Archive/File: people/c/cohn.werner/partners-in-hate/preface Last-Modified: 1996/12/04 [Archived with author's consent] [Partners in Hate: Page 13] Preface to the 1995 Edition Avram Noam Chomsky, a famous linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is known for his left-wing politics. It is the gravamen of this book, however, that these politics derive as much from the extreme right wing -- particularly right-wing anti-Semitism -- as from the rhetoric of the American Left. *** In March of 1989, not long after the appearance of the first edition of this book, A. M. Rosenthal of the _New York Times_ wrote a column to mark the tenth anniversary of the Israeli- Egyptian peace treaty. The column was generally favorable to Israel, although he also chided Israel for what he called its "historical error -- the refusal to recognize the reality of the Palestinian people and passion." One of Rosenthal's points was that Jordan is a Palestinian state (Jordan's territory is situated in the original British mandate of Palestine), and Rosenthal opposed the creation of a second Palestinian state in this territory. This was enough to once again provoke Noam Chomsky's legendary bile. He wrote: We might ask how the Times would react to an Arab claim 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.<1> As it happened, Rosenthal did not use either the words or the concept of a "second homeland." Nonetheless, Chomsky saw fit to put these words between quotation marks to attribute them to Rosenthal. Chomsky habitually, as we shall see in the body of this book, misrepresents the writings of others. But let that pass for the moment. What is actually most noteworthy in this passage is Chomsky's unpleasant tone about the Jews of New York and the fact that his malice does not conform to familiar "anti- Zionist" left-wing doctrines. Chomsky's target here is very simply Jews, without any pretense whatever about being "anti- Zionist-but-not-anti-Semitic." When Chomsky wrote these words, there was indeed a Jewish mayor in New York, and a large Jewish population. There were Jews in the media on all levels. There were also many Jews in cultural and economic pursuits in New York. These facts are not in dispute. But what are "Jewish-run media?" What is meant by a Jewish "domination of cultural and economic life?" These hateful expressions are staples of traditional anti-Semitism. They suggest that Jews do not act as individuals but only as agents of a larger Jewish cabal. The anti-Semitic propagandist says that Jewish artists and business men and journalists do not pursue such professions as other men would. No, to him such Jewish men and women are "running" the media, "dominating" culture and the economy, all in their capacity as Jews, all for the sake of a Jewish design. But wait a minute. Is it Chomsky himself who makes these anti-Semitic allegations? Or is it some unnamed anti- Semitic Arab? Chomsky does not say. Nor is he explicit, assuming that it isn't he but rather his hypothetical Arab who is speaking, in telling us whether he would regard the accusations as justified. But what he fails to do explicitly he does by indirection. By mixing legitimate facts with allegations of "running" media and "dominating" culture, all in the same sentence and in the same tone, he endorses and justifies the anti-Semitic assertions. And he does all this without taking direct responsibility. Chomsky, as always, is -- what is the word -- clever. Actually we have here a fine example of the well-known Chomskyan method of devious ambiguity. He says the anti- Semitic thing by very clear implication, and then, with the wink of complicity to his neo-Nazi following that we shall encounter again, there is a built-in explanation of it all to his left-wing following: it is not I who would ever say such a thing, not I at all, but how can I help it if an oppressed Arab makes such interesting observations? *** Hidden from tourists and from most of its citizens, the fringes of Israeli society harbor a fair number of babblers, seers, zealots, and other assorted know-alls. Such people are of interest mainly to social scientists and journalists who make a living describing the quaint and the curious. Ordinary Israelis merely shrug a shoulder: surely Jews, like everyone else, are entitled to a quota of maniacs. But even in Israel, tolerant as it is of the eccentric and the deranged, the case of Israel Shahak gives pause. Without a question, he is the world's most conspicuous Jewish anti-Semite. His specialty, moreover, is quite rare these days even among non-Jewish anti-Semites; quite rare, that is, since the demise of the Nazis. Like the Nazis before him, Shahak specializes in defaming the Talmud. In fact, he has made it his life's work to popularize the anti- Talmud ruminations of the 18th century German anti-Semite, Johann Eisenmenger.