Chomsky about USrael's hypocrisy and war crimes.
Don't read, LISTEN to the interview:
Noam Chomsky on USrael
By Kathleen Wells
Internationally recognised as one of America's most
critically-engaged public intellectuals today, Noam
Chomsky spoke with me about Israel and its interplay
with the United States.
Kathleen Wells: Hi, I'm Kathleen Wells, political
correspondent for Race-Talk. I'm speaking with Noam
Chomsky, professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology and renowned political activist
and writer. He has written over a hundred books on
linguistics, human rights, economics, and politics.
Thank you, Professor Chomsky, for taking the time to
speak with me this afternoon.
Noam Chomsky: Very pleased to be with you.
Kathleen Wells: Speak to me about the relation between
the United States and Israel. Specifically, address, as
you have previously stated, how every crime, violation
of international law, that Israel commits is done
through the direct participation and authorisation of
the United States.
Noam Chomsky: That's a ... As a descriptive statement,
that is pretty close to accurate. I mean "all" is a
very strong word but it is certainly generally true.
And, in fact, the United States has overwhelmingly
vetoed Security Council resolutions condemning Israeli
crimes and atrocities, prevented the Security Council
from calling on Israel to terminate aggression, and so
on and so forth. The descriptive comment is not really
controversial. There are interesting questions about
why it's true. There were also interesting questions
about the sources of support for this position in the
United States, which helps us explain why it is true.
The history is reasonably clear. This was not the case
up until 1967. In fact, before 1967, the relationships
were not very different from relationships among other
powers. There was sympathy and support for Israel,
which has many, many sources, including the Christian
Zionism, which is a very powerful force that precedes
and is numerically far stronger than Jewish Zionism.
But for somebody like, say, Harry Truman, raised in a
deeply Christian tradition, it was just taken for
granted that the Bible instructs us that God gave the
land of Palestine to the Jews. So it is kind of like in
his bones. And that's true for a very large part of the
American population, much more so than -- far more than
any other country. So that is one factor, and
there are other factors.
But the major change in relationships took place in
1967. Just take a look at USA aid to Israel. You can
tell that right off. And in many other respects, it's
true, too. Similarly, the attitude towards Israel on
the part of the intellectual community -- you know,
media, commentary, journals, and so on -- that changed
very sharply in 1967, from either lack of interest or
sometimes even disdain, to almost passionate support.
So what happened in 1967?
Well, in 1967, Israel destroyed the source of secular
Arab nationalism -- Nasser's Egypt -- which was
considered a major threat and enemy by the West. It is
worth remembering that there was a serious conflict at
that time between the forces of radical Islamic
fundamentalism, centred in Saudi Arabia -- where all
the oil is -- and secular Arab nationalism, centred in
Nasser's Egypt; in fact, the two countries were at war.
They were fighting a kind of a proxy war in Yemen at
that time. The United States and Britain were
supporting the radical Islamic fundamentalism; in fact,
they've rather consistently done that - supporting
Saudi Arabia. And Nasserite secular nationalism
was considered a serious threat, because it was
recognised that it might seek to take control of the
immense resources of the region and use them for
regional interest, rather than allow them to be
centrally controlled and exploited by the United States
and its allies.
So that was a major issue. Well, Israel effectively
destroyed Nasserite secular nationalism and the whole
Arab nationalist movement that was centred in it. That
was considered a major contribution to U.S.
geopolitical strategy and also to its Saudi Arabian
ally. And, in fact, that's when attitudes toward Israel
changed sharply and the U.S. support for Israel --
material, diplomatic, and other -- also increased
In 1970, there was another turning point. In 1970, the
Jordanian army (Jordan was a strong, close U.S. ally) -
the Jordanian dictatorship was essentially massacring
Palestinians during what's the month that's called
Black September. And the U.S. was in favor of that; it
supported that. It looked as though Syria might
intervene to support the Palestinians against the
attack by the Hashemite dictatorship. The U.S. didn't
want that to happen. It regarded it as a threat to its
Jordanian ally and also a broader threat, ultimately,
to Saudi Arabia, the jewel in the crown.
