Airing Chomsky’s Falsifications on C-SPAN Again

Noam Chomsky, retired professor of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has not retired from his major avocation of speaking with forked tongue concerning a wide range of subjects. Long-time radical icon Chomsky, known for his anti-Israel invective, enthralls appreciative audiences as he pedantically analyzes and judges with seemingly complete certitude in his own knowledge and wisdom.

Chomsky’s falsifications and distortions have been documented by, among others, author and editor Paul Bogdanor in “The Top 200 Chomsky Lies.” The numerous anti-Israel defamations listed (including source citations) and debunked by Bogdanor include:

The Lie: None [of the attacks on Israel] is remembered with more horror than the atrocity at Ma’alot in 1974, where 22 members of a paramilitary [Israeli] youth group were killed in an exchange of fire…
The Truth: The PLO attack commenced with the murder of a father, a pregnant mother and their four-year-old child, with their five-year-old daughter shot in the stomach. The terrorists took more than 100 schoolchildren hostage and threatened to massacre them unless their demands were met. They murdered 22 teenagers, and wounded 56, during an Israeli rescue attempt.

The Lie: We might tarry a moment over the Israeli attack on the island off Tripoli north of Beirut [in 1984], in which Lebanese fishermen and boy scouts at a camp were killed… One might ask why the murder of Lebanese boy scouts is a lesser atrocity [than the death of Israeli children at Ma’alot].

The Truth: Israel bombed an ammunition dump on the island, known as a training facility for a jihadist faction allied to the PLO. Sources in the jihadist faction reported that there were 150 terrorists on the island and that 25 of them were hit.

C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network) often airs unchallenged falsehood-filled anti-Israel rhetoric (as has long been documented by CAMERA’s C-SPAN Watch online feature) to potentially millions of viewers (C-SPAN claims 28 million weekly viewers). A recent C-SPAN2 BookTV broadcast (the network has frequently aired Chomsky) aired a pre-recorded March 18, 2015 Chomsky appearance sponsored by the fringe radical,  anti-Israel Lannan Foundation.

Before an appreciative audience in the March 18 event, Chomsky is fed questions – on topics such as American foreign policy, the Cold War, nuclear weapons policy, fossil fuels, capitalism, the war on terrorism, Middle East politics, and Arab-Israeli conflicts – by David Barsamian, founder and director of an obscure (except to the radical left) entity named “Alternative Radio.” Barsamian has collaborated with Chomsky numerous times.

Halfway into the April 12 broadcast, Chomsky, prompted by Barsamian, turns his fury upon Israel.
Barsamian: “Election in Israel. Netanyahu won a third consecutive term, his fourth overall. Haymarket author and Electronic Intafada co-founder Ali Abunimah says, ‘Netanyahu is good for the Palestinians – why? Because he is very clear. No Palestinian state no compromise.’ Haarettz [newspaper] correspondent Amira Hass sees only cosmetic differences between the two major Israeli parties. She says that the ‘now moribund two-state solution is actually a ten-state solution.’ ‘A bunch of Bandustans,’ she says, ‘inside the West Bank.’ What’s your view on what happened in Israel?”

Barsamian lends undeserved credence to the opinions of veteran Israel bashers, Palestinian polemicist Ali Abunimah and unethical correspondent Amira Hass. Hass and her Haaretz colleague Gideon Levy are atop the short list of Israeli blame-Israel-for-everything “journalists.”Abunimah is a co-founder of the infamous anti-Israel Web hate site “Electronic Intifada” (see here and here). Hass has produced numerous yellow journalism pieces including blatantly false charges relating to West Bank water usage.

The next ten minutes is all Chomsky as he fuels animosity against Israel, including,

Well, what happened is that – one question is how much difference there is between the parties. They’re all pretty much on the right. There was a very minor sort of peace party, got four seats. Barely made it past the admissions point. There is the Arab party, which is the third largest, but it is pretty much excluded from the coalition just on racist grounds. No coalition will accept the Arab party as an important constituent. But there are some differences. One difference is, if you read Netanyahu’s appeal to the electorate, which carried him to victory after the tepid polling results – it was a combination of outright racism and extreme fear mongering. So you probably read in the newspapers, he warned the electorate that Arabs, Arab citizens of Israel, are being driven to the polls by leftists with support from foreign governments, all in an effort to undermine his policy of defending Israel from terrorists, and so on and so forth.”

