In a speech delivered at M.I.T. on October 18, 2001, entitled “The New War Against Terror,” Noam Chomsky, in a typical effort to manufacture dissent, asserted that in retaliation for 9/11 the U.S. was “apparently trying to murder 3 or 4 million people,” that “plans are being made and programs implemented for the death of several million people in the next couple of weeks, not Taliban of course, their victims” and that the coming American strike against the Taliban and Osama bin Laden should be understood as “some sort of silent genocide.”
Moreover, with respect to the Middle East quagmire, he had no compunction blaming Israel (and the U.S., of course) for allegedly “blocking a diplomatic settlement for 30 years now, still is”—this in the face of the well-known facts of Arab uncompromisingness and Palestinian plotting available to anyone who cares to look impartially at the events on the ground and the data beginning to emerge from Palestinian statements of intent. The sheer nonsense of his ramblings somehow escaped his university auditors, as it does the vast sodality of his readers. His orating in Islamabad and offering his support to America’s Islamic adversaries, in the lingering smoke of the Twin Towers, is typical of the man. Indeed, Chomsky’s political acumen and moral substance are perhaps best characterized by his still unrepudiated support for Pol Pot’s homicidal Khmer Rouge regime.
Chomsky is back in the news again, furious that he—one of the most perfervid and contumacious of Jewish Israel-haters and a vociferous enemy of the Jewish state—was refused entry into Israel, which he immediately skewered as a “Stalinist” regime. I suppose it takes one to know one, for Chomsky, a hero of the left and one of its most zealous spokesmen, would have been intellectually at home in Stalin’s police state. Indeed, if there is a “Stalinist” to be found anywhere in the picture, it is Chomsky. Which is obviously why he has been embraced by the treasonous Israeli left, lionized, as David Hornik points out in a recent article for FrontPage Magazine, by the leftist daily Haaretz as an “illustrious American scholar,” “a superior intellect” and a “bold intellectual” unjustly targeted by “a state headed for fascism.” For such urban syndicalists and ultra-comfortable socialists, Chomsky is a kind of latter-say Amos, the prophet who castigated the rich and powerful, and Israel is a North Korean lookalike intimidating its neighbors and sowing discord in the world.
Of course, Chomsky is no Amos and Israel no North Korea—and the Israeli left, like its American counterpart, is no flight of angels singing us to our rest in a beatific future characterized by equality and social harmony. It is, in fact, quite the opposite. The left is a congeries of modern totalitarians intent on building a socialist utopia which, despite their professions of concern for their fellow man, inevitably devolves into a bureaucratic nightmare of blandness, poverty, anomie, repression and forced leveling—and in some cases, with a gulag not far around the corner. As Nathaniel Hawthorne put it in The Blithedale Romance, the worshippers of the socialist idol “never once seem to suspect…that [it is a] false deity, in whose iron features, immitigable to all the rest of mankind, they see only benignity and love.” But, as Hawthorne pointed out, this consuming, egalitarian passion is based on nothing more than an “all-devouring egotism,” leading only to debasement and violence. Such egotism is glaringly evident among the leaders of the movement who all enjoy status, privilege and often immense wealth which, it is fair to say, they have no intention of relinquishing.
Israel, for all its flaws—and what country is without them?—is a beacon nation, the sole democracy in a feral and backward region of the globe. It is an acknowledged leader in the fields of advanced cybernetics, desalination projects, hydrology, energy technology, “green” innovations, productive agricultural methods and life-saving medical technology. Israel graduates a higher number of scientists and engineers per capita than any other country and has produced eight Nobel laureates to date. Indeed, the Israeli “brand” is one that creates value for humankind. Politically, Israeli-Arabs possess the franchise and are represented by elected members in the Knesset and the governing Cabinet. The first Arab women to exercise the vote were those who live in Israel. During the post-Oslo period, the Israeli public has been educated to accept major concessions to the Palestinians, including “disengagement” from the Territories; during the same period, the Palestinians have been indoctrinated to make no real concessions whatsoever, insisting on the inadmissible principle of the “right of return” of millions of manufactured “refugees” which would lead to the demographic end of the Jewish state, and relying on violence rather than arbitration to achieve their ends. In his rabid hatred for the Jewish state, Chomsky takes none of this into account.
