Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Cherniak vs. Chomsky

In another slagging debate about Robert McClelland of My Blahg

Jason Cherniak says the following;
... I think (assume) he means the extreme left. People who follow the likes of Chomsky.

So I said:
"I think (assume) he means the extreme left. People who follow the likes of Chomsky." Once again Cherniak you are equating principled anti-Zionism/Anti-statism with antisemitism, as usual with you a cheap shot.

Then he said:
Jason Cherniak said...

Eugene, Chomsky is a Holocaust denier.

This is not factual it is an old slander from the right wing much like this one;Red Baiting Chomsky

"I have always supported a Jewish ethnic homeland in Palestine. That is different from a Jewish state. There's a strong case to be made for an ethnic homeland, but as to whether there should be a Jewish state, or a Muslim state, or a Christian state, or a white state — that's entirely another matter." Noam Chomsky

You have said you see a "hint of anti-Semitic implications" in the work of Robert Faurisson, the notorious French Holocaust denier. Is Jew-baiting merely a hobby of yours, or is it vocational? LAURENCE COLE, KENT

The facts and the principle have been spelled out dozens of times since 1980 (so it is a bit boring), but once again, briefly.

The last time I had anything to do with this affair, Faurisson was accused of raising questions about gas chambers. Several years later, he was tried and sentenced for "Falsification of History", but there was no charge of Holocaust denial or anti-Semitism (according to Le Monde). The only issue concerning my connection with this sordid affair is whether we should adopt the Goebbels-Zhdanov doctrine that the State has the right to determine Historical Truth and punish deviation from it. As I wrote then, and am happy to repeat, it is a gross insult to the memory of victims of the Holocaust to adopt the doctrines of their murderers. The remark you are misrepresenting is from a personal letter - an interesting source. It reviewed the facts and went on to point out that even denial of huge atrocities would not in itself be evidence for racism, giving a few of the many examples. Thus neither you, nor I, conclude that Americans are vicious racists because they estimate Vietnamese deaths at about 5 per cent of the official figure, or because for centuries even scholarship vastly understated the scale and character of the destruction of the indigenous population. The point generalises to England and others, of course. There can be many reasons for denying horrendous crimes, even in the cases that are the most serious on moral grounds: our own. One special case - purely hypothetical in this personal correspondence - was that denial of the Holocaust would not establish anti-Semitism, for exactly the same reasons.

Cherniak is a Zionist
. As I have pointed out before Zionism is just another right wing nationalist ideology. Being Jewish is irrelevant to his defense of Zionism and Israel. Just as it is for his pal Warren Kinsella who is not Jewish but defends Zionism and the 'State' of Israel.

Cherniak is a politically a right wing statist and a nationalist. Being a Liberal he is also a statist when it comes to the Canadian State. And as I have pointed out before he is a right winger when it comes to progressive left issues in Canada.

He hates the left and he hates the anti-statist left especially. And he despises and disparages the Jewish Left, especially those who do not equate Israel and
Zionism with being Jewish and do not equate Anti-Zionism with knee jerk painting of ones opponents as Anti-Semites.

With regard to anti-Semitism, the distinguished Israeli statesman Abba Eban pointed out the main task of Israeli propaganda (they would call it exclamation, what's called 'propaganda' when others do it) is to make it clear to the world there's no difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. By anti-Zionism he meant criticisms of the current policies of the State of Israel. So there's no difference between criticism of policies of the State of Israel and anti-Semitism, because if he can establish 'that' then he can undercut all criticism by invoking the Nazis and that will silence people. We should bear it in mind when there's talk in the US about anti-Semitism. Noam Chomsky

Being Jewish is all for Cherniak, yet like many Jews his roots like Chomsky's are in the Slavic community, Cherniak being a common Russian/Ukrainian last name.

Chomsky was born in the East Oak Lane neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Hebrew scholar and IWW member William Chomsky, who was from a town in Ukraine. His mother, Elsie Chomsky (born Simonofsky), came from what is now Belarus, but unlike her husband she grew up in the United States and spoke "ordinary New York English".

But Cherniak never embraces this aspect of his cultural heritage. When I first read his Blog I considered Cherniak a fellow honky, as in Bohunk, that self depreciating racist epithet used for Ukrainians, Hungarians and Poles. The fact is that in the North American Diaspora one can be both, a honky and a Jew.

By emphasizing his Jewish roots and denying his Slavic ones
he is selective in his cultural identity. In defining himself as a Jewish Nationalist a Zionist, hence a right winger he has made a political decision and a statement of his realpoliticks.

He has made his Jewishness a political fetish.One with which he uses to bash other Jews to his left. Depreciating them as crazy, nuts, etc.

His Zionism is anti-semitic, he hates Jews who disagree with him with a passion. Hence his specific attack on Chomsky. He posted his canard and link to a right wing anti-Chomsky blog because he wants to discredit Chomsky while avoiding arguing about Chomsky's politics; anarchism.

