Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

Noam Chomsky

Ten years after 9/11, Noam Chomsky has just released an updated version of his book titled, “9-11: Was There An Alternative?,” which refers to the US assassination of Osama bin Laden and the continuity Chomsky sees between the Bush administration’s foreign policy and President Obama’s. “The policies change, but they are hostile. We should understand where atrocities come from. They do not come from nowhere. If we’re serious, we should try to do something about what is the basis for them.”

We are approaching the 10th anniversary of the horrendous atrocities of September 11, 2001, which, it is commonly held, changed the world. On May 1st, the presumed mastermind of the crime, Osama bin Laden, was assassinated in Pakistan by a team of elite US commandos, Navy SEALs, after he was captured, unarmed and undefended, in Operation Geronimo…

The 19th century … 2001 … today. Noam Chomsky sees hegemonic powers showing extreme contempt for democracy – and acting in ways they know will increase terrorism.

The [Washington] spectacle is even coming to frighten the sponsors of the charade. Corporate power is now concerned that the extremists they helped put in office may in fact bring down the edifice on which their own wealth and privilege relies, the powerful nanny state that caters to their interests.

In May, in a closed meeting of many of Israel’s business leaders, Idan Ofer, a holding-company magnate, warned, “We are quickly turning into South Africa. The economic blow of sanctions will be felt by every family in Israel.”

The Campaign for Peace and Democracy is gathering signatures for the following statement about the continuing repression in Bahrain. To date, the statement has been signed by more than 1,500 people, including hundreds of courageous Bahrainis.

Both Bush and Obama are terrified of the Arab spring. And there is a very sensible reason for that. They don’t want democracies in the Arab world. If Arab public opinion had any influence on policy, the US and Britain had been tossed out of the Middle East. That’s why they are terrified of democracies in the region.

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On May 1, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed in his virtually unprotected compound by a raiding mission of 79 Navy Seals, who entered Pakistan by helicopter. After many lurid stories were provided by the government and withdrawn, official reports made it increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law, beginning with the invasion itself.

Noam Chomsky: “Across the [Middle East], an overwhelming majority of the population regards the United States as the main threat to their interests… The reason is very simple… Plainly, the US and its allies are not going to want governments which are responsive to the will of the people. If that happens, not only will the US not control the region, but it will be thrown out.”

We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.

Noam Chomsky in a telephone interview held on 1 March 2011 with Gadi Algazi of Israel Social TV. The interview covers the democracy uprising in the Middle East, US and the Occupation, democracy in Israel, Chomsky’s vision for Israel and Palestine, Iran and Israel’s nuclear policy, and Israel’s mainstream media.

The US and its Western allies are sure to do whatever they can to prevent authentic democracy in the Arab world. To understand why, it is only necessary to look at the studies of Arab opinion conducted by U.S. polling agencies. [Most] Arabs regard the US and Israel as the major threats they face… Opposition to US policy is so strong that a majority believes that security would be improved if Iran had nuclear weapons… If public opinion were to influence policy, the US not only would not control the region, but would be expelled from it, along with its allies, undermining fundamental principles of global dominance.

Libya is a different case. Libya is rich in oil, and though the US and UK have often given quite remarkable support to its cruel dictator, right to the present, he is not reliable. They would much prefer a more obedient client. Furthermore, the vast territory of Libya is mostly unexplored, and oil specialists believe it may have rich untapped resources, which a more dependable government might open to Western exploitation.

Frank Barat asks Noam Chomsky six questions sent to him by Alice Walker, John Berger, Ken Loach, Paul Laverty, Amira Hass and Chris Hedges.

Noam Chomsky speaking in Amsterdam (video) 13 March 2011.

Q: How old are you now?
A: 82.
Q: Why haven’t you mellowed?
A: Because I look at the world… and there’re things happening in the world which should lead anyone to become indignant, outraged, active, and simply engaged.

Noam Chomsky speaks about Cairo and Wisconsin – social struggles in both Egypt and the US, including the history of union activism.

Massive public protests continue to sweep the Middle East and North Africa in countries including Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and Iran—many being met with violent government crackdowns. Democracy Now! speaks to Marwan Bishara, senior political analyst at Al Jazeera English, and MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky.

A Democracy Now! interview on events in Tunisia and Egypt, and their background: Mubarak, peace and stability, the history of US involvement in the Middle East, the US military industrial complex, WikiLeaks, and more.

While intensively engaged in illegal settlement expansion, the government of Israel is also seeking to deal with two problems: a global campaign of what it perceives as “delegitimation” – that is, objections to its crimes and withdrawal of participation in them – and a parallel campaign of legitimation of Palestine.

Chomsky comes to Cardiff

9 December 2010

Noam Chomsky will be giving a talk at Cardiff University on 11 March next year. Just 48 hours after it was announced on Facebook philosopher Noam Chomksy would be giving a talk at Cardiff University next year, 2,000 people had signed up to attend the event. After one week, the list of those interested was more than 4,000.

