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Noam Chomsky On Anti-Semitism

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    Professor Noam Chomsky On: Anti-Semitism, Zionism, and the Palestinians http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/Events/events_chomsky2.html The goal of the Oslo
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 5, 2005
      Professor Noam Chomsky On:
      "Anti-Semitism, Zionism, and the Palestinians"
      http://www.scottishpsc.org.uk/Events/events_chomsky2.html


      " ' The goal of the Oslo Process is to establish for the
      Palestinians a neo-colonial dependency which will be permanent.'
      That is, to establish a Bantustan in the Occupied Territories.
      Throughout the Oslo process, Israel and the US jointly - you can't
      do it without US authorisation or support - moved to institute a neo-
      colonial dependency that would be permanent Bantustans essentially
      as the model. So US-funded settlement programmes continued right
      through the Oslo years, peaking in the last Clinton / Barak years.
      Then settlement plans were continued still further - Sharon
      escalated it."


      MIDDLEEAST.ORG - MER - Washington - 22 March: A few years ago the
      well-known linguist and critic of American foreign policy, Professor
      Noam Chomsky, gave a talk via live video link from the Massachusetts
      Institute of Technology where he teaches to a meeting organized by
      the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Almost 2,000 people,
      in cities and towns across Scotland and beyond, joined in the
      meeting and the question and answer session that followed. Below
      is an edited transcript of that extraordinarily insightful talk.

      Today Noam Chomsky is speaking in person in Scotland at another
      meeting organized by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
      This talk is titled "The Fateful Triangle: The US, Israel & the
      Palestinians - Another World is Necessary, Another World is
      Possible". This talk being given today will soon be available at
      www.MERTV.Org.





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      Noam Chomsky On:
      "Anti-Semitism, Zionism, and the Palestinians"



      INTRODUCTION: ....It's useful to mention a moral principle that's so
      trivial it's embarrassing. The reason for doing so is it's near
      universally disregarded. It's easy (and not even gratifying) to
      criticise and condemn the crimes of others. It's a little harder to
      look in the mirror and ask what we're doing because it's usually not
      very pretty. And, if we're minimally decent we're going to try to do
      something about it. When we do, depending on where you are in the
      world, the problems can vary. In some countries it can mean prison,
      brutal torture, or getting your brains blown out. In countries like
      ours, its condemnation, the loss of job opportunities, or something
      mild by international standards. It's much harder than to just talk
      about how awful the other guy is. For example, there's a US literary
      genre developing with many books, articles and passionate
      discussions about a flaw in our character: 'We don't react properly
      to the crimes of others', and 'What's the matter with us that
      prevents us from doing this?' There are obviously much bigger
      problems - like why do we continue to participate in massive
      atrocities, repression, terror - but we don't do anything about it?
      But there's no literary genre on that. All of that shouldn't be
      necessary to say, but I've said it.




      Anti-Semitism
      Beginning with anti-Semitism. In the US when I was growing up anti-
      Semitism was a severe problem. In the 1930's depression when my
      father finally had enough money to buy a second-hand car and could
      take the family on a trip to the mountains. If we wanted to stop at
      a motel we had to check it didn't have a sign
      saying 'Restricted'. 'Restricted' meant no Jews, so not for us - of
      course no Blacks. Even when I got to Harvard 50 years ago, you could
      cut the anti-Semitism with a knife. There was almost no Jewish
      faculty. I think the first Jewish maths professor was appointed
      while I was there in the early '50s. One of the reasons MIT (where I
      now am) became a great university, is because a lot of people who
      went on to become academic stars couldn't get jobs at Harvard - so
      they came to the engineering school down the street. Just 30 years
      ago (1960s) when my wife and I had young children, we decided to
      move to a Boston suburb (we couldn't afford the rents near Cambridge
      any longer). We asked a real estate agent about one town we were
      interested in, he told us: 'Well, you wouldn't be happy there,'
      meaning they don't allow Jews. It's not like sending people to
      concentration and termination camps - but that's anti-Semitism that
      was almost completely national. But now Jews in the US are the most
      privileged and influential part of the population. You find
      occasional instances of anti-Semitism, but they are marginal.
      There's plenty of racism, but it's directed against Blacks, Latinos,
      and Arabs are targets of enormous racism. Those problems are real
      but anti-Semitism is no longer a problem, fortunately. It's raised,
      but it's raised because privileged people want to make sure they
      have total control, not just 98% control. That's why anti-Semitism
      is becoming an issue. Not because of the threat of anti-Semitism;
      they want to make sure there's no critical look at the policies the
      US (and they themselves) support in the Middle East. With regard to
      anti-Semitism, the distinguished Israeli statesman Abba Eban pointed
      out the main task of Israeli propaganda (they would call
      it 'exclamation', what's called propaganda when others do it) is to
      make it clear to the world there's no difference between anti-
      Semitism and anti-Zionism. By anti-Zionism, he meant criticisms of
      the current policies of the State of Israel. So there's no
      difference between criticism of policies of the State of Israel and
      anti-Semitism, because if he can establish 'that' then he can
      undercut all criticism by invoking the Nazis, and that will silence
      people. We should bear it in mind when there's talk in the US about
      anti-Semitism.



