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response to s'w: Re: THE CHOMSKY/BLANKFORT POLEMIC - Interview

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

And Lenni Brenner, Norman Solomon, labor activist Steve Zeltzer (Jewish), Adam Shapiro, Robert Fisk, Edward Said, Hanan Ashwari, even mainstream establishment liberal pundit Mark Shields (often featured on the PBS Newshour), and Chomsky's own often co-writer Ed Herman, and now to some extent Norman Finkelstein, - and other Jews who _heartily agree_ with Jeffrey Blankfort's position about the power and influence of the Israel([search]) lobby, what are they all: either other Jews "trying to carve out a niche for himself at the expense of jews in general" or just vile anti-Semites?


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?"

First of all, Blankfort never says "THE Jews" or Jews in general. He criticizes Zionist Jews, Zionist organizations, and aspects of the Jewish political establishment, AIPAC - "to criticize Jews collectively, not Jews as Jews, but the Jewish establishment", Jews who organize collectively in some fashion to oppress others or to promote/facillitate the oppression of others and/or who push for war, and who work to censor dissident views and debate about it in, especially, this country - Israel's biggest financial and political supporter.

So, other collective political entities - whether countries, or organizations, or a particular political establishment, or holders of a particular ideology - can be criticized, but Israel, AIPAC or believers in Zionism _can't_ be criticized. Or an individual _can't_ be critcized if he happens to be Jewish, because that's automatically "anti-Semitic"

Do you know how often the American Jewish establishment and American Jewish pundits and politicians (as well as many - certainly not all - individual Jews) have criticized African Americans - _in general_ - as being "anti-Semitic" over the past 15 years?

What about leading Israeli and Jewish-American politicians and media pundits who have criticized _ALL OF FRANCE_ - or Berkeley - or academia - even, now Harvard - as being "anti-Semitic"?

What people tire (Jews and non-Jews alike) of are those Jews who _hypocritically_ say that Jewish political organizations or that Israel or that individual Jews can't be criticized for their ideologies or racism, but that those Jews and Israel can criticize everyone else. Or that Jews can be critical or call other people racist, but then those Jews hide behind calling other people "anti-Semitic" (or "self-hating") when they (those Jews who are criticized) are criticized by others for their political views and/or racism.

Indeed, more than 25 or 30 years ago, the American Jewish establishment (and many individual Jews) said that it was "anti-Semitic" to even say that a Jew could be racist!

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

> "of course he does. those selective pull quotes even evidence as much."

Well, then, one aspect of reasoned, logical debate is to point out _CONTRADICTIONS_, because, as I pointed out beforehand, Chomsky says that the Israel lobby in _NOT_ powerful and influential. In fact, beforehand, Chomsky says that the Israel lobby is _INCONSEQUENTIAL_. Chomsky _DISMISSED_ "The Israel Lobby" professors thesis that the lobby _is_ influential and quite consequential.

> "to say that chomsky, though, is an apologist for zionism or the lobby is very dishonest."

Adam Shapiro has specifically said that, "while Chomsky has made many contributions to criticizing American imperialism, Chomsky is, in many ways, duplicitous when it comes to Israel." Other Jews, who are experts on the history of Zionism and/or the Israel lobby have said the same thing. Blankfort has an enire paper ("Damage Control: Noam Chomsky and the Israel-Palestine([search]) Conflict", available online) in which he has pointed this out in great detail, in fact using not only Chomsky's writings, but also email exchanges with Chomsky that Blankfort referenced in his paper.

Furthermore, Chomsky, who claims to be an anarchist, supports "the right" of Israel to exist "as Jewish state, within 1948 boundaries" (about _80%_ of Palestine). While Jews certainly have a right to exist, "a Jewish[-supremacist/apartheid/ethnic] state" in someone else's land has _NO_ inherent moral right to exist -- no more than the Nazi state or the South African apartheid state, as respectively such. Jews have a moral right to live in a secular democratic state with absolutely equal legal rights for all people - just as Jews rightfully demand anywhere else - not to go take the place (Palestine) over and run it exclusivity for Jews.

Anarchists are supposed to _oppose_ nation-states - and especially those that were artificially created, and especially those that were not indigenous (neither Palestinian Arabs or Palestinian Jews, or even Sephardic/Arab Jews ever called for the state of Israel), and especially those that were set up by Western imperialists, and especially those are are racially-/ethnically-/religiously-defined, and especially those that thus _create_ superior and subordinate classes of people, and especially those that push the indigenous/native people off 90% of their land and even steal most of the agricultural and water resources on the land that's left, and especially those that set up bantustans, concentration camps and refugee camps, and especially those that put up awesome 27-foot high and thick concrete walls with surrounding 'no man's lands' _more_ than reminiscent of the Warsaw ghetto and other ghetto and concentration camp([search]) walls the Nazis put up to pen in/out Jews and that served much of the same purpose.

