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Author Topic: Slur of "anti-semitism" used to defend colonialism
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 11 May 2002 02:08 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
This slur of anti-semitism is used to defend repression

Ending Israel's occupation will benefit Jews and Muslims in Europe

Seumas Milne
Thursday May 9, 2002
The Guardian

Since the French revolution, the fates of the Jewish people and the left have been closely intertwined. The left's appeal to social justice and universal rights created a natural bond with a people long persecuted and excluded by the Christian European establishment.

From the time of Marx, Jews played a central role across all shades of the left. They were heavily represented among the leaders of the Russian revolution - hence Hitler's denunciation of communism as a "Judaeo-Bolshevik conspiracy" - and the left-led underground resistance to the Nazis. It was the Red Army which liberated the Auschwitz death camp. In Britain, it was the left which fought to defend the Jewish East End of London from fascists in the 1930s. In the Arab world, Jews were crucial to the building of political parties of the left. And despite the changed class balance of many Jewish communities, Jews remain disproportionately active in progressive political movements - including Palestinian solidarity groups - throughout the world.

But now the left stands accused of anti-semitism because of its opposition to Israel's military occupation and continuing dispossession of the Palestinians. As the Palestinian intifada and Israeli repression rage on, rightwing commentators and religious leaders have claimed the left is guilty of "anti-Jewish prejudice", double standards towards Israel and even apeing the anti-semitic "blood libels" of the Middle Ages with the ferocity of its charges of Israeli massacres. Britain's chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, has widened the attack to the media and equated any questioning of Israel's legitimacy with "calling into question the Jewish people's right to exist collectively". In the US, the denunciation of the left over Israel has been extended to include the whole mainstream European political system.

There is little question that there has been a growth of overt anti-semitism in Europe, especially since the collapse of European communism more than a decade ago. That trend has quickened since the start of the second intifada and Ariel Sharon's election as Israel's prime minister. In Britain, physical attacks on Jews have increased significantly - even if they remain far fewer than assaults on black, Asian and Muslim people - and now a London synagogue has been desecrated. With the far right on the march across the continent, it is hardly surprising that a community barely a couple of generations away from the most devastating genocide in human history feels beleaguered - a perception heightened by atrocities against civilians in Israel, such as Tuesday's suicide attack in Rishon Letzion.

No doubt some on the left have wrongly taken the comparative wealth and position of Britain's Jewish community as a sign that the social cancer of anti-semitism is somehow less dangerous than other forms of racism. The graveyards of Europe are a permanent reminder that it is not. The left is certainly not immune from racist currents in society; and it needs aggressively to police the line between anti-Zionism and anti-semitism, taking into account Jewish sensitivities in the way it campaigns for justice in the Middle East.

But none of that excuses the smear that left or liberal support for Palestinian rights is somehow connected to resurgent anti-Jewish racism - an absurd slur which is itself being used as an apologia for Israel's brutal war of subjugation in the occupied territories. All the evidence is that it is the far right, the traditional fount of anti-semitic poison, which has been overwhelmingly responsible for attacks on both Muslim and Jewish targets in Europe. Violence from the Islamist fringe no doubt also poses a threat, but not even in the wildest rantings of Israel's cheerleaders has it been suggested that any group on the left could have had anything to do with, say, the trashing of the Finsbury Park synagogue. Nor is it hostile media coverage that is fuelling criticism of Israel, but what is actually taking place on the ground in Bethlehem, Nablus and Ramallah.



From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
agent007
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posted 11 May 2002 09:54 AM      Profile for agent007     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
How many ways can Babblers say the same thing ... over and over and over ad nauseam?! (Close it, please.)
From: Niagara Falls ON | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 11 May 2002 11:53 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Is anyone forcing you to read this thread, or to participate in it? Is anyone stopping you from starting new threads on different topics?
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
agent007
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posted 11 May 2002 12:12 PM      Profile for agent007     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Michelle, you are quite right: no one is forcing me to read this thread.

Now, what do you supposed you will do if someone, like say, our old banned-Babbler JCL, were to start a thread critical of feminism -- under the guise of debate? Stuff that has been forced onto these boards many times before?

You'll be one of the first to take strong exception to it. And I'll be there right behind you.


From: Niagara Falls ON | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 11 May 2002 12:51 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I doubt that this topic has been exhausted, even though we have a had a thread on it before.

Either colonialism is using the epithet "anti-semitic" to discredit its opponents, or "anti-semitism" is using "colonialism" to do the same to its opponents. Or both.

Still, I found the article worth reading. Thanks to Rasmus for posting it.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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Babbler # 478

posted 11 May 2002 06:09 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Now, what do you supposed you will do if someone, like say, our old banned-Babbler JCL, were to start a thread critical of feminism -- under the guise of debate? Stuff that has been forced onto these boards many times before?

Some readers will not understand the history 007 is referring to here. Several times babblers who considered that they had specific grievances against feminism started threads on those issues in the Feminism Forum. Those threads were either moved to Activism or Politics by the moderator or were closed and their originator invited to start a new thread in those other forums, in all cases because the Feminism Forum had been started specifically for those who wanted to discuss feminism from a pro-feminist point of view. (That stipulation, by the way, has never meant that critical thought about feminism has been banned from the forum (just read a few of those threads); indeed, it has never meant that fierce opponents of feminism have been silenced there. If there are two things babble has never been short of, those would be anti-feminists and anti-Canadians -- but I digress.)

JCL happened to have issues with feminism, but he had other issues too. This old brain can't now remember how he used up his three warnings for outrageous baiting, but I think it had something to do with religion.

But back to the article rasmus linked to above. Jeff House, when you say

quote:
Either colonialism is using the epithet "anti-semitic" to discredit its opponents, or "anti-semitism" is using "colonialism" to do the same to its opponents. Or both.

I am puzzled. Is that your reading of the article, or are those the sole, stark alternatives that you see?

I think this issue has been painful for lefties of my vintage because we first learned our politics as teenagers reflecting on the gap between the stories of the Second World War that we'd heard from our parents, who went to fight in it, and the stories of what had happened in occupied Europe that were only beginning to enter the popular culture here in the 1950s. At the same time, we were awakening to news of the civil rights movement in the American South, and slowly beginning to reason by analogy from one outrage to another.

And then came the hardest task of all: turning from the U.S. headlines to look at our own lives, our own communities and traditions, no doubt less sensational work but finally the most serious assignment anyone who loves justice and freedom can have.

For people who genuinely have tried to keep their eyes on those values, the shift to living in a world of overgeneral, oversimplified, polarized, commercialized, paranoid party lines (You're with us or ... etc) has been a shock and an outrage in itself. I've run out of time and words to develop this last thought as it is affecting the left in NA and (somewhat differently, as the article above attests) in Western Europe right now -- and lately, on babble -- but perhaps someone more eloquent can carry on from here tonight.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Relyc
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posted 11 May 2002 07:27 PM      Profile for Relyc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Now, what do you supposed you will do if someone, like say, our old banned-Babbler JCL, were to start a thread critical of feminism -- under the guise of debate? Stuff that Has been forced onto these boards many times before?

007, it aint the same thing and if you think it is you're missing the point entirely. The article above isn't just bald anti-semitism, so you can't comppare it to anti-feminism. It's not even critical of 'semitism' per se. It is a criticism of the way in which people are using the charge of anti-semitism to silence critical dissent. We saw precisely the same thing occur after 9-11 when Bush went after Afganistan. All of a sudden anyone who was the least bit alarmed at this course of action, and said so, was on the side of the terrorists.

This is an even more insidious version, however, because the charge of anti-semitism packs a hell of a lot more punch than that of anti-americanism. It's the emotional equivilent of being told you're pro-rape and murder for questioning the effectiveness of the penal system.

The attempt to silence critics of Sharon and the actions of the state of Israel with this kind of emotional blackmail can't be ignored. It can't be pointed out often enough as far as I'm concerned.


From: Vancouver, BC | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 11 May 2002 09:23 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
...because the charge of anti-semitism packs a hell of a lot more punch than that of anti-americanism.

Although some, such as Marcus Gee of the Globe and Mail, have tried to add more punch to the charge of anti-Americanism by saying that it's "essentially akin" to anti-Semitism, or whatever exactly he did say (it was a couple of months back now). Rhetorical bullying in the grand old tradition, anyhow.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Relyc
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posted 11 May 2002 09:58 PM      Profile for Relyc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Right, of course, anti-americanism is 'essentially akin' to anti-semitism, which is of course 'essentially akin' to being a pro-fascist despiser of freedom, which is essentially akin to giving foot-rubs to Osama bin Laden. It's a natural progression.
From: Vancouver, BC | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
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posted 14 May 2002 02:20 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
'lance, I know you posted this already, but it seems to me it should go here. Click!

quote:

There was always, in the past, a limit to this hatred. Letters would be signed with the writer's address. Or if not, they would be so-ill-written as to be illegible. Not any more. In 26 years in the Middle East, I have never read so many vile and intimidating messages addressed to me. Many now demand my death. And last week, the Hollywood actor John Malkovich did just that, telling the Cambridge Union that he would like to shoot me.

How, I ask myself, did it come to this? Slowly but surely, the hate has turned to incitement, the incitement into death threats, the walls of propriety and legality gradually pulled down so that a reporter can be abused, his family defamed, his beating at the hands of an angry crowd greeted with laughter and insults in the pages of an American newspaper, his life cheapened and made vulnerable by an actor who--without even saying why--says he wants to kill me.

Much of this disgusting nonsense comes from men and women who say they are defending Israel, although I have to say that I have never in my life received a rude or insulting letter from Israel itself. Israelis sometimes express their criticism of my reporting--and sometimes their praise--but they have never stooped to the filth and obscenities which I now receive.



From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 14 May 2002 02:30 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Actually, Arch Stanton posted the link; I just quoted from and commented on Fisk's piece.
From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
goodgoditsnottrue
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posted 14 May 2002 10:57 PM      Profile for goodgoditsnottrue   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
How many ways can Babblers say the same thing ... over and over and over ad nauseam?! (Close it, please.)