      US/Israel versus Palestine
      To turn to what are called the problems of Israel / Palestine,
      that's a misnomer. It should be called the problems of US / Israel
      versus Palestine. Britain is also involved in its usual manner; a
      British Foreign Officer in WW II said that 'from now on Britain is
      not going to be an independent actor in world affairs, its going to
      be junior partner to the US.' Essentially correct. (There are less
      flattering terms used now in the British press, but the picture is
      about the same.) Britain doesn't play an initiating, active role in
      the conflict, but a passive role essentially supporting the US. The
      US plays an overwhelming and decisive role. Europe can play an
      independent role, insofar as it chooses not to act and to use its
      influence - it is essentially supporting what the US does.
      I'm not going to try to run through the history of the conflict, so
      let's take the current Intifada and the military aspects which are
      revealing. A few weeks ago in the Hebrew press there was a report by
      a well known, respected military correspondent attending a meeting
      of high Israeli military officials discussing the military tactics
      in the Intifada. One of the officers asked for information about
      ordnance: 'How many bullets got fired?' The information came back
      from the IDF (the Israeli army) that "in the first few days of the
      Intifada [Sept 30th 2000 and the next few days] the IDF fired a
      million bullets." There was some surprise, it sounded high, and one
      officer said kind of bitterly (they don't necessarily like the
      orders they're given to carry out): 'That means approximately one
      bullet for every Palestinian child.' Remember what was going on
      then - some teenagers throwing stones. The same article reported
      another military source who gave a graphic illustration of how it
      works. He reported that an official from the Palestinian authority
      who had a European visitor in the first weeks of the Intifada,
      wanted to illustrate to him how it works. So he had his body guard
      shoot a single bullet. That was followed by two hours of heavy
      Israeli gun fire aiming at no particular target in response to a
      single bullet that was fired.

      In the first month of the Intifada (according to Israeli sources)
      the ratio of deaths was about 20 to 1 (75 Palestinians - 4 Israeli
      soldiers in the Occupied Territories). Another example, in the first
      days in the Intifada, Israel immediately began using what are called
      in the press 'Israeli helicopters'. They're not Israeli helicopters;
      they're US helicopters with Israeli pilots that were used to attack
      civilian complexes, killing and wounding dozens of people. That was
      sort of reported - it wasn't a secret - that's in response to stone
      throwing, at most. The US did react to that officially. October 3rd
      2000, the Clinton administration made the biggest deal in a decade
      to send new military helicopters to Israel, along with more parts
      for Apache Attack helicopters - the most advanced in the arsenal
      which had been sent in September. It's not that they didn't know
      what they were using them for, you could read that in the
      newspapers. They were using them to attack and murder civilians. But
      they needed more, because a million bullets in the first few days
      isn't enough, so we need to send them attack helicopters and
      missiles.

      When you hear of the atrocities in Gaza - July 22nd, 2002, 14
      civilians killed by a helicopter missile attack - that's thanks to
      the US government and its allies who didn't raise a finger. How did
      the American press respond to this? They did report helicopters
      attacking civilians, but the deal made by the Clinton
      administration - the biggest in a decade for military helicopters -
      went literally without report. To be precise, one opinion column in
      a small newspaper in Virginia mentioned it. That's it for the 'free'
      press... It's not that they didn't know about it - it was all over
      the Israeli press and there were queries to the Pentagon from
      European reporters asking what are the conditions on the sale of
      these helicopters. They were told there are no conditions, we don't
      second guess Israeli commanders, they use them for what they want
      and they knew what they were using it for. Two weeks later Amnesty
      International had a report condemning this - and no mention of that,
      and that continues.




