Hidden alliances 1, Cohn Werner


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.
Last-Modified: 1996/12/05

[Archived with author’s consent]

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