Archive/File: people/c/cohn.werner/partners-in-hate/hidden-alliances.01 Last-Modified: 1996/12/05 [Archived with author's consent] [Partners in Hate: Page 37] THE HIDDEN ALLIANCES OF NOAM CHOMSKY Everyone knows Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his linguistics and his left-wing politics. But the fact that he also plays an important role in the neo-Nazi movement of our time -- that he is, without any doubt, the most important patron of that movement -- is well known only in France. Much like a bigamist who must constantly strain to keep one of his families secret from the other, Chomsky and his most initiated supporters try to prevent his liberal and left-wing followers from knowing too much about his other, his neo-Nazi life. Chomsky has said that his contact with the neo-Nazis is strictly limited to a defense of their freedom of speech. He has said that he disagrees with the most important neo- Nazi article of faith, viz. that the Holocaust never happened. But such denials have not prevented him from prolonged and varied political collaboration with the neo- Nazi movement, from agreement with it on other key points, nor -- and this has proven essential for the neo-Nazis especially in France -- from using his scholarly reputation to promote and publicize the neo-Nazi cause. Avram Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia in 1928. He is the son of the noted Hebraist William (Zev) Chomsky and was educated in the progressive schools of his parents' milieu. Later, apparently because he was thought to be exceptionally brilliant, he was awarded a bachelor's and even a Ph.D. degree in linguistics without going through any required courses or formalities. Today he is Institute Professor at MIT and author of numerous and highly influential books on the nature of language. His work is respected by scholars and admired by the public. It would be difficult to find a more prestigious figure in American, or, for that matter, in international academia. But if we judge by the treatment he has received in the press, his fame rests most of all on his involvement with the anti-Vietnam War movement of the late 1960's and early 1970's. In the decade from 1966 to 1975 The New York Times Index mentioned him a total of ninety-five times, eighty- two times for political activities and the rest for scholarly work. Since 1976, Chomsky's public notoriety having noticeably declined, the Index awards him just twenty-one references, again mostly -- in seventeen cases -- for his politics. But whether the news item deals with politics or linguistics some mention is almost invariably made to Chomsky's academic status and it seems doubtful that without it his politicking would have been at all newsworthy. I have tried to find references in The New York Times to Chomsky's neo-Nazi involvements and could find only two items, out of the over one hundred devoted to him, that allude to this side of his activities. The story is quite different in France where Le Monde and other publications regularly refer to Chomsky's relationship to the French neo- Nazi propagandist Robert Faurisson. But in America there is little to deflect the casual observer from an impression of Chomsky as an eminently reasonable academic who may, at the very worst, sometimes get a bit overly zealous in his pursuit of the good (i.e. left-wing) society. One characteristic of Chomsky's political writings that does raise immediate questions about his judgment is his obvious animus toward the United States and Israel. He occasionally says bad things about most of the governments of the world but it is Israel and the United States for which he reserves his extraordinary vitriol. Chomsky is careful not to justify Hitler explicitly but his writings create the impression that the Nazis could not have been any worse than the "war criminals" of the United States and Israel today. Moreover, and this is indeed curious, almost all references to Nazis in his books turn out to be denunciations of Nazi-like behavior on the part of Israelis. But it is well known that Chomsky is Jewish and his anti- Israel stance, when not examined closely enough to reveal its radically malevolent kernel, is sometimes considered as a liberal Jew's way of leaning over backward to be fair to the other side. As for the anti-Americanism, well, that is surely something quite in vogue ... Chomsky's writings are often praised by his admirers as packed with "facts." And indeed there are many footnotes and many references to apparently esoteric pieces of information. But I have found that these references, at least those that deal with crucial points, simply do not check out. Sometimes the source is impossible to track down, sometimes it is completely misquoted, very often it is so patently and completely biased that no responsible scholar could have taken it at face value. Later in this essay I shall demonstrate these problems by examining Chomsky's treatment of two important episodes in the history of Israel. In regard to Chomsky's treatment of U. S. foreign policy, Stephen Morris has already demonstrated Chomsky's sleight-of-hand methods back in 1981.<16> But none of this -- not his strident left-wing politics, not his bitter anti-Israel activism, certainly not his disreputable scholarship on matters political -- seems to interfere with what still amounts to a very high prestige in wide circles of educated America. It remains to be seen what will happen when his neo-Nazi connections get to be more widely known.
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