Norman Finkelstein scored a success with his "Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict," because he did a fair job of discrediting Joan Peters' absurd contention that there were no Arabs in Palestine before the Zionists got here. The book however, is a collection of essays, built around the principle contention that Jews have no right to self determination and that Zionism is somehow evil. Finkelstein have very effectively leveraged on the flaws in one pro-Zionist book in order to advance a totally absurd intellectual position, as though the quality of Joan Peters' scholarship is what determines the Jewish right to a homeland. It is like saying that the US should not be a country because George Washington didn't really chop down the cherry tree when he was a child. The other essays in that book are pedestrian and unconvincing. He somehow tries to show that Israel was at fault for the 6 day war, and that Benny Morris's analysis of the Palestinian refugee problem was incorrect because Morris does not follow the gospel according to Finkelstein. But Finkelstein leveraged a flawed argument to advance his own absurd idea and make it palatable.

Any amateur hate monger can stir up anti-Zionist or anti-American sentiment. That doesn't require a master. However, the proof that Chomskyism is a powerful intellectual technique is that it can convince earnest "progressives" to support Holocaust denial, Serbian racism, denial of the massacres in Cambodia and any number of other outrageous ideas generated by Chomsky and his followers.

Chomsky has a refined and sardonic sense of humor. One is tempted to think that his campaigns are an elaborate practical joke, or an experiment in the art of persuasion. One can imagine the maestro sitting in his office and saying to himself, "What absurd idea can I get the morons to believe today? I know, I'll teach them that rumors about the force of gravity are a capitalist-Zionist plot spread by the CIA."

The power of getting, say, 20 million young minds, to believe that Pohl Pot never existed, or that Hafez Assad was a humanitarian must be enticing to a certain type of personality. Don't be surprised if one day there is an epidemic of Chomskyites trying to fly out of the top floors of University buildings, because Chomsky proved to them that it was possible with a hundred quotes from experts. When confronted with his responsibility for the tragedy, he will say "I never said people could fly. Show me where I said that people could fly."

It is certain that Chomsky has written a few new chapters in the handbook of deception and disinformation, following those written by the Cominform, Dr. Goebbels and Madison Avenue. It is not clear how well his techniques will fare in the hands of lesser practitioners.

Ami Isseroff


Original content is Copyright by the author 2006. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000133.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome.

PeterS said...

Tandi,

This article about Chomsky is really messed up. It contains misinformation and mistaken claims about Chomsky. If you want to believe this poppycock, then continue to justify your delusion. If not, then try to read some Chomsky. Encounter his approach, documentation, and scholarship for yourself. You will see that the author of this article knows little more of Chomsky than paranoia and hearsay.

Anonymous said...

الحاجة للحفاظ على اختبار بلدي بلوق. لا تعمل كما أريد لها حتى الان. تشك لهذا الموضوع. ربما هذا سيحصل الألغام لتبدو أفضل.

Anonymous said...

Lovely sharp post. Never thought that it was this easy. Extolment to you!

Anonymous said...

This was really interesting. I loved reading it.