Exposing The Myth: "Noam Chomsky Is An Antisemite"

One of our visitors whipped out the following excerpt from an essay by Alan Dershowitz which attempts to defame and discredit Noam Chomsky, the controversial linguist and media theorist, by portraying him as a defender of Holocaust deniers, and thus, subsequently, as an antisemite.

My next encounter with Chomsky revolved around his writing an introduction to a book by an anti-Semite named Robert Faurisson who denied that the Holocaust took place, that Hitler’s gas chambers existed, that the diary of Anne Frank was authentic, and that there were death camps in Nazi occupied Europe. He claimed that the “massive lie” about genocide was a deliberate concoction initiated by “American Zionists” “and that “the Jews” were responsible for World War II. Chomsky described these and other conclusions as “findings” and said that they were based on “extensive historical research.” He also wrote that “I see no anti-Semitic implication in the denial of the existence in gas chambers or even in the denial of the Holocaust.” He said he saw “no hint of anti-Semitic implications in Faurisson’s work,” including his claim that “the Jews” were responsible for World War II. He wrote an introduction to one of Faurisson’s book which was used to market his anti-Semitic lies.

To counter these wilfull distortions on the part of Dershowitz, which have been echoed and re-echoed by Chomsky’s detractors for years-on-end, I offer the following 10 minute segment taken from a three hour documentary about the life and ideas of Noam Chomsky, titled for his book, Manufacturing Consent. The clip deals directly with these allegations. Click here to download (23.2MB, MP4 enc. AVI).
The ACLU has often found itself in a similar position to Chomsky, in this particular case, having defended the rights of neo-Nazi groups and the KKK to rally. Both Chomsky and the ACLU’s positions are none too dissimilar from my own stance with regards to the Jooglebomb affair. As I wrote then, I reiterate now, “In a free and open society, people are entitled to believe what they want, and to express themselves, whether or not their ideas are popular or even sensible […] Censorship is just not an American value, nor, I should hope, should it be considered a Jewish value either.”
Dershowitz, himself, is something of a schizophrenic, and seems to abandon his libertarian values whenever confronted with the intellectual boogeyman of antisemitism. I have here another essay by Dershowitz in which he discounts a court ruling by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, in which Holmes found two anti-war protestors guilty of essentially “shouting fire in a crowded theatre,” by having distributed pascifist propaganda to military inductees.
It’s odd, but in Chomsky’s case, Dershowitz is employing the same faulty logic which he condemns Holmes for—and by extension, at that. Dershowitz seems to equate the publication of revisionist literature with “shouting fire in a crowded theatre,” suggesting that, if such “antisemitic lies” were permitted to be published, it would encourage some sort of violent backlash against Jewish people, or some other ill tragedy to that effect. He thus implies that Chomsky is complicit in this “crime,” by defending the revisionist’s right to publish his research. Yet Dershowitz writes, “Most Americans do not respond to political rhetoric with the same kind of automatic acceptance expected of schoolchildren responding to a fire drill. Not a single recipient of [the anti-war] pamphlet is known to have changed his mind after reading it.” So what makes Dershowitz seem so ready to believe that the publication of a book of revisionist history is going to give rise to a second Holocaust?
My guess? Cultural paranoia. After 2,000 years of pogroms, you can’t blame Jews for being paranoid. But paranoia is a dicey companion, no matter the ethnic or religious background of whomever chooses to entertain its company. When it crosses the threshold of reason into the realm of hysteria, people become desperate and consumed. It is in those times that they make often rash and illogical decisions. Because it is an outgrowth of reasonable concerns, when one’s hysteria is brought into question they often devolve into unreasonable, self-righteous behavior in defense of their indefensible positions. It is in those times that their actions become most extreme and dangerous. In scenarios such as this, the danger becomes posed to civil liberties—in particular, here, the fundamental right of free speech. And so, the marginalization of Noam Chomsky by the Jewish establishment (as exemplified by Dershowitz’s essay and the various footage in the clip above) appears to be a succint demonstration of this hysterical response, as was the initial call to silence Faurisson itself (which prompted Chomsky’s involvement), and, likewise, more recently, the reaction towards The Passion, the call to remove Jew Watch from Google, the firing of Jillian Redford, and the drafting of bills HR 3077 and HR 4230.
When we resort to means such as censorship, we effectively lose our moral “high-ground” and come to embody ourselves the very things we decry in others. Chomsky puts this in much more potent terms, quoted at the end of the film segment: “It is a poor serivce to the memory of the victims of the holocaust to adopt a central doctrine of their murderers.” It’s a hard pill to swallow, yes, but this statement should not be misconstrued as an attack on the Jewish people. Rather, I believe, it is the concern of an extraordinarily ethical Jewish man, who is hopelessly trying to talk some sense into his terribly hysterical people. For this he should be admired, and not condemned.

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