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Noam Chomsky Rails Against Israel, Again

Conjures images of apartheid, and the United States as a “Mafia don”

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10-2182-CHOMSKY-058_h.jpg

Noam Chomsky addressed more than 500 people at Sleeper Auditorium last night as part of Israeli Apartheid Week. Photo by Vernon Doucette

World-renowned linguist and U.S. foreign policy critic Noam Chomsky addressed an audience of about 500 people at BU last night, lashing out at what he calls Israel’s “escalating policy of apartheid,” which he believes is in some respects worse than the longtime degradation of the nonwhite majority in South Africa.

Addressing a supportive crowd at the College of General Studies Jacob Sleeper Auditorium in his signature fluid monotone, the 82-year-old Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor emeritus of linguistics offered a torrent of factoids, indicting Israel for its actions in Lebanon, the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and especially Gaza. The author of dozens of books, including most recently the upcoming Hopes and Prospects, Chomsky spoke at the invitation of the BU student group Students for Justice in Palestine as part of the University’s first-time participation in Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), a series of events held in cities and campuses across the globe. According to its Web site, prominent Palestinians, Jewish anti-Zionists, and South Africans have been at the forefront of the IAW effort to exert pressure on Israel “to alter its current structure and practices as an apartheid state.”

Under the watchful eye of four University police officers, the proceedings were calm except for a verbal altercation during the question-and-answer period following Chomsky’s talk. Identifying herself as a “member of the BU community,” a woman called out, “You are distorting the truth!” Several audience members yelled back, “Shut up,” and a woman seated near the protestor shouted, “We want to hear him, not you.”

With references to “slaughter” in Gaza and Israel’s successful efforts (with U.S. complicity) to quell protest and expressions of sympathy among Palestinians in the West Bank, Chomsky returned often to the apartheid theme. At one point he described Gaza’s living conditions as being worse than the bantustans, the so-called homelands of apartheid South Africa. He later referred to Israel’s actions in sealed-off Gaza as a campaign of extermination.

His comments were punctuated by his familiar refrain that the United States and Israel are “rogue states.” With few exceptions, U.S. support of Israel has been unflagging, he said.

“The world works like the Mafia, and we’re the don,” Chomsky said. “You do what we say or else.” Israel is on its way to becoming a pariah state, he continued, yet like South Africa, it receives increasingly lonely U.S. support. 

Chomsky took issue with Israel’s claims of self-defense, especially in its attacks on Hamas for firing rockets into Israel. As for Israel’s pretext for its 2006 invasion of Lebanon — the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah — he asserted that “for decades, Israel has been kidnapping and killing civilians,” sometimes at sea. “That’s piracy worse than the Somalis’,” he said. And he referred to Israel’s practice of detaining Palestinian prisoners without formal charges as “holding hostages.” Chomsky added that he doubts that Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, is the culprit in the recent assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud-al-Mabhouh in Dubai. “It was carried out so unprofessionally, I could’ve carried it out,” he said to laughter.

Despite his railing against what he sees as a history of Israeli war crimes and sabotage of peace efforts, Chomsky ended on a positive note. “Pretty much everything turns on a change in U.S. policy,” he said. “Those of us inside the United States can influence policy. No one else can. If any change is going to take place in Palestine, there will have to be change here.

“It’s hard work,” he said in closing, “but it’s possible.”

Susan Seligson can be reached at sueselig@bu.edu.

73 Comments

73 Comments on Noam Chomsky Rails Against Israel, Again

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 12:18 am

    what an inspiring talk! looking forward to more from apartheid week at BU. these are exactly the types of events needed to encourage greater awareness in the BU community. the call by over 170 palestinian civil society organizations for a grassroots campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is the best way of moving forward as americans in a context where our own government refuses to enforce international law. the problem isn’t that israel is being ‘singled out,’ but that it is the only country that routinely flouts international law and nothing can be done about it because the US will veto any concrete action to bring israeli leaders to account for their war-crimes.

  • Yaakov Sullivan on 03.03.2010 at 5:02 am

    As a proud Gay Muslim humanist I support Chomski 100%

    His gentle and loving treatment of Palestinians is admirable.I would like to see him as our next president. People like him have a future in our country.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 6:32 am

    Chomsky is right. People around the world who have an ounce of understanding and reason (not the so-called “international community”) are right. Israel is wrong.

    Hamas is horrible though, don’t get me wrong. They are a bourgeoisie political party and just like some parties in Israel they use religious/ethnic/nationalist rhetoric to attract people to their parties while preventing them from being able to act autonomously! They are often vanguardist in their techniques, making people feel as if they themselves are powerless to engage in the fight themselves.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 7:45 am

    Mr. Chomsky, Good job

    Mr. Chomsky,

    Good job enticing antisemitism. Self-hating Jews are Israel’s worst enemy.

