May 17, 2010 — Israel has refused to permit Noam Chomsky, the linguist and icon of the American left, to enter the occupied West Bank from Jordan. Some argue that Chomsky, an 81-year-old professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, could pose a risk to Israel. Norman Finkelstein says that Israel has been exposed to the world during the Gaza conflict and now feels threatened.
April 24, 2010 — Popular London rap artist, Lowkey and journalist on wheels Jody McGwire provide some warmup to Norman Finkelstein’s talk to the Arab Students Club at Brooklyn College. Jody reports of his 9 months in Palestine and Lowkey recites poetry condemning western mindset against Arabs.
Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite and the myths they perpetrate. Chomsky has done this despite being blacklisted by the commercial media, turned into a pariah by the academy and, by his own admission, being a pedantic and at times slightly boring speaker. He combines moral autonomy with rigorous scholarship, a remarkable grasp of detail and a searing intellect. He curtly dismisses our two-party system as a mirage orchestrated by the corporate state, excoriates the liberal intelligentsia for being fops and courtiers and describes the drivel of the commercial media as a form of “brainwashing.” And as our nation’s most prescient critic of unregulated capitalism, globalization and the poison of empire, he enters his 81st year warning us that we have little time left to save our anemic democracy.
This article is excerpted from Norman Finkelstein’s important new book about the Gaza conflict, “This Time We Went Too Far” published this month by OR Books. To purchase a copy of the complete book please visit OR Books. This book is not available from bookstores or other online retailers.
Gaza Black Ribbon Campaign
Public outrage at the Gaza invasion did not come out of the blue but rather marked the nadir of a curve plotting a steady decline in support for Israel. As polling data of Americans and Europeans, both Gentiles and Jews, suggest, the public has become increasingly critical of Israeli policy over the past decade. The horrific images of death and destruction broadcast around the world during and after the invasion accelerated this development. “The increased and brutal frequency of war in this volatile region has shifted international opinion,” the British Financial Times editorialized one year later, “reminding Israel it is not above the law. Israel can no longer dictate the terms of debate.”
Anthony H. Cordesman, a leading military analyst from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, has published a “strategic analysis” of the Gaza massacre.(1) He reaches the remarkable conclusion that “Israel did not violate the laws of war.” The report is based on “briefings in Israeli [sic] during and immediately after the fighting made possible by a visit sponsored by Project Interchange, and using day-to-day reporting issued by the Israeli Defense Spokesman.” Cordesman omits mention that Project Interchange is funded by the American Jewish Committee.
Cordesman’s faith in the pronouncements of Israeli notwithstanding, respected Israeli analysts exhibit less confidence. “The state authorities, including the defense establishment and its branches,” Uzi Benziman observed in Haaretz, “have acquired for themselves a shady reputation when it comes to their credibility.” The “official communiqués published by the IDF have progressively liberated themselves from the constraints of truth,” B. Michael wrote in Yediot Ahronot, and the “heart of the power structure”-police, army, intelligence-has been infected by a “culture of lying.”(2) During the Gaza massacre Israel was repeatedly caught lying among many other things about its use of white phosphorus.(3) Recalling Israel’s train of lies during both the 2006 Lebanon war and the Gaza massacre, Human Rights Watch senior military analyst Marc Garlasco rhetorically asked, “How can anyone trust the Israeli military?”(4)
January 23, 2009 – Edmonton-Israel’s attack on Gaza had little to do with self-defense and everything to do with instilling fear among Palestinian people, says political scientist Norman Finkelstein.
Invited to speak on campus by the Edmonton chapter of the Palestine Solidarity Network, Finkelstein accused Israel of deliberately killing Gaza civilians in order to cement their control over the occupied territory.
He said the incursion was only the latest in a more than 60-year history of “terrorizing the Arab world periodically into submission, and reminding them who is in charge in the Middle East.”
Following its defeat at the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2000 and 2006, Israel was waiting for an opportunity to seek revenge, Finkelstein claimed. It turned to Gaza when “the feebly armed resistance, Hamas, had defiantly resisted Israeli dictate.
“The evidence is sitting on the table. There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.”
These are the words of Manfred Nowak, the UN official appointed by the Commission on Human Rights to examine cases of torture. Nowak has concluded that President Obama is legally obligated to prosecute former President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
If President Obama’s bankster economic team finishes off what remains of the US economy, Obama, to deflect the public’s attention from his own failures and Americans’ growing hardships, might fulfill his responsibility to prosecute Bush and Rumsfeld. But for now the interesting question is why did the US military succumb to illegal orders?
In the December 2008 issue of CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn, in his report on an inglorious chapter in the history of the Harvard Law School, provides the answer. Two brothers, Jonathan and David Lubell, both Harvard law students, were politically active against the Korean War. It was the McCarthy era, and the brothers were subpoenaed. They refused to cooperate on the grounds that the subpoena was a violation of the First Amendment.
Harvard Law School immediately began pressuring the students to cooperate with Congress. The other students ostracized them. Pressures from the Dean and faculty turned into threats. Although the Lubells graduated magna cum laude, they were kept off the Harvard Law Review. Their scholarships were terminated. A majority of the Harvard Law faculty voted for their expulsion (expulsion required a two-thirds vote).