Posted by: University of Mississippi | April 5, 2009

Noam Chomsky Interview | April 3rd, 2009

Excerpts from today’s headline story in Democracy Now:
“Noam Chomsky on US Expansion of Afghan Occupation, the Uses of NATO, and What Obama Should Do in Israel-Palestine”

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus at MIT, author of more than a hundred books on US foreign and domestic policy… Can you talk about [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and what you see coming up?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Now, what’s Israel’s commitment to the road map? [Netanyahu] knows very well. The road map is the famous decision of the Quartet—US, Europe, Russia and the United Nations. A couple years ago, it sort of laid out vague plans for what ought to be done. It’s worth looking at them. But put that aside, because really it doesn’t matter, because as soon as the road map came out, Israel formally accepted it and instantly added fourteen reservations, which completely eviscerated it…

In effect, Israel said, “We’ll sign the road map, but we’re not going to observe it, because here’s the conditions.” So, for example, the condition—one condition is that nothing can happen until the Palestinians end, of course, all violence, but also all incitement, so anything critical of Israel. On the other hand, it added, nothing can stop Israel from carrying out violence and incitement. It was explicit, approximately those words. And so it continues. There can be no discussion of the existence of settlements, in fact, no discussion of anything that matters. That’s the road map. Now, the US supported that. That means both the US and Israel reject the road map. And Lieberman’s statement yesterday is, well, that’s our only commitment. You know, if we had a functioning media, those would be the headlines.

And there’s much more to this. You know, President Obama appointed a Middle East emissary, George Mitchell, who’s a reasonable choice if he’s allowed to do anything. So far, he’s only allowed to listen to almost everyone, not everyone. For example, he’s not allowed to listen to the elected government in Palestine, the Hamas-led government. Well, it would be hard to listen to them, because half of them are in Israeli prisons, but nevertheless, you know, they have voices. For example, they’ve supported the call for a two-state settlement that the United States and Israel have rejected. So they’ve joined the world on that.

But why are we not allowed to listen to Hamas? Well, because they don’t meet three conditions that were established. One is, they have to accept the road map, which we and Israel reject, but they have to accept it, otherwise we can’t allow them into the civilized world. The other is, they have to renounce violence. Well, we don’t have to discuss the question whether the United States and Israel renounce violence, so we can put that aside. Third, they have to recognize Israel, but, of course, we don’t have to recognize Palestine, nor does Israel. So they have to meet three conditions that we don’t meet and that Israel doesn’t meet. But again, that passes without comment.

 

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think President Obama’s role should be right now? What do you think would be the most effective action he could take?

NOAM CHOMSKY: He should join the world. There has been an overwhelming international consensus for over thirty years. It was made explicit in January 1976, when the Arab states brought a resolution to the Security Council calling for the establishment of two states on the international border, which indeed the international border, up until then, was recognized by the United States. It means the pre-June ’67 border. And official US terminology, when it was still part of the world in the late ’60s, was “with minor and mutual modifications,” so maybe straighten out some curves. Almost the entire world agrees with this. It has been blocked by the United States. The United States vetoed that resolution. It vetoed a similar one in 1980. I won’t run through the record, but it’s essentially the same up ’til now.

 

To read the rest of this interview or watch the video broadcast, click here.

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