      An Army with a State
      The reason is, it is considered the right thing to do for the West.
      Remember Israel is virtually a US military base, an offshoot of the
      US military system. The same reporter quoted a General as
      saying: "Israel is no longer a state with an army, it's now an army
      with a state." If you're talking about the Israeli government,
      you're talking about the military. The top political figures are
      almost always ex-Generals, chiefs of staff and so on. It's not a
      small army; according to the IDF and analysts, their air, naval,
      armour forces are larger and more advanced than those of any NATO
      power outside of the US, and as an offshoot it certainly is so we
      have an army with a State. The army's basically a branch of the
      Pentagon. That's the system and it's considered right for them to
      use these kinds of tactics - a million bullets in the first few
      days, US helicopters to murder civilians. So we send them more
      helicopters and so on, because it's a normal way for things to be,
      and it goes way back.
      If you know your history of the British Empire you can find many
      examples. To cite one, 1932, the distinguished British statesman
      Lloyd George wrote in his diary: 'We have to reserve the right to
      bomb niggers...' He was referring to the fact Britain had just
      succeeded in undermining an international disarmament conference
      which was attempting to put restrictions on the use of air power to
      attack civilians. Britain very quickly understood that use of air
      power to attack civilians was far more cost effective and murderous
      than using ground forces. In parts of the Empire where they no
      longer had the power to control by ground forces, they turned to air
      power in the Arab world, against Kurds, Afghans, Iraqis, others -
      who were not front pages. Air power was turning out to be a very
      effective way to control and suppress civilian populations, hence
      Britain naturally wanted to undermine disarmament conventions which
      would block it - a precedent its successors as global rulers also
      follow. Lloyd George was commenting on the British success in this,
      praising the Government for undermining the treaty as: "We have to
      reserve the right to bomb niggers." That's a fundamental principle
      of European civilisation, and basic principles like that have a long
      life. People usually don't say it publicly, but Lloyd George was
      correctly articulating their inner thoughts and the reason that lies
      behind them. And what I just described in the first few days of the
      Intifada is a perfect example.

      We could go on from there up till today, and trace it back to the
      earliest days of what has been from the beginning a harsh and brutal
      occupation, in which for the most part, Israel itself was immune
      from retaliation from within the territories. It carried out
      oppressive, brutal often murderous policies - mainly the usual
      imperial techniques: humiliation, degradation, making sure that what
      are called the 'Arabushi' (Hebrew slang for 'niggers') don't raise
      their heads and, if they do, they get beaten down - meanwhile taking
      the land and resources, with US aid. It's a US / Israeli operation
      which continues until today. All of that was fine. It's only when
      the Arabushi did raise their heads and the niggers started bombing
      us, that it becomes a horrifying atrocity. It is an atrocity, but
      it's not the first and it's not the largest - something we would
      easily recognise if we were able to rise to the level of looking in
      the mirror, thinking about ourselves and what we do.