Must I point out that this fellow, more than anyother Babbler, asks for threads to be closed. Free speech is at a premium these days, it seems. Except for this note, I am following a policy of ignoring him as he adds little information or cohesive argument to these debates. I suggest other do the same.

He will go away or find another tree to bark up.

[ May 14, 2002: Message edited by: goodgoditsnottrue ]


From: Tarana | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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posted 14 May 2002 11:22 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Or pee on.
From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Arch Stanton
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posted 15 May 2002 01:44 AM      Profile for Arch Stanton     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Clersal, you are a mind reader. I was thinking much the same thing about this correspondent's posts, albeit in a slightly different context.
From: Borrioboola-Gha | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 15 May 2002 01:46 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
...because the charge of anti-semitism packs a hell of a lot more punch than that of anti-americanism.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


That is no doubt true in North America and in Europe. I am not sure it is true worldwide, though.

Myself, I find the term "colonial", as applied to Israel to be true in some senses, but not in others. Based on what I know of the British diplomatic archives, and the corresponding US ones, Israel was not supported by the great powers solely out of colonialist motives. And I think that is true of initial Soviet support for Israel, also, though I haven't seen much documentation.

Thus, the analogy to, say, India or French Indochina is partial and incomplete.

At the same time, objection to the Jewish state is not in and of itself antisemitic, anymore than a belief that the Kurds or Chechens deserve no state is anti-Kurdish/Checheni.

Some opponents of Israel are anti-semitic though, and the carelessness with which they argue, or demand a much higher standard of democratic behaviour from Israel than from the Arab states, gives me the willies.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ian Salim
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posted 15 May 2002 01:58 PM      Profile for Ian Salim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The link between anti-Israel and anti-semitism is clear. The supposedly peace-seeking Saudis print David Duke in their supposedly "moderate" English press. Zionism is the Jewish people's movement for self-determination. If you are opposed to Zionism, you are opposed to the Jewish people. By the way, Here's Daaaavvvvviiiiiddddd:
http://www.arabnews.com/Article.asp?ID=15239

From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Trinitty
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posted 15 May 2002 02:09 PM      Profile for Trinitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
iamslowlygoingcrazy123456switchcrazygoingslowlyamI654321switch
From: Europa | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
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Babbler # 2618

posted 15 May 2002 02:18 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Thanks Jeff, I second the thought.

You wrote:

quote:
At the same time, objection to the Jewish state is not in and of itself antisemitic, anymore than a belief that the Kurds or Chechens deserve no state is anti-Kurdish/Checheni.

Some opponents of Israel are anti-semitic though, and the carelessness with which they argue, or demand a much higher standard of democratic behaviour from Israel than from the Arab states, gives me the willies.


That in a nutshell sums up the complexities of the discussion.

Like I wrote in another thread about Chomsky, it is possible to be a very strong opponent of Israel and not be a nutbar - like Chomsky who has been consistently intelligent in his criticism.

The article that opens the thread said the same thing you mentioned:

quote:
The left is certainly not immune from racist currents in society; and it needs aggressively to police the line between anti-Zionism and anti-semitism, taking into account Jewish sensitivities in the way it campaigns for justice in the Middle East.

But none of that excuses the smear that left or liberal support for Palestinian rights is somehow connected to resurgent anti-Jewish racism


The problem is perhaps that no one is doing the "policing of the line" here on Babble. It would help if the moderator laid down some very simple guidelines. That would probably clear up any problems. After all, that's in the job description of a moderator - what's cool online and what isn't.

But Jeff, you pretty much nailed down what most Babblers I would think are thinking: not all attacks on Israeli policies are from racist nutbars, some are very legitimate and honest and only intended to call on Israelis and Palestinians and others to respect higher standards of conduct, but there are occasional nutbars who get through.

The question: what should we do about any nutbars who hate Jews and what should we do about any nutbars who hate Palestinians?

[ May 15, 2002: Message edited by: Michel Sapcaru ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Whazzup?
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Babbler # 1471

posted 15 May 2002 03:05 PM      Profile for Whazzup?     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
What Jeff and Michel said.

How do you find the line? How do you police it? And anyway, why should criticism of Israel automatically amount to "anti-Zionism," which is presumably a "good" thing. "Zionism" doesn't seem to have any meaning for most people apart from a term of abuse -- why not just abandon it?

The situation reminds me a lot of a recent argument we all had with the late unlamented Archimedes2000, who brought up the old Reagan "welfare queen" canard. Of course, there is nothing essentially racist about condemning welfare fraud -- even if the individual singled out happens to be black. But, of course, everyone knows the "code." Racists have become experts at "deniability."

Thus it is with the racists who attack Israel -- many use the identical arguments used by reasonable critics of Israel. How do we separate the racists from the non-racists? How do we know who is speaking in "code" and who isn't? The sheer doggedness and single-mindedness of some of the critics -- some of whom are on this site -- certainly suggests that something more fundamental than mere "sympathy with the oppressed" is at stake.


From: Under the Rubble | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
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Babbler # 2618

posted 15 May 2002 03:42 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Hey Whazzup... (I have always wanted to say that).

Hey Whazzup, I agree, the terms "Zionism" and "anti-Zionism" have been cleansed of all meaning and have become slurs or insults depending on the viewpoint being advanced.

Ahmed Ressam, the Al Qaeda terrorist who was alleged to be considering a plan to detonate a truck bomb on one of the busiest intersections in Montreal, is "anti-Zionist". The members of the Montreal Hassidic Jewish community who would have been the targets of the bomb attack are also "anti-Zionist".

The Israeli ultraright tourism minister who was assassinated is a "Zionist". Rabbi Michael Lerner, the San Francisco-based radical Left Jewish theologian/peacenik who is the founder ot the Tikkun journal and gthe Tikkun political movement fighting against the occupation, is a "Zionist". The Israeli Communist Party - or whatever its new name is - supports the right of Israel to exist. Does this make Israeli Leninists "Zionist"?

The words mean nothing.

My rule of thumb: if someone talks to me about "the Zionists" without specifying if they mean left, right, centre, religious, cultural, secular, peacenik or humanist Zionists, my bullshit detector antennae scream: "nutbar alert, nutbar alert, nutbar alert".

If someone tells me they are "anti-Zionist", I am suspicious, it doesn't mean anything until I know more. I have an acquaintance who is anti-Zionist who attends an Orthodox synagogue every Saturday. Another - now former - asshole acquaintance of mine who described himself as a progressive anti-Zionist started boycotting certain stores in Montreal because they were owned by "the Hebes". Another friend of mine works with homeless people and is "anti-Zionist" but he hates all nationalists including Arab nationalists. Go figure...

And if someone I know denounces another person for being an "anti-Zionist" without specifying where they are coming from, my bullshit detector antennae scream: "nutbar alert, nutbar alert, nutbar alert"

Avoid the terms.

[ May 15, 2002: Message edited by: Michel Sapcaru ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Ian Salim
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Babbler # 337

posted 15 May 2002 05:02 PM      Profile for Ian Salim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Excellent commentary on the sophistry of Noam Chomsky:

http://www.jpost.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/Full&cid=1021378904898


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2618

posted 15 May 2002 05:09 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Ok, so maybe Chomsky is sometimes not so intelligent in his criticisms. I am not wedded to the guy. I was simply searching for an example of someone who can be consistent in attacking the policies and culture of Israel without being anti-Semitic.

I didn't know most of that stuff about Chomsky - I vaguely knew something about Faurisson but not all the details. I admit now, that Chomsky dude does occasionally give off a whiff of something nasty.

The point was not really about Chomsky per se. Maybe Uri Avnery, the Israeli journalist would be a better example (I'm not wedded to him either)

P.S. Did Chomsky really write that shit about Faurisson? Do you have a citation (title and page number)>? Wow, if Chomsky really wrote that, there's some heavy duty f---ed up self-hatred going on here. Can you prove any of this? Man, if it's true, my Chomsky books are headed straight for the garbage can. Wow. Whiff of sulphur. If it's true, a big thanks for opening my eyes to this ultra-racist crapola. If it's not true, you better be prepared to say sorry

[ May 15, 2002: Message edited by: Michel Sapcaru ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Ian Salim
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Babbler # 337

posted 15 May 2002 05:49 PM      Profile for Ian Salim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here's the book reference:
Faurisson, Robert, 1985, "Revisionism on Trial: Developments in France, 1979-1983," Journal of Historical Review, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 133-182. This credal affirmation, comprising sixty words in its original French, is frequently cited and recited verbatim by Faurisson and his followers. For the French version and its ritualistic use, see the pamphlet by Faurisson's chief follower Pierre Guillaume, 1986, Droit et Histoire, Paris, La Vieille Taupe, pp. 18-19, 92.


A Holocaust denial web site article praising Chomsky:

http://www.oswaldmosley.com/people/chomsky.html


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2618

posted 15 May 2002 05:54 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Hmmm. Don't know how credible that is... A Holocaust denial web site? Can't you do better than that?
From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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posted 15 May 2002 05:56 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I do police these boards, Michel. 007 tries to police them, by regularly commanding me to close threads he doesn't like, but that's not actually how it works.

The goal is to keep the tone respectful. The entire policy is also on the site.

If you have any questions or concerns, I'm audra@rabble.ca


From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ian Salim
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posted 15 May 2002 06:02 PM      Profile for Ian Salim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
More on Chomsky. Deborah Lipstadt was the person who sued David Irving in the UK.

http://www.adl.org/braun/dim_14_1_deniers.html


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2618

posted 15 May 2002 06:12 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Thanks man, I'll read that and advise.

One of my uncle's closest friends was one of the expert defense witnesses at the Irving-Lipstadt libel trial in 2000.

If Lipstadt says Chomssky is hiding something bad, I would definitely have to take that into consideration.

P.S. By the way, it was not Lipstadt who sued Irving. It was Irving who sued Lipstadt. Lipstadt won and the judge ruled that Irving was a Nazi ideologue, a Holocaust denier and a historian who had deliberately falsified documents. An amazing court case. Irving - the Nazi sympathizer, it is now legally permissible to call him that - represented himself so my uncle's friend had to spend 4-5 long days in the witness box being interrogated by the world's most notorious Holocaust denier.