> "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."

And Chomsky leaves the state of Israel and the Israel lobby _untouched_, as a _practical_ matter, 'on [respectively] its high pinnacle of nobility'.

He's willing to criticize Israel, but he's _never_ condemned Zionism (indeed, as Blankfort has pointed out, Chomsky had Zionist friends in Chomsky's younger days, and may still have) and he's _not_ willing to do anything practical against Israel or its, essentially, foreign-domestic lobby in the U.S..

The professors never said that the U.S. is blameless.

Chomsky is willfully engaging in a logical (and racist) fallacy (amazing for a linguist to do) - as a strawman argument, he's engaging in the either-or fallacy: either the lobby and Israel are _ALL_ to blame -- which _no one_ says -- or the U.S. is _ALL_ to blame -- which _CHOMSKY says (and presumably only non-Jews are to blame, those WASP elite ruling-class imperialists 'who are presumably manipulating the hapless Zionist Jews, their pervasive and influential lobby, and the state of Israel').

>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.

Well, if you ignore your largest organized domestic adversary in opposing U.S. war in the Middle East and the oppression of the Palestinian people, and oppose any sanctions movement like that which critically helped - along with, foremost, the black South African _armed_ resistance movement - to bring South African apartheid down (a movement, neither black South Africa's armed struggle or the international divestment movement then, that Chomsky did _not_ oppose, but _supported_) - then we're not going to "meaningfully admit & address [a major part of] our real problems" either.

> "if you've read their presentation, it's difficult not to agree w/ chomsky on this matter."

Well, that's not the conclusion that many others reach. But, let me ask you: do we get to openly and publicly _debate_ it? -- is it a legitimate issue for open debate, whatever your position -- because that's _not_ the position of the Israel lobby and that's _not_ the position of Chomsky, who has ducked _every_ debate by qualified experts (even other Jewish scholars and experts) on the issue.

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

Who are you quoting? - and from where?

sw: "in a nutshell, m-w are neo-realists"

Do _they_, the professors, call themselves that or do _you_ call/label them that?

sw: "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."

That's essentially _Chomsky's_ position: that no lobby or client state can override any position of their imperialist sponsor/enabler- and that, indeed, any position of the Israel lobby or Israel is really _absolutely, totally and exactly_ the U.S.'s imperialist position.

sw: "it's a very narrow & limited thesis they offer. for one, it ignores a capitalist economic context"

Well then why blame Hitler and the Nazi state for WWII in Europe and the holocaust? Hitler was just a product/manifestation of Western capitalism and imperialism (and the capitalist industrialists and imperialist goverments which either originally supported/enabled him or did nothing to oppose him until they saw their capitalist/imperialist interests threatened). Yours and Chomsky's are the "limited thesis" and certainly narrow when it comes to excluding the Israel lobby (Chomsky later and contradictorily admits) pervasively influence in this country.

sw: "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. ..."

Okay, you're not only getting "reductionist", as I have pointed out above, but ridiculous and now lying ("the otherwise benevolent u.s.") - which is what Zionists do to score strawman points by mischaracterizing other people's arguments - and you're starting to repeat yourself, so I'm not going to argue that lie with you.

sw (quoting m/w): "Equally worrying, the Lobby's campaign for regime change in Iran"

Maybe you should _LOOK UP_ the last keynote headliner lobby celebrity weekend speeches of the last AIPAC convention in D.C. and see who is mightily pushing for war in Iran.

The rest of your quote are criticisms that many political and military officials have against this administration's 3 year-old policy in the Middle East - especially with regard to Iraq, a war that and administration neocons and AIPAC also mightily pushed for. Are administration, Zionist and AIPAC lobby Jews to blame for _ANYTHING_? - or is it only the goyim?

sw: "do you see the problems in this?"

See above.

sw: "one is that public debate & open dialogue on the lobby is obviously beneficial ... it also puts these lobbys on the defensive."

And yet this is _exactly_ what Chomsky opposes - but what Blankfort calls for. So, who are you disagreeing with on _this_ point: Chomsky or Blankfort?

And why won't Chomsky debate Blankfort or M/W or any other expert on the lobby? What's Chomsky afraid of?: he'll debate (and has publicly debated) the besotted _Hitchens_.


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

I'm still waiting for a list at least as long as your objections.

sw: "the problem is that these exaggerations which seek to blame the israeli lobbys (or jews collectively, according to blankfort..."