      Sharon's Strategy
      Let me turn to the political. Once the Arabushi are beaten down and
      they don't raise their heads any more, then you can talk, and you
      move to the stage called 'diplomacy'.
      There was another recent article in the Hebrew press, this time our
      main newspaper, the New York Times. The article (by a former high
      official in the Foreign Office and vice president of Tel Aviv
      University) was translated into English. In it he was reputing the
      idea that General / Prime Minister Sharon doesn't have a strategy.
      He said Sharon does have a strategy, one which goes way back. In the
      1970s and '80s, high officials in the security establishment were
      paying close attention to what was going on in South Africa,
      regarding it as a model that Israel should follow. What was going on
      in South Africa was an effort to establish 'Bantustans' -
      independent black run homelands. The South Africa government in the
      depths of the Apartheid regime, was trying to gain international
      support for the idea that these black run States were viable
      independent States: the leadership was black, the police forces were
      black, the population was mostly black. To gain international
      support for them, South Africa subsidised them - they actually tried
      to develop industry, and keep them viable somehow. Well the world
      wouldn't go along, but the Israeli, and I'm sure US establishment
      was keeping a close eye on them. (South Africa was an ally of the US
      and Britain throughout this period. As late as 1988, the US
      government identified Nelson Mandela and the African National
      Congress as "one of the more notorious terrorist organisations of
      the world." The US congress did try and impose sanctions on South
      Africa, which the Reagan administration finally passed after vetoing
      it, but found ways around it so that US trade with South Africa
      actually increased in the late 1980s. Britain was playing similar
      games with Rhodesia and South Africa.) In 1993, the US and Israel
      moved to trying to impose a South African style solution - it's
      called the Oslo Peace Process. The Oslo Peace Process was described
      quite accurately by one of the leading Israeli doves, Shlomo Ben-Ami
      (Foreign Minister under Ehud Barak and chief negotiator at Camp
      David). He said: "The goal of the Oslo Process is to establish for
      the Palestinians a neo-colonial dependency which will be permanent."
      That is, to establish a Bantustan in the Occupied Territories. (He
      was from the dovish end of the spectrum but it's a pretty narrow
      spectrum, as in most countries.) Throughout the Oslo process, Israel
      and the US jointly - you can't do it without US authorisation or
      support - moved to institute a neo-colonial dependency that would be
      permanent Bantustans essentially as the model. So US-funded
      settlement programmes continued right through the Oslo years,
      peaking in the last Clinton / Barak years. And Settlement plans were
      continued still further - Sharon escalated it - there is a spectrum
      but it's the same policy.




      "Generous Offer"
      The Settlements are built with an eye for the future - take a look
      at a map. Take the map presented at Camp David. Camp David was
      described by the US and much of the West as an amazing, magnanimous,
      generous offer by Clinton and Barak which the terrible Palestinians
      turned down and so therefore are responsible for their own fate. In
      the US no maps were presented. That's crucial if you want to
      determine how magnanimous and generous the offer was. If maps
      weren't presented there's a reason: the maps would tell you exactly
      how magnanimous and generous an offer it is - and it's better for
      the public not to know things like that, particularly when you're
      praising the magnanimity and magnificence of our great leaders.
      Maps were published in Israel. If you look at the maps you'll
      discover exactly how generous the Camp David offers were, and what
      Ben-Ami meant when talking of a 'permanent neo-colonial dependency.'
      They reflect the Settlement policies of the Peres and Rabim
      Governments. Israel takes what's called Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a
      vastly expanded area with no resemblance to the pre-1967 Jerusalem
      which was effectively annexed in violation of Security Council
      orders. To the East of what's called Jerusalem, there's an Israeli
      Settlement which includes a city (Ma'al Adumim) extending virtually
      to Jericho, which was established to all effect with the purpose of
      bisecting the West Bank. (A town and settlement means
      infrastructure, roads, developments on the sides of the roads, and
      so forth). There's another development in the north going to the
      Settlement of Ariel and beyond which bisects the Northern area.
      That's three basic Cantons: one Northern around Nablus, another
      central around Ramallah, another Southern, in parts of Bethlehem.
      These three cantons are separated from a small part of East
      Jerusalem which would be under Palestinian administration -
      Jerusalem is traditionally the centre of Palestinian cultural,
      commercial, and other life in fact for the whole region. That's the
      West bank: four Cantons, separated from Gaza, which is a fifth - and
      the fate of Gaza was unclear.

      That's the 'generous settlement' - you can see why maps aren't
      presented. It should be stated however that Clinton / Barak did
      improve the situation at Camp David, as prior to it, the
      Palestinians in the West Bank were divided into over 200 separated
      areas - some a couple of square kilometers surrounded by barriers
      and road blocks, mainly for the purpose of humiliation and
      degradation. They didn't serve any military function to speak of -
      they reduced it from over 227 to only 4. That's a step forward, a
      step towards the South African solution, and notice from below,
      because the South African Bantustans (whatever you think about them)
      were reasonably viable by comparison to what was being offered the
      Palestinians. The Settlement programmes also ensured the main
      resources - the best land in the West Bank, the nice suburbs of Tel
      Aviv and Jerusalem - primarily were and would remain under effective
      Israeli control with this outcome, and the Palestinians would be
      able to have a neo-colonial dependency.