[ May 15, 2002: Message edited by: Michel Sapcaru ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
agent007
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Babbler # 1189

posted 15 May 2002 06:27 PM      Profile for agent007     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
007 tries to police them, by regularly commanding me to close threads he doesn't like, but that's not actually how it works.

(Point of personal privilege: THAT IS NOT TRUE! On May 1st, I sent this private message to audra -- the first and only one -- about anti-semitism on Babble, to which she never responded. The following is the full text of what I said:

quote:
On this thread:
http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=2&t=001348
Both C.Giant and Riffraff are deliberately presenting material which is FALSE with the intent to turn this topic into another anti-semitic thread.

This is clearly against Babble policy and I ask to put a stop to this.



That was my opinion which I expressed to the moderator in a private message. It was a one-time request, NOT a command.

Why audra is choosing to smear me is beyond me.)


From: Niagara Falls ON | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 15 May 2002 06:53 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Again this nonsense of Chomsky support anti-semitics arises. The guy is a jew. He is anti-himself. Get real.

Chomsky is a rather principled debater. He believes strongly in a person's right to speak freely and even speak freely while being dead wrong. Do any of us oppose that?

He did, in fact, support a French neo-nazi's right to speak openly his beliefs. That is not an endorsement of his ideas nor his assertions. If I argue, you Michel, have a right to speak freely, does that entail I have now endorsed all your opinions? If you agree I have a right to speak freely does that mean you endorse and agree with all my opinions?

This is nothing short of a smear campaign against a man who believes in the right of free speech and has the audacity to support that right even for those whose ideas are considered despicable. Most of us would say he is a man of principle. But unscrupulous right-wingers (and please note this is not everyone on the right) use this to portray a jew as an anti-semite. To attempt to silence him. After him, who is next? I bet not the real anti-semites.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
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Babbler # 2618

posted 15 May 2002 06:56 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Hey I have serious doubts Chomsky would do it but if someone like Dershowitz or Lipstadt present evidence, I have to look into it.

I don't know. No clue, I haven't read any of the stuff yet.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 15 May 2002 06:57 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
agent, if you were on IRC and began that self-pitying tirade I would tell you to shut the fuck up.

But since this is babble, I'm going to just tell you to stow it, and take it up in private with audra.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 15 May 2002 07:09 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Michel, read for yourself, investigate and make up your own mind. But for the record, here is Chomsky's reply to the question:

quote:
The Faurisson affair
Date unavailable (circa 1989-1991)
Text of personal letter
Noam Chomsky queried by Lawrence K. Kolodney

Kolodney's query:

Recently, I have come across allegations concerning actions you took with respect to the Faurisson affair. Although I thought the issue was essentially settled, a new pamphlet, entitled "The Hidden Alliances of Noam Chomsky" by one Werner Cohn has been making its way around. It claims to rebut your most recent public statement in "The Nation" on the subject, and contains some disturbing allegations.
1. Is it true that you stated that you saw "no anti-semitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the holocaust"? Did you mean this in a purely formal sense? In any other way, it seems strange to me that you wouldn't at least suspect the motives of someone who does seriously attempt to deny that event.

2. Is it true that you published the French version of "The Political Economy of Human Rights" with Faurisson's publisher? Doesn't this go beyond the scope of merely defending free speech to subsidizing anti-semitic speech?

3. What's the story behind La Vielle Taupe [the publisher of Faurisson]? The pamphlet I mentioned paints it as a kind of Larouchite organization, with roots in the stalinist [sic] left but now with an idiosyncratic right wing ideology.


Chomsky's reply:
Dear Mr. Kolodney,
The issue of the Faurisson affair is very far from settled, in two respects. First, the actual issue has not yet even been addressed. Recall the facts. A professor of French literature was suspended from teaching on grounds that he could not be protected from violence, after privately printing pamphlets questioning the existence of gas chambers. He was then brought to trial for "falsification of History," and later condemned for this crime, the first time that a modern Western state openly affirmed the Stalinist-Nazi doctrine that the state will determine historical truth and punish deviation from it. Later he was beaten practically to death by Jewish terrorists. As of now, the European and other intellectuals have not expressed any opposition to these scandals; rather, they have sought to disguise their profound commitment to Stalinist-Nazi doctrine by following the same models, trying to divert attention with a flood of outrageous lies. So, the issue has not been settled, or even addressed.

Second, as to the minor matter of my role, that has also not been addressed, though it has been the subject of a flood of lies and deceit on the part of those who want to disguise their own commitments, and on the part of groups like Americans for Safe Israel (ASI), which have their own agendas, namely, to defame and discredit anyone who does not meet their standards of support for Israeli militancy. ASI, which published the ludicrous pamphlet to which you refer, has a long record of attacking Americans and Israelis who depart from their right-wing extremism, with scandalous lies and fabrications, a record that is well-known. ASI was also the sponsor of Rabbi Kahane, the advocate of the Nuremberg laws who was denounced as an outright Nazi by Israeli supreme court justices and Israeli scholars, and barred from the Israeli political system as an outspoken Nazi, which indeed he was. People who choose to pay attention to pamphlets published by pro-Nazi organizations of course have a right to do so. I believe in freedom of speech. But it is hard to take them seriously.

The pamphlet in question is beneath discussion. In fact, I have discussed it once, in the Canadian Jewish journal Outlook, where Cohn presented what he took to be his strongest arguments -- including one that you cite. Each argument was based on total fabrication and absurdity, as easily demonstrated. He never dared to respond. Those, recall, were his own choice of his strongest arguments.

Turning to your questions, I'll begin with the third. For details about Vieille Taupe, I suggest that you contact them. The publisher still exists, to my knowledge. I don't know much about them, but enough to know that what you quote from Cohn is idiotic. The roots of the organization are not "stalinist left" but libertarian left. It was associated with the French (more or less anarchosyndicalist) group of Alfred Rosmer (Griot) and others, whose journal was Revolution proletarienne. This was one of the very few groups in France that was not only anti-Stalinist, but anti-Leninist, and anti-Marxist by conventional standards (little being known among intellectuals beyond the Leninist variant). As to their recent history, I know less, but I have never seen the slightest indication that they are Larouchite. Again, for information, I suggest that you contact them. Surely no one can take Cohn and ASI seriously, given their record of abusive defamation of mild liberals, lies, jingoist extremism, and advocacy of Nazi doctrine.

Your second question is a factual one: did I, as Cohn asserts, choose to publish the French edition of PEHR with VT, as a gesture of solidarity? Note that even if that were true, he could not possibly know it, which is sufficient to prove to any rational person that he is a liar. Out of curiosity, I contacted the publisher -- who, of course, arranges all translations; I can't even keep track of the myriad translations of books of mine, let alone arrange or plan them. I discovered that they indeed had a contract, with Albin Michel, a mainstream French publisher. But they had no record of whether the book had ever appeared; nor do I, or Herman. They had had no communications with Vielle Taupe.

Now your first question. The "statement" to which you refer is a distortion of something that I wrote in a personal letter 11 years ago, when I was asked whether the fact that a person denies the existence of gas chambers does not prove that he is an anti-Semite. I wrote back what every sane person knows: no, of course it does not. A person might believe that Hitler exterminated 6 million Jews in some other way without being an anti-Semite. Since the point is trivial and disputed by no one, I do not know why we are discussing it.

In that context, I made a further point: even denial of the Holocaust would not prove that a person is an anti-Semite. I presume that that point too is not subject to contention. Thus if a person ignorant of modern history were told of the Holocaust and refused to believe that humans are capable of such monstrous acts, we would not conclude that he is an anti-Semite. That suffices to establish the point at issue.

The point is considerably more general. Denial of monstrous atrocities, whatever their scale, does not in itself suffice to prove that those who deny them are racists vis-a-vis the victims. I am sure you agree with this point, which everyone constantly accepts. Thus, in the journal of the American Jewish Congress, a representative of ASI writes that stories about Hitler's anti-gypsy genocide are an "exploded fiction." In fact, as one can learn from the scholarly literature (also Wiesenthal, Vidal-Naquet, etc.), Hitler's treatment of the gypsies was on a par with his slaughter of Jews. But we do not conclude from these facts alone that the AJC and ASI are anti-gypsy racists. Similarly, numerous scholars deny that the Armenian genocide took place, and some people, like Elie Wiesel, make extraordinary efforts to prevent any commemoration or even discussion of it. Until the last few years, despite overwhelming evidence before their eyes, scholars denied the slaughter of some 10 million native Americans in North America and perhaps 100 million on the [South American] continent. Recent studies of US opinion show that the median estimate of Vietnamese casualties [resulting from the Vietnam War] is 100,000, about 1/20 of the official figure and probably 1\30 or 1\40 of the actual figure. The reason is that that is the fare they have been fed by the propaganda apparatus (media, journals of opinion, intellectuals, etc., "scholarship," etc.) for 20 years. We (at least I) do not conclude from that fact alone that virtually the whole country consists of anti-Vietnamese racists. I leave it to you to draw the obvious analogies.

In these and numerous other cases, one needs more evidence before concluding that the individuals are racists. Thus in the case of Wiesel, it is quite likely that he is merely following the instructions of the Israeli government, which doesn't want Turkey embarrassed. In short, denial of even the most horrendous slaughter does not in itself establish the charge of racism, as everyone agrees. Since that is obvious and undeniable, one naturally questions the motives of those who deny the truism selectively, and produce charges such as those you relay.

You ask whether one wouldn't at least suspect the motives of someone who denies genocide (the Holocaust, in particular). Of course. Thus, I do suspect the motives of Wiesel, Bernard Lewis, the anthropological profession, the American Jewish Congress and ASI, Faurisson, Western intellectuals who systematically and almost universally downplay the atrocities of their own states, and people who deny genocide and atrocities generally. But I do not automatically conclude that they are racists; nor do you. Rather, we ask what leads them to these horrendous conclusions. There are many different answers, as we all agree. Since the points are again obvious, a rational person will proceed also to question the motives of those who pretend to deny them, when it suits their particular political purposes. In this respect too the Faurisson affair is far from "settled," as you put it; in fact, the issues have yet to be addressed. In fact, they will never be addressed, because they reveal too much about Western intellectual culture.