While the U.S. was mired in Southeast Asia at the time
-- it was right at the time, a little after the
Cambodia invasion and everything was blowing up -- the
U.S. couldn't do a thing about it. So, it asked Israel
to mobilise its very substantial military forces and
threaten Syria so that Syria would withdraw. Well,
Israel did it. Syria withdrew. That was another gift
to U.S. power and, in fact, U.S. aid to Israel shot up
very sharply -- maybe quadrupled or something like that
-- right at that time.
Now at that time, that was the time when the Nixon ...
so-called "Nixon Doctrine" was formulated. A part of
the Nixon Doctrine was that the U.S., of course, has to
control Middle- East oil resources -- that goes much
farther back -- but it will do so through local,
regional allies, what were called "cops on the beat" by
Melvin Laird, Secretary of Defense. So there will be
local cops on the beat, which will protect the Arab
dictatorships from their own populations or any
external threat. And then, of course, "police
headquarters" is in Washington. Well, the local cops on
the beat at the time were Iran, then under the Shah, a
U.S. ally; Turkey; to an extent, Pakistan; and Israel
was added to that group. It was another cop on the
beat. It was one of the local gendarmes that was
sometimes called the periphery strategy: non-Arab
states protecting the Arab dictatorships from any
threat, primarily the threat of what was called radical
nationalism -- independent nationalism -- meaning
taking over the armed resources for their own purposes.
Well, that structure remained through the 1970s.
In 1979, Iran was lost because of the overthrow of the
Shah and pretty soon the Khomeini dictatorship --
clerical dictatorship -- and the U.S. once tried to
overthrow that and supported Iraq's invasion of Iran,
and so on. But, anyway, that "cop" [Iran] was lost and
Israel's position became even stronger in the structure
that remained. Furthermore, by that time, Israel was
performing secondary services to the United States
elsewhere in the world. It's worth recalling that
through the -- especially through the 80s -- Congress,
under public pressure, was imposing constraints on
Reagan's support for vicious and brutal dictatorships.
The governments around the world -- say Guatemala --
the U.S. could not provide direct aid to Guatemala,
because -- which was massacring people in some areas in
a genocidal fashion up in the highlands -- Congress
Congress was also passing sanctions against aid to
South-Africa, which the Reagan administration was
strongly supporting South-Africa and continued to do so
right through the 1980s. This was under the framework
of the war on terror that Reagan had declared. The
African National Congress -- Mandela's ANC -- was
designated as one of the more notorious terrorist
groups in the world as late as 1988. [So] that it
[could] support South-African apartheid and the
Guatemalan murderous dictatorship and other murderous
regimes, Reagan needed a kind of network of terrorist
states to help out, to evade the congressional and
other limitations, and he turned to, at that time,
Taiwan, but, in particular, Israel. Britain helped out.
And that was another major service. And so it
Kathleen Wells: I want to come up to today, because I
only have 30 minutes.
Noam Chomsky: So, it basically continues. I mean, if we
go right up till this moment ...
Kathleen Wells: Exactly.
Noam Chomsky: - simply ask, where are the strongest
sources of support for Israeli actions? Well, pick the
newspapers. By far the most rabid pro-Israel newspaper
in the country is the Wall Street Journal. That's the
journal of the business community, and it reflects the
support of the business world for Israel, which is
quite strong. There's a lot of high-tech investment in
Israel. [Our] military industry is very close to
Israeli military industry. There's a whole network of
interactions. Intel, for example, is building its next
facility for construct development of the next
generation of chips in Israel. But, altogether, the
relations are very tight, very intimate, quite natural.
And it's not surprising that the main business journal
in the country would be supporting Israeli expansion
Take a look at the two political parties. Most Jewish
money goes to Democrats and most Jews vote Democratic.
But the Republican Party is much more strongly
supportive of Israeli power and atrocities than the
Democrats are. Then again, I think that reflects their
closer relations to the business world and to the
There is, of course, also a Jewish lobby - an Israeli
lobby -- APAC, which is a very influential lobby. And
so there are many... and there's Christian Zionism,
which is a huge element. Well, you know, all of these
combined to provide a background for U.S. support for
Israel, and they're facing virtually no opposition.
