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Thursday, October 29, 2020
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 16 2014 (IPS) - Professor Noam Chomsky, a renowned political activist and one of the strongest critics of U.S. foreign policy, called on the boycott movement to penalize the United States for the suppression of Palestinians.
Chomsky suggested that if the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement is going to hold Israel up for repressing Palestinians, it should move to boycott the United States.
“Why not boycott the United States? Take a look at African American history in the U.S., it’s grotesque.”
A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Chomsky was speaking at a meeting hosted by the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Arguably the world’s most famous public intellectual, Chomsky also addressed the U.N. General Assembly, and later spoke to the press.
Chomsky critiqued the tactics of the BDS movement with respect to Israel. “BDS is not a principle, it’s a tactic. For anyone who is involved in any form of activism, it is second nature to ask a simple question about tactics: are they going to work?”
Chomsky spoke about the movement’s effectiveness, saying, “The movement itself has 3 principles – BDS actions against Israel as long as it maintains control of occupied territories, firstly.
Secondly, action as long as there is discrimination against Palestinians within Israel, and thirdly, action until Israel allows the refugees to return.
If you are an activist, you ask yourself one question- what is the effect going to be of these tactics. Actions directed against the occupation have been successful, effective, and have the positive effect of opening up discussion and debate in the western countries so that people come to understand what they are involved in.”
“Actions of this kind have usually led to a backlash which is harmful to the Palestinians. Don’t just say I like this it makes me feel good, it’s right in principle, you have to ask what’s the impact on the victims. That should be the guideline.”
After praising a recent vote in the U.K. parliament, in which a large majority of MPs voted (although symbolically) in favour of a Palestinian state, Professor Chomsky spoke of his desire for the Palestinian leadership to address the American population.
“I think there will be no significant progress in this conflict until pressure from the American population induces the government to take a different stance.”
Responding to a question regarding the Palestinian leadership’s call for a Security Council resolution to end the Israeli occupation within a two-year timeframe, Chomsky replied, “I think the Security Council should take that action and indeed stronger action.”
But it can only do as the great powers permit, and I think the U.S. delegation will seek ways to block the resolution, although I do think it (the resolution) is appropriate.”
U.N. Secretary General’s spokesperson Thursday responded to a question on Chomsky’s comments regarding the diminishing likelihood of two state solution and whether the U.N. should put sanctions on Israel, by saying, “Noam Chomsky is a man of global reputation so I will say this with all respect, obviously he has his own opinion, but the Secretary General’s position is that the two-state solution is the only way to stop this senseless cycle of war.
As for issues of sanctions, those are up to the Security Council and for member states to take.”
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