January 6, 2005
The Chomsky FileBy Rachel Neuwirth
Noam Chomsky, long—time Professor of Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an idol of leftist academics and journalists everywhere, has created hundreds of anti—Israel books, articles, recorded interviews and lectures—all his own. Chomsky repeats every distortion and libel directed against the Jewish state that has appeared in Arab, Western, and 'pro—peace' Israeli publications, to which he adds some conspiracy theories of his own devising. Chomsky portrays Israel as a racist state that has driven the Palestinian Arabs from their homes, seized their land, reduced them to slavery, tortured and murdered them and discriminated against them in every imaginable way. In his vision, Israel is an agent of American imperialism, doing the U.S.'s dirty work for it in the Middle East and around the world.
Chomsky, who is the son of a Hebrew teacher, vehemently denies being an anti—Semite. He accuses Israel and its supporters in the U.S. (the Anti—Defamation League is a particular object of Chomsky's bile), of accusing anyone who criticizes Israel in any way of being an anti—Semite. Worse, Israel and its supporters constantly exploit the Holocaust as a means of creating sympathy for Israel and its aggressive, imperialist actions. Chomsky represents himself as the victim of false charges of anti—Semitism by these Zionist propagandists intent on discrediting him.
In line with his denial of anti—Jewish intentions, Chomsky is usually careful to avoid overt attacks on the Jewish people collectively, or Judaism per se, in the material that he publishes under his own name, although he never has anything good to say about them, either. However, he has devised ways of assisting more overt anti—Semites to get their message across to a wider public, without ever quite saying in so many words that he agrees with their anti—Jewish rantings. The most effective of these tools has been the bestowal of his 'heksher,' (a kosher seal of approval) on such overtly anti—Semitic writers, which confers on them a degree of legitimacy with the left—leaning, 'progressive' intellectual public that idolizes Chomsky.
For example, Chomsky is author of the preface to a book by the notorious French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson, one of several in which Faurisson claims that Jewish organizations fabricated the Holocaust in order to extort war reparations from Germany and to build international sympathy for the creation of a Jewish state:
'The alleged gassing and the alleged genocide of Jews are part of the same historical lie which has been the basis of a huge political and financial swindle of which the principle beneficiaries are the State of Israel and principal victims the German people, not its leaders, and the Palestinian people,' as Faurisson puts it .
While Chomsky's preface does not specifically endorse Faurisson's thesis, neither does it criticize or repudiate it. In addition, Chomsky denies that Faurisson is an anti—Semite, and instead characterizes him as 'a relatively apolitical liberal of some type.' Shortly thereafter Chomsky went so far as to claim, in private correspondence with the Australian journalist William Rubenstein, that he saw nothing anti—Semitic about Holocaust denial:
'I see no anti—Semitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the holocaust. Nor would there be anti—Semitic implications, per se, in the claim that the holocaust (whether one believes it took place or not) is being exploited, viciously so, by apologists for Israeli repression and violence. I see no hint of anti—Semitic implications in Faurisson's work...' 
Chomsky, then, sees nothing wrong with denying that the worst crime in human history ever occurred. What strikes him as 'vicious' is that this horrendous atrocity should be used to generate sympathy for Israel.
'Dr. Robert Faurisson has served as a respected professor of twentieth—century French literature and document criticism for over four years at the University of Lyon—2 in France. Since 1974 he has been conducting extensive historical research into the 'Holocaust' question. Since he began making his findings public, Professor Faurisson has been subject to a vicious campaign of harassment, intimidation, slander and physical violence in a crude attempt to silence him. Fearful officials have even tried to stop him from further research by denying him access to public libraries and archives. We strongly protest these efforts to deprive Professor Faurisson of his freedom of speech and expression, and we condemn the shameful campaign to silence him'
Chomsky later claimed that this petition was 'quite neutral' about the accuracy of Faurisson's 'findings.' But the tone of it at least implies that Faurisson has discovered some great truth, through an honest and professional inquiry, which powerful people are attempting to suppress. In the course of the controversy over his support for Faurisson, Chomsky also conferred his 'heksher' on Faurisson's publishers, Serge Thion and Pierre Guillaume, who are both prolific holocaust—deniers in their own right. According to Chomsky, Thion is 'a libertarian socialist scholar with a record of opposition to all forms of totalitarianism,' while he describes Guillaume as 'libertarian and antifascist on principle.' 