Who's calling for support of the Palestinians?
Kathleen Wells: Exactly, and so when you hear
statements being made that Israel is the only democracy
in the Middle East, and yet you see the occupation and
the blockade on Gaza, the occupation of East Jerusalem
and the West Bank, what shall one think about this
Noam Chomsky: First, let's ask about being the only
democracy in the region. First of all, it's not true.
There were free elections in Palestine in January 2006.
There were free elections in Palestine, carefully
monitored, recognised to be free. The victor was Hamas,
okay, centred in the Gaza Strip. Israel and the United
States instantly, within days, undertook perfectly
public policies to try to punish the Palestinians for
voting the wrong way in a free election. I mean, it
couldn't have been... you couldn't see a more dramatic
illustration of hatred and contempt for democracy
unless it comes out the right way.
A year later, July 2007, the U.S. and Israel, together
with the Palestinian authority, tried to carry out a
military coup to overthrow the elected government.
Well, it failed. Hamas won and drove Fatah out of the
Gaza Strip. Now, here, that's described as a
demonstration of Hamas terror or something. What they
did was pre-empt and block a U.S.-backed military coup
to overthrow the democratically-elected government.
Kathleen Wells: What do you say to the fact that Hamas
is listed on the United States State Department
terrorist list? So they're characterised as terrorist?
Noam Chomsky: Yeah, they are. Because they do things we
don't like. The terrorist list has been a historic
joke, in fact, a sick joke. So take a look at the
history of the terrorist list. Up until 1982, Iraq --
Saddam Hussein's Iraq -- was on the terrorist list.
In 1982, the Reagan administration removed Iraq from
the terrorist list. Why? Because they were moving to
support Iraq, and, in fact, the Reagan administration
and, in fact, the first Bush administration strongly
supported Iraq right through its worst - Saddam, right
through his worst atrocities. In fact, they tried to
... they succeeded, in fact, in preventing even
criticism of condemnation of the worst atrocities, like
the Halabja massacre -- and others. So they removed
Iraq from the terrorist list because they wanted to
support one of the worst monsters and terrorists in the
region, namely Saddam Hussein. And since there was an
empty position on the terrorist list, they had to fill
it, so they added Cuba. Cuba's probably the target of
more terrorism than any country in the world, back from
the Kennedy years. Right? In fact, just at
that time, there had been a rash of major terrorist
acts against Cuba. So Cuba was added to the terrorist
list to replace Saddam Hussein, who was removed because
the U.S. wanted to support him.
Now, you take a look through the terrorist list, yeah,
that's the way it is. So, for example, Hezbollah is on
the terrorist list. Well, you know, probably it's
carried out terrorist acts, but by the standards of the
U.S. and Israel, they're barely visible. The main
reason why Hezbollah is on the terrorist list is
because it resisted Israeli occupation of Southern
Lebanon and, in fact, drove Israel out of Southern
Lebanon after twenty-two years of occupation -- that's
called terrorism. In fact, Lebanon has a national
holiday, May 25th, which is called Liberation Day.
That's the national holiday in Lebanon commemorating,
celebrating the Israeli withdrawal from southern
Lebanon in year 2000, and largely under Hezbollah
Kathleen Wells: How would you characterise Hezbollah
and Hamas? How would you characterise them?
Noam Chomsky: Hezbollah happens to be the major
political grouping in Lebanon. It's the Hezbollah-based
coalition, handily won the last election in the year
2009. Now you know it's not a perfect election, but
it's one of the ... by the standards of U.S.-backed
dictatorships it was an amazing election, and they won
it. They didn't happen to win the largest number of
representatives because of the way the confessional
system works, but they won the popular vote by about
the same amount that Obama had won.
So they're the main political grouping in the country.
They largely -- almost completely -- control southern
Lebanon. They're a national Lebanese organisation.
