Great Modern Thinkers: Chomsky

Having almost completed re-reading Chomskys' "Hegemony or Survival" much of what he skips across in this talk is very fresh in my mind. Most pertinent of all is his assertion that this is an American manufactured conflict in accordance with the stated and coherent aims of American Imperialism.

Close to a year ago on this forum I predicted from the rhetoric coming from the then Israeli Defence minister, (forget his name), and his talk of a "final solution" that the IDF was preparing a massive assault on the civilian Palestinian population. That, as Chomsky states, Israel had absolutely no intention of looking for a peaceful solution and only bothered to engage in ceasfires so that IT could break them for propaganda purposes. The attack on Gaza that took place over the new year was Israel's greatest Media Coup to date. And one it had long prepared with, (given the visits of Bush and Rice in the weeks preceding), the US administration.

The timing of this assault on a civilian population was timed not just, as Chomsky points out, to maximise civilian casualties but to take advantage of the vacuum of power in the dying days of the Bush presidency and of the holiday period in the US and Europe. Thus it goes down as one of the most cynical attacks in recent history.

There will indeed be no change as long as the US sees Israel as its regional munitions store and its nuclear bulldog. I have heard nothing from Obama so far that he will try to change anything and given the hard-line make-up of the current Israeli administration he would have his work cut out if he did. It was easy for the US to overthrow their former puppet Saddam Hussein but it would not be so easy to bring into line a radical and nuclear capable state that without US sponsorship would be the cornered animal.

On Chomsky himself I find him to be perhaps the wisest and most salient commentator in political debate. His depth of knowledge and his clear sighted ability to show the ongoing campaign of American Imperialism for the vicious beast that it is is simply inspirational.
 

Probably the best and wittiest Dawkins speech I have seen to date.

I sympathise with and relate to some points especially. For example the close to futile effort of making some theists understand the foundational principles of the scientific method. His Meteorite killing the Dinosaurs analogy did show just how ridiculous the fundamental premise of faith is. But in mocking faith, ok with a friendly audience, he surely sets himself a harder task?

But then again belief in a personal god that listens and has any of the abilities normally attributed to such an entity is patently tooth fairy religion. It is utter rubbish. And demonstrably so. So perhaps the only way to challenge the conspiracy of collusion between the faiths is to call their bluff. To go straight for the gizzards with every device of oratory including mockery.

On the word itself, "atheism", I have personal experience here on IO. People are determined not to let me use the term for myself. Perhaps I should be flattered that they do this, for perhaps they dislike seeing me described so pejoratively. Or perhaps they want me to concede a little to allow them some glimmer of hope that their own faith may one day be justified by even the most ardent of sceptics? Who knows. But I am an atheist. I am certain beyond all reasonable doubt that there is no such entity in existence as described by any religion. And as Dawkins rightly pointed out virtually everybody is in that sense just as atheist as me, just that I go one god further.
 
I saw Chomski speak at MIT some time ago, he is a brilliant guy. I have also read some Dawkins and he is right about evolution.

But Tao, your comments about Israel are wrong. I will be posting some of my thoughts about Zionism shortly. It is often misunderstood, even on this forum.
 
Tao, although I agree with most of Chomsky's views and even many of his comments about the Gaza operation, I do not agree with his and your broad condemnation of Israel.

I do not approve of the killing of women and children, whether it is done by Israel or her Arab neighbors. So I believe Israel and her neighbors are both wrong. They are all guilty of not valuing their own citizens and their neighbors.

Please keep in mind that this region, Israel, has been a war zone for 3,000 years. To choose this one example, the Gaza operation, and extrapolate that to judging the State of Israel, is incorrect. Both sides have been guilty of these sort of activities thoughout history.

As you know, Israel, a country of about 5 million people is surrounded by 300 million Arabs. The history of Israel has been about survival. When you are fighting for your very survival you will sometimes take drastic steps.

So my main point here is that both sides are to blame. I think that anyone who blames one side or the other has an axe to grind.

I believe you are an atheist ( I am not sure of this, please correct me if this is not the case). It seems to me that as an atheist you are in a good position not to have to grind that axe. I am surprised that you are not neutral about this issue.
 