    I used to be a fan but I don’t like traitors.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 8:29 am

    Wow, this article isn’t biased in any way.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 8:31 am

    I’m disgusted; such lies…

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 8:52 am

    Video?

    I would love to see this, as I’m sure thousands of others would. Are there plans to make a video available?

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 8:53 am

    500 people?

    Why did this many turn out to hear such nonsense? Why is this man speaking at BU? I’m all for discourse, but please make better choices.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 9:08 am

    Israel: Respect Pre-1967 Land Borders

    Why does the U.S. support Israel in light of the apartheid? Could it be pressure and $$$ from powerful U.S.-Israeli lobbyists? I think so.

    http://www.amazon.com/Israel-Lobby-U-S-Foreign-Policy/dp/0374531501/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267625136&sr=1-1

    And why do you think the Arab nations hate the U.S.? Could it be because the U.S. provides Israel with arms, and in doing so it supports apartheid, oppressing Arabs? Palestinians are separated by an apartheid wall, so they can’t develop their own economy. They can’t leave to sell goods. They live in poverty.

    http://www.stopthewall.org/

    Why do you think the United Nations has adopted a number of resolutions saying that the strategic relationship with the United States encourages Israel to pursue aggressive and expansionist policies and practices? It’s not rocket science.

    Israel should give peace a chance and respect the pre-1967 land borders. If Israel stops taking away land that is not theirs, they’d have more friends.

    http://www.amazon.com/Palestine-Peace-Apartheid-Jimmy-Carter/dp/0743285034/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267625113&sr=8-1

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 9:16 am

    Another out of touch egghead

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 9:17 am

    The title of this article is clearly bias. I find it ridiculous that BU Today could post such an article with this title and attempt to even seem minutely unbias and not pro-Israel. If anyone was there at the even last night, Chomsky was against Israeli policy. There is a distinct difference. If someone gave a speech against US foreign policy in Iraq, one wouldn’t want to deem it “railing against America” unless the newspaper was bias. From an undergraduate standpoint, and as someone who was there at the event last night, this is quite dispicable.

    Sidenote: While this may not be posted with the above, I do hope that whatever BU today member reads this, will take this into account. Big let down with BU today.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 9:22 am

    Factoids

    I don’t know if it’s use was intentional or not but a factiod is a statement that appears true but is not. See
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/factoid

  • Ari Trachtenberg on 03.03.2010 at 9:28 am

    Chomsky long since discredited

    Chomsky has long since been discredited as a reliable source of
    information.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 9:32 am

    I find the fact that students actually interrupted him to be terrible…you don’t have to agree with him, but you might as well just listen from both sides of the argument, let alone have respect for a man who has accomplished more than the majority of people today!

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 9:34 am

    Very one sided article. I presume the author isn’t on Chomsky’s side…

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 9:44 am

    "Attacking Israel"

    This is the most biased reporting I think I have ever seen in BU Today. So many of the adjectives chosen by the writer are in themselves invective. The only positive thing about this article is that Chomsky’s point of view is aired, albeit in quotes and couched in an attitude that he “rails” against Israel, and delivers “factoids.” The implication is that his information is inaccurate and slanted, and that he delivers his so-called “information” with an edge of hysteria, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    The man is one of the most well-read people in the world. If the author took the time to explore what he has to say by reading some of his books, she would discover that his positions are coherent, consistent and principled. He has the big picture that is missing from most commentary.
    The subtitle, “Conjures images of Apartheid….” The choice of the word “conjures” implies that he is making it up. Does this author have any idea of what life is like in the walled-off sections of Gaza? Is she not aware that the strangling of the economic life of the Palestinians by Israel is causing a humanitarian crisis?

    I don’t condone attacking civilians by either the Palestinians or the Israelis. But these two countries are locked in mortal combat, with all the military power on the side of the Israelis, backed by the U.S. No entity has been able so far to unlock the mistrust and enmity enough to get the two countries on a track toward peace. This is one of the great tragedies of our time.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 10:15 am

    Factoids?

    From this article: (Chomsky) “offered a torrent of factoids…”

    According to Merriam-Webster, a factoid is defined as:

    1 : an invented fact believed to be true because of its appearance in print
    2 : a briefly stated and usually trivial fact

    Either the author of this piece is unaware of the word’s definition or is editorializing against Prof. Chomsky’s assertions.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 10:34 am

    It is people like noam chomsky that promote hate, and contribute even more to the Israeli conflict with the Arab world. It is a disgrace that BU allowed him to speak. I know that BU throughout its history has recieved a reputation of bringing about radical political figures such as MLK and Howard Zenn, but this crosses the line…

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 10:41 am

    I wish that in apartheid week, instead of showing soley anti-zionist films, which heightened anti-Israeli sentiment, the BU community would have educated more about both sides and opinions of the situation.