      South African Solution
      Under the Oslo agreements, the Palestinian Authority which was
      established had the same role granted by South Africa to the
      leadership of the black homelands. Their primary role in South
      Africa was to ensure the security and safety of the white
      population - to prevent that notorious terrorist organisation Nelson
      Mandela and the ANC from harming the people that count. Meanwhile,
      the people that count reserve the right to 'bomb niggers' - that's a
      constant - but the Arabs don't shoot back, for if they do they
      become 'notorious terrorists'. And the same is true in the
      Palestinian Bantustan - it was intended that the Palestinian
      Authority should be brutal, repressive and corrupt. That's exactly
      what Israel and the US wanted, that's why they liked Arafat. What
      they're criticising him for is correct, he's supposed to be brutal,
      corrupt, repressive and control the population to sustain the neo-
      colonial dependency. Prime Minister Rabin was very frank about it.
      Right after Oslo in the Hebrew press he said, 'look, if we give
      security control over to the Palestinian Authority, they'll be able
      to control the population without any concern about the high court,
      or human rights organisations, or mothers and fathers who may not
      like what their children are doing', and so on. And if Arafat robbed
      European money, or his Authority lived in villas in Gaza while the
      population is starving, that was fine as long as they did their job -
      they control the population and ensure that the neo-colonial
      dependency is established, and make sure the people that count don't
      get harmed. They can 'bomb the niggers', but they themselves don't
      get harmed. That was the policy of the Clinton administration, and
      so it continues, until they raise their heads. Then we get one
      million bullets, helicopters, two hours of firing after a pistol
      shot, the horror from the West over the fact that the wrong people
      are being attacked by atrocious actions - and they are undoubtedly
      atrocious -but the gun fire is the wrong way. That's essentially it -
      we can choose to disregard it, but technically the facts are pretty
      straight.

      Questions:
      We recently had a demonstration (estimates of 400,000 people)
      calling for no war on Iraq and freedom for Palestine. Do you think,
      to some degree, we are the Achilles heel of the Bush / Blair
      alliance, and to what extent do you think a successful peace
      movement in Britain would have on the peace movement in the US?




      Noam Chomsky:
      I'll have to be brief about each of the questions, unfortunately, as
      they deserve long answers. The American ideological leaders
      understand exactly what you're saying and therefore the
      demonstrations in England were very much played down. The Palestine
      issue was barely mentioned, if at all - and the reasons are very
      clear. They know that what you describe is the effect that happens.
      There's an interaction, there's an active peace movement in the US
      too - big demonstrations took place last weekend, there's more
      planned - and yes that's the Achilles heel. Popular courses and
      movements don't follow orders. Populations - especially in more
      democratic countries like ours - can influence and effect policies.
      That's the reason why there is the suppression of information I
      described - including the marginalisation of the protests in London -
      because of the realisation that people who have power if they
      choose to organise, act and exercise it, can reverse these processes
      both in Palestine and in the case of the war against Iraq.



      The Role of the UN
      Let's not mislead ourselves, the UN can act exactly as far as the
      great powers authorise it to act. That means primarily the US-
      Britain as a kind of a reflexive support. What will it allow them to
      do, what's the role of the UN? The countries in the UN would like to
      do more, such as the Non-Aligned Movement and the Arab position
      representing 80% of the world population is totally different from
      that of the Western powers. That's usually true but they're given
      very short shrift. So that's the role of the UN - what we allow it
      to do.



      What's in it for Blair?
      The US is the richest, most powerful country in the world - Britain
      can be the junior partner - the 'attack dog' when needed fits very
      well into British history. Then it gets whatever benefits come from
      following the big guy. Or it can try to pursue an independent
      course. That means facing costs, being honest, being a moral force
      and an effective force, but those are harder traits.



      Fox, CNN and the rest, is it outright propaganda?
      Surely not! There are people in the media who have professional
      integrity, especially reporters on the scene. As what they do gets
      filtered up through the institutions - the editorial staffs and the
      forces that operate on them for corporate and state powers - the
      picture changes. Things get filtered, shaped, organised, sometimes
      totally excluded. I gave cases of total exclusion, something pretty
      hard to achieve even in totalitarian states, hence quite remarkable
      when it happens in a free society where it's done voluntarily. The
      effect is a highly distorted version of the world. It may not be the
      one reporters see, but it's the one that works its way through to
      the system that's presented.



