jueves, 5 de noviembre de 2015


Noam Chomsky tuvo la amabilidad de responder a estas preguntas el día 17 de Diciembre de 2012.

Enrique Bocardo: Although we initially agreed to talk about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, reality is pressing now. Newtown’s massacre: 20 children and six adults dead; and President Obama trying to withdraw tears in front of the cameras. I believe Newtown has been so far the fifth mass shooting in 2012 in United States. Reports state that since 1979, 119,079 children and teens have been killed by gun violence:

How many more killings are due to occur in order to break the pattern of US Administration’s indifference to gun violence?

Noam Chomsky: I do not think that “indifference” is quite the right word.  They are afraid to confront the gun lobby, which is so powerful that Congress has been unwilling even to fund an inquiry – an inquiry – into the relation of guns to homicides.  In fact, public opposition to gun control, which was always ridiculously high, has increased sharply over the past 20 years.  By now a majority even oppose a ban on semiautomatic guns or assault rifles, of no conceivable use except for slaughters.  One consequence, revealed in a recent study, is that “the gun murder rate in the U.S. is almost 20 times higher than the next 22 richest and most populous nations combined. Among the world's 23 wealthiest countries, 80 percent of all gun deaths are American deaths and 87 percent of all kids killed by guns are American kids." An immediate reaction to the latest massacre, as usual, is that we need more guns.  The US has by far the highest per capita gun possession, twice as high as the second country, Yemen, where there have been ongoing wars for years.

The real question has to do with the roots of these social pathologies.  As the recent sharp rise in opposition to gun control suggests, a basic reason is fear – in recent years, fear of “terrorism,” engendered by massive propaganda campaigns, much like fear of drugs, of Communists, and much more.  And in some circles, fear of government, not regarded as a government of, by, and for the people, but as an alien threatening force.  And even fear of the US, and more.  The US has been a very frightened country, back to colonial days, perhaps not too surprising in a settler-colonial society founded on extermination of the indigenous population and slavery (which in many ways never ended).   In a society were fear is pervasive, it is not difficult to arouse hysteria over alleged dangers.

There are doubtless other factors, but until these are addressed, it is not unlikely that there will be further massacres, as well as the highest gun-related murder rate in the world.  The only competitor is Mexico, in the grips of a murderous drug war thanks to demand and supply from the US.  The demand is obvious.  The supply is mostly from the US border states, where purchase of guns is ridiculously easy – the states conquered from Mexico in a war of aggression, “occupied Mexico” as I sometime call it when giving talks.

Enrique Bocardo: Massive outcries of sympathy for the dead children in Connecticut, but the dead children of Gaza don’t seem to meet with the same sympathy. Far from crying in front of the cameras, President Obama gave his blessing to Israel from Thailand, after a sustained Israeli bombing that killed five children. There must be then a substantial difference between dead children in Connecticut and in Gaza.

Noam Chomsky: That is another deep-seated social pathology, again going back to the earliest years.  It is illustrated very well by liberal intellectual opinion.  Here is a recent example by columnist Joe Klein, one of many avid enthusiasts for Obama’s global drone assassination campaign.  Asked about the many children who are killed, he answered: “The bottom line, in the end, is: Whose four-year-old gets killed? What we're doing is limiting the possibility that four-year-olds here are going to get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror.”

In short, it is fine to kill children abroad if it might reduce the extremely remote possibility that our children will be harmed by not doing so.  Aside from the incredible moral level of this reaction, it is worth noting the factual absurdity of the claim, which again reflects the hysterical fear that is so pervasive, even in circles where one might expect a touch of sanity.

We should not, however, conclude that other societies have differed notably in lack of concern about what they do to others.

Enrique Bocardo: And yet, given the strong influence both the NRA and the JINSA have on Washington lobbies, the toll of victims, no matter who they are, matters very little. They both seem to be the result of the same pattern.

Noam Chomsky: The roots are deep, and the pathology will not easily be cured.

Enrique Bocardo: Israel Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, was quoted as saying that the goal of the operation was “to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for 40 years”. It seems to be the last rage of violence against Gaza and its people since, as you often has said, the Palestinians voted “the wrong way” in the first free election in the Arab world in January 2006.

Is there any reason to assume that the recent UN resolution of 29 November, 2012 will likely undermine Israel’s will to “go crazy”, particularly when the General Assembly accorded Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations?

Noam Chomsky: On the contrary.  It elicited very explicit warnings that “we will go crazy,” and that is exactly what happened.  The immediate reaction was the announcement of plans to settle the El corridor linking the greatly expanded “Greater Jerusalem,” annexed in violation of Security Council orders, to the town of Ma’aleh Adumim, built mostly under Clinton with the obvious intention of virtually bisecting the West Bank.  Israel has been trying to settle the E1 corridor for many years, but every American president before Obama has barred it – and Israel must follow US orders.  Obama has so far administered only a light tap on the wrist, consistent with his record of unusually strong support for Israeli crimes, which goes back well before he was elected.

Enrique Bocardo: And yet it is not altogether clear that the U.N. General Assembly’s recognition of Palestine as a non-member state on Nov. 29 may work favorably for the Palestinian Authority. The resolution represents some advantages for the Palestinian Authority in International Law. Now the Authority can join the ICC and sign treaties, yet in the long run, it seems it will have to face with two possible outcomes: one, to accept to become a state with temporary border. The other, to allow for the Jordanian option, without Jerusalem, the refugees, or Israel withdrawing to the borders of '67. The end of the Palestinian State in both cases, is it not?