What makes Mr. Chomsky unique is that his criticism of the capitalist economic order takes its point of departure from the classical liberal thinkers of the Enlightenment. His heroes are not Lenin and Marx but Adam Smith and Wilhelm von Humboldt. He argues that the free market envisaged by these thinkers has never materialized in the world and that what we have gotten instead is a collusion of the state with private interests. Moreover he has repeatedly stressed that the attacks on democracy and the market by the big multinationals go hand-in-hand. The rich, he claims, echoing Adam Smith, are too keen to preach the benefits of market discipline to the poor while they reserve for themselves the right to be bailed out by the state whenever the going gets rough. As he puts it : “The free market is socialism for the rich. Markets for the poor and state protection for the rich.” He has spoken positively about the work of Peruvian liberal economist Hernando De Soto who sees the problem of poverty in the Third World as being related to the fact that the poor usually lack clearly defined property rights.

Chomsky has repeatedly stressed that the attacks on democracy and the market by the big multinationals go hand-in-hand

Another aspect of his political work that has been overlooked by foes and critics alike is Mr. Chomsky’s fight against the forces of irrationality that tend to dominate the humanities in the universities. His dismissal of Marxism as a religious “pseudoscience” devoid of all scientific pretensions is one such case. Another is his insistence that the social “sciences” and economics do not meet the methodological criteria that would qualify them as sciences and should thus give up any pretence to being so.

Cherniak hates the left, whether it is the Jewish left or Canadian left, he hates socialism and socialists as his attacks on the NDP in his blog show. But he dresses up his conservative religious and political/social values as progressive because he is a Liberal.

But the only difference between him and the social conservatives on the right is well, actually not much. He is in good company with Stockwell Day, a 'good friend' of Zionism and Israel. Birds of a feather.

Accusations of anti-semitism

Partially because of these criticisms, Chomsky has been accused of being anti-semitic on many occasions. The most outspoken of his critics include writer David Horowitz, who has toured college campuses distributing anti-Chomsky pamphlets, attorney/professor Alan Dershowitz, with whom Chomsky has engaged in many verbal battles through the media, and sociology professor emeritus Werner Cohn, who has written an entire book; Partners in Hate about Chomsky's relationship to Faurisson One of the most common charges is that the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is theoretical, and in practice anti-Zionism is a manifestation of anti-Semitism.

Chomsky's support for Israel Shahak, author of Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, a book that claims that Judaism is a fundamentally chauvinistic religion, has led to more accusations of anti-semitism.

Chomsky rejects charges of anti-Semitism, citing that the definition presented by Israeli apologists is itself racist and ethnocentric. Claiming to speak out against bigotry of all forms, including anti-Semitism, Chomsky is nevertheless often accused of anti-Semitism, which he dismisses as "ad-hominem attacks" and "typical propaganda."

QUESTION: I ask you this question because I know that you have been plagued and hounded around the United States specifically on this issue of the Holocaust. It's been said that Noam Chomsky is somehow agnostic on the issue of whether the Holocaust occurred or not.

CHOMSKY: My "agnosticism" is in print. I described the Holocaust years ago as the most fantastic outburst of insanity in human history, so much so that if we even agree to discuss the matter we demean ourselves. Those statements and numerous others like them are in print, but they're basically irrelevant because you have to understand that this is part of a Stalinist-style technique to silence critics of the holy state and therefore the truth is entirely irrelevant, you just tell as many lies as you can and hope that some of the mud will stick. It's a standard technique used by the Stalinist parties, by the Nazis and by these guys.

QUESTION: There's tremendous support for Israel in the United States at least in elite groups. There's also on another level a very steady, virulent anti-Semitism that goes on. Can you talk about that?

CHOMSKY: Anti-Semitism has changed, during my lifetime at least. Where I grew up we were virtually the only Jewish family, I think there was one other. Of course being the only Jewish family in a largely Irish-Catholic and German-Catholic community--

QUESTION: In Philadelphia?

CHOMSKY: In Philadelphia. And the anti-Semitism was very real. There were certain paths I could take to walk to the store without getting beaten up. It was the late 1930s and the area was openly pro-Nazi. I remember beer parties when Paris fell and things like that. It's not like living under Hitler, but it's a very unpleasant thing. There was a really rabid anti-Semitism in that neighborhood where I grew up as a kid and it continued. By the time I got to Harvard in the early 1950s there was still very detectable anti-Semitism. It wasn't that they beat you up on the way to school or something, but other ways, kind of WASP-ish anti-Semitism. There were very few Jewish professors on the faculty at that time. There was beginning to be a scattering of them, but still very few. This was the tail end of a long time of WASP-ish anti-Semitism at the elite institutions. Over the last thirty years that's changed very radically. Anti-Semitism undoubtedly exists, but it's now on a par, in my view, with other kinds of prejudice of all sorts. I don't think it's more than anti-Italianism or anti-Irishism, and that's been a very significant change in the last generation, one that I've experienced myself in my own life, and it's very visible throughout the society.

QUESTION: How would you account for that?