Chomsky also wrote what Werner Cohn describes as 'an enthusiastic endorsement, right on its cover, ' of a book by the late Hebrew University professor Israel Shahak (yet another Jewish anti—Semite) which attacks the Jewish religion as such as inherently racist.  Shahak is especially harsh in his attacks on the Talmud — a traditional target of anti—Semites for centuries. The publisher of the book, Noontide Press, a neo—Nazi outfit, summarizes Shahak's magnum opus this way in its catalog advertisement:
This stunning, powerful work, with a foreword by Gore Vidal, is essential reading for anyone interested in the eternally vexing 'Jewish question. Drawing on a masterly study of the Jewish Talmud and rabbinical laws, Shahak brilliantly traces the long Jewish record of vicious hostility toward non—Jews, and particularly against Christianity. He reveals the destructive role Jews have played throughout history on behalf of tyrannical rulers. Written by a Polish—born Jew and 'Holocaust survivor' who spent his childhood in the wartime Warsaw ghetto and the Belsen concentration camp. After moving to Palestine in 1945, he worked for years as a Professor of Organic Chemistry. MIT professor Noam Chomsky calls Shahak 'an outstanding scholar, with remarkable insight and depth of knowledge,' and praises his work as 'informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.' Deeply probing the roots of Jewish chauvinism and arrogant hostility toward non—Jews, Shahak shows how Jews are encouraged to regard non—Jews as spiritually and morally unclean subhumans. As a result, warns Shahak, 'Israel as a Jewish state constitutes a danger not only to itself and its inhabitants, but all Jews, and to all other peoples and states in the Middle East and beyond.'
'an outstanding scholar, with remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.'
Chomsky also gave a joint lecture appearance with Shahak at M.I.T. on November 3, 1994, around the same time that Jewish History was going to press. The announced theme of the lecture was 'Jewish Fundamentalism.' An outfit called Radio Free Maine distributes an audio—video recording of this performance. I don't have a complete transcript of what the speakers said on this occasion, but RFM does have a free summary on its website that is very revealing:
Both Chomsky and Shahak spoke at length about the appalling crimes supposedly committed by Israel against the innocent Palestinians, as they both had been doing for over 25 years. During the question period, however, Shahak moved on to his broader attack on Judaism and 'Jewish tradition:' In the question period, Professor Shahak makes a telling comment on Fiddler on the Roof, the musical based on the book by the Jewish writer Shalom Aleichem. Professor Shahak sees Jewish tradition as standing in contradiction to democratic society, as indeed did the author Aleichem in his incessant ridicule of Jewish tradition in many of his writings, In Hollywood style, of course, the musical has turned the issue on its head and the playwrights would have us, the audience, revel in Jewish tradition. Aside from the entertaining music of this hit, the writer of this review has long viewed it as a clever bit of propaganda for the Jewish nationalist cause which has been so costly in human lives. Jewish people can and do joke about the duplicity of Jewish fundamentalism and this deception that beguiles the Gentile world. To illustrate, Professor Shahak retells the well—known Jewish joke: Some Jews don't believe God exists, but they do believe that God gave them the land' (')
Depends on what level of response you have in mind. If you are asking whether I agree with the content of the few remarks of his that were reported widely and enthusiastically (e.g., Jews rule the world, etc.), then the answer we already both know: obviously not, and the comments are outrageous. But what has been featured in the media is only a fraction of the story, as has been discussed by more honest commentators in the mainstream, Paul Krugman particularly, sometimes others. Mahathir's comments were marginal to a bitter attack on Islamists who have blocked intellectual, moral, uneconomic progress. That was the main thrust of his comments, as often before, and whatever one thinks of him (a complex matter), he should be applauded for that. The Islamic world badly needs that kind of criticism. And as others have correctly pointed out, Mahathir lacks credibility within these circles (which are very powerful within Malaysia) because of his own tenuous relations with Islam. So it may well be . . .. comments on world Jewry on which Western ideologists fixated with great joy (ignoring the context) were basically 'throwing red meat' to the constituency, as when people in public life in the US (since Carter) pretend to be devout Christians or ostentatiously shoot pheasants (greatly impressing the press), whatever they may think in private. The 'great joy' has to do with the enormous effort, which goes back over 30 years, to seek somewhere signs of anti—Semitism. There is quite an industry devoted to hat task among intellectuals, something I wrote about almost 35 years ago (some of it recently reprinted), and flourishing today. That's one of the techniques that was devised to undermine activist elements of the left, and the more vulgar and grotesque practitioners of the art (like Irving Howe) are greatly honored for these performances . . . That's a very useful picture for ideological fanatics in the US, and it is interesting that this intriguing conception is featured in the more liberal of the foreign policy journals, and probably believed by many of the readers, for whom it is a very welcome message, as similar fabrications have been since the 60s. In the case of Mahathir, it wasn't fabricated, though it is very likely that the standard image was seriously distorted. 
