Richard Falk gives glowing review of Chomksy & Vltchek’s ‘On Western Terrorism’

October 22, 2013

Richard Falk, the renowned scholar of international law and international relations, has written a glowing review of Chomsky’s latest book, On Western Terrorism (Pluto, 2013).

We’ve reproduced it below. You can also read it on Richard Falk’s blog by clicking here.

*

Chomsky T02739Recently I read On Western Terrorism: from Hiroshima to Drone Warfare, published in 2013 by Pluto Press here in London, and consisting of a series of conversations between Chomsky and the Czech filmmaker, journalist, and author, Andre Vltchek, who is now a naturalized American citizen. Vltchek in an illuminating Preface describes his long and close friendship with Chomsky, and explains that these fascinating conversations took place over the course of two days, and was filmed with the intention of producing a documentary. The book is engaging throughout, with my only big complaint being about the misdirection of the title—there is virtually nothing said about either Hiroshima or drone warfare, but almost everything else politically imaginable!

 Vltchek, previously unknown to me, consistently and calmly held his own during the conversations, speaking with comparable authority and knowledge about an extraordinary assortment of topics that embraced the entire global scene, something few of us would have the nerve to attempt, much less manage with such verve, insight, and empathy. After finishing the book my immediate reaction was that ‘Chomsky knows everything’ and ‘Vltchek has been everywhere and done everything.’ Omniscience and omnipresence are not often encountered, being primary attributes commonly attributed by theologians to a monotheistic god! Leaving aside this hyperbole, one is stunned throughout by the quality of the deep knowledge and compassion exhibited by these two public intellectuals, and even more by their deeply felt sympathy for all those being victimized as a result of the way in which the world is organized and Western hard power has been and is being deployed.

Richard-Falk-FileThe book left me with a sense of how much that even those of us who try to be progressive and informed leave untouched, huge happenings taking place in domains beyond the borders of our consciousness. It suggests that almost all of us are ignoring massive injustices because they receive such scant attention from mainstream media and our access to alternative sources is too restricted. And, maybe also, are capacity for the intake of severe injustice is limited for most of us. The book is well worth reading just to grasp this gap between what we care about and what is actually worth caring about.  Somehow, part of what is so amazing about this exposure to the range of concerns that preoccupy Chomsky and Vltchek is the degree to which their knowledge and ethical sensitivity seems so comprehensive without ever appearing to be superficial. How do they find the time, perseverance, and energy? Of course, it helps to be blessed with high intelligence, clarity of spirit, astonishing retentive gifts, and a seeming refusal to sleep, rest, and recreate (which was among the traits I found so intimidating long ago in Noam’s Vietnam writing, my first encounters with his political thought, having earlier been awed by his revolutionary linguistics approach).

Read the rest of this entry »


‘Weapon of the Strong’ now 20% off!

October 12, 2013

Bailes Graphic 2.1

Jon Bailes and Cihan Aksan’s excellent collection of interviews on the subject of US state terrorism is now 20% off on our website. You can pick your copy up today for just £11.70 – down from £14.99 RRP – and it comes with free UK P&P as well.

If you saw Judith Butler’s piece on our blog last week, then you’ll be pleased to know that Weapon of the Strong contains over a dozen more interviews with leading thinkers and do-ers on the Left, including Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman, Norman Finkelstein and Richard A. Falk.

Simply click on the banner image or go to http://bit.ly/PluWOTS to activate the discount.

 


Russell Tribunal finds Israel guilty of Apartheid

December 8, 2011

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine in session

Writing for AlJazeera Richard Falk comments on the verdict of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, which has found Israel guilty of the crime of Apartheid:

The most controversial, and at the same time far reaching feature, of the RToP finding was to conclude that Israeli responsibility for establishing an apartheid regime applied not only to Palestinians living under occupation, but also to the Palestinians minority living with discriminatory regulations in Israel and to the Palestinian diaspora consisting of 4-5 million refugees and exiles.

The RToP divides its rationale for finding guilty of committing the crime of apartheid into three main parts: (1) race as defining identity in Israel/Palestine relations (tribunal agrees that race in the international definition of the crime should be interpreted broadly to include ethnic and national character); (2) inhuman acts (specified in relation to Israeli treatment of Palestinians, as integral to the crime, particularly “colonisation and appropriation of Palestinian land” and coercive fragmentation of the Palestinian community in “different physical spaces”; (3) a systematic and institutionalised regime as pervading the subjugation of the Palestinian people (preferential treatment of Jews, dual legal arrangements, restrictions on residence and mobility, deportations and house demolitions are elements in what the tribunal calls “Israel’s institutionalised regime of domination”. [See Victor Kattan's excellent detailed analysis of the RToP finding of apartheid in his "The Russell Tribunal on Palestine and the Question of Apartheid", al-shabaka brief, November 23, 2011].

Visit AlJazeera to read the article in full.

Read the rest of this entry »


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 329 other followers