    I thought this week separated the BU community, rather than bringing them together in understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. There are reasons and feelings behind everyone’s support for each of the countries. I would have liked to see a panel, where everyone was free to talk about their feelings towards each of the situations.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 11:02 am

    Chomsky on Israel

    Is this article supposed to be unbiassed reporting? Words like “railed” and “factoids” are hardly objective.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 11:10 am

    Finally, someone dares to speak the truth. All those who took offense to his speech have been living a lie…

    Israel needs to be held accountable for its disgusting behavior with the Middle East.

    Noam Chomsky is not promoting hate… he is promoting the TRUTH. Before anyone comes to a conclusion, they should get educated on the subject.

    Thank you Noam Chomsky!

  • DH Kornberg, BU Law '03 on 03.03.2010 at 11:12 am

    Chomsky on Israel

    There is no apartheid in Israel. Words are important, as ex-Prof. Chomsky, an expert in linguistics, should know. Apartheid is a term that was coined in South Africa to describe not just “a policy of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race,” but an OFFICIAL state policy of racial segregation, enforced by law. There are no laws mandating racial segregation in Israel.
    In any case, Palestinians are not a race; Palestinians are Arabs. Arabs who live in Israel have all the legal rights afforded by the state to all its citizens. Indeed, there are Arab members of the Israeli Parliament.
    The Arabs who live in territories occupied by Israel in 1967 consider themselves Palestinians and are not citizens of Israel. Indeed, their representatives say that they do not wish to be citizens of Israel, but want their own state. Israel does not give full citizenship rights to non-citizens, any more than any other country does.
    Any racial discrimination in Israel is not sanctified by law, but exists on the same basis that it does in the USA.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 11:16 am

    This is awfully biased reporting. I am shocked at the disrespect the author shows to Professor Chomsky, whose ideas and positions may be controversial but are nevertheless carefully thought out and intelligent. It is the author, plainly, who is “railing” against Chomsky and who might do well to develop a more objective reporting style.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 11:22 am

    Not surprised

    I am not surprised that the crowd that was eating this up would laugh about an assassination joke. Chomsky and others constantly use rhetoric to lambaste Israel and completely ignore that there are two sides to the violence and that the Palestinian Authority has just as much blood on its hands, if not more. If there really ever will be a solution to this conflict it will not come about because of people like him.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 11:46 am

    True words

    The truth always hurts and upsets many poeple.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 11:53 am

    Since this is such biased reporting, I think BU Today should run another article written from the point of view of someone who is sympathetic with Chomsky’s views.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 11:57 am

    the author is learning to be the new BU Bill O’Riely !
    Such people should be fired from their jobs asap so the media won’t continue to be full of author-objectived articles!

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 11:59 am

    There are always two sides, and if this case was as cut and dry as Mr. Chomsky makes it appear to be, there would be peace by now. This is a helpful website dedicated to letting both sides of this devastating conflict to be heard: http://www.bitterlemons.org/

    Pray for peace!

  • carli on 03.03.2010 at 12:02 pm

    wow! Very biased, both, article, and Chomsky’s speech. Hatred and more hatred. How is this helpful?

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 12:11 pm

    Chomsky is a psycho anarchist

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 12:14 pm

    are u serious?

    This is BU Today’s reporting? really?
    awfully done susan, just plain biased reporting and awfully done

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 12:14 pm

    are u serious?

    This is BU Today’s reporting? really?
    awfully done susan, just plain biased reporting and awfully done

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 12:16 pm

    Finally someone speaks the truth.

    America’s policy towards Israel defies logic and it is great to see someone, considered by many to be the most important intellectual of our time speak out against Israeli apartheid. I credit BU for allowing Israeli apartheid week to take place on our campus and I look forward to attending the rest of the week’s events.

  • Johnz52 on 03.03.2010 at 1:53 pm

    Chomsky is Right

    Mr. Chomsky is correct in his accusations leveled at Israel. Israel has violated international law for decades with total impunity. They refuse to join the IAEA, sign a nuclear non-proliferation treaty and allow inspections of their nuclear facilities. Iran has done all of this and more. Israel refuses to cease the illegal construction of settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. Most recent;y Israel used forged passports so Israeli’s could enter a foreign country illegally for the purpose of carrying out an assassination. These are the acts of a rogue country. The U.S. must cut off all financial and military aid to Israel. For any change to occur for the Palestinians Israel must be isolated and made to account for thei violations of international law and numerous war crimes.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 2:00 pm

    Did he discuss the violent history and actions of Palestinian groups as well? I wasn’t there, but he seems awfully one sided about it all.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 2:07 pm

    BU talk

    It is a pleasure to here such hate filled words come from Mr Chomsky. It shows how viscious and in error a person can be while trying to impress himself and his audience .His words only give strenght to his oposition to continue to oppose such pathological HATE .