Avi,

I am indeed an atheist and consider myself a global citizen with no alleigence to any political or ideological system.

The annexation of Gaza, as Chomsky highlighted, has created the worlds largest prison. Though I would, quite deliberately and provocatively rather call it a ghetto. I have, as you can see from many of my posts, no favour for the Islamic politics that are often cited as being the cause Israeli violence, my concern is purely a humanitarian one. My sympathy lies squarely with that refugee population, brutally ejected from their ancestral lands, herded into a corner then starved of food, energy, medicines and all the basics of normal life. When such a monumental sin indestinguishable from the nazi implementation of Jewish ghettoes is, sin piled upon sin, bombarded daily with high tech weaponry, including weapons that are illegal under international law, then I am forced to take sides. As any medic knows you deal with the most critical wounds first.

On a political level I can look beyond the media propaganda program to see the FACT that the only two parties preventing the movement toward a peaceful settlement are the US and Israel. Israel, contrary to the perception the media would paint, has never honoured a single ceasefire and indeed only engages in them to facilitate its propaganda aims. Now if you want to come back at me with something to the contrary I wouldnt bother. I have looked at the question under a microscope and I am 100% certain that what I state is fact.

I am in complete agreement with Chomsky that the Gaza situation is not some accident of politcal failures but a well planned and deliberate policy to keep tensions in the region high. It is part of a wider strategy to insure American dominance over the oil reserves of the middle east. Now as a rabinic penguin you may wish to think that Israel was set up to give the Jewish people a homeland. But in my careful study, that has continued for some 25 years, it is certain in my mind that Israel was only created for the imperial aims of America.

Every country in the region has at some point genuinely sued for peace and had it blocked or vetoed by the US. We are now up to over 70 UN resolutions against Israel that are either blocked, vetoed by the US or simply ignored. The political overlords that maintain this situation have no intention of letting peace break out. With peace comes an inevitable move towrd democratisation which in turn would lead to demands to remove US interest and military power from the region. Something the US refuses to accept.
 
Tao, I agree with everything you say, except (as the joke goes) your conclusion.

I would offer you the following challenge. Please give an example of when Israel attacked her neighbors without provokation by them first. I do not think you will be able to do it: Second Lebanon War, First Lebanon War, Yom Kippur War, War of Attrition, Six Day War, Sinai War, 1948 Palestine War go ahead, read about the causes and I think you will agree.

I have some other comments below:

Avi,

I am indeed an atheist and consider myself a global citizen with no alleigence to any political or ideological system.

I think you are in an excellent position to be truely objective about the Israeli - Palestine conflict. I do not think you are being so in the current argument, so I will present arguements to show that you should change your position. Right now you are simply reacting to the current situation in Gaza. You need to step back and examine the underlying causes and history more deeply.

The annexation of Gaza, as Chomsky highlighted, has created the worlds largest prison. Though I would, quite deliberately and provocatively rather call it a ghetto. I have, as you can see from many of my posts, no favour for the Islamic politics that are often cited as being the cause Israeli violence, my concern is purely a humanitarian one. My sympathy lies squarely with that refugee population, brutally ejected from their ancestral lands, herded into a corner then starved of food, energy, medicines and all the basics of normal life. When such a monumental sin indestinguishable from the nazi implementation of Jewish ghettoes is, sin piled upon sin, bombarded daily with high tech weaponry, including weapons that are illegal under international law, then I am forced to take sides. As any medic knows you deal with the most critical wounds first.

You might be surprised, I agree with you and Chomsky here. I value life too highly to see Gaza civilians killed by Israeli military for mistakes made by Gaza and politicians and terrorists and Israeli politicians.

So, the broader context of my argument is that the issue is not really Israel vs. Palestine at all. It is valuing civilian life over the politician and power brokers of the greater Middle East.

Your choice of the example of Nazi implementation and Jewish ghettos is a good start for comparison. If we are really going to understand the broader context of this issue, that will probably be our next stop in the discussion.

