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Re: THE CHOMSKY/BLANKFORT POLEMIC - Interview

>oh yea, and blankfort is trying to carve out a niche for himself at the expense of jews in general.

For example?

Or was that just meant to be an empty ad hominem attack?

>chomsky hardly dismisses the lobby as a problem,

For example: yours???

Mine: Chomsky (Democracy Now, Mar 31, 2006, transcript): "So – AND THERE'S NO LOBBY, which does raise one of a few minor points that raises questions about the validity of the ["The Israel([search]) Lobby"] critique.

Mine: Chomsky: The Chicago Tribune, "2 profs spark political firestorm", April 6, 2006): "The influence of Israel [lobby] on American foreign policy, Chomsky said, is dwarfed by that of the energy companies."

Mine: Chomsky (Znet, March 28, 2006): "I won't run through the other ["The Israel Lobby" authors'] arguments [for influence on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East], but I don't feel that they have much force, on examination."

>though he does dismiss those who offer such exaggerations of israels influence on the lone superpower.

Chomsky (Democracy Now, Mar 31, 2006, transcript): "Surely those [other domestic lobbies and political institutions] institutions can utterly overwhelm the lobby in political influence, in finance, and so on, so that ought to reverse the policy."

Yet, no less than Chomsky himself goes on later to _CONTRADICT_ himself when he says, "the educated classes, the intellectual political class entered into an astonishing love affair with Israel, ..., and in fact, that's A VERY CRITICAL COMPONENT OF WHAT'S CALLED THE LOBBY. Walt and Mearsheimer mention it, but I think it should be emphasized. And they are very influential. THEY DETERMINE, CERTAINLY INFLUENCE, THE SHAPING OF NEWS AND INFORMATION IN JOURNLAS, MEDIA, SCHOLARSHIP, AND SO ON. My own feeling is they're probably THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PART OF THE LOBBY."

Sounds like CHOMSKY is then, after all, admitting that the Israel lobby is quite pervasive and influential!

> sw's concession: "the realists take on the lobby, which generated this latest round of opportunities for blankfort to mislead readers & misinterpret chomsky, while certainly valuable in several ways"

For example? (Let's not slight or gloss over this sw.)

Having said that, at the least, most prominently, Robert Fisk, Edward Said, Hanan Ashwari, Adam Shapiro, even mainstream establishment liberal pundit Mark Shields (often featured on the PBS Newshour), and now to some extent Norman Finkelstein, and Chomsky's own often co-writer Ed Herman _heartily agree_ with Jeffrey Blankfort's position about the power and influence of the Israel lobby. (Ed Herman just can't fathom why Chomsky disagrees with Blankfort on the power of the Israel Lobby.)
 

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Re: Re: THE CHOMSKY/BLANKFORT POLEMIC - Interview

blankfort is trying to carve out a niche for himself at the expense of jews in general

take, for instance, the posted interview:

blankfort: "…the price for criticizing Jews, as Jews, is big in the US. But also, as you see, in France, in Germany, in Canada, and so on, Austria. You can criticize any other national group, but to criticize Jews collectively, not Jews as Jews, but the Jewish establishment is to jeopardize your career."

you don't see a problem w/ this thought process?

Sounds like CHOMSKY is then, after all, admitting that the Israel([search]) lobby is quite pervasive and influential

of course he does. those selective pull quotes even evidence as much. to say that chomsky, though, is an apologist for zionism or the lobby is very dishonest.

keeping this focused on the issue of the power of the lobby, chomsky's point, in his comments on the m-w paper, is that m-w offer a very limited thesis which "leaves the US government untouched on its high pinnacle of nobility." theirs is not a position from which we will meaningfully admit & address our real problems. if you've read their presentation, it's difficult not to agree w/ chomsky on this matter.

for instance, here's m-w from their synopsis in the lrb
Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical. Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure.