CHOMSKY: How would I account for it? I think partly that the Holocaust did have an effect. It brought out the horrifying consequences of anti-Semitism in a way that certainly is striking. I presume, I can't prove this, but there must be, at least I hope there is, a kind of guilt feeling involved, because the role of the United States during the Holocaust was awful, before and during. They didn't act to save Jews, and they could have in many respects. The role of the Zionist organization is not very pretty either. In the late 1940s there were plenty of displaced persons in the Jewish DP camps. Some survived. It remained awful, they stayed in the DP camps, in fact, for a while they were dying at almost the same rate they were under the Nazis. Many of those people, if they had been given a chance, surely would have wanted to come to the United States. There are debates about how many, but it's just unimaginable that if they'd been given a chance they wouldn't have wanted to come here. They didn't. A tiny scattering came. There was an immigration bill, the Stratton bill, which I think admitted about 400,000 people, if I remember, to the United States, very few Jews among them. Plenty of Nazis, incidentally, straight out of their SS uniforms. The reason that bill passed, I think it was 1947, was that it was the beginning of the Cold War and priority was being given to basically the Nazis, because we were resurrecting them all over the world, a lot of them were brought in, a lot of Nazi war criminals, and others, but very few Jews. That's not a very pretty sight. You say, during the war you could have given some argument, not an acceptable argument, but you could have given at least a not ridiculous argument that you had to fight the war and not worry about the people being sent to the gas chambers, but after the war you couldn't give any argu- ment. It was a matter of saving the survivors, and we didn't do it. I should say the Zionist organization didn't support it either, they didn't even lobby for the bill. The only Jewish organizations that lobbied for the admission of Jewish refugees to the United States were the non-Zionist or the anti-Zionist organizations. The reason was that they wanted to send them off to Palestine. Whether they wanted to go there or not is another story, the same matter being relived today, incidentally, with the Russian emigres. The Zionist organization wants to force them to go to Israel. Most of them, especially from the European parts of Russia, want to come to the United States, and all sorts of pressures are being brought to bear to prevent that. It's kind of a reenactment at a less hideous level of the same story. I suppose there's some element of guilt, certainly over the Holocaust and maybe over the post-war matter.







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Mike said...

Good post, again Eugene.

I fear, as I said over in the thread, that the charge of anti-semitism will now become a club that Jason will wield against his political opponents. I can certainly envision, if not Jason himself, a wannabe going on a crusade, hurling accusations left and right. An accusation that almost never has a defense. An accusation that once made, sticks regardless of the truth.

And I am distressed that those who are against Israeli government policy are being easily labeled anti-semitic with all the horrid connotations that entails. I was accused of being and anti-semite last summer when I dared voice the opinion that Israel was not justified in its adventure in Lebanon and that perhaps dropping cluster bombs on Lebanese civilians could be construed as a war crime, and generally not a good idea.

How long do you think before you are next?

eugene plawiuk said...

I am counting the minutes

Red Jenny said...

Agreed, good post. I also find it interesting that people can get away with expressing other forms of bigotry, such as anti-Muslim or anti-feminist sentiment.

janfromthebruce said...

Super post Eugene. There is a witch hunt going on here, a convenient cover of a prominent lib blogger to shut down the NDP dippers. An aside, to cover up the slide in Dion's leadership and because an Ontario prov election is coming. A wedge. I guess Jason is still smarting when his last little smear campaign against NDP cheri DeNova backfired and she got elected in a bi-election in Ontario. Or another recent bi-election lost to an Ontario NDP candidate who campaigned and won on 10 bucks an hour. Jason didn't think that people should be paid 10 bucks either.
So when you can't win by winning the hearts and minds of voters through policy, well dirty tactics, smearing and negativity is the next best weapon, and for some, that seems to be their modus operation. Personally, I am sick of this all and we all are wasting a lot of time on Jason's latest scandel, and it just feeds his little ego.

Werner Patels said...

Great post, Eugene. I believe that Cherniak has really done it this time -- and libelling Chomsky by writing that he is a Holocaust denier?

Cherniak thinks he is the Blogging God, and that's why he needs to be brought down not just a notch, but a few notches.

Larry Gambone said...

Good post. You have outed Cheriak as a hard-core reactionary who engages in Josef Goebbels-like propaganda. He is an embarresement to the Liberals and should quit and go where his real politics lie, with the Haropcrit and his gang of authoritarian neocon-sell-outs.

Larry Gambone said...

I would also like to add that Noam Chomsky is treated to a Catch 22 situation with the crackpot right. The Neoconazis accuse him of being an anti-Semite and their kissin' cousins the old fashioned seig-heil types attack him for being Jewish and being "soft on Isreal". Like say, David Horowitz and David Duke. Put 'em in a sack together, toss it off a bridge,and see who comes out alive.

Erik Abbink said...

Excellent post!

Who DARES to attack my kosher Chomsky of being a holocaust denier?

Isn't attacking the Jew Chomsky as bad as.....attacking any other Jew?

Maybe I just don't get the Jews.
PS: does this make me anti-semetic?