On a political level I can look beyond the media propaganda program to see the FACT that the only two parties preventing the movement toward a peaceful settlement are the US and Israel. Israel, contrary to the perception the media would paint, has never honoured a single ceasefire and indeed only engages in them to facilitate its propaganda aims. Now if you want to come back at me with something to the contrary I wouldnt bother. I have looked at the question under a microscope and I am 100% certain that what I state is fact.

This is not true. Do you think the people of Israel do not want peace ? Who has the most to lose during war ? The Israeli and Palestian civilians.

I do not believe your statement about not honoring ceasefires. Please provide me a reference to cite this, I will read it.

I would agree that politicians and power brokers are responsible for civilian casualties. But again, both sides to blame.


I am in complete agreement with Chomsky that the Gaza situation is not some accident of politcal failures but a well planned and deliberate policy to keep tensions in the region high. It is part of a wider strategy to insure American dominance over the oil reserves of the middle east. Now as a rabinic penguin you may wish to think that Israel was set up to give the Jewish people a homeland. But in my careful study, that has continued for some 25 years, it is certain in my mind that Israel was only created for the imperial aims of America.

Ah ha, a conspiracy theory ! I love those !! So who wants to keep the tensions high ? The Israeli civilians ? So they can have their children sent off the the army to die in Gaza or the West Bank ? Lets think more deeply here.

Now here is an area that atheists and liberal Jews (which I am certainly one) might have some fun with. Maybe the big, evil capitalists in the oil companies, Exxon-Mobil, Shell, etc. are moving the pawns around the table to keep their high paying jobs and bonus coming. You might be able to convince me there is some of this going on. But the creation of Israel started before the US was involved. The Balfour Declaration put that action into play and was orchestrated by Britain. So lets blame them too :)


Every country in the region has at some point genuinely sued for peace and had it blocked or vetoed by the US. We are now up to over 70 UN resolutions against Israel that are either blocked, vetoed by the US or simply ignored. The political overlords that maintain this situation have no intention of letting peace break out. With peace comes an inevitable move towrd democratisation which in turn would lead to demands to remove US interest and military power from the region. Something the US refuses to accept.

Every country ??? Do you consider Ahmadinajad and Iran to be exactly doves ?? :D:D

We might have some fun with this issue :) I think I am going to like the atheist position, with perhaps just a little modification :D
 
I have listened to Chomsky on several occasions, and while I do not always agree with everything, I still think he is an excellent thinker and has much of importance to say which people should pay attention to.

As for the Israel/Islamic conflict, that is a thorny issue isn't it.
So much history, so many undercurrents and influential factors which are not readily apparent.

Looking at it in the most general terms we see two brothers at odds with each other, an enmity which has endured for many centuries.
Regardless of the fact that at times there have been many individuals who are involved in this drama on both sides who are quite amicable and who are not hostile towards each other, we see that the overall plot or theme continues.

This though is a losing situation for everyone as the ripples of this conflict do not stop in that area, but encircle the globe and affect us all.
I see that the only winning solution is when the enmity is over and the 2 brothers sit down, bury the hatchet and smoke the peace pipe and form a new alliance which will be a hybrid of the best qualities of each.

Or shall we wait for many more centuries of conflict to see that such methods as have been tried already will never work.
None of us alive can afford such dithering on their parts.
 
wow first time I've come across Noam Chomsky, kind of looks like woody Allen.
 
ha ha, that is a good one. He probably also grew up under the Coney Island roller coaster :) (I can't remember if that was in the movie "Manhattan" ?)

(I think I figured out how this forum works, you can't anything seriously :D )
 
Ah I’m not too sure I'm not really well informed on woody Allen films to be honest, I may have watched more then I realise though.

Yeah I try not to anyway, especially when it comes to politics!
 