  • CAP on 03.03.2010 at 2:10 pm

    What Matters

    As a BU student, I’m very proud to see Mr. Chomsky at BU. This is such a controversial subject and anyone who dares take this subject on should be commended. Whether you agree or not, open your mind and understand why some see the situation in this ‘light’. There is something to be learned here.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 2:30 pm

    Knowledge is power

    In the United States today, an unbiased view of the Israel-Palestine conflict does not exist in a vast educational environment. Chomsky may have very strong views that are difficult for this nation to stomach, but be reminded that it is rare for someone in his position to take a stand against Israel’s policies. Few people in the United States (citizens and students) have been given even a mildly balanced knowledge of the area’s history.
    Is it biased? sure. But frankly it is refreshing to hear the other side with as strong a tone as we hear pro-Israel every other day from all news sources here in the U.S.
    The greater purpose here is to insight a passionate response, which it appears to have done, and perhaps those who so whiling support a nation of which they know little to nothing about, will take the time to gather some hard evidence. It may change their minds, it may make their opinions stronger. But in either case, a solid feeling and supported argument will hopefully ensue.

  • Johnz52 on 03.03.2010 at 2:45 pm

    Chomsky is Right

    Mr. Chomsky is right. Israel has violated international law with impunity for decades. Israel refuses to join the IAEA, sign a nuclear non-proliferation treaty and allow inspections of their nuclear facilities. Israel refuses to cease the illegal construction of settlements on occupied Palestinian territories. These are acts of a rogue country. The U.S. must stop all financial and military aid to Israel. In short if there is not be peace in the Middle East Israel must be isolated and made to account for its violations of international law and war crimes.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 3:02 pm

    Low level journalism

    I would like to express my disgust from reading this biased presentation of the Israeli issue.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 3:04 pm

    The truth can hurt but someone had to say it

    I have an Isreali friend who is Palestinian. He showed me his Isreali driver’s license and in big maroon letters it said, “PALESTINIAN” on it. Imagine living in the US and driver’s licenses read RUSSIAN, MEXICAN, ARAB, JEW, MUSLIM….
    I don’t see how Noam’s label of apartheid is that off the mark. Sometimes you don’t want to admit what you really are. Sorry Isreal, but those policies have led to a more unstable region and unsafe America.
    As far as Susan Seligson, you should know something about the subject you’re writing about, because you sound like a moron. Secondly, death by quotation marks. Ugly, structure, thinly veiled agenda, one sided, the epitome for poor journalism and writing style, but hey….this is a great way to pad your resume for FOX News. Overall, FAIL.

  • David on 03.03.2010 at 3:09 pm

    is IS apartheid

    Check the definition of apartheid in any dictionary (or better still, at the international criminal court — it becomes obvious why neither the U.S. nor Israel will agree to be bound by the laws of civilized nations). The treatment of Palestinians (who have been a nation since BEFORE Israel existed, check the birth certificate of those born before 1948) corresponds exactly to the definition of apartheid. Who cares about electing a handful of symbolic politicians when you’ve had your country stolen from you, by force? Palestinians in face systematic discrimination in where they can live (they are excluded from more than 90% of the land in Israel by racist laws), their schooling (racially segregated schools which are systematically underfunded), mobility (Jews-only roads, passes for Palestinians) and even who they can marry! A system of ethnic or religious discrimination that legally favours one group over another is… apartheid.

    Dr. Chomsky is quite well informed on the subject (far better than most U.S. people), his co-citizens would do well to listen to him instead of jeering.

  • David House on 03.03.2010 at 3:14 pm

    What a biased article.

