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

Noam Chomsky

I have always admired the work of Gisha, and therefore read its response to my “Impressions of Gaza” with much interest — and comparable disappointment. The response refers to exactly one statement of mine: ‘heavy equipment in Gaza is not “lying idle”, as Chomsky describes.’ My statement is quite accurate.

Even a single night in jail is enough to give a taste of what it means to be under the total control of some external force. And it hardly takes more than a day in Gaza to begin to appreciate what it must be like to try to survive in the world’s largest open-air prison, where a million and a half people, in the most densely populated area of the world, are constantly subject to random and often savage terror and arbitrary punishment

The eight signatories of this letter are members of the group that traveled with Noam Chomsky to Gaza. We have spent three and a half days here in Gaza with Chomsky, who departed yesterday. We would like to clarify the circumstances surrounding Chomsky’s visit.

Jewish-American scholar and activist Noam Chomsky reportedly called for an end to Israel’s siege of Gaza, on his first ever visit to the Hamas-ruled enclave on Thursday. Chomsky, who was in the Gaza Strip for a conference at the Islamic University, called “to end the Israeli siege on Gaza.”

Like its patron, Israel resorts to violence at will. It persists in illegal settlement in occupied territory, some annexed, all in brazen defiance of international law and the U.N. Security Council. It has repeatedly carried out brutal attacks against Lebanon and the imprisoned people of Gaza, killing tens of thousands without credible pretext.

Mouin Rabbani: Many of those who favor a one-state solution see it as the antithesis of the two-state solution, yet you seem to be suggesting a continuum.

Noam Chomsky: I don’t know of any other sensible way that has been proposed to move towards a binational, or one-state, solution other than accepting the world as it is and then taking the next step, which has been pretty clear for thirty years. There’s an overwhelming international consensus behind the two-state settlement essentially along the internationally recognized borders. I think it’s a rotten solution but I think it’s a stage towards a better solution, and I don’t know of any other approach.

Eyes in Gaza: What did I see in Gaza and what you can do? A presentation by Dr. Mads Gilbert, one of two foreign doctors allowed into Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

Noam Chomsky remembers Howard Zinn, the great American activist and historian, and his close friend of 45 years. A moving political and personal history of the leading activists of a generation — people who are nearly gone but will always remain for generations to follow.

A presentation at SUNY New Paltz entitled “Honoring Howard Zinn: An Historian Who Made History,” given on 4 December 2011.

Noam Chomsky has been awarded this year’s Sydney Peace Prize, Australia’s only international peace prize. In his City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture, “Revolutionary Pacifism: Choices and Prospects,” Chomsky covers activist A.J. Muste’s concept of “revolutionary pacifism,” the principle of universality, and the long history of violent US behavior around the world, including the Middle East.

Noam Chomsky delivers a rare lecture on the US and Israel-Palestine (video).

Noam Chomsky: “If the Palestinians do bring the issue to the Security Council and the US vetoes it, it will be just another indication of the real unwillingness to permit a settlement of this issue in terms of what has been for a long time an overwhelming international consensus.”

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.