Washington’s pathetic capitulation to Israel while pleading for a meaningless three-month freeze on settlement expansion—excluding Arab East Jerusalem—should go down as one of the most humiliating moments in U.S. diplomatic history.

Noam Chomsky speaks about the WikiLeaks documents release, comparing it to the 1971 release of the Pentagon Papers in which he had a role. Chomsky covers US-Israel relations in the context of the Occupation, the illegal Gaza siege, the separation of Gaza from the West Bank – in direct violation of the Oslo agreement, and much more.

Noam Chomsky speaks about the US economy, US mid-term elections, climate change, Haiti, Honduras, China and North Korea, and much more. This is Part II of a DemocracyNow interview with Amy Goodman held on 30 November 2010.

Noam Chomsky on the illusion of US democracy, liberal-conservative politics, the economy, unions and much more in a Paul Jay (the Real News Network) interview.

That the Israel-Palestine conflict grinds on without resolution might appear to be rather strange. For many of the world’s conflicts, it is difficult even to conjure up a feasible settlement. In this case, not only is it possible, but there is near-universal agreement on its basic contours: a two-state settlement along the internationally recognised (pre-June 1967) borders – with “minor and mutual modifications”, to adopt official US terminology before Washington departed from the international community in the mid-1970s.

“This is clearly a serious criminal attack,” he said. “It is hijacking in international waters and there were quite brutal murders.” But, although this case is more extreme than others, he said, Israel’s “hijacking ships in international waters, kidnapping people, killing them sometimes, bringing them to Israel, keeping them hostages in prisons for long periods” have been going on for at least 30 years, and Israel can continue those actions because it is tolerated by the United States.

A conversation with Noam Chomsky on Palestine/Israel, covering Zionism, the nature of statehood, bi-national / one-state / two-state solutions, the right of return, and the BDS movement – its actions, and their impacts on the Palestinian people. Filmed September 2nd, 2010.

Henning Mankell, aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla: “We have been attacked while in international waters. That means the Israelis have behaved like pirates … The moment they start to steer this ship towards Israel, we have also been kidnapped. The whole action is illegal.”

It is not our right or responsibility to lecture the Palestinian leadership on what they should do. That is up to the Palestinians to decide. But it is very definitely our responsibility to focus attention on what we should be doing. Of prime importance is to educate and organize the American public and to develop popular forces that can overcome the dominant propaganda images that sustain the US policies that have been undermining Palestinian rights.

IOA Editor: And much more from Noam Chomsky on the US and Israeli dynamics of the Occupation, and on approaches available to the anti-Occupation movement, including detailed comments on BDS.

[Israel’s] refusal to negotiate in 1971 led to the grimmest moment in [its] history, and preference for expansion over security and diplomacy has had dire consequences since, with perhaps worse to come. Israel often speaks of an “existential threat.” The most immediate and severe “existential threat” is its unwillingness to pursue diplomatic options that are open.

Noam Chomsky talks about US and Israeli aggression in Lebanon and the Middle East, criticizing Obama’s right-wing policies, war making, medical care, coziness with commercial interests. He warns of the coming war in Kandahar and Israel’s possible attack on Iran that could go nuclear.

Like other states, Israel has the right of self-defense. But did Israel have the right to use force in Gaza in the name of self-defense? International law, including the U.N. Charter, is unambiguous: A nation has such a right only if it has exhausted peaceful means. In this case such means were not even tried, although—or perhaps because—there was every reason to suppose that they would succeed. Thus the invasion was sheer criminal aggression, and the same is true of Israel’s resorting to force against the flotilla.

Hijacking boats in international waters and killing passengers is, of course, a serious crime… For decades, Israel has been hijacking boats in international waters between Cyprus and Lebanon, killing or kidnapping passengers, sometimes bringing them to prisons in Israel including secret prison/torture chambers, sometimes holding them as hostages for many years. Israel assumes that it can carry out such crimes with impunity because the US tolerates them and Europe generally follows the US lead.

IOA Editor: UPDATED to correct an omission from Noam Chomsky’s statement on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Citing the US and Israeli refusal of the Arab Peace Initiative since 1976 until this day, Chomsky countered the mainstream argument that it is Palestinian rejectionism that is blocking a settlement. “These facts are not part of general discourse because they lead to the wrong conclusion. The most crucial facts are invisible if they do not conform to the interests of power,” he said. “If the US changes its policy, Israel has no option but to go along – the parameters agreed upon at Taba would be a start.”

“Denying my entry to the West Bank was a minor event, but significant because it indicates irrational behavior on the part of Israel,” the linguist Noam Chomsky said at the start of his lecture last Tuesday to a few dozen students and faculty members of Bir Zeit University. He delivered his lecture, “Americans and the World,” by video conference, of course: He in Amman, his audience in one of the university’s lecture halls.

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