• Correcting Chomsky – there’s not just one Israeli Arab party – there are several. And Arabs also have membership in other political parties such as Labor. Although there have been a few cases in which Israeli Arab legislators have compromised state security, they are certainly not excluded on “racist grounds” (as Chomsky falsely claims) from joining coalitions. Their absence seems to be mainly of their own doing. Israeli Arab Zuhair Bahloul, Labor Party candidate, urges fellow Arab
legislators to be willing to join the Labor coalition. Meanwhile, Israeli Arabs have the third largest Israeli political block party (a coalition of Arab parties).

Chomsky’s misleading characterizations overlook facts such as that Israeli Arabs serve on Israel’s Supreme Court, in the Israel Defense Forces, and in the Foreign Affairs Ministry. An Israeli Arab, Rana Raslan, won the Miss Israel title in 1999 and represented Israel in the 1999 Miss Universe pageant. Israel, like other Western style democracies, is not free of discrimination against minority communities but the situation continues to steadily improve.

Chomsky’s distorted characterization of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s election eve rhetoric as “outright racism and extreme fear mongering” is extremely misleading. Rather than railing against Arab citizens for voting, his was a rallying cry to his party faithful to bring out the vote and counteract what he saw as a foreign funded, bring-out-the-vote effort on behalf of those trying to topple him, namely Herzog’s party and the “Joint Arab List.” This was subsequently clarified by Netanyahu meeting with a group of Israeli Arab community leaders, “I know the things I said a few days ago wounded Israel’s Arab citizens. That was not in any way my intention, and I am sorry.” Politicians have been known to make rash regrettable statements just prior to election time – including ones that might be viewed as racially charged or as fear mongering. For example, President Barack Obama’s seemingly inflammatory remarks just before the 2010 election, when he exhorted Latinos to generate an “upsurge in voting” in order to “punish our enemies and … reward our friends.” And Vice-President Biden’s racially-related warning to a largely black audience in 2012 that the GOP was “going to put y’all back in chains” if Mitt Romney won the White House. Unlike in the Netanyahu case, no clarification was issued in either of these instances. Chomsky continues,

And that combination of fear-mongering and racism does work. It worked in Israel. We’re not unfamiliar with it here. And it’s a very dangerous sign about the nature of Israeli society which has just been drifting very far to the right, and this is a major nuclear weapons state. It’s a violent state that has carried out lots of aggression. Israel is in direct violation of international law in the occupied territories. That’s accepted essentially by the entire world with the exception of Israel and the United States.

• Chomsky mendaciously mischaracterizes Israel as a “violent state that has carried out lots of aggression” – but not a word about Israel’s right to defend itself being repeatedly attacked or drawn into wars by Arab armies or Islamist inspired terrorists such as in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982 (Lebanon- Hezbollah), 2014 (Gaza-Hamas). Chomsky’s claim that Israel has “been drifting very far to the right” is easily challenged with strong evidence refuting the claim.

Chomsky’s claim that Israel is in “direct violation of international law in the occupied territories” is countered by the facts. In the West Bank, Israel is the legal military occupational authority, pending a negotiated settlement. That’s because it gained the territories in 1967 in a war of self-defense. Further, it has not forcibly transferred Arabs out or Jews in, and the land itself is not an occupied part of a sovereign country but an unallocated, disputed remnant of the League of Nations’ Palestine Mandate, Article 6, which calls for “close Jewish settlement” on the land west of the Jordan River. Article 6 is incorporated by Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, sometimes referred to as “the Palestine article.” The United States endorsed the mandate, including Article 6, in the 1924 Anglo-American Convention. Jewish villages and towns built in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria, the ancient homeland of the Jewish people) since 1967 are no more illegal than Arab areas built since then in previously existing Arab villages and towns.
Like other left-wing anti-Israel polemicists, Chomsky habitually condemns two of the world’s leading democracies, United States and Israel, while ignoring or going easy on the worst dictatorships. Chomsky and his political soul mates demand “freedom for the people” but hypocritically fail to condemn destroyers of freedom like Iran, Syria, Palestinian Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. A Palestinian “Chomsky” campaigning from within against his own society’s demonization of Israelis and Jews would never be tolerated by the Palestinians but Chomsky is unmoved by this irony.

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