  • Letizia on 03.03.2010 at 3:27 pm

    So sad to see BU today post such a biased article. Very shocking in a centre of education. Susan, I’m frankly appalled. Bias is essentially the cause of the issue, way to go representing it. The inability to understand or even acknowledge other people’s views makes you a terrible journalist.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 3:32 pm

    Susan isn't journalist

    I would have to agree with the comment; “attacking Israel”. Though Susan Seligson probably believes she has produced a splendid piece of objective journalism, she has instead let her own views become apparent through what is essentially a subjective account that more closely resembles the front page story of an AIPAC pamphlet.
    In her article she has made her own “attacks” on Mr. Chomsky by accusing him of as many negative terms as her thesaurus had to offer. From the comments I have read it is clear that others have picked up on her use of terms such as; “factoid” and “railing” which unsupported leave Susan with the journalistic integrity of Anne Coulter.
    She is indeed entitled to her own opinion. I was not happy to hear that a girl in favor of Israel was told to “shut up” for simply expressing her views. However, Susan has forgotten that her purpose as a reporter is to inform the people free of bias or prejudice, and in this she has unfortunately failed.
    I hope that rather than simply becoming offended and ignoring what I and others said, Susan tries to improve her writing and skills as a journalist.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 3:46 pm

    Always interesting to hear the most heated remarks come from people who don’t seem to command basic understanding of the English language; poor grammar and capitalization are the best possible way to ensure that we don’t take anything you say seriously. Come on folks- aren’t we supposed to be in college?

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 3:47 pm

    This is not reporting. This is more like something you should find about Chomsky’s talk, but in a Pro-Israeli blog or anti-IAW blog. It is reporters like this who fill newspapers with biased stories, whether they support Israel, Palestine, China, the Dalai Lama, the West, the Republicans, the Democrats, the…etc.

    Basically, you are blogging your own views on BU Today. You should not continue being a reporter. In the modern internet world, you can find your own place on blogspot.

    What is this school of communication teaching? Are they making future media correspondents mere replacements of today’s problematic ones? Aren’t they striving for anything better than emulation? Horrible. A sore thumb sticks out, and my impression of communication studies, with its fancy flair and glamour (and I’m assuming BU Today is related to School of Comm), is reinforced with dark crayon smudges.

    Not only the reporter, but the people who review the material and let it be published, should be ashamed. If something loaded with negative implications can make it out, then does it reveal the stance of the people in charge? Does it mean opinions of those people skew what we thought should have been reporting into a section of “BU Today’s feedback”? Or shall I assume that the people in charge are extremely tolerant and are simply against any resemblance of the censoring of writers’ works? Or perhaps I have misunderstood it all when I thought BU Today is meant as reporting to students of college events and rather a place for authors’ comments?

    I wish I had studied harder in my SATs. I might have gone to university where reporters actually have intellect.

  • L.L. on 03.03.2010 at 4:11 pm

    useful facts

    Those of you who are in denial of Israeli apartheid really do need to study some facts, dates, maps, and statistics before you assert your points of view. I especially recommend the maps – Palestine territory over the decades – and reports such as these:
    http://www.israeli-occupation.org/2010-02-28/john-pilger-listen-to-the-heroes-of-israel/
    also
    http://www.counterpunch.org/aloni03022010.html
    also
    http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Palestine-Remembered/Story725.html

    Remember to check the ethos of each site and source, and to look at the maps on the last link, to ensure that you are aware of whose views you are really supporting, and what that means to values such as truth, compassion, and justice; all of which are worth much more than outmoded perceptions of being ‘right’.

  • Bryan on 03.03.2010 at 4:18 pm

    Mr. Chomsky is a joke of an academic. He should restrict his speeches to linguistics, a subject about which he knows at least as much as a four-year-old, which one cannot say about his knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    There is no apartheid in Israel. There was an Arab in the Israeli Cabinet during Operation Cast Lead last winter (that Arab, by the way, refused to do his job during the operation, boycotting work instead of using his position to help “his people”). There are numerous Arab MKs (who occasionally flaunt Israeli law to travel to Syria and Lebanon and declare their support for Hamas and Hizbullah, who actively target Israeli civilians). Any idiot undergraduate who just barely passed Semantics could tell him that that is not apartheid.

    So-called “liberals” pretend that there is no double standard when judging Israel, but they are fooling no one but themselves. Take, for example, the UN Human Rights Council. It is run by a bloc of Muslim states that utters not one single criticism of gender segregation in Saudi Arabia or Egyptian murders of refugees within its borders, but rather spends half its time on Israel, a country which has acted only in self-defence.

    Noam Chomsky should be banned from our university for spreading vicious libel about the United States’ closest ally.

  • Jen on 03.03.2010 at 4:44 pm

    Awesome event

    The Chomsky lecture was informative and through provoking–no matter which side you were on. I’m so glad I attended. I realize this is a prickly subject, but it’s too bad that the event in general was met with such anger…however I do understand the premise of such feelings.

  • American Jew on 03.03.2010 at 5:11 pm

    Just a small handful of important differences...

    …between Israeli policy and South African apartheid:

    1) No part of South Africa is not the national homeland of the Brits; a very significant part of what used to be Palestine clearly is the national homeland of Israelis.

    2) Palestinians can vote in Israeli elections, and hold political office, and often do so; South African non-Whites could not even vote until 1994.