In other words, it is of no importance that the Prime Minister of a major Muslim country is an open and avowed anti—Semite, and that his anti—Semitic remarks were applauded by high—ranking politicians and officials from throughout the Islamic world. For Chomsky, all that matters is that calling attention to anti—Semitism 'undermine[s] activist elements of the left.' Consequently, anyone who calls attention to anti—Semitism is a right—wing conspirator. By implication, all good 'progressives' should ignore or deny anti—Semitism — which is exactly what Chomsky does. Note also Chomsky's assumption that anti—Semitism is 'red meat' that Islamic leaders throw to their eagerly devouring public—a state of affairs that Chomsky does not criticize in any way, but rather takes for granted as the norm in that part of the world.
Our leftist guru has also assisted anti—Semitic organizations, some of them on the extreme right end of the spectrum, in another, even quieter way, by allowing them to publish or disseminate his books, articles and recordings. Noontide Press, the book—publishing arm of the Holocaust—denying and overtly anti—Semitic, pro—Nazi organization the Institute of Historical Review, has brought out an addition of Chomsky's book The Fateful Triangle, one of his more extended attacks on Israel and Zionism. Noontide advertises on its current online catalog two audio lecture presentations by Chomsky, 'The Middle East Crisis and the Threat of Nuclear War: Parts 1 & 2,' that are sustained verbal assaults on Israel. The Journal of Historical Review, a 'scholarly' periodical organ of the IHR that specializes in Holocaust—denial, published an article by Chomsky entitled ' All Denials of Free Speech Undercut a Democratic Society' in its Spring 1986 issue; it is still available online at the Institute for Historical Review website.
Even more bizarre is the Chomskian presence on the website which commemorates the British Union of Fascists, Britain's pre—World War II fascist organization, and its founder, Oswald Mosley. Among the free books for downloading advertised on this site, along with the collected works and autobiography of Oswald Mosley, is an article by Noam Chomsky, entitled 'What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream?" The site also uses a quotation from Chomsky as the masthead for a reprint of a 1947 article about 'Atrocities' by Mosley himself, which protests the unfairness of the Nuremberg trials. The quotation from Chairman Noam reads,
'If the Nuremberg laws were applied today, then every Post—War American president would have to be hanged.'
At one time, this avowedly fascist site also contained an admiring article about Chomsky, entitled 'Noam Chomsky's Search For The Truth.' It commends Chomsky for his role as a 'patron' of the Holocaust—denial ('revisionist') movement, and his endorsement of Israel Shahak's tirades against Judaism. According to Chomsky's unnamed cheerleader,
'Chomsky's opposition to organized Jewry, particularly the Zionist variety is on a more erudite level. He can balance Left and Right and appeal to both in his condemnation of both Israel and America and his belief that the Jewish religion is anti—social. His is a rejection of dogma and a moral courage that secures he is taken seriously by everyone'
Saving the business of these Holocaust—denying publishers, and enabling them to bring out Holocaust—denying 'scholarship,' must surely have helped in a very tangible way to re—legitimate anti—Semitism in France. We are seeing the results of this legitimization in the growing violence against French Jews today.
It is true that Chomsky cannot prevent people from quoting from his works. He cannot even prevent them from publishing sycophantic praise of him. But American law and the laws of most democratic countries make it illegal to publish or distribute entire articles, recordings, chapters of books, etc. without the consent of the author. As a result, it is hard to see how so many anti—Semitic and extreme—right—wing organizations (I have identified only a few of them here) could be disseminating Chomsky's writings and speeches without his consent. And why would he give his consent to anti—Semites' exploiting his reputation and respectability in liberal and academic circles to legitimate themselves by association?