They've ... they're charged with some terrorist acts
outside of Lebanon, maybe correctly. But again, if the
charges ... we take all the charges and weigh them
against U.S./Israeli violence, aggression, and terror,
they don't even count. But that's basically what they
are. As far as Israel's concerned, Hezbollah's
position is they don't recognise Israel. They don't
... they... but they say they're position is, well,
they'll accept any agreement with Israel that the
Palestinians accept; we're a Lebanese organisation.
What about Hamas? Hamas is a ... its background is it's
an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist
organisation, which would be a major competitor in
Egypt's elections, if Egypt permitted democratic
elections, which it won't. The Egyptian dictatorship
-- which the U.S. strongly backs, Obama personally
strongly backs -- doesn't permit anything remotely like
elections and is very brutal and harsh. But they don't
... they hate the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas is an
In its early days, Israel supported Hamas as a weapon
against the secular PLO. Later, when Hamas really
crystallised, became a significant organisation, Israel
turned against them, and it became bitterly opposed to
them in January 2006, as the U.S. did, when they won a
free election. That was intolerable and they had to be
Hamas's position is that as a political party it does
not recognise Israel, but that doesn't mean much: the
Democratic Party doesn't recognise countries either. It
says that their position is that they're willing to
accept a two-state settlement in accordance with the
international consensus, which the U.S. and Israel have
blocked for 35 years. So they say, "Yes, we'll accept
that, but we don't want to recognise Israel." Well,
okay, that's their position. Are they a nice
organisation? No. I wouldn't ... I certainly wouldn't
want to live under their clerical rule. But compared
with organisations and states that the United States
strongly supports, they don't stand out as particularly
harsh, say Egypt, for example.
Kathleen Wells: So respond to those who defend Israel's
policy and state that Israel is surrounded by enemies.
Their Arab neighbours -- Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in
Palestine, Ahmadinejad in Iran -- they pose a threat to
Israel. They want to see Israel's destruction, and they
feel like these Arab countries are an imminent threat
to Israel. Give me your thoughts on those who defend
Noam Chomsky: Well, the truth of the matter is that
Israel and the United States, which act in tandem, are
a tremendous threat to the - mainly to the
Palestinians. In fact, while we're discussing the
potential threat to Israel that might exist, the United
States and Israel are crushing and destroying the
Palestinians. That's the live reality.
Now what about the threat? Well, yeah, there's a
potential threat, and Israel and the United States are
substantially responsible for it. I mean, if the U.S.
and Israel would accept the overwhelming international
consensus on a political settlement, that would very
sharply reduce the threat. But Israel and the U.S.
prefer Israeli expansion to diplomatic settlement and,
therefore, are blocking that settlement -- they're
alone. I mean, Europe, the non-aligned countries -- the
Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic States, which
includes Iran -- have all accepted the international
consensus on the two-state settlement. I mean, there
are details to be worked out, but the basic structure
is clear. For 35 years, the U.S. and Israel have been
blocking it. There are a few rare and temporary
exceptions, but that's basically the story. I don't
have time to run through all the details here.
Kathleen Wells: But what's the rationale?
Noam Chomsky: That creates...
Kathleen Wells: But what's the...
Noam Chomsky: The rationale's very simple.
Kathleen Wells: Exactly.
Noam Chomsky: They prefer expansion to security. That's
been explicitly true since 1971. I think the most
fateful decision that Israel and the U.S. made in this
regard was in February 1971 when President Sadat of
Egypt offered Israel a full peace settlement -- full
peace settlement; no conditions -- nothing for the
Palestinians, in return for Israeli withdrawal from the
occupied territories, and, in fact, he cared only about
Sinai. Jordan made the same proposal a year later with
regard to the West Bank. Israel had to decide, at
that point, whether to accept security -- which would
certainly have followed from the withdrawal from the
conflict of the major Arab military forces, primarily
Egypt, secondly Jordan -- whether to accept security or
to insist on expansion. Now expansion at that time was
mostly into the Sinai. Israel was developing plans for
substantial expansion into the Egyptian Sinai,
including a major city, Yamit, supposedly a million
people, a lot of settlements, and so on. And that was a
very clear choice: do we choose expansion or security?
They chose expansion.