<2> Now a retired chemist, Shahak travels the world to propound a simple thesis: Jews (with only a rare exception -- guess who that might be) are evil. The Talmud teaches them to be criminal, and Zionism compounds the evil. Naturally, Shahak is an active, enthusiastic supporter of the most militant Arab terrorists. Shahak's most recent tract, Jewish History, Jewish Religion (London and Boulder, Colorado, 1994) demands that Jews repent of their own sins and of the sins of their forefathers. First of all, says Shahak, Jews should now applaud, retroactively, the "popular anti-Jewish manifestations of the past," for instance the Chmielnicki massacres of 17th century Ukraine. These were "progressive" uprisings, according to Shahak. Concerning the Jews of our day, Shahak reveals that "Jewish children are actually taught" to utter a ritual curse when passing a non-Jewish cemetery. Moreover, he tells us, "both before and after a meal, a pious Jew ritually washes his hands....On one of these two occasions he is worshipping God... but on the other he is worshipping Satan." On its own, being so hopelessly crackpot, Jewish History, Jewish Religion would hardly find enough buyers to pay for its printing. But this little booklet is not on its own. It has a foreword by a famous writer, Gore Vidal, who tells us that he, Vidal, is not himself an anti-Semite. And it carries an enthusiastic endorsement, right on its cover, by Noam Chomsky. Says Chomsky: "Shahak is an outstanding scholar, with remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value."<3> So that is how scholarship is judged these days at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. *** Since the present book first appeared in 1988, there have been a number of other works, on Holocaust-denial and related subjects, that have been critical of Chomsky. But on the whole I have not found these discussions fully satisfactory. These authors have mentioned some of the more conspicuous examples of Chomsky's outrageous behavior without coming to grips with what I would regard as the underlying problem of the Chomsky phenomenon. As this book will document in detail, Chomsky gave his name in support of Robert Faurisson, the well-known French neo- Nazi Holocaust denier. He has published in the neo-Nazi's journal. He went out of his way to have his books published by French neo-Nazis. He has promoted the anti-Semitic idea that the Jewish religion is basically anti-social. Nevertheless, the tenor of Chomsky criticism, as that of Chomsky admiration, has been to stress the image of Chomsky as a partisan of the political Left. Chomsky's use of anti- Semitic rhetoric -- often not at all veiled by "anti- Zionism" -- has by and large been ignored by his critics and sympathizers alike. (His handful of fully initiated followers, of course, are another matter). How can we account for this negligence? First, there is Chomsky's well-known deviousness, which we observed in his commentary on Rosenthal's writing. But that alone could hardly have misled the knowledgeable and sophisticated authors who have written about him (although it may indeed have played a part in certain instances). Second there is the obscurity of much of the Chomsky publication enterprise. Some of his most malicious pronouncements have been reported in very small ultra- leftist and neo-Nazi publications, and often in French, thus remaining hidden from the general American reader.<4> The single most revealing description of his intimate involvement with the neo-Nazis was written in French by Chomsky's neo-Nazi associate, Pierre Guillaume, and was published by a very obscure neo-Nazi publisher in Paris. (I report on this essay in some detail -- on pages xx-xx -- and I ask the reader to pay particular attention to it). But, on the other hand, Chomsky has also made blatantly anti- Semitic statements, for instance his talk of "genocidal" teachings in the Jewish religion, in The Fateful Triangle, an accessible and widely-reviewed book. In other words, Chomsky's famous ability to obfuscate and the obscurity of most of his publications can only partially explain why his neo-Nazi involvements have escaped wide- spread criticism. In my view there has been a more fundamental obstacle to an understanding of the Chomsky phenomenon. I think that there is a persisting state of mind that divides the political world into "left" versus "right" and sees the "Left" as essentially incapable of primitive Jew-baiting. Even sophisticated writers can occasionally fall into this trap. All informed people, of course, know that there has been an anti-Semitism of the Left. Recently often disguised as "anti-Zionism," left anti-Semitism has a history that goes back well into the nineteenth century.<5> Most recently is was propagated by the Soviet Union as long as it existed, by the splinter grouplets of the Left, and, not least, by the political propaganda of left-liberal Protestant Christianity.