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Noam Chomsky: America's Support for Israel Underwrites Human Atrocities in Gaza

The scholar says that a shift in America's opinion could make a difference surrounding the occupation.
 
 
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In an interview with Democracy Now!, the renowned political dissident and linguist Noam Chomsky criticized the U.S. media coverage of the Israeli assault on Gaza. "It’s a shameful moment for U.S. media when it insists on being subservient to the grotesque propaganda agencies of a violent, aggressive state," he says.  Chomsky also discusses his long-standing view that popular pressure at home is critical to ending the U.S. government’s backing for Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. "The United States continues to provide the critical, decisive support for the atrocities," he says. "Sooner or later, it’s possible—and that’s really up to us—that domestic pressure will compel the U.S. government to join the world on this issue. That will be a decisive change."

Below is a video interview with Chomsky, followed by a transcript:

AMY GOODMAN: As a new 72-hour truce in Gaza appears to be holding, we turn now to part two of our interview with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist and Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than 50 years. He’s authored over a hundred books, including, most recently, Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians, which he wrote with Professor Ilan Pappé. I spoke to Noam Chomsky on Thursday, in the middle of the initial 72-hours ceasefire. I started by asking him about U.S. media coverage of the conflict by playing him a clip from a recent CBS Face the Nation show with host Bob Schieffer.

BOB SCHIEFFER: In the Middle East, the Palestinian people find themselves in the grip of a terrorist group that is embarked on a strategy to get its own children killed in order to build sympathy for its cause—a strategy that might actually be working, at least in some quarters. Last week I found a quote of many years ago by Golda Meir, one of Israel’s early leaders, which might have been said yesterday: "We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children," she said, "but we can never forgive them for forcing us to kill their children."

AMY GOODMAN: That was CBS journalist Bob Schieffer. Noam Chomsky, can you respond?

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, we don’t really have to listen to CBS, because we can listen directly to the Israeli propaganda agencies, which he’s quoting. It’s a shameful moment for U.S. media when it insists on being subservient to the grotesque propaganda agencies of a violent, aggressive state. As for the comment itself, the Israel comment which he—propaganda comment which he quoted, I guess maybe the best comment about that was made by the great Israeli journalist Amira Hass, who just described it as "sadism masked as compassion." That’s about the right characterization.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to also ask you about the U.N.’s role and the U.S.—vis-à-vis, as well, the United States. This is the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, criticizing the U.S. for its role in the Israeli assault on Gaza.

NAVI PILLAY: They have not only provided the heavy weaponry, which is now being used by Israel in Gaza, but they’ve also provided almost $1 billion in providing the Iron Domes to protect Israelis from the rocket attacks, but no such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling. So I am reminding the United States that it’s a party to international humanitarian law and human rights law.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner or human rights. Noam, on Friday, this was the point where the death toll for Palestinians had exceeded Operation Cast Lead; it had passed 1,400. President Obama was in the White House, and he held a news conference. He didn’t raise the issue of Gaza in the news conference, but he was immediately asked about Gaza, and he talked about—he reaffirmed the U.S. support for Israel, said that the resupply of ammunition was happening, that the $220 million would be going for an expanded Iron Dome.

 
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