The Independent legitimized the warped political views of linguist Noam Chomsky this week in a column by their US editor Andrew Buncombe.
The article, titled “Israeli intervention in US elections ‘vastly overwhelms’ anything Russia has done, claims Noam Chomsky,” highlighted a charge made by the American academic in an interview with the fringe radical left talk show Democracy Now.
Here’s the Chomsky quote that was highlighted by the Independent journalist:
Israeli intervention in US elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done, I mean, even to the point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president’s policies — what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015.
Buncombe then contextualizes Chomsky’s views by uncritically citing the (widely discredited) views of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt:
The power of the pro-Israel lobby has long been one of the contentious, and disputed, issues in Washington. In 2007, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt published The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, which described the lobby as “loose coalition of individuals and organisations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.”
Despite the authors’ denial that their book was antisemitic, Mearsheimer later endorsed a book by Gilad Atzmon characterized by the Community Security Trust as “quite probably the most antisemitic book published in [the UK] in recent years.”
Moreover, Chomsky’s claim that Netanyahu’s address to Congress was worse than Russia’s meddling in the US election is absurd. The Israeli prime minister was trying to use his bully pulpit to convince Congress to vote against the Iran Deal. Russia’s government reportedly engaged in a systematic campaign designed to literally swing a US election, an attempt to undermine America’s democracy that evokes the actions of the KGB in the 1930s.
Leaving Chomsky’s convoluted argument aside, the decision by the Independent editor to promote the academic’s charge on Israel’s putative influence on the US political system — without informing readers of Chomsky’s record of unhinged commentary on a host of other international issues — is extremely troubling.
Chomsky, for starters, has argued that the US is “the world’s greatest terrorist state,” praised the Vietcong, defended the genocidal Khmer Rouge, and expressed support for the terror group Hezbollah.
Here are other quotes from the esteemed radical professor on Jews, Zionism, and Israel.
On American Jews:
Jews in the US are the most privileged and influential part of the population. … Privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98% control. That’s why antisemitism is becoming an issue.
Hitler’s conceptions have struck a responsive chord in current Zionist commentary.
In the Jewish community, the Orthodox rabbinate imposes its interpretation of religious law. … Were similar principles to apply to Jews elsewhere, we would not hesitate to condemn this revival of the Nuremberg laws.
Chomsky may be prolific as a linguist, but politically he’s an ideological extremist whose views need not be legitimized and promoted by respectable media outlets.