25 October, 2021

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Noam Chomsky: ‘No Individual Changes Anything Alone’

Noam Chomsky is one of the world’s most controversial thinkers. Now 84, he reflects on his life’s work, on current events in Syria and Israel, and on the love of his life – his wife

Read more in the Guardian

‘I grew up during the Depression. People would come to the door trying to sell rags – that was when I was four’ … Noam Chomsky. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

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    A message for American Mama, sparked off by some of Chomsky’s words at Friends House (a place I knew well).

    Last night after a bout of illness I wandered thru ‘back nos.’ of CT. Several ripostes by American Mama to some of my blogs. Wanted to respond to each & everyone in my own words but with some of the kind of ‘evidence’ mama demanded, but was still too tired to blog. Had seen The Guardian’s report of Chomsky’s speech, tho, & thought of tossing THAT to Mama. Surprise, surprise, CT picked it up. Many thanks – great minds, etc… (Of course, mama will complete that aphorism…’never disagree’).

    So, Mama, even if u detest NC, & think these are the mumblings of a tired old man, let present Noam’s take on the sadder but wiser position taken by those Jews who prefer to live with missiles & nukes.

    I see, btw, u accuse me of ‘preaching from behind a computer’. Sorry about the preachy nature, bad form, eh! But how else does one blog but from BAC? …any offers of a flying pulpit?

    One thing you CANT accuse me of, tho, is cowering beneath a pseudonym, which probably at least 90% of people communicating to CT do, incl, yrself. I don’t blame them or criticize them for this. It is an age-old and perfectly acceptable practice. Less, necessary, perhaps, for those who live rather more safely OUT of SL, which, forgive me, if I am wrong, might seem to be the case with you.

    ‘An excerpt from Chomsky’s speech (which I He replied to a question about whether Israel would still exist in 50 years’ time by saying, among other things, that “Israel is following policies which maximise its security threats … policies which choose expansion over security … policies which lead to their moral degradation, their isolation, their delegitimation, as they call it now, and very likely ultimate destruction. That’s not impossible.”‘

    But Chomsky’s mumbling is echoed in a host of statements by still resident Jewish citizens of Israel. I am reminded of the contributions by practising, still Israel-resident (?), Jewish, architects, photographers & journalist to A CIVILIAN OCCUPATION: The Politics of Israeli Architecture, edited by Rafi Segal & Eyal Weizman (2002).
    It was based on their ‘Banned’ Exhibition – selected to be presented in Berlin mid 2002, but prevented from being sent by the Israeli funding committee by the excuse of inadequate funds. In 2007 Weizman’s HOLLOW LAND: ISRAEL’S ARCHITECTURE OF OCCUPATION, was published.

    In case one forgets the ‘original sin’ of setting up the Zionist state in the first place, Israeli historian Shlomo Sand’s THE INVENTION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE (2009), digs this up, along with the new archaeologists.

    These are just a couple of books in the last decade that are part of the new thinking, new apprehension, among (Jewish) Israelis, about their own situation.

    Here is what Gideon Levy (columnist for Ha’aretz) wrote re the illegal hilltop settlements on lands ‘conquered’ in the 1967 war:

    ‘Living by their swords, some 20,000 [a figure of 10 years ago!- MF] crowd into the backyard of their country, risking not only their lives & the lives of their children, but also those of all Israelis who have found themselves caught up in an escalating spiral of violence caused by this settlement craze….the monster that has taken shape over the last 35 years of occupation has long since realized the objective of its creators: it has indeed become the most difficult obstacle along the way to a peace agreement with the Palestinian people. The mere fact that the settlements exist on the land – the last piece of land left as a refuge for the Palestinian after their tragedy in 1948 – transforms every house into an obstacle for peace.’ (A CIVILIAN OCCUPATION, 2002: 169-70).

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    Oh dear, so many typos in my blog to American Mama, but one really bad is giving 20,000 for 200,000!
    The quote should have read:

    ‘Living by their swords, some 200,000
    [a figure of 10 years ago!- MF]
    crowd into the backyard of their country…’

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    Manel Fonseka to your point:

    You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. That’s not defense. Call it what you like it’s not defense.
    – Noam Chomsky 11/18/2012

    You write with great points. NC has been attacked and vilified by Israeli apologists, who are unable to call him an anti semite, because his parents were both zionists, but of course, Jews who condemn and criticize Israel for it’s crimes against Palestinian civilians, and theft of land, water, trees, and even soil, from these unfortunate victims, are called self hating. I must refer you to another wonderful Jewish activists called Miko Peled, son of one the zionist leaders, who speak out rather boldly against the occupation and crimes of Israel.
    I refer to his book “The General’s son” if you have not read it by now.
    Great comments Manel.

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    Well, thank you, Dhaksha (I spose one isnt allowed to know if u are male or female…), for yr appreciation, picking up of a much more telling comment by Chomsky than I managed, & fr the book recommendation.
    I see CT has ‘shoved’ this entry on NC ‘aside’ already, prob no one other than u ‘n me interested!

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      I guess Norm Chomsky is someone who lives far away, and not involved in the dynamics of the current situation in the country. :))

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