Tag Archives | Chomsky

Dogs and Cats Living Together in Peace and Harmony

A while back, I linked to an interview with Noam Chomsky. I never got around to noting that quite unusually, Chomsky and I appear to be in general agreement on at least one thing: Mearsheimer and Walt and their “Israel Lobby” work.

Here’s Chomsky:

Walt and Mearsheimer are realists—what are called realists. Realists have a doctrine that says that states are the actors in international affairs and follow something called the “national interest,” which is some abstract ideal which is independent of the interests of the corporate sector. What they see from that point of view is that the United States is supposed to be pursuing its national interest, and they know what the national interest is. The fact that Intel and Lockheed Martin and Goldman Sachs don’t agree with them is irrelevant.

From their point of view, then, somehow the United States is not pursuing what they see as its national interest in the Middle East. So there must be some extraneous factor that’s driving it away from its path of innocence and perfection.

Here’s me:

As is very clear from the paper, Mearsheimer and Walt have firmly concluded that U.S. support of Israel is CLEARLY neither strategically nor morally justified. They are sufficiently arrogant that they assume that any normal, right-thinking person who looked objectively at the evidence would agree with them. Thus, U.S. policy would naturally not be supportive of Israel. The fact that it is supportive of Israel leads the authors to a conundrum: either acknowledge that reasonable people might disagree with their conclusions (which would provide a non-conspiratorial basis U.S. support for Israel), or assume that there is a wide-ranging conspiracy involving an amorphous “Israel lobby” biasing U.S. policy in favor of Israel. Rather than suspend their arrogant view that everyone sensible agrees with them,

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Interesting Interview with Noam Chomsky

Seriously, it is. But just when you are tempted to take Chomsky a bit seriously, you get a dialogue like this, filled with evasion and absolute double-talk:

You believe that the job of the intellectual is to dissent, to speak truth to power, and to wrestle with power. But there is a troubling way in which your single-minded emphasis on opposing power can lead to your having some very strange bedfellows. It’s still startling to me to see you at a Hezbollah rally in Lebanon. Hezbollah is not an outfit dedicated to the secular model of human freedom that you support. What were you doing there?

Notice that you don’t know what I did in Lebanon. You know what the propaganda system said I did.

That’s why I was asking. Why were you there?

I was invited to Lebanon by the secular left. Those were my associations and my meetings. This last trip but also my previous trip, I spent much more time with [Druze leader] Walid Jumblatt then with—

He’s a great talker.

You’ve met him?


Within the Lebanese spectrum he’s maybe the most open. But the only thing that gets mentioned is that I was involved with Hezbollah. Either you don’t go to southern Lebanon at all, or you go in connection with Hezbollah, because they run it. Furthermore, Hezbollah is regarded, even by people like Jumblatt, as a national liberation movement. The last trip I had—happened to be—I gave a talk on May 25 at the UNESCO building, a talk run by the secular left. May 25 is a national holiday. It’s liberation day. That’s the day when Israel is thrust out of Lebanon by Hezbollah.

Remember that Hezbollah happens to be the majority party.

Hezbollah is not the majority party in Lebanon.

It’s part

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