      Public support for attack on Iraq?
      That's hard to answer because it depends what the public thinks. The
      US declared a national emergency in the 1980s because of the great
      danger to the national security of the US posed by the government of
      Nicaragua. The President - the brave cowboy in the White House -
      told us they were only two days march from Texas. The Secretary of
      State (a moderate in the administration) informed Congress that
      there is a cancer right here in our land mass who's following the
      plans of Mein Kampf and intending to conquer the hemisphere. And if
      that wasn't bad enough, there was a mad dog Gadaffi, who was 'trying
      to expel America from the world' (as Reagan put it) by arming the
      Nicaraguans so that they could fight us on our home soil. And people
      were frightened.
      Now they're being frightened by Sadam, who's undoubtedly a monster.
      He's nowhere near as dangerous as when Daddy Bush, Colin Powell and
      the rest were coddling him, giving him aid and offering him the
      means to develop weapons of mass destruction - just as anyone would!
      At a time when he was really dangerous and after his worst
      atrocities were past - the ones Blair tells you about - Britain and
      the US continued to support him. You didn't hear about the gassing
      of the Kurds then! He's still a threat to anyone within his reach,
      though the reach fortunately is much smaller. You can tell from the
      reactions of the countries in the region. But it's easy to terrify
      people with the threat Sadam's going to come and get you. And when
      people are frightened they tend to support the use of violence.

      Over time (with educational efforts and organising) that reduces and
      people's actual understanding comes out. And it turns out the main
      concern of Americans - every poll show this - is the economy. The
      Bush administration is carrying out a major assault against the
      population here, the way the same people did under Reagan - they're
      recycled Reaganites. The first thing they did under Reagan, was
      drive the country into a deep deficit to undercut the possibility of
      social spending. The Bush administration is doing the same. It
      worries people, and the last thing the administration wants them to
      think about (with the 2004 election coming up) is how do you take
      care of your elderly mother, what's happening to your pension, why
      is the environment being destroyed, why don't I have health care,
      why don't I have a job? They want them to huddle in fear because a
      monster is going to come and get them, and therefore they'd better
      support power, the whole package. So public support looks high, but
      it's extremely thin and can disappear very quickly.




      The Hebrew press
      The Hebrew press is much more open than the English language press,
      and there's a very obvious reason: Hebrew is a secret language - you
      only read it if you're inside the tribe. Like most cultures, it's a
      tribal culture. I don't want to exaggerate, but the English
      translations on the internet are very revealing and very
      interesting.
      Influence of Israel over the US elite? In my opinion essentially
      nothing. They're very close. People like Richard Perle and others
      inside the central power group within the US, happen to be close to
      the ultra right wing in Israel. Perle was actually writing position
      papers for Benjamin Netanyahu - who's to the hawkish side of Sharon
      just a few years ago - so there's a lot of interaction. But Israel
      can have no influence on the US. If the US doesn't want them to do
      something, it tells them and they follow orders. We saw that with
      the pullout from Ramallah a couple of days ago. That same point
      extends to the power of the Jewish lobby and its backers;
      technically it's not a Jewish lobby, it's a pro-Israel lobby. A
      substantial part of the lobby happen to be Christian Fundamentalists
      who in the US are a very important force. The US is one of the most
      fundamentalist cultures in the world - the proportion of people who
      believe that the world was created 6,000 years ago, there are
      miracles and so on - is astounding. It's a fundamentalist society,
      it's not institutionalised, so it's not like Iran with institutional
      fundamentalism. But our culture is highly fundamentalist. The right
      wing fundamentalist Christian block is very strong and mixed - some
      are activists in the Solidarity movement, but overwhelmingly it's
      jingoistic and supportive of Israel. Also there's plenty of anti-
      Semitism. That's not a contradiction. If you read the Book of
      Revelations (which they take seriously), you'll see why. So you can
      be both an anti-Semitic Christian fundamentalist and a strong
      supporter of Israeli oppression and atrocities. It's not a
      contradiction and it's a real political force. So there is an Israel
      lobby and it has influence insofar as it is allied to actual US
      power. Where it runs into any conflict with US power it dissolves.
      (Another factor is they have enormous influence over the media
      because they happen to be strong within the intellectual community.)
      So yes, they're powerful, but I wouldn't exaggerate their power.

