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The Nutty Professor By: Elliot Jager
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 17, 2004


The Anti-Chomsky Reader
Edited by Peter Collier and David Horowitz
Encounter Books
240pp., $17.95

Noam Chomsky says he does not peddle in conspiracy theories, he engages in "institutional analysis."

Chomsky's investigations help connect the dots that show how the people who "own" the United States manipulate its domestic and foreign policies to the detriment of everyone else.

In The Anti-Chomsky Reader, editors Peter Collier and David Horowitz have brought together nine previously published articles intended to expose Chomsky and demonstrate why he's the foremost anti-American intellectual and propagandist around.

What's always fascinated me about Chomsky is his strident anti-Israelism. The son of a Hebrew teacher and the product of Hashomer Hatzair (a left-wing Zionist youth movement), Chomsky long supported a bi-national state and opposed the establishment of Israel.

But the Chomsky who authored The Fateful Triangle may have mellowed. He now embraces Yossi Beilin's Geneva Accord as a basis for Israeli-Palestinian negotiation.

A guru and a gadfly, Chomsky made his name as an MIT linguist turned 1960s antiwar protester. On stage he resembles Robin Williams impersonating a college professor. But it's precisely because Chomsky sounds so reasonable that his demagoguery is so pernicious.

To the Martha's Vineyard and Upper West Side crowd, he's often introduced as one of the world's most perceptive social critics. His lectures, rendered in a self-deprecating monotone, don't sound terribly radical. They are, in fact, "quite lurid and also quite lunatic," as David Horowitz and Ronald Radosh point out in "Chomsky and 9/11."

Horowitz and Radosh deconstruct a speech Chomsky gave at MIT that was carried on the American public affairs network C-Span and later published in pamphlet form. Their analysis might profitably be employed in de-programming Chomsky drones on college campuses.

As interpreted by Horowitz and Radosh, Chomsky's America - not al-Qaida - is the moral monster, and to attack it is morally just.

The defects Chomsky sees in the American political system - budget allocations that harm working Americans, gross income disparities between the richest Americans and all other US citizens, indirect government subsidies to large corporations on the one hand, while welfare mothers are told to "fend for themselves" on the other - place him in the respectable left-lib world of The Nation.

The Anti-Chomsky Reader is so valuable for this very reason - Chomsky is not a garden-variety leftist. Beyond the reasonable-sounding social criticism lurks the man who wrote, "I see no anti-Semitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the Holocaust. Nor would there be anti-Semitic implications, per se, in the claim that the Holocaust (whether one believes it took place or not) is being exploited, viciously so, by apologists for Israeli repression and violence."

Chomsky's - let's call it strange - championing of Holocaust denial is well-documented by Werner Cohn's contribution, while Paul Bogdanor's essay lays out Chomsky's rich history as an anti-Israel propagandist - his references to "the genocidal texts of the Bible," and to "points of similarity" between Israel and Hitler's Germany.

Chomsky is also a self-hating American, as Stephen Morris demonstrates in "Whitewashing Dictatorships in Communist Vietnam and Cambodia." Chomsky's polemical style, when confronted by the genocidal evil of Marxist nutter Pol Pot, is not to apologize for having aligned himself with the Khmer Rouge, but to attack the sincerity of his critics. Isn't their criticism disproportionate? Did they shed as many tears for those killed by US-supported dictators in East Timor during the 1975 civil war there?

Whenever I watch Chomsky, I find myself falling under his spell. His plausible-sounding conspiratorial theories offer an alternate reality.

In "Chomsky and the Media: A Kept Press and a Manipulated People," Eli Lehrer debunks the conjurer's magnum opus Manufacturing Consent, which describes the media as being "with rare exceptions... culturally and politically conservative;" where special interests manipulate the press to hoodwink the people; and as Lehrer says, "decisions to publicize certain stories and downplay others are made in ways that 'serve political ends' of America's ruling classes."

Chomsky brilliantly blends straightforward analysis with Marxist dogma. The media does help set the political agenda - everywhere - but there's no nefarious, shadowy, ruling clique behind it all.

Robert Levine and Paul Postal, in "A Corrupted Linguistics," take head-on the foundation upon which Chomsky's fame rests: that he's the most influential linguist of all time.

"Much of the lavish praise heaped on his work is, we believe, driven by uncritical acceptance (often by nonlinguists) of claims and promises made during the early years of his academic activity; the claims have by now largely proved to be wrong or without real content, and the promises have gone unfulfilled."

This fine collection debunks some of those claims by exposing a master dissembler.


The writer, a political scientist, is the Editorial Features Editor of The Jerusalem Post.


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