Then there is the question of money. While some anti—Semitic organizations give away Chomsky's writings for free, at least two, the Noontide Press and the Guillaume—Thion partnership (which operates through a number of publisher's imprints), have marketed Chomsky publications, thereby helping to raise the money needed to publish more overtly anti—Jewish materials. Why does Chomsky help to finance these enterprises through his publishing—rights patronage?
While Chomsky usually avoids invoking overtly anti—Jewish stereotypes in his own writings, preferring to legitimate others who do so, sometimes he lets down his guard. In a column in the leftist media criticism magazine The Lies of Our Times, published on January 1, 1990, Chomsky wrote that
'the Jews do not merit a 'second homeland' because they already have New York, with a huge Jewish population, Jewish—run media, a Jewish mayor, and domination of cultural and economic life.'
And in a more recent published interview entitled 'Anti—Semitism, Zionism and the Palestinians,' Chomsky says that
'By now Jews in the US are the most privileged and influential part of the population . . .. Anti—Semitism is no longer a problem, fortunately. It's raised, but it's raised because privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98% control. That's why anti—Semitism is becoming an issue. Not because of the threat of anti—Semitism; they want to make sure there's no critical look at the policies the US (and they themselves) support in the Middle East . . .. We should bear it in mind when there's talk in the US about anti—Semitism.'
Claims that Jews 'the most privileged and influential part of the population' and that they seek 'total control,' are of course at the center of most anti—Semitic discourse over the past one hundred and fifty years. They are the central ideas of the notorious anti—Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. A little later in the same interview, a propos of nothing in particular, Chomsky remarks,
'the Hebrew press is much more open than the English language press, and there's a very obvious reason: Hebrew is a secret language, you only read it if you're inside the tribe. Like most cultures it's a tribal culture. I don't want to exaggerate, but the English translations on the Internet are very revealing and very interesting.'
The idea that Jews conspire in secret is of course also central to anti—Semitic mythology. It is the exact reverse of the truth: Israel is the most open society in the world. There is no alleged wrongdoing by the Israeli government that Israelis fail to report themselves, both in their own press and to the foreign media.
However vehemently Chomsky denies his anti—Semitism, whatever pains he takes to conceal it behind the veil of anti—Zionism and anti—Israelism, we have to look the facts in the face. He constantly denounces a Jewish institution that represents millions of Jews, on which the lives of millions of Jews, perhaps all Jews, are dependent, as evil and vicious. He has had many opportunities to denounce anti—Semitism and anti—Semites, but has consistently failed to do so. And he has given assistance and comfort to anti—Semites, both covertly and not so covertly. Chomsky's numerous admirers may regard him as a courageous voice for justice, progress, morality, and truth. But surely anti—Semitism, when called by any other name, smells just as foul.
John Landau, contributed research and reporting to this article
 W. D. Rubinstein, 'Chomsky and the Neo—Nazis,' Quadrant [Australia], October 1981, pp. 8—14. A reply by Chomsky and a rebuttal by Rubinstein are published in the April 1982 issue of the same journal. See Noam Chomsky, Search for the Truth, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faurisson_Affair, and http://www.wernercohn.com/Chomsky.html for Chomsky's comments.
 Chomsky's article 'His Right to Say It,' and http://www.anti—rev.org/textes/VidalNaquet92b/, Pierre Vidal—Naquet, 'On Faurisson and Chomsky' in Assassins of Memory [NY: Columbia University Press 1992], quoting Chomsky's letter in the Village Voice of March 18,1986, p. 7).
 Jewish History, Jewish Religion. The Weight of Three Thousand Years. by Israel Shahak. Foreword by Gore Vidal. Pluto Press, London and Boulder, Colorado. 1994. See review by Werner Cohn, http://www.wernercohn.com/Shahak.html.
 See http://vho.org/aaargh/fran/chomsky/PGmisaupoint.html for Guillaume's first—hand account in French; also summaries are available from Werner Cohn, www.wernercohn.com/Chomsky.html—101k, http://www.mega.nu/ampp/cohn_on_chomsky_intro.html, and http://www.wernercohn.com/Chomskydocs.html.
Sources Cited in "The Chomsky File: Self—Portrait of an Anti—Semite"