NB: For a comprehensive analysis of Chomsky’s falsification of the Arab-Israeli conflict, see my book chapter The Devil State: Chomsky’s War Against Israel.

Chomsky’s Protocols

By Paul Bogdanor

Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians (rev. ed., Pluto Press, 1999).

According to Noam Chomsky, the “long-term goal” of Israeli policy is “a return to something like the system of the Ottoman empire” (p. 455). Israeli missiles are designed to “put US planners on notice” that pursuit of peace efforts “may lead to a violent reaction” intended to cause a confrontation between the superpowers, “with a high probability of global nuclear war.” Such strategies are part of Israel’s “Samson complex,” the product of an “Israeli Sparta” which has become the world’s “fourth greatest military power,” menacing the Saudi oil fields and even the USSR, and creating the danger of “a final solution from which few will escape” (pp. 467-9). How fortunate that “America’s leading dissident” has uncovered this nefarious Jewish plot to destroy the human race!

Chomsky thinks that the Arab dictatorships and the PLO are falling over themselves to make peace (pp. 3, 79). Arab rejectionism “began to erode” after 1967 (p. 64), when Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser was insisting that “the real Palestine problem is the existence of Israel” [1]. Anwar Sadat “moved at once” to implement “peace” in 1971 (p. 64), when his regime was publicly demanding “the eradication of Israel” [2]. The PLO “has been far more forthcoming than either Israel or the US” with regard to a peace settlement (p. 41), as shown by Yasser Arafat’s promise that “there will be only Arabs in this part of the world” and that there will be “rivers of blood until the whole of the occupied homeland is liberated” [3], and by his declaration: “Peace for us means the destruction of Israel” [4].

Needless to say, Chomsky totally suppresses the evidence contradicting his thesis: the infamous triple formula of the 1967 Khartoum summit (no peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel); the 1974 Palestine National Council resolutions (articulating the PLO’s Phased Plan for the destruction of Israel); the text of the draft 1976 Security Council resolution (endorsing the PLO’s Right of Return to pre-1967 Israel) and of the 1982 Fez Plan (likewise), both of which he depicts (absurdly) as bona fide peace plans (p. 344); non-stop genocidal incitement from official sources throughout the Arab world, from the beginning of the conflict to the present day; and so on, endlessly.

Chomsky also redefines the term “rejectionism” to include both the Arab aim of destroying Israel and Israel’s refusal to accept a PLO terror state next to its major cities (pp. 39-40). Since he draws no distinction between the destruction of a free country and the refusal to establish a terrorist dictatorship, it is hardly surprising that in his view, “the PLO has the same sort of legitimacy that the Zionist movement had in the pre-state period” (p. 164).

Chomsky’s main topic is the conflict between Israel and the PLO in Lebanon. He says that there was “relative peace” in PLO-controlled areas (pp. 186-7), concealing multiple accounts of unspeakable brutality: the murder of a pregnant woman, with her children’s eyes gouged out and their limbs cut off; the slaughter of a whole family, with the daughter raped and all four limbs amputated; a man who was chained to four vehicles which were driven in opposite directions, tearing him to pieces; a newspaper editor found with his fingers severed joint by joint, his eyes gouged out and his limbs hacked off; a religious leader whose daughter was raped and murdered, with her breasts torn away; men castrated in torture sessions; men and women chopped to pieces with axes; and so on [5]. PLO atrocities killed 100,000 civilians during 1975-82 [6], but Chomsky is troubled by a difficult question: whether “the PLO will be able to maintain the image of heroism with which it left Beirut” (p. 314).

As for the opposing side, Chomsky thinks that “Hitler’s conceptions have struck a responsive chord in current Zionist commentary” (p. 208n), and that while Israel “cannot be compared to Nazi Germany,” there are still “points of similarity” (p313n). He freely writes of Israeli “concentration camps” (pp. 217, 240, 307, 333, 335, 390, 398, 404, 415) and he recalls “the genocidal texts of the Bible” (p. 444). He blames the Israelis for all civilian casualties, ignoring PLO tactics designed to increase the death toll: “crates of ammunition were stacked in underground shelters and antiaircraft guns were emplaced in schoolyards, among apartment houses, next to churches and hospitals” [7]. No doubt Chomsky would regard this as yet another manifestation of “the heroic PLO resistance against overwhelming odds” (p. 206).

Calculating the human cost of the war, Chomsky relies on the Lebanese police statistics, themselves based on PLO figures which had been dismissed as “extreme exaggerations” [8]. The final police count was 19,085 dead, 57% combatants and 43% civilians [9]. Chomsky accepts this total without question, and then edits the numbers to suggest that nearly all of the dead were civilians (p. 221). Nowhere will the reader discover that by 1984 these high estimates had been repudiated even by the Lebanese authorities, who admitted that “about 1,000 Lebanese were killed as a result of the Israeli invasion” [10].

In sum, Chomsky presents a picture of an expansionist Jewish state, determined to conquer the entire region, to establish “concentration camps” for its victims, to re-enact “the genocidal texts of the Bible” and to inflict a “final solution” on the whole planet, as the entire Arab world, consumed with benevolence, virtually begs for a just and lasting peace. And if you can take any of this seriously, then I’d like to sell you some prime real estate in the Pacific Ocean.


[1] Radio Cairo, March 17, 1968.

[2] Al-Ahram, Egypt, February 25, 1971.

[3] Associated Press, March 12, 1979.

[4] El Mundo, Venezuela, February 11, 1980.

[5] Jillian Becker, The PLO: Rise and Fall of the Palestine Liberation Organization (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1984), pp. 123, 143, 153-4, 159, 268n13; Raphael Israeli, PLO in Lebanon: Selected Documents (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1983), pp. 234-53.

[6] American Lebanese League, New York Times, July 14, 1982.

[7] New York Times, July 25, 1982.

[8] New York Times, July 14, 1982.

[9] Associated Press, December 1, 1982; Christian Science Monitor, December 21, 1982.

[10] Washington Post, November 16, 1984.