Let me repeat. You open by saying that you thought the Faurisson issue is settled. You are incorrect. It has yet even to be addressed, either the major issue that Western intellectuals are desperate to suppress for the obvious reason that it sheds too much light on their actual commitments; or the marginal issue of my own defense of traditional libertarian values that are utterly scorned in Europe, if they are even understood, which I doubt.

Sincerely yours,

Noam Chomsky

Src: http://monkeyfist.com:8080/ChomskyArchive/essays/kolodney_html



From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
writer
editor emeritus
Babbler # 2513

posted 15 May 2002 07:11 PM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
007, you've been in threads saying "close this thread." I've read it right here on babble, on at least a couple of threads. I wouldn't be surprised if Audra has read it. And, for yet another time, I'll mention that sending messages to Audra (guess what, you probably weren't the only one that day!!!) doesn't oblige her to respond. She rarely responds to me personally when I e-mail her stuff about the boards. SHE WORKS PART-TIME. If she sent personal replies to each personal e-mail she gets, she wouldn't have time to look at the boards. Is this so hard to understand? Give it a break.

[ May 15, 2002: Message edited by: writer ]


From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
agent007
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1189

posted 15 May 2002 11:01 PM      Profile for agent007     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Anti-semitism, homophobia, misogyny, sexism ... take your pick: it spells "Bigotry."
From: Niagara Falls ON | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
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Babbler # 2618

posted 15 May 2002 11:09 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Wow, Ian Salim, I have been doing research on what Chomseky wrote about Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson.

I read your link and what Wingnut copied on this thread. I did some research and found lots of stuff on the controversy published in French by fairly eminent commentators and historians and academics in France, in particular from the "progressive" side of the fence. It looks really, really, really bad for Chomsky.

I haven't finished my research, but let's say: it is starting to smell. Ni, it is starting to stink. It looks like Chomsky went further than just defending "freedom of speech", there is lots of evidence in French that Chomsky lied about the Faurisson affair and that he went a lot further than what he states in Wingnut's interview.

I haven't yet thrown out my Chomsky books, but I have moved them from my personal library and they are now close to the garbage can area, just in case my research shows he did what you claim he did.

I haven't finished yet, as I said, but the evidence is very very bad for him.

So my point earlier wasn't about Chomsky per se. I was simply trying to find an example of someone who can consistently criticize Israel without endorsing racist hatred and anti-Semitism.

About Chomsky, my mind is now no longer made up. Certain left-wing critics of Chomsky I am in the process of reading seem to have proof that our boy actually took positions that at minimum deny that Holocaust deniers are anti-Semitic, and that may go further and actually defend the legitimacy of Holocaust denial.

I admit I am as shocked as you are probably. When I am done, I will post my findings.

Once again, Ian Salim, thanks for pointing this out. I had no idea. I am pretty shaken up by what I am reading so I am going to take my time digesting it. Don't expect a post tonight.

[ May 15, 2002: Message edited by: Michel Sapcaru ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 15 May 2002 11:15 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The denial of the Holocaust is not necessarily an indication of rabid anti-semitism. It can also be an indication of profound pure stupidity.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
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Babbler # 2618

posted 15 May 2002 11:24 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Yes and some of the French critics of Chomsky I am reading are also accusing him of profound political stupidity and a blind disregard for a) the historical truth and b) the political consequences in Le Pen's Europe of defending fascist people like Faurisson...

But as I said, I have only started digesting this material, and there is a lot.

I hope it's not true. I hope there is a valid explanation for what Chomsky seems to have done and seems to have been hiding from the North American public all these years.

If the allegations are true, it could be one of those cases of the extreme left and the extreme right meeting because of their mutual hatred of capitalist bourgeois democracy.

I don't know yet. I am still a bit woozy from the revelations about positions Chomsky doesn't seem to want us to know about. It's a different picture of the man that is emerging, one I never knew about and if it's true, it is very ugly. The whole thing is very confusing to me right now - but it doesn't look good for Noam.

[ May 15, 2002: Message edited by: Michel Sapcaru ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
peacepiper
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Babbler # 2489

posted 16 May 2002 12:44 AM      Profile for peacepiper     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hi,

The problem here is the semantics of anti-semitics. As a linguist, Chomsky was only displaying that ignorance of the holocaust doesn't make one anti-semitic. <---period

Ex. Mr. Magoo doesn't believe the IDF committed war crimes against the Palestinians. Is Mr. Magoo anti-Arab or has he just been watching too much CNN?

take care

Edit--oops, i just said what Doc said.

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: peacepiper ]


From: fd | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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Babbler # 370

posted 16 May 2002 12:48 AM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Makes sense.
From: Canton Marchand, Québec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 16 May 2002 01:29 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Something does stink here. And it is beginning to stink a lot like this:

http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=2&t=001460


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
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posted 16 May 2002 04:53 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Both C.Giant and Riffraff are deliberately presenting material which is FALSE with the intent to turn this topic into another anti-semitic thread.

Just curious, agent007. What do you think are some of the other "anti-semitic threads"?


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Whazzup?
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Babbler # 1471

posted 16 May 2002 08:31 AM      Profile for Whazzup?     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Something does stink here. And it is beginning to stink a lot like this:

Uh-oh, guys. Our cover's blown. Wingnut's uncovered our conspiracy to smear Chomsky on leftist message boards. Pursuant to article 3(8) of the charter of Undercover Chomsky-Haters, we must all forthwith change our usernames and IP addresses. Message over.


From: Under the Rubble | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
goodgoditsnottrue
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posted 16 May 2002 08:45 AM      Profile for goodgoditsnottrue   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
But as I said, I have only started digesting this material, and there is a lot.

Hey Michel, it is nice that you are reading all of this material about Chomsky. It is also nice to get a blow by blow about where your Chomsky library sits in relationship to your garbage can. It is also nice to get a blow by blow about your feelings about Chomsky and your feeling about his relative worth or value, based on material that is unavailable to the rest of us nobodies.

But if you don't want your opinion to appear as unsubstantiated slander, you better cough up the goods with first hand accounts, interviews etc.

I'd like to read them.


From: Tarana | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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Babbler # 1292

posted 16 May 2002 09:18 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Hey Michel, it is nice that you are reading all of this material about Chomsky.

Yes, near the bin to be used for the official book burning.

quote:
Uh-oh, guys. Our cover's blown. Wingnut's uncovered our conspiracy to smear Chomsky on leftist message boards. Pursuant to article 3(8) of the charter of Undercover Chomsky-Haters, we must all forthwith change our usernames and IP addresses. Message over.



Oh, a personal attack. What a surprise.
Unable to deal with the criticism of an esteemed professor and critic, they instead engage in a campaign of character assassination. Cowardly. But typical of those who currently govern and lobby on behalf of Israel.

From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2618

posted 16 May 2002 09:34 AM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Wow, do you guys do this on purpose?

People have offered some links about Chomsky. I said I would read them, d'uh. The controversy is about something in France, a controversy that happened in French so maybe I should read a bit more in Frewnch, d'uh. The books and essays about the controversy in French are all in the 40 or 50-page range and some of the books are more than a hundred pages. I don't read that fast. It takes time to digest. D'uh

Where is the character assassination? The evidence so far from writers like Vidal-Naquet and other French writers does not look so good for Chomsky. D'uh. I haven't finished reading the material, after Vidal-Naquet there are other writers, some of whom I am sure take Chomsky's side. D'uh.

Wow, nutbar alert, nutbar alert, nutbar alert.

If Chomsky defends Holocaust denial, he is a fink. D'uh. If Chomsky doesn't defend Holocaust denial, Iam Salim should admit he is wrong and say he is sorry. D'uh.

This whole incident leads me to a general comment. I had mentioned that I started out quite pro-Palestinian and now have lots more doubts and see the good and the bad of all sides and have come to appreciate the pressures and threats the Israelis live under as well as the pressures and threats the Palestinians live under.

You know what a big part of the evolution of my thinking was due to? Whenever I would meet pro-Israeli people and discuss the situation, I would ask questions, raise objections and express my doubts about the Israelis' actions and motives, and the pro-Israeli people would disagree but they would try to answer me and say I was raising legitimate questions. When I would meet pro-Palestinian people like Wingnut and Goodgoditsnottrue, the pattern always seemed to be: if I have questions, raise objections or express any doubts - and I mean any doubts - about the Palestinians, I get screamed at. To me, that's a dead giveaway: nutbar alert, nutbar alert, nutbar alert.

It's a dead giveaway: one side has a tradition of democratic dissent and internal debate that even wars and threats have not been able to destroy. I raise objections and they don't scream at me. The ultraleft does not have the same tradition - I raise questions and I get screamed at.

Nutbar alert, nutbar alert, nutbar alert. I am just ignoring you two from now on. There are only 3 or 4,000 people on Babble so I am not going to waste my time with two marginal and intolerant nutbars, one of whom natters on endlessly about how Israelis are "ideological cousins" of Nazis.

Man, life is too short to deal with all that bad negativity. Sheee-it

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: Michel Sapcaru ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 16 May 2002 10:38 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yeah, right.

So, you are an open minded person. But one guy, presuambly unknown to you, claims Chomsky is an anti-semite. And then, within a few hours -- hardly enough time to digest all those lengthy French tomes, your opinion of Chomsky is swayed sufficiently enough to separate his books from your library and bring into question his reputation. Right. The strength of your convictions is astounding.

Apparently within minutes, on the basis of slanderous accustaions, you can determine a man might be anti-semetic enough to call into question all of his works and to purge your library of his writings. But when challenged, you suddenly need lots of time to digest the various links and writings related to the topic. Of course you do. Judgement needs mere moments where appeal requires years.