<6> But the rhetorical style has typically been different from the anti-Semitism of the Right. Where the latter was generally couched in racist or religious terms, identifying itself with chauvinist and xenophobic prejudices, the Left tended to use a Marxist, left-wing, humanistic vocabulary. This difference in rhetoric has led to the false assumption that Left and Right are ideologically and socially incompatible, and that the two anti-Semitisms -- the left and the right -- similarly preclude one another. Consequently it is mistakenly taken for granted that a proponent of left-wing ideas cannot possibly be involved with old-fashioned Jew-baiting. Chomsky's most characteristic stance -- that of the left-wing gladiator battling "Zionism" -- turned out to be a very effective cover for him. *** Benito Mussolini began his political life as a left-wing revolutionary socialist. When he founded Fascism, he abandoned neither the methods nor the doctrines of his early anti- "bourgeois" resentments. Similarly, Hitler's revolution, "national socialism" in its self-description, used the methods, ideology, and personnel of left-wing radicals. In many parts of pre-war Europe, individual Communists, Nazis, and anarchists, brawling with one another in the streets like Crips and Bloods,<7> nevertheless found it easy to move from one camp to the other as occasion demanded.<8> The basic common ground of this Left-cum-Right, ultra- radical demimonde consisted of anti-Semitism, the worship of violence, and unrestrained mendacity, in short, a rejection of bourgeois respectability. These elements have fashioned a certain milieu that has persisted to our day. Today's sects that openly declare themselves both Nazi and left wing -- the "National Bolsheviks" of Europe, for instance, or the Third Position people in France and Italy --remain obscure and hidden from readers of the mainstream press.<9> Such obscurity has also enveloped La Vieille Taupe (to be described in this book), Chomsky's main transmission belt to the neo-Nazis. But while this milieu has often been concealed, especially in the post-war years, it occasionally does emerge and then gains public attention. When it does, it is virulent, much like the cholera. We think for a time that we have conquered it when we don't see it; but the vibrio persists hidden, ready to cause an epidemic when circumstances allow. After the Six Day War of 1967 the Soviet Union broke diplomatic relations with Israel and the international Communist movement embarked on a bitter propaganda campaign against the Jewish state. In the course of this Communist crusade, the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism was deliberately blurred. Anti-Stalinist Communists like the Trotskyists went further. Eager to outbid the Moscow- dominated movement, they began to use anti-Semitic language heretofore restricted to the radical Right: the Jews of Israel (not just the "capitalists" among them) were now an "oppressor nation;" Jews worldwide were depicted as a caste of "usurers."<10> (As we shall see, it was the anti-Stalinist extreme Left from whom Chomsky first learned his politics.) But such fringe movements are hardly noticed by the public. It took certain notorious individuals to obtain substantial publicity, and this despite the generally fanciful, outrageous, and ridiculous nature of their public statements. These people were able to exploit a prominence or notoriety that came to them fortuitously. There are a number of such individuals, but, not counting Chomsky himself, the best known might well be Jacques Verges. Verges is a French lawyer of mixed French-Vietnamese parentage, a former member of the Communist Party, later active in the New Left. He came to worldwide attention about ten years ago when he acted as defense lawyer for Klaus Barbie, a Nazi official in Lyon during the Occupation who was eventually convicted, in Lyon, of multiple murder.<11> Marcel Ophuls' remarkable documentary _Hotel Terminus_ provides more than a few revealing insights into Maitre Verges' character and activities. Verges, like Chomsky, is still counted as a prominent man of the Left. He is active in the worldwide movement against the United States and Western democracies. He agitated against the French war in Algeria. He is vehemently on the side of Arab terrorists, both as defense lawyer and propagandist. At the same time he is also active in the network of Nazi recalcitrants and the neo-Nazi movement. According to Erna Paris, author of the book Unhealed Wounds, Verges was initiated into the Nazi network by Francois Genoud, a Swiss Nazi financier whose resources apparently derive from Jewish money that was stolen during the war by the Nazis. It is Genoud's funds that probably financed the Barbie defense, as well as various Arab terrorist groups. Paris says that Genoud "personifies a hybrid of ultra-Left and neo-Nazi extremism .... One might even say he created the type."