At any rate, even Chomsky can't seem to bring himself to defend Hezbollah with any passion. His embrace of its leaders just a short time ago seems to have lost its charm. Who knew? Of course, he does manage to blame it all on Israel.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah. Well, he's correct that hundreds of rockets have been fired, and naturally that has to be stopped. But he didn't mention, or maybe at least in this comment, that the rockets were fired after the heavy Israeli attacks against Lebanon, which killed -- well, latest reports, maybe 60 or so people and destroyed a lot of infrastructure. As always, things have precedents, and you have to decide which was the inciting event. In my view, the inciting event in the present case, events, are those that I mentioned -- the constant intense repression; plenty of abductions; plenty of atrocities in Gaza; the steady takeover of the West Bank, which, in effect, if it continues, is just the murder of a nation, the end of Palestine; the abduction on June 24 of the two Gaza civilians; and then the reaction to the abduction of Corporal Shalit. And there's a difference, incidentally, between abduction of civilians and abduction of soldiers. Even international humanitarian law makes that distinction.Not a word, of course, about the Kassams which have been fired on a daily basis from Gaza into Israeli towns, such as Sderot, where one of my best friends lives. Nor the fact that these missiles have been fired for years without a significant Israeli response. Nor the fact that the very presence of Hezbollah on the northern border is a violation of international law and UN Resolution 1559, which has yet to be enforced. International law, it seems, is only of interest to Chomsky when it serves his purposes. Chomsky's breezy dismissal of Iranian involvement in this, despite the use of Iranian missiles by Hezbollah, is hardly surprising. The good professor, as I have noted below, seems determined to allow Iran the time to develop nuclear weapons whatever the cost. Chomsky's denials regarding the Iran-Syra connection are especially fascinating, since this connection is common knowledge in Lebanon and the Arab world at large. The only groups, in fact, who are bothering to deny it are Iran, Syria, and the Western left. Chomsky appears to abrogate to himself the right to engage in pro-Arab propaganda even when it is not pro-Arab, that is, even when the Arab states themselves reject it. No one, it appears, who murders Israelis or Americans can possibly be guilty of anything.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about what that distinction is?
NOAM CHOMSKY: If there's a conflict going on, aside physical war, not in a military conflict going on, abduction -- if soldiers are captured, they are to be treated humanely. But it is not a crime at the level of capture of civilians and bringing them across the border into your own country. That's a serious crime.
And that's the one that's not reported. And, in fact, remember that -- I mean, I don't have to tell you that there are constant attacks going on in Gaza, which is basically a prison, huge prison, under constant attack all the time: economic strangulation, military attack, assassinations, and so on. In comparison with that, abduction of a soldier, whatever one thinks about it, doesn't rank high in the scale of atrocities.
One must assume that Chomsky is citing the instance of kidnapping civilians to refer to Israel's Hezbollah prisoners. This is apparently, the crime "that's not reported", due no doubt to the extraordinary powers of the Zionist conspiracy. Of course, if Hezbollah's war against Israel is legitimate, as Chomsky claims, then those are prisoners of war and not kidnapped civilians. If Hezbollah's war is not legitimate, than Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and, again, Israel's taking of prisoners is legitimate. To Chomsky, of course, the taking of Hezbollah prisoners is illigitimate because it was done by Israel. When adhering to racist double standards one really ought to have the courage to admit to it and not hide behind facile and cowardly pretensions to a hypocritical universalism.
Chomsky is, of course, correct that abducting civilians is different from abducting soldiers. Abducting soldiers is a casus belli, a case for war. To acknowledge this, "whatever one thinks about it", would, of course, demand that Chomsky acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel's military operations. Including those undertaken before the missile attacks. Attacks which are, since they deliberately target civilians, also a blatant violation of international law. Instead, we must be satisfied, it appears, that, like mass murder on the part of leftist regimes, Chomsky considers abducting soldiers to be "not high on the list of atrocities."
Still, it is telling that despite Chomsky's recent hugs and kisses with the Hezbollah leadership, he spends most of his time talking about Gaza. An issue which is, to say the least, not of great significance at the moment. Perhaps even political evil's foremost apologist has, for the moment, run out of excuses for terrorism and mass murder. Give him some time.