~Noam Chomsky tells US-censored facts of Israel.
Noam Chomsky tells US-censored facts of Israel.
The Sad Truth of apartheid, and the United States as a
Noam Chomsky addressed more than 500 people at Sleeper
Auditorium last night as part of Israeli Apartheid Week.
Photo by Vernon Doucette
World-renowned linguist and U.S. foreign policy critic
Noam Chomsky addressed an audience of about 500 people
at BU last night, lashing out at what he calls Israel.s
"escalating policy of apartheid," which he believes is
in some respects worse than the longtime degradation of
the nonwhite majority in South Africa.
Addressing a supportive crowd at the College of General
Studies Jacob Sleeper Auditorium in his signature fluid
monotone, the 82-year-old Massachusetts Institute of
Technology professor emeritus of linguistics offered a
torrent of factoids, indicting Israel for its actions in
Lebanon, the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and especially
Gaza. The author of dozens of books, including most
recently the upcoming Hopes and Prospects, Chomsky spoke
at the invitation of the BU student group Students for
Justice in Palestine as part of the University.s
first-time participation in Israeli Apartheid Week
(IAW), a series of events held in cities and campuses
across the globe. According to its Web site, prominent
Palestinians, Jewish anti-Zionists, and South Africans
have been at the forefront of the IAW effort to exert
pressure on Israel "to alter its current structure and
practices as an apartheid state."
Under the watchful eye of four University police
officers, the proceedings were calm except for a verbal
altercation during the question-and-answer period
following Chomsky.s talk. Identifying herself as a
"member of the BU community," a woman called out, "You
are distorting the truth!" Several audience members
yelled back, "Shut up," and a woman seated near the
protestor shouted, "We want to hear him, not you."
With references to "slaughter" in Gaza and Israel.s
successful efforts (with U.S. complicity) to quell
protest and expressions of sympathy among Palestinians
in the West Bank, Chomsky returned often to the
apartheid theme. At one point he described Gaza.s living
conditions as being worse than the bantustans, the
so-called homelands of apartheid South Africa. He later
referred to Israel.s actions in sealed-off Gaza as a
campaign of extermination.
His comments were punctuated by his familiar refrain
that the United States and Israel are "rogue states."
With few exceptions, U.S. support of Israel has been
unflagging, he said.
"The world works like the Mafia, and we.re the don,"
Chomsky said. "You do what we say or else." Israel is on
its way to becoming a pariah state, he continued, yet
like South Africa, it receives increasingly lonely U.S.
Chomsky took issue with Israel.s claims of self-defense,
especially in its attacks on Hamas for firing rockets
into Israel. As for Israel.s pretext for its 2006
invasion of Lebanon . the capture of two Israeli
soldiers by Hezbollah . he asserted that "for decades,
Israel has been kidnapping and killing civilians,"
sometimes at sea. "That.s piracy worse than the
Somalis.," he said. And he referred to Israel.s practice
of detaining Palestinian prisoners without formal
charges as "holding hostages." Chomsky added that he
doubts that Mossad, Israel.s intelligence agency, is the
culprit in the recent assassination of Hamas leader
Mahmoud-al-Mabhouh in Dubai. "It was carried out so
unprofessionally, I could.ve carried it out," he said to
Despite his railing against what he sees as a history of
Israeli war crimes and sabotage of peace efforts,
Chomsky ended on a positive note. "Pretty much
everything turns on a change in U.S. policy," he said.
"Those of us inside the United States can influence
policy. No one else can. If any change is going to take
place in Palestine, there will have to be change here.
"It.s hard work," he said in closing, "but it.s