<12> Verges conducted Barbie's defense by staging a combination of street theater and burlesque. He asserted that the true war criminals were not the Nazis during the Second World War; no, the true criminals are the Jews, the Jews both during the war and now as Zionists, and also the French Resistance during the war. Furthermore, the government of France is guilty because of its Algerian war and similar offenses. For such reasons, said Verges, Barbie should be acquitted. The Lyon court disagreed, to be sure, but not before Verges had gained worldwide publicity for himself and for his ideology of the absurd. In the summer of 1994, Verges was once more in the news. Once again his striking, exotic face, familiar to us from the movie _Hotel Terminus_, seems to mock us with its characteristic superior smile. This time Maitre Verges represents the famous "Carlos" (Ilich Ramirez Sanchez), accused in Paris of numerous murders on behalf of Arab terrorist groups. But now there are also reports of East German government records that implicate Verges himself as a member of terrorist organizations.<13> Verges and Chomsky share a common political program and a common style of violence and vituperation. They are anti- Israel without restraint. While they work with the Left in opposition to Western democracy, and in fact depend heavily on Left support, they are also unashamedly supportive of the neo-Nazis, especially on matters relating to Jews. And here we have the true significance of the Chomsky phenomenon. Together with Verges and a handful of other relatively prominent individuals in America and Europe, he has succeeded in rescuing old-fashioned Jew-baiting from the extinction it might otherwise have suffered in the post- Hitler world. There is one more thing. Unlike Verges, Chomsky is a Jew, and this fact is surely of some interest. I have been asked by some readers to speculate on the psychology of a Jew who behaves in this manner. Unfortunately I have nothing to offer that would not already have occurred to the attentive reader. After all, Chomsky is not the first Jew in history, nor the last, surely, to devote his life to this kind of enterprise. *** Since the first edition of this work, Chomsky's ties with the neo-Nazi Holocaust-denying Institute for Historical Review have been strengthened. The IHR's publishing and bookselling arm is called Noontide Press. Holocaust-denying is only one part of the anti- Semitic menu of this supermarket of Nazism. The latest NP catalog is dated 1995. Among its offerings we find Nazi- made movies that are banned in Germany because of their brazen propaganda (pp. 29, ff), as well as the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion (p. 10), books by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels (pp. 10 and 12), a book by the late Father Coughlin (p. 7), and the infamous The International Jew by Henry Ford. Chomsky is represented by five separate items: two audio cassette tapes (p. 26); The Fateful Triangle (p. 16); Necessary Illusions (p. 11); and Pirates and Emperors (p. 12). Chomsky, according to the IHR, "enlightens as no other writer on Israel, Zionism, and American complicity." (p. 4). Since the first edition of this book, also, Chomsky and his friends have produced a further flood of propaganda. There is a "Common Courage Press" in Maine and a "Black Rose Books" in Canada, as well as other enterprises, all churning out propaganda pamphlets by Chomsky and his helpers. _Z Magazine_ and _Lies of Our Time_, among others, publish his articles. The Pacifica radio network tirelessly broadcasts tapes of his speeches.<14> Finally, the Chomsky group has been able to appropriate Canadian public funds to produce a hagiographic movie, Manufacturing Consent, with Chomsky as subject. Chomsky has not changed his themes in this avalanche of words. Most of what he has to say amounts to the simple claim that the United States and Israel are to be blamed for the ills of the world. The Chomskyana that appeared before the current peace negotiations always praised the PLO and its chairman, Yasser Arafat; until very recently, Chomsky was the very model of a Jew for Arafat. But now that Arafat negotiates with the enemy, Chomsky has suddenly turned viciously anti-Arafat. On April 17, 1994, Chomsky spoke at the Berkeley (California) Community Theater saying that "Something's Happening."