No, again another _lie_ on your part. Can you read? Or do you purposely not read and instead _lie_ about what someone says that doesn't support your position? Blankfort said that just as other people can be and are often collectively blamed by pro-Israel Jews, some Jews say that other people cannot critically examine and hold Jews accountable who organize _collectively_ for some political purpose, either to censor dissent, or to push for war, or to perpetuate the human rights violation of an indigenous people in a land those other Jews have come from far away places to colonize.

Its _equally_ an exaggeration (and racist) to say that _only_ the U.S. government (as though it contains no Jews) and the WASP ruling elite is accountable - and _not_ Israel or the Israel lobby. Its _equally_ a ridiculous exaggeration to claim that the side who wants to _also_ hold Israel and the Israel lobby accountable would thus claim that, but for Israel and the Israel lobby, the U.S. would be some wonderful benevolent state.

But, I know that you're really just a closet Zionists, so none of these arguments are ever going to convince you - just like their would have been no political or moral arguments that would have ever convinced a Manifest Destiny European-American genocidal Indian-massacring colonist, a plantation slave owner in the antebellum South, a Segregationist in the Jim Crow South, a Nazi in Nazi Germany or a pro-Apartheid white in South Africa. Zionists, likewise, just want the land minus the people (as many of them as they can force out) - and that's it. So, I won't continue this time-consuming debate with you (although I would do it with a larger public audience) - only now just enough to show others the fallacies in your assertions and your _own_ exaggerations.

Now you, like Chomsky, may want, as Desmond Tutu put it, "apartheid with a smiling face", but you Zionists (right-wing or liberal or "anarchist") colonists still want the (other non-European people's) land (because you couldn't get away with stealing white people's land in Europe or North America) - and that's it.

Watch you come back with some other excuse for that now.
 

Comments

Re: response to s'w: Re: THE CHOMSKY/BLANKFORT POLEMIC - Interview

i'll try to respond as i work thru your post

Ed Herman

i searched for a bit for a source where edward herman acknowledges support for ('heartily agreeing' w/) jeffrey blankfort & i could not find any. please provide some type of source for this. if, otoh, herman & these other names are being simply grouped together & identified as supporting blankfort b/c they have written or spoken on the influence of the lobby, this is most disreputable & reinforces my criticism of blankfort's motive & methods.

What people tire (Jews and non-Jews alike) of are those Jews who _hypocritically_ say that Jewish political organizations or that Israel([search]) or that individual Jews can't be criticized for their ideologies or racism, but that those Jews and Israel can criticize everyone else…

not to say that we should settle for this type of rhetoric, but this is hardly unique to jews or any other population group / special interest for that matter. u.s. exceptionalism is predicated on it & politicians are masters at it.

blankfort does, however, tend to single out jews, as evidenced in his lists. & the line i referenced does specifically conflate all jews w/ a jewish establishment.

as I pointed out beforehand, Chomsky says that the Israel lobby in _NOT_ powerful and influential

here's a sampling of some quickly available indications of chomsky's thoughts on the lobby —

oct 1991: The Israeli lobby (not all Jewish, by any means), with its political clout and its finely-honed techniques of defamation, slander, and intimidation is highly effective in containing discussion within the narrow framework of U.S.-Israeli rejectionism and support for Israeli power and repression.
www.chomsky.info/articles/199110&

feb 2004: It is impossible to give a measure to the influence of the Israeli lobby, but in my opinion it is more of a swing factor than an independently decisive one. It is important to bear in mind that it is not neoconservatives, or Jewish. Friedman, for example, is a liberal in the US system. The union leadership, often strong supporters of Israeli crimes, are protypical liberals, not neocons. The self-styled "democratic socialists" who modestly call themselves "the decent left" have compiled an unusually ugly record in support of Israeli government actions ever since Israel's massive victory in 1967, which won it many friends in left-liberal circles, for a variety of reasons. The Christian right is a huge voting bloc, plainly not Jewish, and in fact to a significant extent anti-Semitic, but welcomed by the government of Israel and its supporters because they support Israel's atrocities, violence, and aggression, for their own reasons. It is a varied and large group, which happens also to constitute a substantial part of the intellectual elite, hence the media elite, so of course there is ideological influence. However, these groups rarely distance themselves far from what they know to be authentic power: state-corporate power. If US government policy would shift, they would shift along with it, maybe with some snapping at the heels of the powerful, but never daring too much. That has been fairly consistent in the past, and I think there is good reason to expect similar behavior in the future. Privilege and rewards do not come from confronting power, but by serving it, perhaps with some complaints at the margins while pouring out lies and slanders against anyone who strays a few millimeters to far from doctrinal orthodoxy, a primary function of respectable intellectuals throughout history. Particularly since its 1967 victory, state power has generally regarded Israel as a very important "strategic asset," by now virtually an offshore military base and militarized high-tech center closely linked to the US and major regional US allies, particularly Turkey. That opens the way for the ideological influence to exert itself - lined up with real power. The story is far more complex than anyone can describe in a few words, but my feeling is that the essentials are pretty much like that. That is true of domestic lobbies quite generally, in a state capitalist society with very close ties between state and corporate power, a very obedient intellectual class, and a narrow political spectrum primarily reflecting the interests of power and privilege.
www.chomsky.info/interviews/20040204.htm

