Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Noam Chomsky on Stephen Hawking's Withdrawal from the Israeli Presidential Conference

I asked Noam Chomsky if he had anything to say about Stephen Hawking's withdrawal from the Israeli Presidential Conference. Here's his reply:

Noam Chomsky: "I don't have anything particular to say about it. I signed on to a letter to Hawking by several British academics. Do things like that all the time. Issue is simple. It wasn't an academic conference. Rather, a nationalist conference featuring several war criminals. I personally wouldn't attend anything like that in any country."

Let's take a look at his assertions:

"Not an academic conference": He's right, it isn't. It is indeed a nationalistic conference (I'll explain the significance of that in a minute.)

"War criminals": Looking over the list of speakers, I'm seeing Mossad and Military intelligence officials (like this guy), and of course Shimon Peres himself, who hosts the whole thing (he ain't no angel.) Chomsky's got a point there.

Despite misleading headlines and general hysterics, all Chomsky did was sign a letter (obviously, his name carries weight; but it's still just a signature.) He didn't "lobby" Hawking or "push" him, etc., as is being claimed/insinuated.

And to counter the bullshit: Chomsky doesn't even support an academic boycott of Israel, last I checked. In other words, had it actually been an academic (as opposed to a nationalist) conference, he probably wouldn't be against it.

He does, however, support boycotting firms involved in the occupation of Palestine (especially US firms.) A general boycott of Israel, he says, is not only hypocritical (why not boycott the US, then? It's involved in much greater crimes) but possibly antisemitic. Observe:

Why doesn't the media explain this stuff? It's not hard to find out.

Oh, yeah: because they suck.