Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Missing the Nuance – Abunimah’s Criticism of Noam Chomsky

By Omar Baddar, The Huffington Post – 21 May 2010

A couple of days ago, Ali Abunimah, a prominent Palestine solidarity activist and co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, said he was “baffled by Noam Chomsky’s contradictions on Palestine.” A few months ago, Chomsky had harshly criticized “collaborationist” Fatah Security Forces for doing the Israeli occupation’s dirty work of suppressing resistance to the occupation. More recently, Chomsky expressed a positive sentiment toward Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s state-building project in the West Bank. This struck Abunimah as a contradiction because it appeared (to him) that Chomsky was offering “endorsement and support to what he himself has described as a colonial collaborationist regime.”

But is there really a contradiction? Hardly! Any given political actor can behave simultaneously in ways that are condemnable on one issue, and commendable on another. In such cases, it is also perfectly legitimate to condemn the negative actions of an actor while expressing support for their positive ones. This is basically what Chomsky has done here in relation to the Palestinian Authority.

1 comment:

  1. <span>Exactly. I thought it showed uncommon sense of Chomsky! The purists about this whole issue usually do not have to live the daily reality. In other words, they are living in the U.S., you know, the "White Man's" power center? Or they are fanatics who see only ONE way. High minded ideology is a poor substitute for actually doing something to make life better for the Palestinians.  
    If some of Fayyad's policies actually benefit Palestinians, the better question is, so what if it is Fayyid initiating them? The people in the middle, willing to compromise and be pragmatic will ultimately win this battle. The hardliners and ideologues on both sides will be the losers.
    The angryarabs comment about this is ridiculous, too. Pure narcissism. Only they know best!  
    "Chomsky knows that his praise for Salam Fayyad has displeased many people."