The patriot (Haaretz) - Chomsky AntiIsrael Anti-ITALY
What does the Israeli patriot want? What state exactly does he dream of before falling asleep at night? What society does he hope for while immersed in his morning routine?
By Gideon Levy
What does the Israeli patriot want? What state exactly does he dream of before falling asleep at night? What society does he hope for while immersed in his morning routine? Incitement, slander and boycott campaigns have recently been launched here against Turkey, Sweden, the High Court of Justice, B'Tselem, the New Israel Fund, the media, Richard Goldstone, Noam Chomsky, Elvis Costello, the Pixies, Ahmed Tibi, Hanin Zuabi, Tali Fahima, Barack Obama, Anat Kamm and the rest of the world, and also a bit against yours truly. A hypocritical, fallacious and depressing worldview emerges from these campaigns.
No, he is not a villain, the Israeli patriot - he is merely brainwashed and blind.
He would like to live in a democracy - of course he wants democracy; after all, he was taught in school that it is a good thing, and he boasts to the world that Israel is "the only democracy in the Middle East." But it's a democracy without most of its mechanisms. He is satisfied with elections and majority rule: The majority will make the decisions, and to hell with the minority.
The Israeli patriot wants to open a newspaper and turn on the television and see what's going on in the world - but only a world in which everything is good. Well, if not the entire world, then at least Israel, as long as it's all good. He wants to take in lots of World Cup soccer, entertainment programs, loads of gossip, and most importantly - only good news. He wants only commentators who "smash" the Arabs and "bash" the left-wingers and other Israel haters, and who call for strikes on Gaza, Hezbollah, Iran and Istanbul again and again.
He is a man of peace, the patriot, but he also wants a war once every two to three years and he wants the media to say so, too. He doesn't really want to know what happened during Operation Cast Lead, or what the world - which hates us - thinks of us and why. He doesn't want to know what is going on in the territories or among the poor, screwed, underprivileged people.
But wonder of wonders, if he feels deprived, where does he run? To the newspapers and the TV, which he loves to hate. He also loves to hate those left-wingers from the High Court of Justice, but the moment he's in any kind of trouble, where does he turn? To the court, of course.
The Israeli patriot wants the world to love us unconditionally and without limits. Yet at the same time, he wants to ignore the whole world and spit contemptuously on its institutions, conventions and laws. He wants a package deal with Turkey, all-inclusive, but not including listening to what the Turks have to say. He wants to spread white phosphorus in Gaza and have the world recite, like himself, that it's white rain. He wants the United Nations to impose sanctions on Iran, but to disregard its own resolutions related to Israel. He wants a half-Iranian regime here, but portrayed as liberal in all the tourist guidebooks.
The world according to the Israeli patriot consists, in fact, only of the United States - but even then only to a certain extent. Obama's America is also starting to get suspicious. The patriot wants America to foot the bill and shut up. He wants the Jewish world to contribute money, to embrace us, to come here in masses with the Taglit-Birthright program. But if J Street, JCall, Goldstone or Chomsky arise from among the Jews, he will hasten to brand them anti-Semites. They're either with us or against us - even the Jews.
He wants a Knesset that represents the people, meaning his kind of people - without Ahmed Tibi and Hanin Zuabi, preferably without any Arabs at all, and if we must then only Ayoob Kara. Let them travel overseas to stretch out on tzadiks' graves, but only in Jewish communities, not in Libya. Let them fight to free abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, but not the myriad prisoners of their own people.
Shalit? The Israeli patriot wants his release, as all Israelis do, but not, under any circumstances, in exchange for freeing terrorists. He also wants NGOs around and donations coming in from abroad, but only to synagogues and hospitals. And above all, he wants to protect Israeli soldiers and their commanders, unconditionally. They must remain immune from any criticism. They killed two women waving a white flag in Gaza? They shot a Jerusalem driver at close range? They killed - perhaps unnecessarily - Turks on a flotilla? Anyone who mentions such things is a traitor.
This is the patriot's impossible country. It is doubtful whether even he actually enjoys living in it. So when will he criticize his beloved country? In the never-ending traffic jam, in the endless queue, and of course, when the IDF isn't killing enough. Any other criticism? No thank you, I'm a patriot.
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
Samuel Johnson April 7, 1775
Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception. George Orwell
Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. "Patriotism" is its cult. It should hardly be necessary to say, that by "patriotism" I mean that attitude which puts the own nation above humanity, above the principles of truth and justice; not the loving interest in one's own nation, which is the concern with the nation's spiritual as much as with its material welfare — never with its power over other nations. Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one's country which is not part of one's love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship.
