The Chomsky File - Part III

[It] is hard to see how so many anti-Semitic and extreme-right-wing organizations... could be disseminating Chomsky's writings and speeches without his consent. And why would he give his consent to anti-Semites' exploiting his reputation and respectability in liberal and academic circles to legitimate themselves by association?

Rachel Neuwirth,

Rachel Neuwirth
Rachel Neuwirth
INN:RW
[Parts one and two of this article may be read at http://www.israelnationalnews.com/article.php3?id=4680 and http://www.israelnationalnews.com/article.php3?id=4684, respectively.]

It is true that Noam Chomsky cannot prevent people from quoting from his works. He cannot even prevent them from publishing sycophantic praise of him. But American law and the laws of most democratic countries make it illegal to publish or distribute entire articles, recordings, chapters of books, etc. without the consent of the author. As a result, it is hard to see how so many anti-Semitic and extreme-right-wing organizations (I have identified only a few of them here) could be disseminating Chomsky's writings and speeches without his consent. And why would he give his consent to anti-Semites' exploiting his reputation and respectability in liberal and academic circles to legitimate themselves by association?

Then there is the question of money. While some anti-Semitic organizations give away Chomsky's writings for free, at least two, the Noontide Press and the Guillaume-Thion partnership (which operates through a number of publisher's imprints), have marketed Chomsky publications, thereby helping to raise the money needed to publish more overtly anti-Jewish materials. Why does Chomsky help to finance these enterprises through his publishing-rights patronage?

While Chomsky usually avoids invoking overtly anti-Jewish stereotypes in his own writings, preferring to legitimate others who do so, sometimes he lets down his guard. In a column in the leftist media criticism magazine The Lies of Our Times, published on January 1, 1990, Chomsky wrote that "the Jews do not merit a 'second homeland' because they already have New York, with a huge Jewish population, Jewish-run media, a Jewish mayor, and domination of cultural and economic life."

And in a more recent published interview entitled "Anti-Semitism, Zionism and the Palestinians," Chomsky says, "By now Jews in the US are the most privileged and influential part of the population.... Anti-Semitism is no longer a problem, fortunately. It's raised, but it's raised because privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98% control. That's why anti-Semitism is becoming an issue. Not because of the threat of anti-Semitism; they want to make sure there's no critical look at the policies the US (and they themselves) support in the Middle East.... We should bear it in mind when there's talk in the US about anti-Semitism."

Claims that Jews are "the most privileged and influential part of the population" and that they seek "total control," are, of course, at the center of most anti-Semitic discourse over the past one hundred and fifty years. They are the central ideas of the notorious anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. A little later in the same interview, apropos nothing in particular, Chomsky remarks, "[The] Hebrew press is much more open than the English language press, and there's a very obvious reason: Hebrew is a secret language, you only read it if you're inside the tribe. Like most cultures it's a tribal culture. I don't want to exaggerate, but the English translations on the Internet are very revealing and very interesting."

The idea that Jews conspire in secret is of course also central to anti-Semitic mythology. It is the exact reverse of the truth: Israel is the most open society in the world. There is no alleged wrongdoing by the Israeli government that Israelis fail to report themselves, both in their own press and to the foreign media.

However vehemently Chomsky denies his anti-Semitism, whatever pains he takes to conceal it behind the veil of anti-Zionism and anti-Israelism, we have to look the facts in the face. He constantly denounces a Jewish institution that represents millions of Jews, on which the lives of millions of Jews, perhaps all Jews, are dependent, as evil and vicious. He has had many opportunities to denounce anti-Semitism and anti-Semites, but has consistently failed to do so. And he has given assistance and comfort to anti-Semites, both covertly and not so covertly. Chomsky's numerous admirers may regard him as a courageous voice for justice, progress, morality and truth, but surely anti-Semitism, when called by any other name, smells just as foul.

[Part 3 of 3]

Notes:

John Landau contributed research and reporting to this article.





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