    3) Israeli policies are not explicitly race-based; South African apartheid was. The effects of policy often manifests along racial lines, which is the case in virtually every nation-state (it is much more difficult for a Filipino, for example, to become a German citizen than an American German) and in many conflicts (the Japanese and Americans fought in WWII along racial lines, but not for racial reasons). Rather, policy is much more a function of security concerns than it is of race.

    To cling to the apartheid analogy is to ignore the real causes of conflict in the Southern Levant, which are much more complex than simple racism, and to thereby forestall the day when Jews and their neighbors will live in peace.

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 5:27 pm

    Chomsky is bang on.

  • Ishmael Khaldi on 03.03.2010 at 5:29 pm

    “Do Israel’s Arab citizens suffer from disadvantage? You better believe it. Do African Americans 10 minutes from the Berkeley campus suffer from disadvantage – you better believe it, too. So should we launch a Berkeley Apartheid Week, or should we seek real ways to better our societies and make opportunity more available…Vilification and false labeling is a blind alley that is unjust and takes us nowhere…You deny Israel the fundamental right of every society to defend itself…Your criticism is willfully hypocritical….You are betraying the moderate Muslims and Jews who are working to achieve peace…To the organizers of Israel Apartheid Week I would like to say: If Israel were an apartheid state, I would not have been appointed here, nor would I have chosen to take upon myself this duty.”

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 5:43 pm

    > He showed me his Isreali driver’s license and in big maroon
    > letters it said, “PALESTINIAN” on it. Imagine living in the US and
    > driver’s licenses read RUSSIAN, MEXICAN, ARAB, JEW, MUSLIM….

    Hmm, the US passport says where a person was born. And in many arab countries, the national ID card states the religion of the person. Well, there’s plenty of discrimination out there!

  • Phil on 03.03.2010 at 5:51 pm

    Let’s keep the Chomsky criticism relevant.

    Israel being our closest ally is not a valid reason to blindly defend Israel. Being Jewish is not a reason to blindly defend Israel. That’s primitive tribalism, and it will solve nothing in the 21st century.

    Criticize the Israelis as you would criticize anyone else.

    Israel barely had a right to exist in the first place. That being said, reality is that Israel does exist, and there’s nothing we can do about it now. What’s done is done. So the people of Palestine, regardless of ethnicity, need to regard each other as human neighbors instead of ethnic enemies. They need to embrace the national borders that they find themselves within, and work towards building/preserving democracy and liberty. This is going to mean making RELIGION a less important part of their lives, because currently that is what is divides them.

  • Boston Student on 03.03.2010 at 6:37 pm

    What a waste

    Stop funding Israel with my tax money.

  • Bazooka Joe on 03.03.2010 at 7:42 pm

    Chomsky is a combination of startling ignorance and selective insensitivity = he shows not one ounce of understanding or compassion for those brutally suppressed by the Islamic world – his perverse self-hatred only allows him to decry injustice by Americans and the Western World while he is blind to the great strengths of our truly liberal democracy. He is a selfish opportunist who thrives in the society that he routinely sullies = please let him move to Gaza or Turkey or Egypt or Saudi Arabia or Jordan or any of the places he idealizes = at least some of the pro-Soviet academics actually has the cojones to pack up and move to the USSR in the old days –

  • Anonymous on 03.03.2010 at 9:16 pm

    remember when>>>

    ….Israeli blockade prevented students from leaving the occupied territories to come to the US and study and all of their scholarships expired; thus, canceling their enrollment.
    Stripping opportunity from students? Nobody at BU or any university can agree with government that is this vindictive.
    Like him or not, Noam refused to put spin on Israel’s heavy-handed, unfair, and racist policies.

  • Anonymous on 03.04.2010 at 10:07 am

    Seeing through the bias

    As a parent of a BU student, I was encouraged to read the comments in this discussion. They demonstrate that as students, you are looking at the facts of the situation, and making a judgement, rather than following the popular press’s bias in the reporting of our “special relationship” with Israel. Keep looking with your eyes wide open, and don’t be shouted down by those who would label you anti-Semitic. The truth is in the facts. The labels are a distraction.

  • Anonymous on 03.04.2010 at 12:07 pm

    disappointed in the ignorance shown here

    As others have pointed out — Chomsky has been a joke for a long time. Throwing around inflammatory words like “apartheid” is also a popular tactic.
    Far from opening people’s minds, this Israel Apartheid week simply shows ignorance. As others have listed key differences in “apartheid” I will not do so here. I am always puzzled at the venom directed toward Israel — anti-Semitism seems too weak an explanation, but I can see no other. The Palestinians have been abused from all sides (especially by their other Arab “allies”) and have often been their own worst enemies! Israel is not blameless but is not the black state that these posts would seem to indicate.

