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

Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky in BBC interview:The war in Afghanistan is “immoral.” He spoke to Stephen Sackur and answered viewer questions, among them several on the Middle East.

Chomsky on the US’s unwavering support for Israel and “rejectionism” of the two-state solution, effectively on offer for 30 years: That’s not because of the overweening power of the Israel lobby in the US, but because Israel is a strategic and commercial asset which underpins rather than undermines US domination of the Middle East… America’s one-sided role in the Middle East isn’t harming their interests, whatever risks it might bring for anyone else.

IOA Editor: Noam Chomsky has just concluded a speaking tour in the UK and Ireland. For coverage of his tour, see:

   Israel’s worst enemies are those who support its policies
   Hundreds flock to hear Noam Chomsky in Dublin
   Discussion with Workers Solidarity Movement

Obama has made clear that the United States intends to retain a long-term major presence in the [ME] region. That much is signaled by the huge city-within-a city called “the Baghdad Embassy,” unlike any embassy in the world.

Of all of the crises that afflict us, the growing democratic deficit may be the most severe. Unless it is reversed, [Arundhati] Roy’s forecast may prove accurate. The conversion of democracy to a performance with the public as mere spectators-hardly a distant possibility-might have truly dire consequences.

Obama has praised the [Arab Peace] Initiative and called on the Arab states to proceed to normalize relations with Israel. But he has so far scrupulously evaded the core of the proposal, thus implicitly maintaining the US rejectionist stand that has blocked a diplomatic settlement since the 1970s along with its Israeli client, in virtual isolation. There are no signs that Obama is willing even to consider the Arab Initiative, let alone “promote” it. That was underscored in Obama’s much heralded address to the Muslim world in Cairo on June 4, [2009].

[T]orture has been routine practice from the early days of the conquest of the national territory, and then beyond… Small wonder that the President advises us to look forward, not backward – a convenient doctrine for those who hold the clubs. Those who are beaten by them tend to see the world differently, much to our annoyance.

Chomsky: “They try to label any criticism as anti-Semitic, but they never respond to the criticism itself, because they can’t… Decades ago, the ADL was an authentic and serious organization that defended civic rights, but in the last 40 years it’s become a Stalinist-style organization dedicated to supporting anything Israel does and to destroying all opposition to Israeli policies.”

On Saturday December 27, 2008, the latest US-Israeli attack on helpless Palestinians was launched. The attack had been meticulously planned, for over 6 months according to the Israeli press. The planning had two components: military and propaganda. It was based on the lessons of Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon, which was considered to be poorly planned and badly advertised. We may, therefore, be fairly confident that most of what has been done and said was pre-planned and intended.

Barack Obama is recognized to be a person of acute intelligence, a legal scholar, careful with his choice of words. He deserves to be taken seriously – both what he says, and what he omits. Particularly significant is his first substantive statement on foreign affairs, on January 22, at the State Department, when introducing George Mitchell to serve as his special envoy for Middle East peace.

A good question is why the margin of victory for the opposition party was so small, given the circumstances. One possibility is that neither party reflected public opinion at a time when 80% think the country is going in the wrong direction and that the government is run by “a few big interests looking out for themselves,” not for the people, and a stunning 94% object that government does not attend to public opinion. As many studies show, both parties are well to the right of the population on many major issues, domestic and international.

Tanya Reinhart, linguist, writer and political activist: born Kyriat Haim, Palestine 23 July 1943; married 1997 Aharon Shabtai; died New York 17 March 2007.

Tanya Reinhart was a distinguished academic linguist and a political commentator and activist. She was known internationally as an ardent critic of Israel’s policies and of the Zionist ideology. Reinhart was married to the Israeli poet and translator Aharon Shabtai.

May 11, Sabra-Shatila camp

There is a plot of land of perhaps less than a half acre, surrounded by a wall with a large iron gate, where the victims of the 1982 massacre are buried. The land is mostly flat and covered by grass, with a few mounds here and there, the locations of mass graves which we can see through the gate’s vertical bars. On the outside wall there are large, slightly fading, poster photos of those found dead after the rampage of Phalangist militiamen that were sent in by the Israeli army that had surrounded the camp in 1982. The gate-keeper is an old Palestinian, with half of his teeth missing, sitting under the shade of the tree near the gate and selling flowers. We ask him to open the gate and let us enter the ground. The old man says that if the visitors are American he will not let them enter. “Yes, the visitors are American, but they are good Americans,” I explain. Then pointing to Noam a few steps away, I say that he, in particular, is the most indefatigable defender of Palestinian rights in America. The old man stares at me with a skeptical look for a few seconds, as if to gauge the truth of what I just said, then gets up and opens the gate.