Perhaps when your research is complete, you can post for us nutbars a full quote, within context, either from the mouth or writings of Mr. Chomsky, which betrays his anti-semitism. Funny, that with your full library of his writings his anti-semitism has eluded you so far.

But, of course, you are not reading this. Having challenged your thinking as opposed to feeding your prejudice, apparently I am a nutbar and not worthy of your attention.

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: WingNut ]


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 16 May 2002 11:02 AM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
It's a dead giveaway: one side has a tradition of democratic dissent and internal debate that even wars and threats have not been able to destroy. I raise objections and they don't scream at me. The ultraleft does not have the same tradition - I raise questions and I get screamed at


Michel, I often think your posts are excellent. The one on Chomsky, though, just presents conclusions, or at least interim conclusions, without any supporting material.

If I were to write "I have checked into Michel's
background, and especially in the Norwegian language papers I read, it looks REALLY bad for Michel. I am putting his posts out near the garbage can..." you might correctly conclude that
I was engaging in character assassination, since I had presented no evidence.

I remember the Faurisson affair well. Chomsky's first point, that a person who refuses to believe in the Holocaust is not NECESSARILY anti-semitic is formally true, but false in any historically relevant sense. Chomsky is wrong politically, I think, but not logically.

A martian arriving today might believe that humans could never be so cruel to other humans.
Mr. Martian might know nothing of Jews, and not be antisemitic. Logical, but not so relevant to political debate today.

When the Faurisson affair occurred, it was the second of Chomsky's points which was the centre of debate. Chomsky denied that the state may establish historical truth, and criminalize those who believe the truth to be something different from state doctrine. He calls this a Stalinist-Nazi doctrine. In the abstract, I think you would share his view that state-truth is a concept which presents some dangers.

As an anarchist, and someone highly skeptical of state propaganda and received opinion, Chomsky has reason to believe that he, or others with his beliefs, could be jailed or fined for contesting, say, the official history of the Vietnam War.

In that sense, he fears state power to establish truth, as an Orwellian power. He wrote his famous
preface to Faurisson only after the state had committed itself to punishing Faurisson.

Most people I have spoken to have concerns about the state determining the truth, but make an exception for holocaust denial. That is the legal position in Canada, also. Ernst Zundel was convicted for "spreading false news", ie. that the Holocaust never occurred. In Canada, though, there is an important difference. To be convicted of "spreading false news" the accused must KNOW that what he is saying is false. While the doctrine of wilful blindness modifies that, the general point stands.

Chomsky refused to make the exception for holocaust denial that many of us make. He thought that any state-established truth is dangerous. And that incarceration for believing the opposite is a threat to liberty.

I am willing to allow the state to criminalize holocaust denial, because I think the threat of Nazism is sufficient to permit such a measure, indeed, to make it necessary. Chomsky doesn't.
So, while I disagree with him on the point where an exception to the general rule must be made, that disagreement has to do with a question. And the question is this: Do the dangers of Nazism in the future justify the dangers of establishing "state-determined truth" as a precedent? To me, this is a question on which reasonable people may disagree, without being taken out to the garbage can.


To end with a reference to the quote at the top of the page: please note that it is Chomsky who is insisting on open debate of EVERY proposition.
No doubt there are groups on the left which do not adhere to that tradition, but Chomsky is not
doing that in this case.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2618

posted 16 May 2002 11:30 AM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Hey Jeff House, good post.

I don't have any conclusions about Chomsky - there's lots of contradictory material in various publications like Revue Esprit, Le Monde Diplomatique, Revue Le Genre humain (Éditions du Seuil) and a bunch of other scholarly journals from the early 1980s. I had some vague notion about the Faurisson affair but I had no clue about the particular details.

Some of the stuff looks bad for Chomsky, in particular Pierre Vidal-Naquet's "Appendice II" to the essay "Un Eichmann de papier" in "Les Juifs, la mémoire et le présent", 1981. Vidal-Naquet is a pretty good French academic historian, a critic of Israel and a resistance member. Some articles I haven't gotten to yet seem from their summaries to argue that Chomsky did nothing that disturbing.

Where is the character assassination? You look at the pro, you look at the con, you make up your mind based on contradictory evidence and the best arguments.

None of his French critics has argued Chomsky is anti-Semitic - don't know where that comes from?

At least you Jeff House seem to understand the process of intellectual inquiry. Babble is one of the first places I have been where trying to figure things out by looking at evidence earns you the right to get yelled at by others.

And, yeah, if it looks like the evidence proves Chomsky thinks Holocaust denial is a legitimate philosophy, I won't keep his books. We each have the right to build our personal libraries and to occasionally prune them of material we no longer want or need. That's a pretty straightforward and unproblematic thing to say, it would seem to me.

I am not going to keep stuff written by a supporter of Holocaust denial in my house - if that is indeed what Chomsky did.

Wow. Babble can be so weird.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
goodgoditsnottrue
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Babbler # 2401

posted 16 May 2002 11:41 AM      Profile for goodgoditsnottrue   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
No offence Michel, but here is the thing, all of this has to do with the ethical use of evidence. Before you make a comment, such as that Chomsky 'may' be an anti-semite you should have the evidence worked out.

That is how really nasty rumours start. That is all I am saying.

I don't go around saying I think 'maybe' Sharon is a Nazi, I say 'no, Sharon is not a 'Nazi' but some of his thinking on racial issues has similarities.' I think this because I have this evidence and it is based on these logical constructions...

Anti-semitism is a very fucking serious allegation, one that many people here are sensitve too, because we get called anti-semitic for far less than Holocaust denial.

Just hang around for a while you will see.

The charge is often not meant to broaden debate but close it down. In the case of Chomsky it works like this:

Chomsky is an anti-semite, therefore I can disregard everything he says about East Timor. You can see this here, wherein Herman Mudget, attacks Chomsky's evidence on Cambodia by calling him a Holocaust denier. I mean... what's up with that?

In fact they are totally unrelated, you yourself are already shuffling his books off to the trash-bin.

The rules of evidence are such that although 'Anti-semitism' might impunge the credibility of a witness on some issues, it will not on others, although we might want to be more careful about how we use the evidence based on what we know about the witness. It does not mean that we reject all of it entirely.

Let me put it like this: if Adolph Eiechman tells me that of the 43,000 Jews deported from Greece in 1943 only 243 survived (these are close to the statistics, I don't have the books in front of me, sorry), I must take his evidence as credible even if I have questions about its veracity because he is a Nazi.

But I think you will see, most people who accuse Chomsky of Anti-semetism, are actually trying to discredit Chomsky in general, not in specific. eg "We can ignore that because this guy is a 'whatever.'"

Do we throw out 'all' of Hanna Arendt because she used to fuck a famous philospher who actually was a Nazi (Heidegger)? Or ban Nietzche from univeristies because some of his wackier ideas ended up floating around the NSDAP intelligensia?

The fact is that as far as I know Chomsky has never denied the Holocaust but in fact used it for comparison often in his work.

I am saying this even though I am not a BIG fan.


From: Tarana | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
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posted 16 May 2002 11:55 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Jeff, perhaps there is some narrow technical sense of "colonialism" I am not aware of but I was not referring to British colonialism in the context of the Palestine question. I was referring to Israel's occupation of the West Bank and its continued pursuit of a policy of violent eviction, demolition, and settlement of Jews on West Bank land. There is also the relation of economic exploitation and the TOTAL disenfranchisement of West Bank residents based on race. If this is not racism and colonialism someone please tell me why not.
From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
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posted 16 May 2002 12:07 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Jeff House, you also make a very eloquent argument for what has been called the "absolutist" freedom of speech argument à la ACLU.

And Chomsky, being American, can dip into that very solid and admirable American philosophical tradition.

I have read other arguments though. And I am Canadian, which means my legal and philosophical traditions are quite different.

Part of the critique of the absolutist position - and it is one of the many arguments used by Vidal-Naquet and some others who have taken Chomsky to task over his involvement with Faurisson - is this:

Holocaust denial is not simply a matter of speech. One has to look at the Holocaust deniers, Faurisson, Keegstra, Ross, Zundel, David Irving, Jean-Marie Le Pen etc....

What you find, according to Vidal-Naquet and others, is that denial is more than speech, it is the leading form of modern incitement of hatred and violence against Jews.

This hatred was the core of Nazi ideology, it was not a detachable part or an incidental element of the ideology. Without that incitement, there would not have been a Nazi party, a Nazi Germany, the invasion of European countries, the extermination of 6 million Jews and millions of other people etc...

Holocaust denial, so the argument goes, serves a dual agenda: co-opt gullible people into the ideology of Jewish control of the banks, Jewish control of the media, Jewish control of the world; and legitimize the very ideology which the events of the Nazi Holocaust delegimitized.

That the relegitimization of Nazi ideology is the very core of Holocaust denial and that denial is by definition a form of the most violent anti-Semitism is one of the arguments being put forward. It is also a fact proven many times in court: it is part of the court judgment in the Irving trial, it is part of the Faurisson judgment, it is part of the numerous judgments against Jean-Marie Le Pen. Holocaust deniers have been exposed time and again to be either Nazi sympathizers, Nazi ideologues or proponents and defenders of violent attacks against Jewish people

By its very nature, denial is an allegation of massive fraud - all the court cases, all the documentary evidence, all the Jewish eye witnesses, all the publishers, all the museums, all the monuments, all the films, all the photos, all the German confessions, are a massive fraud. The allegation of fraud is implicit in Holocaust denial.

Who committed the fraud? The Jews of course. How could the media, the libraries, the museums and the courts be filled with fraudulent information? Jewish control.

What Vidal-Naquet and others argue is that Holocaust denial is the mutant form of the classic, anti-Semitic slander that the Jews control everything.

Deniers are basically attempting not to spread a different, perhaps marginal and kooky form of "speech", a mistake a linguist like Chomseky can easily make. The argument is that what deniers do is to attempt to legimitize the anti-semitic violence of Nazi Germany and the incitement to mass violence against Jews that Nazi ideology was based on.