The question we should ask is: how far can Chomsky be trusted? His acolytes would do well to consult The Anti-Chomsky Reader, edited by Peter Collier and David Horowitz, for a rigorously documented account of Chomsky’s character, scholarship, methods of persuasion and propaganda exploits. This book should be read by anyone who is still impressed by Chomsky’s artfully constructed persona as a civil libertarian and as America’s leading dissident. A significant number of Chomsky’s sources are provided as well, both in the body of the text and the notes, an essential addition since many of these sources are often not fully referenced by Chomsky, are cleverly decontextualized or subtly recontextualized when they are not simply misquoted or abridged, or are so obscure and of such dubious origin as to be almost impossible to find without a guide.
Assembled and explicated here for readerly convenience, what contributor Paul Bogdanor calls the “hallmarks of his intellectual repertoire: massive falsification of facts, evidence, sources and statistics, conducted in the service of a bigoted and extremist ideological agenda” can no longer be ignored. As another contributor to the volume, Werner Cohn, asserts (and explicitly shows), “one of Chomsky’s chief rhetorical techniques is to misrepresent the writings of others.” What is no less troubling is Chomsky’s obvious reluctance to reconsider those of his sources who have gone on to revise or repudiate their earlier conclusions. The shoddy scholarship alone should have alerted any attentive reader to the bad faith of this unscrupulous ideologue. The wonder is that so few have bothered to check the facts.
An anaerobic thinker for whom the presence of free oxygen is repellent, Chomsky is Hawthorne’s “high-priest,” with “no heart, no sympathy, no reason, no conscience,” to whom so many on the left have consecrated themselves, not realizing that they are following him into what Hawthorne calls the “surrounding darkness.” Chomsky is a general in the Terracotta Army of international socialism with its sights set on the faux Arcadia to come. He is also a world-class hypocrite. As Peter Schweizer reveals in his exposé of the patrician left, Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, Chomsky, who rants endlessly against the U.S. “war machine,” wrote his universally acclaimed Syntactic Structures on grants from the three branches of the American military establishment. Schweizer’s study of the real Chomsky, not the media construct who thrives on a factitious reputation, presents undeniable evidence that America is, for Chomsky, a country whose largesse he has impenitently exploited. It is “the land of Pentagon contracts, lucrative real estate holdings, stock market wealth, and a tax-sheltered trust for his children”—aspects of American life that Chomsky has fiercely denounced in his voluminous speeches and writings.
There can be no doubt that Chomsky is a feverish and mendacious simplifier whose storyboard vision of a world minus the America and the Israel we know has endeared him to enemies of the democratic tradition. I regard him as the Bobby Fischer of the intellectual world, another brilliant (in his field), mentally over-specialized monomaniac gone completely round the bend. Israel was well within its rights to refuse this advocate for Hizballah—as of this writing, Chomsky is touring southern Lebanon as a guest of the Shi’ite terrorist organization—the hospitality to which he arrogantly felt he was entitled, and it should abide by that original decision. Bar Ilan University professor Sam Lehman-Wilzig reasonably wondered why Israel should welcome “an outsider who wants to spit in the house.”
America, too, could not be blamed if it belatedly considered revoking his citizenship and Chomsky himself might be applauded for demonstrating a better-late-than-never consistency by refusing to live in America, which he regards as a “terror state.” Surely Chomsky would be happier in Putin’s Russia, Ahmadinejad’s Iran or Chavez’ Venezuela, regimes more in conformity with his political convictions and world-view. And, as an added bonus, he could still hold on to his investments.