Chomsky met with Sheikh Fadlallah, the "spiritual" leader of Hezbollah, yesterday in Lebanon.
Ynet reports of Chomsky:
Jewish-American linguist Noam Chomsky met with the spiritual leader of the Shiite Muslims in Lebanon, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, on Thursday and told him that if Israel felt backed against a wall it could turn aggressive.The picture below is of Chomsky shaking hands with Fadlallah.
It is not possible to foresee what Israel will do, because if it feels besieged it could turn aggressive, Chomsky said. Israelis' actions are based on a persecution complex, meaning that aggression would not be an option again except out of a "mentality of madness" which rules many in Israel.
Among Chomsky's other activities during his trip to Lebanon was attending the inauguration of Hezbollah's "tourist complex" in southern Lebanon.
Jewish-American scholar and activist attends to the inauguration ceremony of Hezbollah's 'Tourist Complex' in Mlita in southern Lebanon on May 21, 2010. The Hezbollah Shiite militia inaugurated a 'tourist complex' displaying its own heavy weapons and those left by Israel, to mark the 10th anniversary of Israel's pullout from south Lebanon....Strangely enough, Jeffrey Goldberg, in a 2002 article in the New Yorker about Hezbollah, wrote that Fadlallah said to him:
As part of events marking the tenth anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon, Hezbollah inaugurated Friday a permanent war museum, complete with war booty captured from Israeli soldiers, replicas of guerrillas in action on the battle field and in underground tunnels, and a memorial for its war dead.
Al Manar would not rule out broadcasting comments from non-Israeli Jews. “There would be one or two we would put on our shows. For example, we would like to have Noam Chomsky.”This was not the first time Chomsky had met with leaders of Hezbollah. In 2006, he visited Lebanon for the first time, gave two lectures at the American University of Beirut, visited the Sabra and Shatilla Palestinian refugee camps, met with Walid Jumblatt and leaders of the Communist Party, as well as meeting with Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah.
Assaf Kfoury, who helped organize his trip in 2006, wrote about Chomsky's meeting with Nasrallah:
May 11, Hizbullah headquarters, Beirut. We meet Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hizbullah, in a heavily fortified compound. Hizbullah has widespread popular support, with representation in the Lebanese parliament and the council of ministers, largely the result of its role in the successful resistance to the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon in the 1990's. Nevertheless, American government officials -- from Condoleezza Rice, David Welch, Elliott Abrams, Jeffrey Feltman and on down -- routinely visit other Lebanese politicians and dignitaries, never Nasrallah, and they portray Hizbullah as a band of terrorists. The value of this meeting with Noam is as much in what Nasrallah has to say as in the public recognition by a public American, admittedly the most dissident of them, of Hizbullah's role in Lebanon and the Middle East at large. Nasrallah recognizes the value of trying to break the official American embargo: He has no objection to Noam quoting him on anything he has said, and his last question to Noam is a request for advice on what Hizbullah can do to counter the pernicious propaganda in the US.Indeed. I can see why Israeli officials would think it not in Israel's interest to let Chomsky into the country, given his open support for Hezbollah, which has been building up quite an arsenal of missiles since the second Lebanon war in the summer of 2006.
In response, Noam points out the importance of separating policies emanating from Washington from public opinion in the US, with the latter often at odds with the former. Given the nature of electoral politics today in the US, he also points out that officials in Washington are usually elected by a minority of the population and represent two parties that are virtually indistinguishable on fundamental issues, and hence the importance of reaching out to the US public ahead of policy makers who are beholden to corporate interests.
Nasrallah covers a wide range of issues in his presentation, including the arms of Hizbullah, which the US and its allies have demanded be relinquished. Nasrallah presents the issue of the arms in the context of a strategy to defend southern Lebanon which, he argues, concerns all Lebanese and not only Hizbullah. After the meeting, to the pack of journalists and TV crews waiting outside, Noam declares: "I think Nasrallah has a reasoned and persuasive argument that the arms should be in the hands of Hizbullah as a deterrent to potential aggression, and there are plenty of background reasons for that ..." Enough to feed the right-wing rumor mill for a long time to come.