If Chomsky does not like official government positions, perhaps the UN Human Rights Commission will seem more worthy of respect.

Faurisson was convicted in April 1991 for violating France's law that makes Holocaust denial illegal. He lost his appeal to the Paris Court of Appeal in Dec. 1992. He then petitioned gthe UN HumanRights Commission claiming that the law and the case against him violated the Int'l Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

In Dec. 1996, the Commission dismissed Faurisson's complaint (document CCPR/C/58/550/1993, 16/12/1996) and found that Faurisson was an anti-Semite who falsified and distorted facts in order to "raise or strengthen anti-semitic feelings".

So it seems the debate about Chomsky is about that, in the French context at least. The controversy is not about Chomsky defending the right to say anything. In the context of Holocaust denial, the controversy - and here is where I have no conclusions yet - is that "saying" is the same as "doing" and therefore, some people are arguing that Chomsky is defending the right to "do". And if he is defending the right to "do", he doesn't belong in my house.

I will keep you posted Jeff.

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: Michel Sapcaru ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
goodgoditsnottrue
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posted 16 May 2002 12:09 PM      Profile for goodgoditsnottrue   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Chomsky would rather have them out in the open where he can 'git at 'em.'
From: Tarana | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 16 May 2002 01:01 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This entire line about Chomsky is constructed to paint critics of Israel as anti-semitic. Any suggestion otherwise is false.

quote:
I was simply searching for an example of someone who can be consistent in attacking the policies and culture of Israel without being anti-Semitic.

So the reasoned Michel who accues any dissenters of being a nutbar, suggests, with his comment, that he can't find any critics of Israel, save perhaps Chomsky and possibly a reporter, who are not anti-semetic. Then, when Ian accuses, falsely, Chomsky of being a holocaust denier, the possibilities of a critic not being anti-semitic is reduced to a single possiblity, the reporter. So every other critic, not of Judaism, not of Israelis as a people, but of Israeli policy in the occupied territories is hereby smeared as anti-semetic.

I imagine the "nutbar alert" must be going off continuously in his own presence.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
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posted 16 May 2002 01:30 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Give me an N, give me a U, give me a T, give me a B...

Read the thread - many examples of critics of Israel who are not anti-semitic (avnery, rasmus, the milne guy from the Guardian, most of Babble).

You're a nut.

Suggestion to other Babblers interested in real pro and con discussion - whenever nutbars try to take over and deliberately misquote anyone else, we should all respond by saying something like: Nutbar alert, or Idiot alert, or Thought Police alert or choose your own. I'm sticking with "nutbar alert".

If we stand up together to the forces on Babble that want to dominate and intimidate and drown out newbies, or drown out people who are unsure of their positions, or drown out people trying to think thru their positions out loud, or drown out mild conservatives, or drown out social democrats, or drown out mild leftists or drown out anyone wanting to participate but not feeling like getting screeched at by weirdos with some axe to grind, I think we can regain control and establish a democratic space for everyone.

Babble belongs to everyone, including those of us who are occasionally confused and trying to ask questions and figure things out by looking at the pros and the cons. It's called democracy, it's called thinking and questioning. Get used to it.

Nutbar alert. Nutbar alert.

Babble belongs to us. That's why they created it. The nutbars don't want alternative ideas, they only want their ideas, their orthodoxy. Fuck'em. It's not some private country club.

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: Michel Sapcaru ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
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posted 16 May 2002 01:36 PM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Some opponents of Israel are anti-semitic though, and the carelessness with which they argue, or demand a much higher standard of democratic behaviour from Israel than from the Arab states, gives me the willies.

There is a qualitative difference, however. One might also have complained, in apartheid times, that critics of South Africa were demanding a much higher standard of democracy from it than from African dictatorships -- after all, apartheid South Africa was a democracy, supported by Western powers, especially the US, and most other African countries were not. Why would this complaint have been unjust?

Most critics of Israel are very clear in wanting MORE democracy for Arab states. The problem is complex, and the lack of democracy in Arab states has as much to do with long-standing US policy designed to subvert democracy in those countries as it has to do with internal problems in the countries themselves. Most apparently "internal" political questions in the Mideast cannot be considered without reference to the American role, or to the situation in Israel/Palestine.

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: rasmus_raven ]


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ian Salim
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posted 16 May 2002 01:46 PM      Profile for Ian Salim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It is unbelievable how people are attributing charges that Chomsky is anti-semitic to me alone. I base my views upon esteemed and credible sources, such as Deborah Lipstadt, Alan Dershowitz and others. Chomsky's Jewishness by birth means nothing in terms of him being an anti-semite. Some of the worst oppressors of Jews throughout history have been Jews who converted to other faiths--there were Jewish Nazis and Klansmen (who for obvious reasons kept their Jewish identity secret). In fact, anti-semitism has caused some Jews to become anti-semitic in their own right taking the view that there is something wrong with the victim rather than the oppressor.

The point of the matter with Chomsky, is like David Duke in the Arab News, this fellow has an interest in harming Israel and the Jewish people and refuses to look at both sides of the issue.


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Ian Salim
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posted 16 May 2002 01:50 PM      Profile for Ian Salim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
More on Chomsky and the "defence of colonialism".

http://www.adl.org/braun/dim_14_1_deniers_print.html


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'lance
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Babbler # 1064

posted 16 May 2002 01:59 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
It is unbelievable how people are attributing charges that Chomsky is anti-semitic to me alone. I base my views upon esteemed and credible sources, such as Deborah Lipstadt, Alan Dershowitz and others.

Lipstadt, in the article you link to, never accuses Chomsky of anti-Semitism, only of blindness to the "dangers of free inquiry." Dershowitz's views on Chomsky are dismissable because he refers early on to his "flirtation with Holocaust deniers," which is merely a cheap slur.

Besides, so what if Deborah Lipstadt and Alan Dershowitz say that Chomsky is anti-Semitic? "Esteemed and credible" they certainly are, but not perfect. They're certainly wrong about some things; and to simply say "Chomsky's anti-Semitic because persons X and Y say he is" is just an argument from authority, that is, no argument at all.

[edited to correct typo; and to add:]

quote:
The point of the matter with Chomsky, is like David Duke in the Arab News, this fellow has an interest in harming Israel and the Jewish people and refuses to look at both sides of the issue.

Interesting. So what precisely is Chomsky's interest in harming Israel and the Jewish people, pray?

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 16 May 2002 01:59 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Suggestion to other Babblers interested in real pro and con discussion - whenever nutbars try to take over and deliberately misquote anyone else, we should all respond by saying something like: Nutbar alert, or Idiot alert, or Thought Police alert or choose your own. I'm sticking with "nutbar alert".



Once again babblers are implored to save one unable to accept having his opinons challenged from the Evil WingNut.

And please do save him. I am far too Evil and tricky, what with links and all, to be matched by any one babbler. It will take the collective will of might and mind from all of you to bring me to heel.

It is true I have lurked these hallowed forums for many a month. I have appealed to babblers or the moderator all but never to silence another. Because the Evil WingNut, all powerful and quick with a link, fears no opinion from any babbler be he contradictory or be she of turtle shell.

Lesser mortals must rush to the ad hominen attack or reach deep within to pull from the darkness of decrepit souls silly words, which will not break my bones, in the face of my Evil WingNut links and determination to spread my Evil by baring the false pretenses and petty lies presented as argument.

So, babblers do not ignore the pleas put forward to you to stop the Evil WingNut by labelling him with silly names and non-witty rejoinders.

I stand before you my Wings wide, my Evil exposed, my Nut barred, the entire essence of my Evil being upon an altar of sacrifice to the Gods of conformity and the truth of CNN.

But beware my immortal soul as it will persist in presenting argument and digging links in the advancement of the Evils of peace and justice.

This WingNut shall not be defeated. I will defend my Evil whatever the cost may be; I will fight on the forums, in the newsgroups and the "Letters to the Editor" pages, online and in print. I will never surrender.

So, sweet babblers I await your wrath and fury as chest heaves with heavy breath, my hands wet with the sweat of fear, my feet cemented to my position, my mind clear and committed to inevitable victory or defeat.

Defend Michel. Defeat the Evil WingNut.

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: WingNut ]


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 16 May 2002 02:00 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Some opponents of Israel are anti-semitic though, and the carelessness with which they argue, or demand a much higher standard of democratic behaviour from Israel than from the Arab states, gives me the willies.

Jeff, I went on being puzzled by that one line too. I wasn't going to say anything further on this thread, but since rasmus has raised it as well ... Sorry, but it's the expression "democratic behaviour," the logic of which I do not follow in two separate senses.

First, I don't see what criticism of Israel's actions on the West Bank have to do with demanding "democratic behaviour." To me, anyway, the concern is bleeding bodies, most immediately, and then beyond that people in what for me anyway would be a state of severe clinical depression. I don't think it matters whether people on any side of that equation are democrats or not. I have exceptionally high standards for democratic behaviour, but I don't think that only people who share those standards deserve to be treated humanely ...

Second, I don't think of any of the Arab states as democracies at all (correct my ignorance if necessary). I mean, some of them are client-states of the U.S., more or less equivalent to the France of Louis "apres moi le deluge" XV; some are former client-states now demonized; and the others are probably nervous. The gross, anachronistic distortions of such cultures should be the subject of another thread.

But I return again to my own high standards for democracy. You can't be saying that I should stop holding the feet of Canadian parliamentarians to the fire because that would be asking them to meet a higher standard of "democratic behaviour" than, say, the utterly abandoned Saudi royal family can meet?????

Democratic standards are high. Period. If democracy is the topic, high is where we hold the standards. How can there possibly be a comparative trade-off? But to be honest, I do not think that democracy is the topic here, nor could it be. For some time, that will be an anachronism.

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: skdadl ]


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 16 May 2002 02:05 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I stand before you my Wings wide, my Evil exposed, my Nut barred,

Foiled again!


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1064

posted 16 May 2002 02:29 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I hope that's a typo for bared, WingNut, else a certain amount of, er, discomfort could be involved.

But then again, some people like that sort of thing. Um, or so I'm reliably informed...