The crucial question is what would the United States
do? Well, there was an internal bureaucratic battle in
the U.S., and Henry Kissinger won out. He was in favor
of what he called "stalemate." A stalemate meant no
negotiations, just force. So the U.S. and Israel
proceeded with expansion. Sadat, for the next... he
made gesture after... move after move for the next year
or two to try to convince the U.S. to accept the
political settlement. It was disregarded. He kept
threatening war if Israel continued to develop the
northeast Sinai. It was dismissed. Then came the
October 1973 war, which was a very close thing for
Israel, the worst moment in its history. Well, at that
point, Kissinger and the Israeli leaders recognised
they can't simply dismiss Egypt, and they moved slowly
towards the Camp David Settlement in 1978, which pretty
much accepted what Sadat had offered in 1971 -- a
diplomatic catastrophe. Meanwhile, Israel has continued
its expansion, by then mostly into the West Bank, and
the U.S. was supporting it all the way, and so it
So, sure, if Israel continues to settle in the occupied
territories -- illegally, incidentally, as Israel
recognised in 1967 (it's all illegal; they recognised
it) -- it's undermining the possibilities for the
viable existence of any small Palestinian entity. And
as long as the United States and Israel continue with
that, yes, there will be insecurity.
Kathleen Wells: This is essentially an issue of land;
it's not a religious issue. It's an issue of land,
and it's economics that's motivating Israel to expand.
Is that what you are saying?
Noam Chomsky: Primarily. In fact, the President of
Israel, Ezer Weizman, shortly before he became
President after 1967, pointed out, (he was then chief
of the Air Force) -- he said, "Look we could withdraw
from the occupied territories, but then we couldn't
live at the scale and style and grandeur that we would
prefer." That's not an exact quote; words were
approximately to that effect. And, you know, that's
The expansion into the West Bank is, you know, it's
kind of understandable. I mean, the parts of the West
Bank that Israel is taking over are, first of all, a
good part of the arable land: the pleasant suburbs of
Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, which happen to be in the West
Bank; the major water resources, which are in the area
that Israel is taking over; the Jordan Valley, which is
arable land, of course, and essentially imprisons
what's left. And then Israel has been sending corridors
through the occupied territories. The most important
one -- one of several -- is east of what's called
Jerusalem. Jerusalem is now a vastly-expanded area
which Israel has annexed in violation of Security
Council orders, as well as in violation of
international law. And expanding east from there is
a corridor, started in the 1970s under Yitzhak Rabin,
now includes the town of Ma'ale Adumim. It basically
bisects the West Bank. There are two other corridors to
the north. It breaks up the remaining areas of the West
Bank into what Ariel Sharon -- the architect, one of
the main architects of the policy -- called Bantustans.
And, sure, as long as they do that, there is going to
be continuing ... it's understandable why they do it:
sure, they want that land, and they want the resources.
And it does, as Ezer Weizman said, it allows them to
live in a scale and character beyond what would happen
if they lived peacefully within their own territories.
And the U.S. backs them, so they can do it, and it's
continuing to back them under Obama. So, sure, their
position is: well, okay, let's just go ahead and do it.
And it does lead to insecurity, but that's the decision
they made in 1971.
Kathleen Wells: And you have stated that this expansion
is dangerous for Israel. Can you elaborate on that?
Noam Chomsky: Well, you already elaborated on it at the
beginning, when you said that they are facing threats.
When you expand into somebody else's territory and you
refuse to allow ... and you destroy the national - the
legitimate national aspirations of the indigenous
inhabitants, now restricted to about 22% of Palestine,
even in the international arrangements ... when you do
that, sure, you're going to lead to insecurity.
Remember also that Israel has invaded its northern
neighbour, Lebanon, five times -- brutally, harshly,
plenty of terror, plenty of violence and no credible
pretext.* I don't have time to go through the details,
but I've done so in print. Well, yes, so Lebanon is
hostile, too. Lebanon happens to be a weak state; they
can't do much, but that leads to plenty of hostility in
With regard to Iran, Iran was a very close ally of
Israel's as long as it was under the Shah. Ahmadinejad
has issued what we call "threats against Israel."
