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Voices of the Middle East and North Africa - November 27, 2013 at 7:00pm

Voices of the Middle East and North Africa, for November 27, 2013 - 7:00pm

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Chomsky says that the US

Chomsky says that the US president stood up to congress against allowing Israeli sale of weapons to China, and that is proof that Israel doesn't control the US. But if congress is willing to do something so obviously counter to the interests of the US, I'm convinced that Israel does control them. Sales of weapons to China is much too extreme to use as an example of how the US handles Israel's influence over our government! Furthermore, Israel would bed down with China and point guns at the US in a heartbeat if it thought China would make a more powerful sponsor. Israel can offer it technical help, and China can shield Israel's ethnic cleansing. That's all they want.

Is Chomsky too old to grock this? He's definitely stuck on that 1967 argument - that the US loves Israel because it defeated Arab countries that have oil, and NOT because it loves zionist lighter-skinned good-old-boys, many of which live in the US. This is also not proof of anything. People did not suddenly fall in love with zionism one day (as Chomsky makes it sound like), and though the US absolutely wanted control of oil, the current situation is that those countries are buddies of the US, their dictators are propped up by the US, and they are buddies with Israel, too. The only ones that aren't are the ones we hate. 1967 was over long ago.

If Chomsky wants to call me a hypocrite for supporting BDS, he can go wild with it! But we can rightly call the supporters of apartheid and ethnic cleansing what they are: racist, genocidal, supremacists, war criminals, colonizers, and zionists. Palestinians calling for BDS are not hypocrites, and if I want to stand up to the US war crimes too, I have to stand up against the very lobby that Chomsky claims isn't all that powerful. BDS is one good tool for that too!

Your interview with Noam

Your interview with Noam Chomsky was revealing. He appeared testy in response to your questioning "ethnic loyalty", which in my opinion touches a raw nerve among European Jews because it forces them to confront a serious contradiction in their thinking. First, however, I must take issue with your assumption that Jews are an ethnic group. They are no more an ethnic group than are Muslims or Christians. Judaism is a religion, but European Jews have constructed the myth that they are, somehow a race or an ethnic group.

First of all, race is a non-scientific term, a fantasy. Whenever, European Jews are criticized they resort to the rallying cry of "anti-Semitism"; it is questionable if European Jews are Semitic. Certainly, the Palestinians are, so are the Arabs, and the Ethiopians. Considering the treatment of Palestinians by European Jews, and their general attitudes towards Arabs, who is "anti-Semitic"? I lived in Ethiopia during the '80s and met Ethiopian Jews. They have very little in common with European Jews in terms of ethnicity. They didn't speak Yiddish, or even Hebrew. They don't eat the same foods, or sing the same songs, yet they are Jews. So what is it that coalesces European Jews into this "ethnic loyalty"? It's nationalism. And nationalism is, in the present era, bourgeois. It's the clarion call of the Jewish bourgeoisie, branded Zionism, and has a profound effect on the Jewish working class.

However, nationalism has two sides: it has a revolutionary side, and a reactionary side. A people struggling against oppression and exploitation may express a revolutionary nationalism, such as the Palestinians against Zionism or African-Americans against political and economic oppression which is manifested as racism. Notwithstanding this, in the final analysis, all nationalism becomes reactionary simply because nationalism, as stated, is the clarion call of bourgeois capitalism, and capitalism is a predatory system that preys on the working class.

The only consistently revolutionary movement is class struggle--worker against capitalist. This class distinction is very difficult to comprehend when a people are struggling against a common enemy who targets both the worker and the capitalist of an oppressed group. It is only after such a movement has become successful that the class differences emerge revealing a new set of contradictions. It's then that nationalism becomes reactionary. Witness South Africa. I think we on the left would make far more progress if we consistently applied a class analysis in trying to understand what is going on. Noam Chomsky is a petty-bourgeois Jewish intellectual who is rife with his own insoluble contradictions as long as he places his Jewishness about the class struggle. In my opinion, he is overrated.

Thank you for the program.

Ray Rouge

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