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 16 May 2002 03:05 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It was not a typo. I said "Nut" not "Nuts." But I do appreciate your concern for my private par ..., er, matters.
From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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Babbler # 1064

posted 16 May 2002 03:08 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My dear fellow. At your servitu... ah, service.
From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 16 May 2002 03:11 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Servicing, perhaps?
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2618

posted 16 May 2002 03:13 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Hi 'lance.

I think your reading of Lipstadt is correct.

One could choose to read her as arguing that Chomsky was at the very worst on shaky ground in the Faurisson affair but that's all she argues in this text.

The French critics à la Vidal-Naquet have argued that Chomsky did not simply defend Faurisson's right to express himself but that he continued friendly correspondence with Faurisson and with various well-known Holocaust revisionist groups.

From Pierre Vidal-Naquet, "De Faurisson et de Chomsky ", reprinted in 1987 in Revue Esprit (from the book appendix I mentioned in an earlier post):

"1.qu'il est allé beaucoup plus loin qu'on ne le croyait dans le soutien personnel à Faurisson, correspondant amicalement avec celui-ci, acceptant même d'être préfacé par le chef de la ligue révisionniste P. Guillaume, alors qu'il avait prétendu - mensongèrement - n'avoir pas préfacé Faurisson, P. Guillaume qu'il qualifiait de « libertaire et antifasciste par principe» (ce qui a dû, en ce qui concerne le deuxième qualificatif, bien faire rire l'intéressé, qui tient l'antifascisme comme mensonger par essence) ;

2.qu'il n'est pas demeuré fidèle à ses propres principes libertaires puisqu'il est allé jusqu'à menacer de poursuites judiciaires - lui que le moindre procès contre Faurisson met littéralement en transe - un éditeur qui se préparait à publier sur lui une notice biographique dont quelques phrases avaient le malheur de lui déplaire...

Certes, il n'est pas vrai que les thèses de Chomsky soient à rapprocher de celles des néo-nazis, mais pourquoi trouve-t-il tant d'énergie et même tant de tendresse pour défendre ceux qui se font effectivement les éditeurs et les défenseurs des néo-nazis*, et tant de fureur contre ceux qui se permettent de les combattre? C'est cette simple question que je poserai. Quand la logique ne fonctionne plus que pour l'autodéfense, elle devient folle."

* Vidal-Naquet is referring to Chomsky's relationship to the publisher La Vieille Taupe, by whom Faurisson's book with Chomsky's preface was published. Vidal-Naquet writes that Chomsky saw no problem in continuing relations with La Vieille Taupe which published the openly Nazi book by W. STAGLICH, "Le Mythe d'Auschwitz" (1986). When asked about it, Chomsky denounced his French critics as fascists according to Vidal-Naquet's account

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: Michel Sapcaru ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1292

posted 16 May 2002 03:13 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
'lance I do believe there is an implication in that very short sentence that suggests something untoward. Or toward. Depending, I guess, which way you're facing.
From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 16 May 2002 03:20 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Faithless deceiver! Again! I've caught you at it again!

(Message above addressed to WingNut, or to 'lance, whichever receives it first; or, in their absence, To Occupant.)


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2618

posted 16 May 2002 03:27 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Hi 'lance.

On the other hand, Jean Bricmont, in "HARO SUR UN IMPRÉCATEUR: La mauvaise réputation de Noam Chomsky", in Le Monde Diplomatique of April 2001, argues what Jeff House argued, that is that Chomsky was adopting the absolutist ACLU freedom of speech position, and nothing more than that.

Bricmont, however, offers less detail than Vidal-Naquet and people in his group.

And the Vidal-Naquet group was asking a question they claim Chomsky repeatedly refused to answer: why did he seem to argue so forcefully on behalf of the rights of neo-Nazis and Holocaust revisionists and to scorn so much the people who fight neo-Nazis? I find this odd too if it's true - and I have yet to find an answer from CHomsky about this to any of his left-wing French critics from the 1980s and 1990s.

I think this is why many of them like Vidal-Naquet and Paul Thibaud have accused Chomsky of disregard for a) the historical truth and for b) the political consequences in Le Pen's Europe of defending fascist people like Faurisson...

Perhaps someone knows of some response by Chomsky to his French antagonists on this matter?

Anyway, those seem to be the two major sides in the French discussion of the Faurisson affair as far as I can find so far.

Chomsky doesn't exactly sparkle, that is, if it is true that he continued openly supporting Holocaust revisionist publishers in France. I am not entirely convinced this is true but the Vidal-Naquet people claim so.

Also, the recounting of the affair as told by Chomsky in the Kolodney letter excerpted in a post above does not jive with the evidence in French publications, including quotes from Chomsky about his relations to the publishers of Faurisson's book or some of the translations Chomsky's books in France. I don't have an explanation for the discrepancy but Chomsky's recounting does not correspond to what is widely reported over there. Maybe just a difference of opinion, maybe something more.

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: Michel Sapcaru ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1292

posted 16 May 2002 03:37 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Caught! How? Where? What secrets do you have?
From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 16 May 2002 03:45 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You. 'lance. Again. Get me to a nunnery.
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 16 May 2002 03:49 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hey, buddy, if you're so hot and all-fired ready to chuck Noam's books out, mail 'em to me.

(I don't have the PO Box anymore)

You can even ask me to mail you a check for the postage.

[ 03 June 2003: Message edited by: DrConway ]


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2618

posted 16 May 2002 03:53 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Haven't reached any conclusions Dr.Conway. Unlike some people, I try to examine the evidence and arguments. I am not convinced by any specific side on this one yet.

Would you perhaps know if Chomsky responded to his left-wing French critics from Revue Esprit or Revue Le Genre humain?

I figure lots of Babblers have probably read more Chomsky than me. I only really know his media criticism stuff (Manufacturing Consent), some stuff on power and Vietnam and Cambodia. The Faurisson material is mostly new stuff to me.

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: Michel Sapcaru ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 16 May 2002 04:12 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've read some Chomsky, but I'm not much chop on the French thing. You'd really want to ask someone who actually reads lots of French stuff.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 16 May 2002 04:57 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
In the context of Holocaust denial, the controversy - and here is where I have no conclusions yet - is that "saying" is the same as "doing" and therefore, some people are arguing that Chomsky is defending the right to "do". And if he is defending the right to "do", he doesn't belong in my house.

Sorry, but saying is never the same thing as doing.

There may be reasons to make it unlawful to "say" certain things, such as Holocaust denial.

But it is simply rhetoric to claim that saying and doing are identical. I suspect that the reason people put it this way is to avoid the absolutist tradition concerning the American First Amendment; in fact, I believe I first read this kind of argument from anti-porn crusaders in the US.

To confuse words and deeds is the slipperiest of slopes. It contains a totalitarian pulse, since any speech can be rendered illegal on that basis.
To me, a showing of "clear and present danger" is a better way of distinguishing. Holocaust denial is analogous to shouting fire in a crowded theatre.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michel Sapcaru
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2618

posted 16 May 2002 05:10 PM      Profile for Michel Sapcaru        Edit/Delete Post
Hi Jeff House,

I am not totally convinced by either the "absolutist" school of free spech or by the "saying is doing" school.

Recently though, jurisprudence internationally has tended to agree with the "saying is doing" side. The International Tribunal investigating the genocide in Rwanda has argued that inciting hatred is part of the crimes being investigated.

The argument made by the "saying is doing" school is that Holocaust denial is more than speech and that it is the "mutant" form of modern incitement to violence and killing of Jews.

I know that one can argue in the realm of ideas that denial is not logically anti-Semitism. However, in reality, all the cases of Holocaust denial that have been the object of court proceedings involved individuals who were anti-Semites. So in practice, the "saying is doing" school would probably argue - I guess - that there is always a clear and present danger because Holocaust denial has no other aims - and has been shown time and again to have no other aims- than to relegimitize Nazi ideology and to justify the incitement of racial hatred and violence against Jews.

Again, not entirely sure I can agree with that.

But the absolutist argument is way too abstract for me. In real life, where real people get hurt by real neo-Nazis, the Holocaust deniers do want to incite others to hurt Jewish people. That has been determined - beyond any reasonable doubt - by court proceedings in the US, CAnada, Britain, France, Germany, Belgium and probably other countries too. Chomsky challenges this, which is his right, but it is a factually and historically very weak position - weak because he ends up having to ignore all the evidence brought forward under all those different rules in all those different courts under all those different jurisdictions. And that evidence has shown again and again that Holocaust denial and extreme hatred of Jewish people are inseparable, and that Holocaust denial and inciting others to act on that hatred are inseparable. That's the key element that starts tipping the scales for me - in this specific instance, the "speech" is a form of action

I take neither the absolutist nor the saying is doing side 100% but I am tending more towards the "ban the Nazis" side of the debate at this point anyway.

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: Michel Sapcaru ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 518

posted 16 May 2002 06:39 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I take neither the absolutist nor the saying is doing side 100% but I am tending more towards the "ban the Nazis" side of the debate at this point anyway.

It is obvious you do not take the absolutist position, since that is the Chomsky position you disagree with.

I am on the side of removing the Nazi danger too. But I do not think that someone, like Chomsky, who fears a state which jails people because of their political opinions, can be said to share those views, support them, or be sympathetic to them in any way, just because of his view of the state.

That is, the fact that Chomsky is a person who does not want the state to criminalize opinions, does not make me want to throw out his writings on Timor, Vietnam, or the media.

These latter are all very valuable.

By the way, direct incitement to violence is a specific exemption, always, to freedom of speech. Faurisson wrote a tendentious book on a historical issue, the Holocaust. His opinions were wrong, wrong, wrong. Still, there can be no analogy with the cases before the African War Crimes Tribunal, where people went on the radio urging immediate mass murder.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
peacepiper
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posted 16 May 2002 08:59 PM      Profile for peacepiper     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hi Michel,

quote:
haven't yet thrown out my Chomsky books, but I have moved them from my personal library and they are now close to the garbage can area, just in case my research shows he did what you claim he did. I haven't finished yet, as I said, but the evidence is very very bad for him.
So my point earlier wasn't about Chomsky per se. I was simply trying to find an example of
someone who can consistently criticize Israel without endorsing racist hatred and
anti-Semitism.
About Chomsky, my mind is now no longer made up. Certain left-wing critics of Chomsky I am in the process of reading seem to have proof that our boy actually took positions that at minimum deny that Holocaust deniers are anti-Semitic, and that may go further and actually
defend the legitimacy of Holocaust denial.