They're not actually threats, and if you look at the
exact wording, he's repeating statements by Khomeini at
a time when Israel was pretty close to Iran and didn't
care about them. He's saying, "Yes, in the end of
days Israel should disappear." Okay, not nice -- does a
lot of other rotten things; it's a horrible regime. But
to say that it's a threat to Israel is a bit extreme. I
mean, it's a ... and, in fact, to the extent that there
is a potential Iranian threat it would be ... it's
claimed that the Iranian nuclear program is a threat.
Well, okay, if you believe that, there are clear steps
to take: move towards a nuclear-weapons- free zone in
the region. Now, that would not terminate any potential
threat, but it would certainly mitigate it.
Nuclear-weapons-free zones are very important steps
towards reducing the threat of nuclear weapons and of
proliferation. And, in fact, the U.S. is
committed to that. It agreed to it in 1995 and in the
Nuclear Review Conference just last May. A
couple of weeks ago, Egypt, which leads the Non-Aligned
Movement at the moment [of] 118 countries, pressed very
hard for moving towards establishing a
nuclear-weapons-free zone in the region. The
U.S. was pressed into a corner and couldn't disagree,
so said, "Sure, we agree in principle." But Hillary
Clinton said, "Yes, but the time is not right". And
the U.S. -- Obama -- hid behind the Israeli position,
which said, sure, let's do it but after this
comprehensive peace settlement, in which the U.S. and
Israel can delay indefinitely, as they've been doing.
So there are no steps toward a nuclear-weapons-free
zone, to which, incidentally, the United States is very
The U.S. and Britain, when they invaded Iraq, tried to
provide a kind of a thin, legal cover for it. And the
legal cover was Security Council Resolution 687 from
1991, which called on Iraq to eliminate its weapons of
mass destruction program. And, as you recall, the U.S.
and Israel and the U.K. claimed that they had not done
so. Well, it turned out to be false, but they claimed
that they had not done so. But if you look at that
resolution, Article 14, it calls on the signers to move
to establish a nuclear-weapons-free zone in their
region. So the U.S. and U.K., above everyone else, are
committed to this. But it isn't even discussed here.
So to talk about the Iranian nuclear threat, while
we're refusing to take the most elementary steps
towards eliminating any potential threat that might
arise sometime, is kind of ludicrous. In fact, if you
look [at] the ... there is now a declassified study
from last April from the Defense Intelligence Agency
and the Pentagon, assessing the military balance in the
region, the Iranian threat included, in particular; and
they point out that Iran's military doctrine is
essentially defensive, it's an attempt to deter
attacks, that Iran's military expenditures are
relatively low compared to the region and, of course,
minuscule as compared to the U.S. and that, if they're
developing nuclear weapons, it would be as a deterrent.
So whatever threat Iran poses, it's not a military
threat; it's a threat of independence. Well,
Israel doesn't like that, the U.S. doesn't like that,
but to call that a threat -- while, Israel has a huge
nuclear capacity, has refused to sign the
Non-Proliferation Treaty, is rejecting calls from the
international agency -- International Atomic Energy
Agency -- to open up it's facilities to inspection,
backed by the U.S. and is, in fact, proceeding to crush
Palestinians. I mean, anybody watching this from Mars
would break down in hysterical laughter.
Kathleen Wells: Well, Israel is the only nation in the
Middle East which has nuclear weapons, but it has not
officially acknowledged that they have them.
Noam Chomsky: That's correct. And it is one of three
countries -- three nuclear states -- that have not
signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty: Israel, India, and
Pakistan, all of which are protected by the United
States in their nuclear weapons programs, to which the
U.S., in fact, contributes and has contributed. Those
are the three non-signers.
Kathleen Wells: And so...
Noam Chomsky: And that continues to this moment. I
mean, in this context, how can we even listen to Obama
saying he wants to get rid of nuclear weapons?
Kathleen Wells: And so, I mean, there is some cynicism
I hear in your voice so ... and it's understandable, I
would say. But so what do ... what can we expect to
happen, if there's not going to be ... the
international community is calling on the Middle East
to be a nuclear-free- zone and yet Israel and the
United States are not moving in that direction?