  • amlaskow on 03.04.2010 at 12:21 pm

    Words from BU Hillel and BU Students for Israel

    MIT professor, Noam Chomsky, led an impassioned lecture on “Israel ‘Apartheid’ Week” this past Tuesday night. Though Chomsky is a world-renown scholar of linguistics he neglected to conduct a factually based argument and instead manipulated facts and truths. Chomsky was disturbingly supportive of terrorism, especially when perpetrated against Israel, claiming that it is justified by “various grievances.” Terrorism exercises the deliberate use of violence against innocent civilians in order to enforce an agenda. While terrorism may successfully bring a certain group to light, such as Hamas, acts of violence against innocent individuals are never justifiable. Terrorism, as experienced by thousands of Israeli civilians, is an atrocious violation of human rights accords and is never a legitimate form of action.

    Equally disturbing is Professor Chomsky’s legitimization of the terrorist group, Hamas. Hamas is currently the ruling power in Gaza and openly supports and engages in terror. Chomsky explicitly denies Israel’s right to self-defense. This is shocking, considering Hamas’ charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews. It states: “Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious… The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realized.” Article 13 of the Hamas charter continues, “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement…There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors” It is not unreasonable for Israel to defend itself from a group who blatantly proclaims to perpetuate terror until, “the enemy [Israel] is vanquished.”

    To Chomsky, it is vital to portray Israel as violent oppressors. Chomsky does not question terrorism and genocide, as perpetuated by Hamas. Hamas denies innocent citizens of Gaza with basic necessities such as shelter, food and security. Hamas continuously and brutally murders members of the opposition, Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian National Authority. Hamas persecutes Christian Palestinians, in areas like Bethlehem, as well as subjugating their own women. Chomsky neglected to recall that during the civil war between Fatah and Hamas, Israel allowed countless members of the Palestinian Authority to seek refuge within Israel’s borders, as they were turned away from other Arab nations, such as Egypt. He neglected to include that Israeli and Palestinian doctors give aide to countless Palestinians through Save A Child’s Heart, an Israel-based humanitarian group that provides heart operations for children. Most troubling is Chomsky omission of the pressing issue that the Palestinian government has continuously rejected Israel’s call for a two-state solution.

    Noam Chomsky’s lecture demonstrated a lack of intellectual integrity. The Israeli- Palestinian conflict is incredibly sensitive with both Israeli and Palestinian civilians experiencing extreme hardships. Please examine this pressing issue from both sides. Do not allow yourself to be indoctrinated by a man who consciously overlooked fact. As long as Chomsky denies reality, his road to peace will never be successful.

  • mike d on 03.04.2010 at 1:22 pm

    slander

    Chomsky’s opponents resort as usual to their empty diatribes: noam chomsky this, noam chomsky that, “let’s throw words like ‘anti-semitism’ around”, etc.

    Case in point, the evidently mindless “Words from BU Hillel and BU Students for Israel” who seemingly make shit up as they go along.

    Chomsky never endorses terrorism. Chomsky also never denies Israel’s right to self defense. They are both flat out fabrications. The lack of integrity on display here is outstanding.

    Getting to the points, Israel DOES have a right to self defense. As is universally accepted, a country must seek peaceful methods before resorting to violent ones. In Israel’s case, the options are clear – join the overwhelming international consensus on a peaceful two state settlement. That would ensure peace for both nations. This is why resort to violence is unjustified in Chomsky’s eyes – it’s unnecessary. How this is so horribly misconstrued to say that Chomsky supports terrorism says a lot about self serving ideology.

    As to the charge that Hamas’s charter is hostile, this is undoubtedly true, but nevertheless Hamas leaders have openly expressed interest in the two state settlement, much more forwardly than Israel has, and this remains the stark difference; one seeks peace, the other does not.

    Even Islamophobe Christopher Hitchens admits that Hamas does not “[deny] innocent citizens of Gaza with basic necessities such as shelter, food and security;” rather, it is by offering said social services that garners Hamas so much public support.

    nvm, once I read this: “Most troubling is Chomsky omission of the pressing issue that the Palestinian government has continuously rejected Israel’s call for a two-state solution.” I came to the realization that the poster is simply not taking the issue seriously.

    Read Chomsky – all his work is amply sourced and there is much to learn.

  • Ridwaan on 03.04.2010 at 2:14 pm

    Chomsky

    America is further in the dark as to the truth than I could have imagined.It is an insult to the Palestinian suffering to even compare their situation to South Africa.It is unimaginably worse.I have seen it,and as a South African I know that justice and truth shall prevail over darkness and evil.The wheel turns and everything has got an end.Have faith and fear god.There is not a stronger people than the Palestinians.God bless them.