This post alone may be cause for the confusion on your view of Chomsky. I had a very hard time understanding what you were trying to say--"I haven't finished yet, as I said, but the evidence is very very bad for him...seem to have proof"?

This seems like contradictory rhetoric, but it doesn't.
And don't worry, i'm just giving you a hard time- it's fun.

[ May 16, 2002: Message edited by: peacepiper ]


From: fd | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
goodgoditsnottrue
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posted 17 May 2002 01:13 AM      Profile for goodgoditsnottrue   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I am not totally convinced by either the "absolutist" school of free spech or by the "saying is doing" school.

Geroge Orwell refers to the latter as 'thought-crime.'


From: Tarana | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 17 May 2002 02:42 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The argument made by the "saying is doing" school is that Holocaust denial is more than speech and that it is the "mutant" form of modern incitement to violence and killing of Jews.


This may or may not be true. However, what is NOT true is to say that those who think that debate should be absolutely free, are nazis or holocaust deniers themselves.

To me, Chomsky's position on this is honourable, but probably wrong. He might be able to convince me otherwise, though. So I can't agree with those who would hold it against him.


THREAD DRIFT:

Incidentally, there was an interesting US Court decision on speech/deeds yesterday. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 6-5 that a "Wanted Dead or Alive" poster of abortion providers on a website run by anti-abortion activists was not speech, but incitement to violence.

As I recall the facts in the case (not mentioned in the news articles today, so maybe misremembered) the site would scratch out the names of each doctor who was murdered .


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 03 June 2003 04:06 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Pseudofelinoids Anonymous donates to the Institute of Thread Archaeology when they're not donating to Drape Shredders, Inc.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
April Follies
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posted 03 June 2003 02:43 PM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You're an imp, Dr. C.

However, I missed this thread first time 'round and so will tag a bit more onto it. I find that Wikipedia has (what I consider to be) fairly good coverage of the Chomsky debate in their article on Chomsky. Since it's under GFDL, I'll copy the relevant text here:

quote:

Chomsky and the Middle East

Chomsky "grew up...in the Jewish-Zionist cultural tradition" (Peck, p. 11). His father was one of the foremost scholars of the Hebrew language and taught at a religious school. Chomsky has also had a long fascination with and involvement in left-wing Zionist politics. As he described:

"I was deeply interested in...Zionist affairs and activities -- or what was then called 'Zionist,' though the same ideas and concerns are now called 'anti-Zionist.' I was interested in socialist, binationalist options for Palestine, and in the kibbutzim and the whole cooperative labor system that had developed in the Jewish settlement there (the Yishuv)...The vague ideas I had at the time [1947] were to go to Palestine, perhaps to a kibbutz, to try to become involved in efforts at Arab-Jewish cooperation within a socialist framework, opposed to the deeply antidemocratic concept of a jewish state (a position that was considered well within the mainstream of Zionism)." (Peck, p. 7)

He is extremely critical of the policies of Israel towards the Palestinians and ethnic minority Jewish populations within Israel. Among many articles and books, his book The Fateful Triangle is considered one of the premier texts among those who oppose Israeli treatment of Palestinians and American support for Israel. He has also condemned Israel's role in "guiding state terrorism" for selling weapons to Latin American countries that he characterizes as U.S. puppet states, e.g. Guatemala in the 1970s. (What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Chapter 2.4) In addition, he has repeatedly and vehemently condemned the United States for its military and diplomatic support for Israel, and sectors of the American Jewish community for their role in obtaining this support. For example, he says of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL):

"The leading official monitor of anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith, interprets anti-Semitism as unwillingness to conform to its requirements with regard to support for Israeli authorities.... The logic is straightforward: Anti-Semitism is opposition to the interests of Israel (as the ADL sees them).

"The ADL has virtually abandoned its earlier role as a civil rights organization, becoming 'one of the main pillars' of Israeli propaganda in the U.S., as the Israeli press casually describes it, engaged in surveillance, blacklisting, compilation of FBI-style files circulated to adherents for the purpose of defamation, angry public responses to criticism of Israeli actions, and so on. These efforts, buttressed by insinuations of anti-Semitism or direct accusations, are intended to deflect or undermine opposition to Israeli policies, including Israel's refusal, with U.S. support, to move towards a general political settlement." (Necessary Illusions, Middle East Politics, speech Columbia University 1999)

Accusations of anti-semitism

Partially because of these criticisms, Chomsky has been accused of being anti-semitic on many occasions. The most outspoken of his critics include journalist David Horowitz, who has toured college campuses distributing anti-Chomsky pamphlets, attorney/professor Alan Dershowitz, with whom Chomsky has engaged in many verbal battles through the media, and sociology professor emeritus Werner Cohn, who has written an entire book; Partners in Hate, about Chomsky's relationship to Faurisson (below). One of the most common charges; is that the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is theoretical, and "in practice", anti-Zionism is a manifestation of anti-Semitism. Under this definition, Chomsky's and other's opposition to a Jewish state is anti-Semitic. Also under this definition, all Anarchists are anti-Semitic.

Chomsky's support for Israel Shahak, author of Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years - a book that claims that Judaism is a fundamentally chauvinistic religion, has led to more accusations of anti-semitism.

Chomsky rejects charges of anti-Semitism, citing that the definition presented by Israeli apologists is itself racist and ethnocentric. Often speaking out against bigotry of all forms, including anti-Semitism, Chomsky is nevertheless often a victim of such accusations, which he dismisses as "ad-hominem attacks" and "typical propaganda."

The Faurisson Affair

In 1979, Robert Faurisson, a French professor, wrote a book claiming that the Nazis did not have gas chambers, did not attempt a genocide of Jews (or any other groups), and that the "myth" of the gas chambers had been put forth by Zionist swindlers for the benefit of the state of Israel and to the detriment of Germans and Palestinians. (Hitchens, 1985) The Chorus and the Cassandra.

Shortly after, Chomsky signed a petition condemning censorship of Faurisson's works in France. The petition claimed that Faurisson's works were based on "extensive independent historical research." (quoted in On Faurisson and Chomsky) Following a controversy regarding this petition, Chomsky wrote an essay entitled Some Elementary Comments on The Rights of Freedom of Expression, which dealt mainly with the freedom to conduct and publish unpopular research, but also stated that he had not found evidence of anti-Semitism in the parts of Faurisson's work that he had reviewed. Chomsky writes:

"Faurisson's conclusions are diametrically opposed to views I hold and have frequently expressed in print (for example, in my book Peace in the Middle East?, where I describe the holocaust as "the most fantastic outburst of collective insanity in human history"). But it is elementary that freedom of expression (including academic freedom) is not to be restricted to views of which one approves, and that it is precisely in the case of views that are almost universally despised and condemned that this right must be most vigorously defended. It is easy enough to defend those who need no defense or to join in unanimous (and often justified) condemnation of a violation of civil rights by some official enemy. [1]

Chomsky granted permission for this essay to be used for any purpose; it was used as the preface for a book by Faurisson. (Later Chomsky requested that Faurisson cease using it, but that request was declined.) Chomsky went on to write:

"I see no anti-Semitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers or even denial of the Holocaust. Nor would there be anti-Semitic implications, per se, in the claim that the Holocaust (whether one believes it took place or not) is being exploited, viciously so, by apologists for Israeli repression and violence. I see no hint of anti-Semitic implications in Faurisson's work" (quoted in Noam Chomsky's Search for the Truth).

Chomsky's writings sparked a great furor. Many people held that Faurisson's statements were the archetype of anti-Semitism, and that the logical conclusion of Chomsky's statement would be that Naziism was not anti-semitic. For example, Deborah Lipstadt, author of a book about holocaust revisionist David Irving, wrote in Dimensions, the journal of the ADL:

"Intellectuals are hardly immune from irrational, mystical thinking. Some do so in the name of "free speech," free inquiry," or "intellectual freedom." It is this commitment to free inquiry and the power of mythical thinking that explains, at least in part, how revisionists have attracted leading figures and institutions. Noam Chomsky is probably the best known among them....Though Alfred Kazin was right on target when he recently described Chomsky as a "dupe of intellectual pride so overweening that he is incapable of making distinctions between totalitarian and democratic societies, between oppressors and victims," Chomsky's argument shocked many people, including those who thought they were inured to Chomsky's antics. Chomsky's example shows why the dangers of free inquiry should be taken seriously. [2]

She calls the belief that all arguments are equally legitimate a "convoluted notion" and states that Holocaust deniers are not interested in truth, but "motivated by racism, extremism, and virulent anti-Semitism."

In His Right to Say It, published in The Nation, Chomsky states: "It seems to me something of a scandal that it is even necessary to debate these issues two centuries after Voltaire defended the right of free expression for views he detested. It is a poor service to the memory of the victims of the holocaust to adopt a central doctrine of their murderers. " [3]

Noam Chomsky's position in supporting the right of Faurisson to publish is consistent with anarchist ideas regarding freedom of speech.


References are:

[1]http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/articles/8010-free-expression.html
[2]http://www.adl.org/braun/dim%5F14%5F1%5Fdeniers.asp
[3]http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/articles/8102-right-to-say.html


From: Help, I'm stuck in the USA | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
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posted 04 June 2003 03:02 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
It is a poor service to the memory of the victims of the holocaust to adopt a central doctrine of their murderers.

That is one of my all-time favourite quotations, probably the most moving thing I've ever heard Chomsky say. I actually got a lump in my throat the first time I came across it (in the Manufacturing Consent documentary). It perfectly summed up what I've always felt about the issue of free speech and the Holocaust.


From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged

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