Noam Chomsky: Not only are they not moving in that
direction, but blocking it. Kathleen Wells: So ...
Noam Chomsky: And remember that the U.S. has a specific
commitment, over and above other countries, because of
the Iraq invasion.
Kathleen Wells: So where do we go from here?
Noam Chomsky: That's up to people like you, the
citizens of the United States. If we have ... if we
care about what our country is doing, we should proceed
to do something about it.
Kathleen Wells: So when you say we should proceed to do
something, get me some specifics. What should we do?
Noam Chomsky: We should be organising and acting to get
Congress to compel the administration to move towards
reducing the dire threat of nuclear weapons. And there
are many ways to do it. One is by establishing
nuclear-weapons-free zones. The Middle East is one
case, but it's not the only case. So, to mention
another, relevant here, the African Union did finally
agree to a nuclear-weapons-free zone, but it can't
implement it, and the reason it can't implement it is
because of the United States and Britain.
There is an island in the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia,
which is claimed by the African Union; its part of
Africa. Britain and the U.S. -- it has bases for U.S.
nuclear weapons and nuclear submarines, and so on. The
population was kicked out by Britain so that the United
States could establish a major military base there.
That base is used -- it's a major military base -- it's
used for bombing of Middle East and Central Asia. Obama
is beefing it up very sharply -- both its nuclear
weapons capacity and its massive ordinance. In fact,
he's just sent there a couple of hundred so-called
bunker busters, the biggest weapons in the arsenal,
short of nuclear weapons, aimed at Iran. All of that's
going on right now. Diego Garcia is excluded by the
U.S. and Britain from the African Union
nuclear-weapons-free zone, which means they can't
Well, that's one case. The Middle East is another case,
there actually are others. But if we are interested in
non-proliferation, we should be compelling the U.S.
government to take concrete steps that are available
towards reducing the threat of war -- for example,
dismantling the military base in Diego Garcia and
terminating the threats of aggression against Iran and
moving towards mitigating the threat of use of nuclear
weapons or development of nuclear weapons. It can be
done in many ways, nuclear-weapons-free zones being the
most obvious. Kathleen Wells: But this is ...
Noam Chomsky: There is a lot we could do.
Kathleen Wells: But this isn't widely covered in the
Noam Chomsky: That's a little bit of an understatement.
It isn't covered, period. Try to find some references.
Kathleen Wells: So how do American citizens get
informed on this issue? It's not covered ... Why is it
that we ...
Noam Chomsky: By people like you writing about it and
organising and educating: that's our job. We are not
thrust in jail for telling the truth about these
things. I'm afraid I have to take off. I have another
Kathleen Wells: Okay. I really appreciate you ... Can I
ask you one last question?
Noam Chomsky: Yeah.
Kathleen Wells: Okay. As a Jewish American, what would
you like to say to other Jewish Americans regarding
Noam Chomsky: Pretty much what I said in the 1970's. I
mean, I wrote at that time -- and I think it's even
more true today -- that those who call themselves
supporters of Israel are, in fact, supporters of
Israel's moral degeneration, increased isolation, and
possible ultimate destruction. I hate to say it, and I
hate to see it, but it's coming true.
Kathleen Wells: Okay. On that note, I think it went
well. Thank you very much. I appreciate you taking the
time with me, Professor Chomsky. Have a great
Noam Chomsky: Good to talk to you.
Kathleen Wells: Okay, bye-bye.
*On August 3, 2010, Hareetz reported that Israel and
Lebanon entered into a border clash that was spurred by
Israel's attempt to uproot a tree on Lebanon's soil.
The incident amounted to a thirty-minute firefight that
left three Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist,
and an Israeli officer dead.
On August 7, 2010, tensions between Israel and Lebanon
escalated when the Israeli Navy opened fire on a
Lebanese fishing boat. This clash marked the worst
confrontation between the two sides since Israel's 2006
incursion into Lebanon, during which about 1,200
Lebanese -- mostly civilians -- were killed.
On August 10, 2010, American lawmakers said that
because of the clash/firefight on August 3, U.S.
funding for Lebanon's military would be blocked/cut.