By Aaron Klein
While many in the pro-Israel community long have criticized President Obama’s Mideast policies as unfriendly to the Jewish state, liberal political activist and highly influential professor Noam Chomsky has a surprising gripe.
“Obama has bent over backwards to support Israeli policies,” Chomsky told KleinOnline in an email interview.
Chomsky, who was praised by Osama bin Laden as “one of the most capable” U.S. citizens, went on to accuse the Obama administration of “going so far as to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution (February 2011) supporting his official policy: opposition to expansion of settlements.”
Settlements are a reference to Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem.
The Obama administration has repeatedly criticized Israel over housing projects in those territories.
In October, for example, the U.S. used uncharacteristically harsh language to oppose a plan for Israel to build 2,610 new homes on empty lots in Givat Hamatos, a Jerusalem neighborhood in the eastern section of the city where Palestinians want to build a future state.
Immediately after a meeting between Netanyahu and President Obama in October, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki and White House spokesman Josh Earnest took the Israeli leader’s delegation by surprise when they released nearly identical statements slamming the Jerusalem construction.
They warned the housing plans could distance Israel from its “closest allies,” a clear reference to the U.S.
Yet Chomsky claimed to KleinOnline that with American support, the Israeli government has been “gradually integrating into Israel what it values in the West Bank, leaving the rest unviable – all illegal as determined by the highest international authorities and as recognized by virtually the entire world, Israel excepted, and even by the U.S. not many years ago, though ‘illegal’ has been downgraded in recent years to ‘not helpful to peace.’”
Israel contends its communities in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem are legal in accordance with international law. It argues the West Bank, home to ancient Jewish communities, may be “disputed” but not “occupied” territory since no internationally recognized legal sovereign ruled in either the West Bank or eastern Jerusalem prior to the 1967 Six Day War.
Chomsky was asked to offer advice to the White House on how to engage with Israel following the re-election of the country’s long-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The White House has repeatedly stated it will “re-evaluate” it’s Israeli-Palestinian policy in light of Netanyahu’s victory and statements the politician made regarding the timing of a future Palestinian state.
“On the impossible assumption that the White House would ask my advice,” Chomsky replied, “I would suggest that they reverse the policies of the past 40 years, in which the U.S. has been virtually alone in barring an international consensus on a diplomatic settlement and in providing the decisive support for Israel’s decision to prefer [settlement] expansion to security.”
Chomsky asserted Israel’s settlement expansion put the country on a “course that has, as predicted, led Israel to social and moral deterioration, international isolation, and increasing threats to its decent survival – not to speak of the devastating impact on the Palestinians.”
Chomsky is widely known for his political philosophy, including his advocacy of anarcho-syndicalism, which calls for revolutionary industrial unionism for society’s workers to gain control of an economy and influence society with knew ideals and a remade power-structure.
The Chicago Tribune has said Chomsky is “the most cited living author,” while also ranking just below Plato and Sigmund Freud as among the most cited authors of all time.
He is also widely known for helping to remake the field of linguistics, particularly with his scholarly work in the late 1950s.
In political circles, Chomsky has been a central figure in criticizing the U.S. and its international policies, which he views as a “grand strategy of world domination.”
He is a longtime member of both the Democratic Socialists of America and the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.
Chomsky is perhaps the most prominent vocal critic of Israel in academia. He has espoused what many regard as anti-Israel views. He serves on the board of advisers of the pro-Hamas Free Gaza Movement.
While stating he opposes Palestinian terrorism, Chomsky referred to the violent phenomenon as “very small as compared with the U.S.-backed Israeli terrorism.”
With regard to the classification of Hezbollah as a terrorist group, Chomsky commented “the term terrorism is used by the great powers simply to refer to forms of violence of which they disapprove.”
Regarding Hamas, whose charter calls for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel, Chomsky considers himself “very much opposed to Hamas’ policies in almost every respect.”
“However,” he continued, “we should recognize that the policies of Hamas are more forthcoming and more conducive to a peaceful settlement than those of the United States or Israel. So to repeat: the policies, in my view, are unacceptable, but preferable to the policies of the United States and Israel.