This report appeared originally at American Power. See, “Noam Chomsky Attacks Israel’s ‘Expansion Over Security’ at UCLA Lecture on ‘Palestine in Crisis’.”
I experimented with video blogging, and this clip captures more of Chomsky’s comments on U.S. policy than his remarks on Israeli expansionism. Here he argues that from Washington’s perspective democracy and freedom in the Middle East are antithetical to American interests. The U.S. and Israel allegedly fear the Arab Spring because the revolutions threaten American hegemony in the region. Chomsky spouts a lot of disinformation, which is his trademark. He says at 40 seconds that “about 90 percent of Egyptians view the United States as the main enemy” and that “about 80 percent in the region wanted to be sure Iran had nuclear weapons”:
Actually, public opinion in Egypt is much more complicated than that, and while there’s obviously variation across individual polls and over time, there’s no support for Chomky’s claim of “80 percent” across the region supporting Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. In fact, according to a Pew Global Attitudes survey in April 2010, “a majority of respondents in Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon as well as Israel said the spread of nuclear weapons was a major threat” (the number was 41 percent in Egypt).
But these are only quick examples of the kind of propaganda one hears at a Noam Chomsky lecture. Indeed, what’s even more fascinating than hearing Chomsky’s America-bashing is observing the rock star status he’s afforded by the huge crowd of collegiate wannabe bohemians, diehard pro-terror communists, and the campus Islamist jihadis who thronged the event. I’ll post pictures later. Chomsky was swarmed by extremist acolytes upon entering the lecture hall. Upon speaking, it was as if his attacks on “American imperialism” and “corporate dominance” were like throwing bags of candy to children. I arrived at UCLA at 5:00pm, and the event was scheduled from 6:00 to 8:00pm. There was a long line out in front of the lecture hall, and while I was dressed casual with my baggy shorts and Famous Stars and Straps shirt and cap, I nevertheless hid the cover of Peter Collier and David Horowitz’s, Anti Chomsky Reader with my copy Chomsky and Ilan Pappé’s Gaza in Crisis. No need to get these thugs riled. That said, I haven’t shaved in weeks, and the beard’s getting a little scruffy, frankly, and thus I imagine that grizzled look went over well among the hordes. Honestly, some Muslim women simply do not smell good, and that’s to say nothing of the countercultural radicals who look like they just awoke from a night’s sleep out on the sidewalks of Westwood. Hey, I guess it’s a good thing that the Muslim dude I saw in building of the Samueli School of Engineering, where I stopped off to take a leak before heading back out to the parking garage, was performing his ablutions right there at the bathroom sink!
In any case, listening to Chomsky drone on lethargically, I was reminded of this passage from David Horowitz’s essay at the reader, “Noam Chomsky’s Anti-American Obsession”:
It would be easy to demonstrate how on every page of every book and in every statement that Chomsky has written the facts are twisted, the political context is distorted (and often inverted) and the historical record is systematically traduced. Every piece of evidence and every analysis is subordinated to the overweening purpose of Chomsky’s lifework, which is to justify an idée fixe — his pathological hatred of his own country.
The point was evident at the moment Chomsky commenced. The talk was on “Palestine and Israel in Crisis,” but Chomsky was emphatic in stressing the everything Israel does “is at the direction of the United States.” That claim sets the tone, of course, for Chomsky’s attacks on America’s imperial ambitions in the region. But despite the monotonous delivery, Chomsky was sharp intellectually and stayed on point in discussing the Middle East “crisis.” And note that nothing, not a single fact surrounding the cycles of violence and bloodshed in the region, is the fault of the Palestinians. He made a big point, a number of times, to stress that the U.S. and Israel face a “crisis of legitimation” in world opinion. He argued, by that token, that this was in fact an increasing “crisis of delegitimation” that’s bringing about a “tsunami” of condemnation against the United States, which Chomsky eagerly claimed to be a declining power, but which will nevertheless will remain influential of global affairs for some time to come. (Which begs the question of course of whether or not the U.S. really is the “hegemon” that’s the basis for Chomsky’s decades-long excoriation of his own country.)