      A lot of what's going on now is aimed at keeping Bush in power. Take
      the war on Iraq: their timing is critical. The war on Iraq has to
      take place over the winter - you can't fight in the desert through
      mid-summer - so it's got to be around February. It can't take place
      in 2004 as you're in the middle of a presidential campaign. At the
      time of the presidential campaign they want to make sure they have a
      hero running for power who has a great victory behind him; and maybe
      the population won't pay attention to what's being done to them,
      they'll be praising the hero. So the war has to be over by then and
      there has to be a victory, so it has to be right now. So the tax cut
      (which is already harming the economy, and will be devastating) -
      that's timed to come in after the 2004 election. There is careful
      planning, but will it work?

      <>Is it a war for oil? Anything in that region of the world has
      something to do with oil, that's not even questionable. Iraq has the
      second largest oil reserves in the world - whoever controls it will
      be an extremely powerful force in world affairs - apart from the
      fact there are huge profits to be made. And it's always been clear
      that sooner or later the US will move to take control over this. But
      that's been true for a long time. I don't think that's to do with
      the timing, it's in the background.

      ===
      22 March 2005: Noam Chomsky speaks in Edinburgh

      "You can change the world" Chomsky tells thousands
      The Fateful Triangle: The US, Israel & the Palestinians - Another
      World is Necessary, Another World is Possible
      The world-renowned linguist and political analyst Professor Noam
      Chomsky gave a public lecture for the Scottish Palestine Solidarity
      Campaign at Edinburgh's McEwan Hall today (co-organised with the
      Edinburgh University Palestine Solidarity Society, People and
      Planet, Scotish Jews for a Just Peace and Student Action for
      Refugees). The hundreds in Edinburgh were joined through video link
      technology by meetings throughout Scotland and England as well as
      Bir Zeit and Al-Najjar Universities in occupied Palestine and venues
      in Italy and Croatia.

      In a powerful analysis of US policy throughout the Middle East,
      Chomsky ridiculed the Bush administration's claim that their actions
      are bringing a "vision of democracy" to the region. Noting that for
      decades internal pressures for reform have consistently been opposed
      by the United States, he pointed out that the recent elections in
      Iraq were forced on the occupiers in what he views as a remarkable
      success for non-violent resistence. In Lebanon too, he emphasised
      the internal debate, pointing out that the US could only possibly
      take credit for the recent demonstrations of popular opinion if it
      was responsible for the atrocity that sparked them off, the murder
      of Rafik Hariri. Although he doesn't believe that this was the case,
      he did note that the worst car bombing in Lebanese history was
      carried out by the CIA, with support from UK intelligence.

      The bulk of the talk focused on the Israel-Palestine conflict. On
      the issue of democratisation, Chomsky pointed out that Palestinian
      Authority elections had been prevented by the Israeli occupiers
      (with US approval) until the death of Yasser Arafat, in case he won.
      He views the recent truce declaration as a major victory for Israel
      and the US in that it delegitimises resistance to the occupation,
      while doing nothing to prevent, or even slow, the appropriation of
      Palestinian land and the rapidly developing infrastructure of the
      Jewish-only settlements. Chomsky contrasted the overwhelming
      military strength of the Israelis with what he called the political
      strength of the Palestinians. Citing recent opinion polls, he noted
      that a Middle East policy which reflected the views of the US public
      would be radically different, being far more pro-Palestinian.
      Rejecting suicide bombings as strengthening the US and Israeli
      extremists, he urged Palestinians to fight where they are strong, in
      the political arena.

      A similar message was directed to his western audience. Chomsky
      emphasised the hard won freedoms of the people in western countries,
      and noted that this can used in an infinite number of ways to make a
      better world. As an example he urged action against the Caterpillar
      corporation, for their role in producing the armoured bulldozers
      being used in the destruction of Palestinian communities. He urged
      protesters at the upcoming G8 summit in Scotland to resist any
      attempts by authorities to create a violent confrontation, and to
      concentrate on the issues being discussed. In response to a question
      from Glasgow University he hailed the election of Mordechai Vanunu
      as rector, praising him as the foremost symbol of opposition to the
      spread of nuclear weapons, a process that threatens our survival as
      a species.

      *********************************************************************

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