* Erich Fromm, The Sane Society (1955)
Nationalism ... is like cheap alcohol. First it makes you drunk, then it makes you blind, then it kills you.
* Dan Fried, US diplomat (Jan 07)
Nationalism was so perfectly suited to its double task, the domestication of workers and the despoliation of aliens, that it appealed to everyone - everyone, that is, who wielded or aspired to wield a portion of capital.
* Fredy Perlman, "The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism" (1984)
Is Chomsky 'anti-American'?
Noam Chomsky interviewed by Jacklyn Martin
The Herald, December 9, 2002.
Not only is Noam Chomsky recognized for being an accomplished professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he is also famous for being one of the most radical scholars in the United States, both praised and condemned for criticizing American foreign and domestic policies. He is known throughout the world as author of dozens of books, such as What Uncle Sam Really Wants, Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky, and 9-11. Chomsky has made numerous appearances in popular media outlets such as CNN, Good Morning America and Rolling Stone Magazine. The New York Times has called Chomsky "the most important intellectual alive." Chomsky was recently interviewed for the Herald via e-mail.
QUESTION: What were you doing when you when you first heard of the terrorist attacks on the United States? What was your first reaction to the news?
CHOMSKY: I was working, as usual. Heard about it several hours later. [My] reaction was the same as everyone's: shock and horror. But not, I'm afraid, disbelief. It had been known for some years that something like this was likely, and that was known even to people who don't read technical papers about it (as I had, and had written about [it] myself) ever since 1993, when related groups came ominously close to blowing up the World Trade Center, with tens of thousands killed had the plan been more careful, according to the WTC engineers.
QUESTION: Why do you think foreign policy right now is different between the United States and Iraq, as opposed with that of the United States and North Korea?
CHOMSKY: The difference is that North Korea isn't sitting on the second largest oil reserves in the world, and a war against North Korea would be a disaster, leading possibly to the destruction of the South in retaliation. In contrast, a war against Iraq is expected to be a pushover. Most predictions are that many Iraqis will die, but probably very few US casualties, given the awesome disproportion of means of violence. Of course, once the dogs of war are unleashed, no one really knows: not the CIA, not Donald Rumsfeld, not me.
QUESTION: After releasing your book 9-11, many reporters have said that you are anti-American. Others even suggest that you should pack up and move to another country since you believe America to be a leading terrorist state. How do you respond to such remarks?
CHOMSKY: The concept "anti-American" is an interesting one. The counterpart is used only in totalitarian states or military dictatorships, something I wrote about many years ago (see my book Letters from Lexington). Thus, in the old Soviet Union, dissidents were condemned as "anti-Soviet." That's a natural usage among people with deeply rooted totalitarian instincts, which identify state policy with the society, the people, the culture. In contrast, people with even the slightest concept of democracy treat such notions with ridicule and contempt. Suppose someone in Italy who criticizes Italian state policy were condemned as "anti-Italian." It would be regarded as too ridiculous even to merit laughter. Maybe under Mussolini, but surely not otherwise.
Actually the concept has earlier origins. It was used in the Bible by King Ahab, the epitome of evil, to condemn those who sought justice as "anti-Israel" ("ocher Yisrael," in the original Hebrew, roughly "hater of Israel," or "disturber of Israel"). His specific target was Elijah.
It's interesting to see the tradition in which the people you refer to choose to place themselves. The idea of leaving America because one opposes state policy is another reflection of deep totalitarian commitments. Solzhenitsyn, for example, was forced to leave Russia, against his will, by people with beliefs very much like those you are quoting.
QUESTION: Do you think the United States government has justified war against Iraq?
CHOMSKY: No. Not even close. And they know it.
QUESTION: As you know, many people often look to you as a resource or guide when seeking information and ideas. Is there anyone in particular serving a similar role for you?
CHOMSKY: There are plenty of resources, but one should be cautious about "guides." People have to learn to think for themselves. Otherwise we're back to totalitarianism again.
QUESTION: How do you think Thomas Jefferson would react to contemporary American government?
CHOMSKY: With utter disgust, and profound sorrow that the democratic experiment had reached such depths. We don't have to speculate. 200 years ago his friend James Madison warned of something similar, and Jefferson too was much concerned about people like those now in Crawford and Washington.
QUESTION: If there is just one message you could deliver to college students at Arkansas State University, what would that be?
CHOMSKY: Think for yourselves, and observe elementary moral principles, such as taking responsibility for your actions, or inaction.
tags: USA CIA mossad rabin assassination gaza palestine nuclear demona Mordechai Vanunu dimona