Noam Chomsky: The Real Reasons the U.S. Enables Israeli Crimes and Atrocities

From Alternet:

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, centered in Saudi Arabia — where all the oil is — and secular Arab nationalism, centered 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 recognized 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.


  1. I think that this argument by Chomsky oversimplifies things regarding international politics at the time.

    First of all, I am only basing it off the stuff posted on this site since, lets face it, thats all pretty much anyone will read. The argument that is presented here, and apparently advocated by the poster, is that somehow radical Islam and the US support for Israel are connected via a similarly opposed opposition. This really negates the fact that the broader issue was the Cold War as a whole, which truly dictated the Mid-east affairs beyond the Israel vs All mentality.

    The fact is that at the start, Israel was supported by many powers that the United States and its citizens did not care for. The first and foremost would be the Soviet Union in the early years. After that, the US directly opposed Israel in the Suez crisis. Which brings up an interesting point… why did the US oppose England, France, and Israel? Due to the fact that it was trying to win Cold War allies in the middle East and in the developing world.

    The fact that the US started supporting Israel when it defeated Arab secularism had a LOT more to do with Cold War politics and “cheering for the underdog” rather than some tangentially related connection between “whats good for Israel is good for the US’s allies in the Middle East” In fact, it seems like Chomsky contradicts his opinion on the next page when he delves into how Jordan was a critical US ally… but at the same time had the 2nd biggest loss of life for any Arab nation in the war.

  2. I have never really followed Chomsky’s political leanings, but I must insert that his critique of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior is one of the best academic papers I have ever read. He went after a widely accepted theory with uproarious zeal that is sometimes lost among scientists and is considered to be a major trigger for the cognitive revolution in psychology.

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