"hardly any direct evidence to support this"? oh please.

in a nutshell, m-w are neo-realists, promoting a framework in which to view international politics. in their view, the international arena is composed only of nation states as the sole, rational actors. each nation state acts rationally in their own self-interest primarily in terms of national security. while there are regional hegemons, it is not possible for any one nation state to exert hegemonic influence globally. (someone please correct me here if my interpretation of their realism is wrong).

it's a very narrow & limited thesis they offer. for one, it ignores a capitalist economic context, aka economic globalism. no mention, for example, is made at all of the global weapons market, dominated by u.s. companies. nor do the "realists" factor into their framework ideological representations & perceptions, like the influence of millenarian cults or ideas of the advance of western (read white) civilization.

instead, what m-w offers is reductionist to the point of absurdity.

according to m-w, the lobby is to blame for preventing the otherwise benevolent u.s. from realising its more important national security objectives in the gwot.
Equally worrying, the Lobby's campaign for regime change in Iran and Syria could lead the the US to attack those countries, with potentially disastrous effects. We don't need another Iraq. At a minimum, the Lobby's hostility towards Syria and Iran makes it almost impossible for Washington to enlist them in the struggle against al-Qaida and the Iraqi insurgency, where their help is badly needed. … Thanks to the Lobby, the United States has become the de facto enabler of Israeli expansion in the Occupied Territories, making it complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians.

do you see the problems in this?

i still think that there are positives that can be taken from their paper & its timing, which is what i alluded to in contention that it is "certainly valuable in several ways"

one is that public debate & open dialogue on the lobby is obviously beneficial. more coverage of the relationships b/t the u.s. & israel exposes more people to an understanding of what has been & is going on in those circles.

it also puts these lobbys on the defensive.

and many of the findings collected there are very beneficial to activists & concerned citizens everywhere.

the problem is that these exaggerations which seek to blame the israeli lobbys (or jews collectively, according to blankfort) appeal to some as myopic solutions to what are more nuanced & complex relations & centers of power. the danger is that jews get scapegoated, esp in this proto-fascist climate, to the point where the anti-intellectual impulse reinforces the parallels to europe anti-semitism in the first half of the 20th century & its final solution.
 

followup on herman's position and futher debunking the bunk

wrt the annoying poster who wrote

…Chomsky's own often co-writer Ed Herman _heartily agree[s]_ with Jeffrey Blankfort's position about the power and influence of the Israel([search]) lobby. (Ed Herman just can't fathom why Chomsky disagrees with Blankfort on the power of the Israel Lobby.)

here's a recent article from prof herman that demonstrates the falsity of yet another of their claims

The Central Global Threat of Violence: The Axis of Aggression, the United States and Israel: Torture, Death and Devastation
www.globalresearch.ca/index.php

[excerpt]

With Israel engaged once again in a major war of aggression in Lebanon([search]), and protected once again from any effective global response by U.S. power and veto, it becomes clearer than ever that the central global problem of organized violence and lawlessness in the early 21st century lies in the aims, collaboration and power of the U.S.-Israeli axis. These partners in aggression and state terrorism reinforce one another’s projections of power, the out-of-control superpower protecting its regional client’s ultra-ethnic cleansing, while the Israeli lobby within the United States supports the violent projection of power by the United States, which provides further cover for Israel’s escalating regional violence.



The UN, created specifically to prevent “the scourge of war,” has failed to pose any serious constraining force on the serial aggressions by the United States, or those of its Israeli client. This failure, and the global crisis that it reflects, has hardly been recognized in the Western media and intellectual circles, for the same reasons that underlie the appeasement and collaboration—the military power of the superpower, fear of the economic and political consequences of opposition to the United States’ and its client’s rampaging, some sense of solidarity and support for U.S. and Israeli objectives and policies on the part of global elites and media, and cowardice and lack of moral fortitude.



This is an age of escalating violence, led by a militarized superpower with an enormous capacity to kill, closely linked with an expansionist and militarized client that sees benefits to its “Greater Israel” and ethnic cleansing program in chaos and warfare. [emphasis mine]

[/excerpt]

doesn't get much clearer than that now, does it…
 

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