december 1991: Domestic pressure groups tend to be ineffectual unless they line up with significant elements of state-corporate power, or have reached a scale and intensity that compels moves to accommodate them. When AIPAC lobbies for policies that the state executive and major sectors of corporate America intend to pursue, it is influential; when it confronts authentic power, largely unified, it fades very quickly.
www.chomsky.info/articles/199112&

from failed states, 2005, pp.188-89
As long as Israel's actions conform to US objectives, it receives the diplomatic, military, and economic support that facilitates its takeover of valuable parts of the occupied territories and its development into a rich industrial society. But when the boss-man draws the line, Israel must obey. There have been repeated occassions. One arose in 2005, when the United States ordered Israel to terminate its sales of advanced military technology to China. Israel sought to evade or mitigate the restrictions, but in vain. The United States imposed sanctions. Pentagon officials refused even to meet with their Israeli counterparts, compelling Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to cancel a trip to Washington. "Strategic dialogue" was effectively terminated. The United States demanded that the Knesset enact legislation tightening oversight of military exports, that Israel sign an official memorandum of understanding, and that the government and Mofaz present a written apology to the United States. "After Israel raised a white flag and acquiesced to most of the demands," Israel's leading military correspondant, Ze-ev Schiff, reported, "the US made additional, harsher demands, and was said to have shown contempt for the Israeli delegation."

These are bitter blows to Israel. Apart from the direct insults, these sales are a crucial component of the militarized Israeli high-tech export economy. But Israel has no alternative when the boss-man speaks, and understands that it cannot rely on the domestic US lobby, which knows better than to confront state power on important matters.


chomsky does a much better job of placing the influence of the lobby into the context of state power than m-w, or blankfort, have, imho. while i have neither the time nor inclination to work up a defense for chomsky - he's certainly more capable of that than i could even imagine myself to be - suffice it to say that his prolific works are easily available, both online & off, and the curious reader would be better served to read chomsky himself than interpretations of it by others.

Chomsky leaves the state of Israel and the Israel lobby _untouched_, as a _practical_ matter, 'on [respectively] its high pinnacle of nobility' … he's _never_ condemned Zionism … and he's _not_ willing to do anything practical against Israel or its, essentially, foreign-domestic lobby in the U.S.

how is the weather on your planet? :) seriously though, this notion that chomsky is all theory & no practise is weak. again, go to the source. his works/experience in these matters is most useful & relevant.

okay, my interest level in your rebuttal is dropping quick. you're stretching credibility w/ this
Chomsky is willfully engaging in a logical (and racist) fallacy (amazing for a linguist to do) - as a strawman argument, he's engaging in the either-or fallacy: either the lobby and Israel are _ALL_ to blame — which _no one_ says — or the U.S. is _ALL_ to blame — which _CHOMSKY says

let me return to m-w's paper, if we want to talk about legit logical fallacies

So if neither strategic nor moral arguments can account for America's support for Israel, how are we to explain it? The explanation is the unmatched power of the Israel Lobby.

Who are you quoting? - and from where?

"the israeli lobby" in the london review of books
www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html

Do _they_, the professors, call themselves that or do _you_ call/label them that?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neorealism
or google on either prof

Yours and Chomsky's are the "limited thesis" and certainly narrow when it comes to excluding the Israel lobby (Chomsky later and contradictorily admits) pervasively influence in this country.

did no such thing. go back & read what i wrote earlier (which you apparently are having problems comprehending). "otherwise benevolent" is exactly what m-w leave us w/ in their conclusion if it were not for the de facto influence of the lobby to subvert u.s. interests. the crude reductionism is mine, not theirs.

who are you disagreeing with on _this_ point: Chomsky or Blankfort?

neither. chomsky can make his own choices on who he takes seriously, as can blankfort. given how blankfort misinterprets & misleads on chomsky wrt this matter, why should blankfort be surprised at being rejected?

here's blankfort taking on stephen zunes on kpfa last june
www.kpfa.org/archives/index.php

i haven't listened to it yet, but i'm betting even this fringe character doesn't self-destruct to the point of calling anyone who disagrees w/ him a zionist colonist. :)

cheers
 

Re: response to s'w: Re: THE CHOMSKY/BLANKFORT POLEMIC - Interview

should read "the crude reductionism is theirs, not mine
 

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