We might have some fun with this issue :) I think I am going to like the atheist position, with perhaps just a little modification :D

Hi Avi,

I am away from home this weekend but on my return I look forward to substantiating the claims I made before in relation to each of the incidents you mention. I am appreciative that you recognise my neutrality, that I am in no way anti-Jewish, nor in fact against the principle of the Israeli state. The truth is that the non-Palestinian people caught up in this interminable conflict also pay a huge price, not only in fear and uncertainty, but in the isolation and pariah status the actions of their government confers on them. Such a situation is ruthlessly engineered and exploited. It is a complex problem and you correctly relate it back to British attempts to control the resources of the region and in particular the Balfour declaration. The Brits had no choice but concede their claims to the US as part of the debt repayment for WW2. Yet ironically the people behind the rise of the Nazi party and the situation we see today in Israel belong to the same ideological dynasty. A wild claim you might think, but labeling something a conspiracy theory does not diminish the trail of documentary evidence I have seen that proves this.
 
If the bread crumbs lead to your door then you probably took the bread, unless, that is, that person is being framed or set up.
Most people can intellectually conceive of double-crossing, but once it jumps back and forth a few times it leaves the majority of the people in the dust and shaking their heads and saying how improbable such wild scenarios are.
Then they are branded "conspiracy theories" which, while it is a good and descriptive term, has been spin-doctored to now mean crazy and improbable.
This is bizarre, as our whole world history is a vast tapestry of conspiracy.
A few hundred years from now people will look back on all the massive conspiracies of our time and be amazed at the PR job which was done to convince people that there was no such thing as a conspiracy.
If it wasn't so cruel it would be funny.
 
Tao, I agree with everything you say, except (as the joke goes) your conclusion.

I would offer you the following challenge. Please give an example of when Israel attacked her neighbors without provokation by them first. I do not think you will be able to do it: Second Lebanon War, First Lebanon War, Yom Kippur War, War of Attrition, Six Day War, Sinai War, 1948 Palestine War go ahead, read about the causes and I think you will agree.

After thinking on how best to approach my response to the above it seems wholly right to make no distinction between them as they are collectively a part of the deliberately sustained US led policy in Israel. They all have the same provocation and attendant violence the US/Israeli position demands. A demand derived wholly on maintaining US control of the bulk of oil production in the region. If you are indeed aware of the historical relevance of each of these conflicts within the overview of Chomsky's thoroughly researched expose then it surprises me you even make the challenge. US encouraged Israeli expansionism, whether it be into the Sinai, Golan Heights, Jordan or Lebanon, led to resistance. You like to think of that resistance as as provocation. I am tempted to go into a case by case (bloodshed by bloodshed), analysis of how US/Israeli policy led quite deliberately to these clashes but it would simply take too long. But its results are plain. The capitulation of Jordan and Israel, the marginalisation of Syria and the de facto annexation of southern Lebanon and the Golans, with all their strategic necessity, was not done to make Jews feel safe. It was done to secure the territory of a US hegemony. A hegemony that had out manoeuvred the British one that had dominated pre 1939 because it wanted control of the vast resource it maintained. And in that light it would do well to consider that American entry into WW2 was most carefully deliberated.

But back to the real issue and the focus of your challenge. I think it wholly dishonest to deny the populations in direct contact the right to protest the deprivations asserted on them directly by the US/Israeli machine. The corruption of the Egyptian and Jordanian regimes by the US was achieved by threat and carrot, (nuclear escalation/ security and support of fascist feudal kingdoms), and officially drawn up in the Camp David Accords. That left Lebanon as a buffer between Israel and Syria and a brilliantly controllable nursery of plots and excuses. It has now Gaza in a similar position on the Egyptian border, and it can choose alternately where to increase humiliation and provoke what are really piffling attacks compared to the military capability of the USIDF.