  • Anonymous on 03.04.2010 at 7:27 pm

    Collective Punishment and Land Grabs

    BU Hillel goes to great lengths to state they do not condone the violence against innocents. I believe most people on this message board agree with that sentiment. But it begs the question, where does Hillel stand on collective punishment?

    And, how is it possible for Palestinians to be the partner in land negotiations? Every day there is a blatant announcement of more land, more sites being confiscated by the Israeli government!

    How will land that is being taken now be brokered in the future? It doesn’t make sense. The weekly land grabs by the Israeli government are the most blatant and defiant statements one needs to see evidence of the resistance to fair negotiations.

  • Grimon on 03.05.2010 at 4:42 am

    There's humanity left in BU!

    Chomsky’s the best. There’s no one who can hit the nail harder on the lies and egos of Zionist crackpots than him.

    People who support Israel are people who believe that human rights are applicable only to certain groups of human beings.

  • Anonymous on 03.05.2010 at 7:45 am

    Definitive: international violations

    READ SOME FACTS YOU GUYS!!!

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/27775868/Russell-Tribunal-on-Palestine-findings

  • Anonymous on 03.06.2010 at 12:27 pm

    An Israeli's point of view

    I am an Israeli student at BU. My mother works in an Israeli organization that helps children with cancer and their families. There are many Palestinian children that come into Israel with their families and are submitted in Israeli hospitals. Those children and their families are taken care of with as much love and care as are the Jewish patients or Arab-Israeli Patients. Of course all of this happens as the Hammas is shooting missiles into Israeli cities. I have never heard about any country in the world history that has taken care of the children of their enemies. I cannot understand how you can even think about paralleling a country that allows and promotes things like this to an Apartheid.
    In Israeli schools you are taught Arabic and are encouraged to join youth groups and seminars that promote peace, while in Gaza little children’s TV cartoons encourage little children to hate from an early age. (this is only a relatively moderate eample http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Eu6_P8rNpk )
    How can Israel be an Apartheid when it educates its citizens to be democratic, liberal and open minded?

    The situation in the middle east between Israel and the Palestinians is a very charged one and having a critical view on the moral issues is important. However, this is a situation that is very hard to judge from a moral perspective – and there IS NO BLACK AND WHITE in this situation. Therefore, calling Israel an Apartheid IS being completely ignorant. Why don’t people here try to contribute or promote the groups and efforts that are made to solve these problems rather than throw empty and hateful remarks?

  • Anonymous on 03.06.2010 at 3:17 pm

    Good to see academia lining up on the side of human rights. Good work Chomsky, and perhaps we could invite Professor Finkelstein to Boston University to give a talk on Israel sometime. It would be wonderful to see that happen.

  • mike d on 03.24.2010 at 7:26 pm

    Susan Seligson should find out who she's slandering

    I’ve thoroughly investigated Chomsky and his work. I’ve delved into over a dozen of his books, dissected his arguments and references. I’ve contrasted his contentions with other authors and other popular points of view.

    Consistently, I’ve found that Chomsky, time and time again, is as impeccable a scholar in politics and international relations as he is in linguistics. If I suspect that I’ve stumped him, I’ll shoot him an email (chomsky@mit.edu) and usually within hours he’ll illustrate my error.

    Regardless of whether you agree with him or not, his ideas are simply saturated with sources, his inferences are rational and well though out, and though controversial, he absolutely cannot be dismissed as ‘a difference of opinion’.

    If you find yourself in disaccord with Chomsky, review his work, I think you’ll find yourself changing 2 of your views; one, with regards to the disaccord, and two, with regards to Chomsky.

    hit me up if you want to discuss a particular topic where you believe Chomsky is insufficient.

  • Anonymous on 03.25.2010 at 12:46 pm

    “I have never heard about any country in the world history that has taken care of the children of their enemies.”<— flawed illogical thinking.

    The terrorists who have a complete disregard for human rights are your enemy. The civilians who disagree politically and who happen to be Palestinian are not your enemy. They are civilians who love their culture, their country, and who want what is best for the Palestinian people. Terrorism and disregard for human rights is intolerable and it does not matter which nation the terrorist or human rights abuser comes from.

  • Anonymous on 03.25.2010 at 12:47 pm

    What is right is what is best for the children who must grow up in Palestine and Isreal.

  • aristo on 03.29.2010 at 12:19 am

    Chomskey

    British census of Palestine, 1908, “Jewish population = 8%.” . Events are open to interpertian. Facts are an obligation.

  • Anonymous on 04.13.2010 at 8:28 am

    Dialogue or diatribe?

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