<15> Suddenly he finds "corruption" in the PLO, a PLO dictatorship, and an Arafat who is selling out. The whole peace process is a joint Israeli-American plot. In the absence of an unconditional surrender by Israel, Chomsky leaves no doubt that he will oppose and denounce any letup in the intransigent Arabs' war against the Jews. Finally, as we have already seen, Chomsky has recently awarded his urgent recommendation to Israel Shahak's scurrilous tract against the Talmud and the Jews. Chomsky will soon enter the eighth decade of his life. Some men and women similarly possessed -- Vanessa Redgrave is apparently among these -- have seen a decline of inspiration from the Furies as they grow older. But others have become crustier and more and more outrageous. Let us hope, for his sake no less than for ours, that Avram Noam Chomsky, son of a noted Hebrew scholar and himself exposed to Hebrew learning in his youth, will find the peace of moderation as he enters his old age. *** The first edition of this book, reprinted here with only minor changes, was published by Americans for a Safe Israel. I owe a debt of gratitude to the people who helped with that edition: Herb Zweibon, Erich Isaac, Rael Jean Isaac, and Frances Besner Newman who designed the original cover. Since AFSI is active in supporting the right-wing opposition to the present (Labor) government of Israel, it has been suggested to me that my book may be identified with that point of view. I do not think that these matters are relevant to the Chomsky issue, but many readers have raised them, and I can see no harm in clarifying my personal position. I am not a member of AFSI, and, unlike AFSI, I am (cautiously) happy about the current peace negotiations between Israel and the PLO. For helping with the new edition, I am grateful to Jon Haber, Hillel Stavis, and Gabriel Schoenfeld. _______________________________ Footnotes 1 "The Middle East Lie," Lies of Our Times, January 1, 1990, reprinted in Chomsky, Letters from Lexington, pp. 3-15 2 When Shahak staged a particularly fraudulent publicity stunt -- he tried to have people believe that orthodox Jews will not save a non-Jewish life on the Sabbath -- Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits exposed him. See Jakobovits's "A Modern Blood Libel -- L'Affaire Shahak," Tradition, vol. 8, no. 2 (1966), pp. 58-65. 3 Chomsky also contributed an introduction to an earlier pamphlet by Shahak, IsraelOs Global Role. Weapons for Repression, an anti-Israel diatribe published by the Association of Arab-American University Graduates, Inc., Belmont, MA, 1982. 4 References to the older French and American publications will be found in the footnotes to the main text. 5 Karl Marx himself has written an anti-Semitic essay, Zur Judenfrage. On this whole question, see two books by Robert S. Wistrich, Revolutionary Jews from Marx to Trotsky (London: Harrap, 1976) and Socialism and the Jews (Rutherford, N.J.: Fairly Dickinson, 1982). See also Ruth R. Wisse, If I Am Not For Myself ... The Liberal Betrayal of The Jews (New York: Macmillan, 1992), and Arnold Forster and Benjamin R. Epstein, The New Anti-Semitism, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974). 6 All the varieties of Christian anti-Semitism, from the beginning to our times, are discussed by William Nicholls, Christian Antisemitism. A History of Hate, Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, 1993). 7 Both the Crips and the Bloods, by the way, have now been politicized by the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam. See Village Voice, August 2, 1994, pp. 24-5. 8 Various splinter groups bridged the institutional barriers between extreme Left and extreme Right. There were, for instance, the National Bolsheviks in pre-Hitler Germany and the movement of Jacques Doriot, the PPF (Parti Populaire Francais), in pre-war France. During the war in German-occupied France, leftists of many different persuasions formed grouplets that sought to combine Nazism with Marxism. Among the most curious of these is the Trotskyist splinter group Mouvement National Revolutionnaire. It was led by Jean Rous and included a number of Jewish members. It must be said to this groupOs credit that it existed only a few months, after which its members joined the Resistance. (Personal communication by William Petersen; see also Jean-Pierre Cassard, Les Trotskystes en France Pendant La Deuxieme Guerre Mondiale, Paris, La Verite, n.d., pp. 65-6.) 9 One book that describes all such groups in France, including ChomskyOs friends of the "Vieille Taupe," is Christophe Bourseiller,1989, Les Ennemis du Systeme, Paris, Robert Laffont. The book by Ray Hill, 1988, The Other Face of Terror, Inside Europe's Neo-Nazi Network (London, Grafton) focuses on the right wing but also provides information on Third Position groups. 10 Cohn, Werner, 1991, "From Victim to Shylock and Oppressor: The New Image of the Jew in the Trotskyist Movement," Journal of Communist Studies, vol. 7, no. 1 (March), pp. 46-68. 11 For the Verges story, see Erna Paris, 1985, Unhealed Wounds. France and the Klaus Barbie Affair. Toronto, Methuen. (Unfortunately, this book was published before the completion of the Barbie trial.) 12 Ibid., p. 140. 13 New York Times, August 22, 1994. 14 On Pacifica's record of anti-Semitism, see The Jewish Week, August 5-11, 1994. 15 The speech was broadcast on April 17 on PacificaOs station KPFK. My text comes from a transcript of this broadcast.
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