To make sure there is plenty of confusion, and to insure a fully programmable "terrorist threat", the US also saught with its other feudal servant, {(===But has servant connived to be Master?==)}* Saudi Arabia, to create that smoke and mirrors illusion called Al Quaida. Saudi controlled and funded through the Wahhabi network in full operational collusion with the US. A Pentagon dreamt Islamic special ops. So now in the west all perceptions are blurred in the news. What is clear is what is being funded by Syria and Iran is close to negligible. Any south American drug cartel is better armed than Israel's attackers. But it is enough to create an excuse for maintaining massive militarisation within Israel. A militarisation that protects that ultimate whip, a substantial nuclear arsenal at service to US interest in protecting the Med, Red Sea, Suez and the Arabian Oilfields. The refunding of those states that are in servitude to the US hegemony, corrupt feudal kingdoms and dictatorships they all are, continues throughout giving us this situation of Palestinians getting no assistance from their neighbours. Egypt, Jordan and Saudi turn a blind eye whilst the IDF has its long-running and ongoing "war game" foisted between Gaza and Lebanon, maintaining its readiness and capability. Just as Kissinger, who has long been a major player in the hegemony, suggested. Indeed Kissingers early manifesto on "Tactical, Limited Nuclear War", I think I am right in quoting, could be seen as a manifesto for Israel as a Nuclear Island state.

I have quite deliberately not been drawn in as your challenge demanded to getting lost in the too-ings and fro-ings whilst the US/Israel found settlement with Israel's neighbours. It was Israeli expansionism in every case that can be held root cause. Getting bogged down with who did what, where and when misses the causes altogether. US owned Israel has succeeded with ease in establishing and protecting its borders by overwhelming military might and feels no threat from anyone. Within its assured borders it practices a piecemeal driving of Palestinian landowners from their ancestral lands with a virtual impunity and an arogant dismissal of international law. So into the refugee camps the Palestinians go which are surrounded and harassed with every deprivation. Allowing a steady, carefully managed, flow of angry youth to be trained by the IDF itself in its infamous black ops or by the concentrated effort of very small and isolated groups supported tenuously by Syria and Iran. Israel will continue to drain its land of Palestinian blood into Gaza and a diminishing West Bank enclave. It is this dispossession that causes anger, not the politico/religious artifice pasted on top. It is Israeli policy to re-write all Israeli land ownership into the hands of loyal Israeli settlers. It seemed for a short time that what amounts to the capitulation, (most Palestinians would call it bribery), of Yasser Arafat would lead to peace but any such ideas soon showed themselves thwarted by what the US/Israel demanded, DEMOCRACY! Democracy swung with the will of the people to Hamas. So the Palestinians remain between a rock and hard place and I do not believe for a moment their situation will improve on that. Islam better get used to the idea that it will have to give up Jerusalem, its oldest claimants are back in too much force to resist. But what else can they do but resist since they are offered no alternative by anyone.









I think you are in an excellent position to be truly objective about the Israeli - Palestine conflict. I do not think you are being so in the current argument, so I will present arguments to show that you should change your position. Right now you are simply reacting to the current situation in Gaza. You need to step back and examine the underlying causes and history more deeply.
As you can plainly see above I am very holistic.


You might be surprised, I agree with you and Chomsky here. I value life too highly to see Gaza civilians killed by Israeli military for mistakes made by Gaza and politicians and terrorists and Israeli politicians.
I would be surprised if you did not agree that civilian massacres were an unjustifiable wrong.
So, the broader context of my argument is that the issue is not really Israel vs. Palestine at all. It is valuing civilian life over the politician and power brokers of the greater Middle East.
Well mine is about the US/Israeli axis not valuing human life.

Your choice of the example of Nazi implementation and Jewish ghettos is a good start for comparison. If we are really going to understand the broader context of this issue, that will probably be our next stop in the discussion.
I am far from the first neutral comment to draw this analogy. Indeed with the tightening stranglehold on Gaza and that cowardly evil attack over the New Year it seems to be on many a commentators lips. I have justified my use of it on a thread here some time ago.


This is not true. Do you think the people of Israel do not want peace ? Who has the most to lose during war ? The Israeli and Palestinian civilians.
What war? I only see fractional protest at a painfully slow and vicious program of ethnic cleansing.

I do not believe your statement about not honoring ceasefires. Please provide me a reference to cite this, I will read it.
You listen to Chomsky? He is comprehensively researched and I trust it.
I would agree that politicians and power brokers are responsible for civilian casualties. But again, both sides to blame.
Ok And lets all ignore proportionality.