Noam Chomsky: Theoretically, the Palestinian state can bring cases to the ICC, and it might be worth doing so for educational reasons, and also to increase the growing sense in Israel that the country is being isolated and “delegitimized,” which might, someday, lead to policy changes, though there is no sign of that.  But the cases are unlikely to get anywhere.  It is unlikely that the ICC would show enough independence of western power to allow such cases to proceed very far.

If the international consensus on a two-state settlement is not implemented in some form, the likely outcome is a continuation of what Israel is doing right now, with US support: separating the West Bank from Gaza (in violation of the Oslo Agreements), leaving Gaza a prison and guaranteeing that anything that emerges in the West Bank  will have no access to the outside world; and takeover of whatever Israel finds of value in the West Bank, probably 40-50%, including few Palestinians – so not leading to a “demographic problem”.  Palestinians will be left to rot in isolated cantons, with benefits for privileged elites in Ramallah, the standard third world pattern.

Enrique Bocardo: Eventually, as I see things, a clear line should be drawn between those Arab countries willing to accept America’s global power in the area now swept by the Arab Spring and the Palestinian Authority’s legitimate claims.
Do you think that new Obama Administration will be able to reach a sort of -let me put it in these words- compromise between the growing pressure of keeping good terms with, say Egypt, or Syria, and other democratically elected Islamist governments and the alleged “Hamas Illegitimacy” to which both the mainstream media in the United Stated (think, for instance, of a recent New York Times’ Editorial of November 19, 2012) and the Israel lobby repeatedly resort to justify the right Israel claims to have to defend itself?

Noam Chomsky: We can’t really discuss Syria, hurtling towards self-destruction.  In Egypt there have been achievements, but the current state of affairs is chaotic.  As for “legitimacy,” the powerful have their own standards.  Thus in 1988, the Reagan administration designated Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress as one of the more notorious terrorist groups in the world so that Reagan could support the Apartheid regime in its defense against terrorism -- by then, bypassing congressional resolutions that had passed over Reagan’s veto.  Mandela himself remained on the “terrorist list” until about 4 years ago.  In contrast Saddam Hussein was removed from the terrorist list in 1982 so that Washington could support his invasion of Iran (the empty spot was filled by Cuba, the target of more terrorism than any country in the world).  If it were not for the human cost, one could not discuss these performances without laughing.

Enrique Bocardo: Israel, according to The New York Times,  “made it clear it was willing to risk direct intervention to keep weapons and missiles out of Hezbollah’s hands” in the recent strike into Syria; What do you make of it?

Noam Chomsky: What happened remains obscure, but it appears that Israel was blocking the shipment of anti-aircraft defenses to Lebanon.  Israel carries out constant flights over Lebanon, illegal of course, and wants to prevent any impediment to yet another invasion.  As a US client, it can do as it likes.

Enrique Bocardo: Now, sooner o later Iran will be in focus. It has long been considered to be a zero-sum game, yet the International Energy Agency issued a report last August, documenting that Iran has the capability to produce nuclear weapons in a location invulnerable to Israeli attack. Israel’s official position is clear: “There is no situation in which Israel can accept a nuclear Iran”. Iran has supported both Islamic Jihad and Hamas Government  in Gaza, at least until Hamas split with Bashar al-Assad’s regime.  What potential consequences will the Iran crisis likely have for the Palestinian cause?

Noam Chomsky: The IAEA, like US intelligence, has provided no indication that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, or even “nuclear capability,” which many countries have.  But it may be doing so.  There are quite straightforward steps that can be taken to mitigate and perhaps end the threat.  One would be to revive the Teheran agreement of 2010, when Brazil and Turkey, adopting a proposal of Obama’s, reached an agreement with Iran to have low-enriched Uranium stored outside of Iran (in Turkey) while nuclear powers provided Iran’s needs for medical reactors.   As soon as Iran accepted, the US harshly condemned the proposal and rushed through stricter sanctions.  A broader option would be to adopt the call of the Arab states and the non-Aligned Movement to move towards establishing a nuclear weapons-free zone in the region.  An international conference was scheduled in Helsinki for last December to carry these suggestions forward.  In early November, Iran announced that it would attend.   A few days later Obama cancelled the conference.  Virtually none of this is reported in the US, or I suppose western Europe.  If no steps are taken to avoid a crisis, it might lead to a US attack, with consequences that cannot be evaluated but that military and intelligences sources consider to be grim.  The Palestinians are not agents, but once again victims.

Enrique Bocardo: To make the scenario more complicated, we have to take into account Turkey’s unmistaken position towards Israel and its public support to Iran’s  nuclear program. You have just come from a trip to Turkey, if Iran becomes a target, how do you see the role the Turkish Government is meant to play in the crisis?

Noam Chomsky: Turkey’s relations with Iran have been cooling in recent years.  The US, of course, would like Turkey to join with it in its assault against Iran, which has support within Europe but little elsewhere, apart from Arab dictators (not the population).  For the moment Turkey’s position is unclear.