Ah ha, a conspiracy theory ! I love those !! So who wants to keep the tensions high ? The Israeli civilians ? So they can have their children sent off the the army to die in Gaza or the West Bank ? Lets think more deeply here.
lol, emotive but false argument. Hardly any Israeli soldiers die. How deeply are you willing to think?
Now here is an area that atheists and liberal Jews (which I am certainly one) might have some fun with. Maybe the big, evil capitalists in the oil companies, Exxon-Mobil, Shell, etc. are moving the pawns around the table to keep their high paying jobs and bonus coming. You might be able to convince me there is some of this going on. But the creation of Israel started before the US was involved. The Balfour Declaration put that action into play and was orchestrated by Britain. So lets blame them too :)
The dynastic lineage of the US hegemony precedes the Balfour Deceleration and its usurpation of British Sovereign administration was, as I said, quite a coup.


Every country ??? Do you consider Ahmadinajad and Iran to be exactly doves ?? :D:D
No, he is a political tiger using every advantage he can. Unfortunately both China and Russia can see every advantage in allowing Iran to go Nuclear. Even the US hegemony has its competitors.
We might have some fun with this issue :) I think I am going to like the atheist position, with perhaps just a little modification :D
I am an atheist. But this is my individual position and I in no way claim it to be a 'definitive' atheist position. Atheism is not a church to me. That said I always like a good discussion and look forward to your modification ;)

* Hinted at in a recent thread discussing Obama's deep bow to the Saudi King.
 
Quote:Avi

Every country ??? Do you consider Ahmadinajad and Iran to be exactly doves ??


Quote: Tao

No, he is a political tiger using every advantage he can. Unfortunately both China and Russia can see every advantage in allowing Iran to go Nuclear. Even the US hegemony has its competitors.


Here we agree !! This is where we should start our discussion. This is the most even handed position you have offered. This should be the atheist position (in my opinion). This is the heart of the problem in the Middle East.

Ahmadinejad is a madman. He wants nuclear weapons to threaten Israel. This is the environment that Israel lives under. One cannot reasonably blame only Israel for the problems in the Middle East when they have to deal with neighbors like this. Both sides have serious problems. That is the history of the Middle East. Do you know the story of Queen Esther ? It turns out that Israel has been dealing with a similar situation to Ahmadinejad for over 2,000 years.

Quote: Avi
We might have some fun with this issue I think I am going to like the atheist position, with perhaps just a little modification


Quote: Tao
I am an atheist. But this is my individual position and I in no way claim it to be a 'definitive' atheist position. Atheism is not a church to me. That said I always like a good discussion and look forward to your modification

I am a Reform Jew. I was born a Conservative Jew but lived most of my life an agnostic / atheist. Only the last 3 years have I become interested in my heritage. Agnosticism / atheism is very interesting to me because as a scientist / engineer I think that most of our religions are headed toward atheism. As we learn more about ourselves, our universe, the inside of the atom, the old religious beliefs are being replaced by reality. I think that atheism has a lot of offer.



Quote: Avi
So, the broader context of my argument is that the issue is not really Israel vs. Palestine at all. It is valuing civilian life over the politician and power brokers of the greater Middle East.


Quote : Tao
Well mine is about the US/Israeli axis not valuing human life.
I do not understand your position for a rationalist perspective here. Isn’t valuing human life more important than the geopolitics of the Middle East ?
And what about the Russian / Arab nexus ? That is a factor in this equation as well.

Quote: Avi
Ah ha, a conspiracy theory ! I love those !! So who wants to keep the tensions high ? The Israeli civilians ? So they can have their children sent off the the army to die in Gaza or the West Bank ? Lets think more deeply here.


Quote: Tao
lol, emotive but false argument. Hardly any Israeli soldiers die. How deeply are you willing to think?

I disagree:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_Invasion


Casualties and losses


Israel
5 soldiers killed
38 soldiers wounded
1 soldier captured
2 civilians killed
44 civilians injured



Hamas, Fatah, and others
277 militants killed
117 civilians killed
6 policemen killed
2 Presidential Guards killed
~1,000 injured


I am still looking at your other responses, I will write more if I have other thoughts……..
 
Ok, Citizenzen, so what do we really think ? :)
 
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