Messing with the Zohan

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan is a new American comedy film. It tells the story of Zohan Dvir (Adam Sandler), the IDF’s Number 1 counter-terrorism killing machine who has simply grown tired of his military murderous engagement. At a certain stage, he fakes his own death while in action in order to pursue his real dream: that of becoming a hairstylist in NYC.

The film was anything but praised by the critics. The Sun gave the film one star and wrote: “the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine isn’t exactly the obvious choice of topic for a comedy – which is perhaps why this film is about as funny as a suicide bombing.” “By the end,” wrote Christopher Tookey of the Daily Mail, “I felt as though I had been carpet-bombed by comedy’s answer to Vladimir Putin. But, on second thought, Putin is funnier.”

These are pretty harsh words for critics to write about a film. However, unlike the devastated critic, who didn’t hold back from putting the film down, I regard the film as an important document and another step towards a comprehensive understanding of the Jewish world, Jewish identity, Jewish tribal operation and Jewish power. As much as You Don’t Mess with the Zohan seems to be a sloppy infantile film, it is also a pretty interesting take on Jewish Diaspora identity, its vision of Israel and itself.

The Peace Seeking People

The plot of the film is rather simple, it has two main focal points. One is engaged with the exposure of the ‘vulnerable human being’ behind the Israeli military killing machine. Zohan, the Israeli counter-terrorism expert, once left to be himself, is transformed into a peace loving feigale (a derogatory Yiddish term for gay male) hairstylist. This line of thought is there to reassure us that Israeli crudeness and brutality is just a manifestation, deep inside they really are ‘softies’. This fits nicely into the ‘Sabra narrative’. Israeli natives tend to associate themselves with the Sabra cactus fruit; spikes on the outside but soft and sweet inside. Considering the fact that Adam Sandler, the main person behind this film, is a devoted Zionist fundraiser, the very intention of presenting the Israelis in such a light shouldn’t take us by surprise.

The other focal point proposes an optimistic possible reconciliation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As we follow the story, we come to realise that the Palestinian and Israeli communities in the film are set into a conflict by an American real estate tycoon. The film may try to suggest to the naïve viewer that it is actually American hard capitalism that sets Arabs and Jews onto unnecessary fire. This banal vision is rather popular amongst a limited number of Jewish Marxists and Jewish leftists that are scattered within the anti-war and the anti-imperialist movements. Apparently, such a reading of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict suggests that the crime that is committed in Palestine by the Jewish state in the name of the Jewish people may have nothing to do with the Jewish people at all. It is all down to ‘hard capitalism’, imperialism, colonialism, and so on. The Jews are actually nothing more than just innocent victims. Within such a banal reading, the Israelis who starve millions of Palestinians and drop bombs upon them from airplanes decorated with Jewish religious symbols are doing so because they are set to kill by some remote ideology named ‘American capitalism’. Within such a ludicrous reading of the conflict, Israel and its supportive Jewish lobbies are ‘victims’ rather than the protagonists of devastating genocidal policies. Again, considering the fact that Sandler is a Zionist fundraiser, such a lame intellectual intent shouldn’t take us by surprise. The fact that some Jewish so-called ‘leftist campaigners’ succumb to such a deceiving view is either pathetic or worrying, it is all matter of personal taste.

Unlike The Diaspora Jew

In the very early part of the film we meet Zohan during his military phase. At that promising stage, Zohan is no doubt an entertaining grotesque caricature of Israeli military macho. In between his deep obsession with humus and love of cheap 1970’s disco, Zohan manages to kill efficiently and mercilessly. Unlike the Disapora Jew who is ‘led like cattle to the slaughter’, Zohan is the embodiment of fierce masculine omnipotence. He leads others to the slaughter. Fear is beyond him. As he operates behind enemy lines, he mocks his clumsy Palestinian enemies and gives them a crash course in Zionism just before he smashes them to pieces.

Zohan is literally unkillable. He stops bullets with his fingertips. He goes through walls and escapes rocket-propelled grenades by twisting his body, predicting the rocket path. With Zohan and his kind around, the Holocaust and Jewish suffering become a remote irrelevant historical chapter. All that obviously has very little to do with the Israeli reality. In the light of Zohan’s bravery, it is the new Jew, the incarnated Biblical Samson, who inflicts pain on others.

As interesting as one commentator has suggested, for the first time in a Jewish American film, the Shoah is not mentioned even once throughout the film. As I myself mentioned on several occasions in my previous writings, Israeli historical epos cannot easily integrate the Holocaust into the Israeli heroic ‘self sufficient’ narrative. One cannot be both a victim and a macho at the same time unless operating in a schizophrenic mode. Within the emerging Zionist religion, the Jew – who dropped God and reformed himself as an alleged ‘authentic being’, learns to believe in himself. However, the melting pot between the Israeli and his Diaspora brother leads towards an integration of these two opposing poles of heroism and victimhood. Consequently, Israeli society is maturing into one of inevitable collective schizophrenia. The Israeli cannot decide anymore whether he is a victim or an oppressor. Within such a conflicting mode, Zohan comes about as a heroic character. He is a fighter, he believes in himself, he is aware of his powers and his almightiness. At least, this is the impression he gives in the first few minutes of the film. It won’t take long before we learn that even the Zohan is slightly confused.

But it goes further, Zohan is also pretty effective with the girls. Unlike the Diaspora urban Jew protagonist Larry David who is pretty pale and hopeless with the girls and in general, Zohan Dvir, the Sabra is a socio-erotic animal. He is the ultimate male super hero. The film starts with Zohan’s triumphant march on Tel Aviv’s beach. He is followed by the camera, panning over the gazes depicting the mass yearning of sexually aroused, well-tanned Israeli bikini-clad girls. It won’t take long before we learn that Zohan is also a well-endowed man. Not more than a few minutes into the film, Zohan is caught in his underwear, exposing what seems to be an overwhelming gigantic member. Indeed later we happen to learn that his substantial bump is actually due to pubic hair rather than real content of flesh and blood.

However, the march of masculinity doesn’t last long. Subsequently we learn that Zohan is far from being happy in his role as an omnipotent killing machine. He wants to live a different life. Once fulfilling his dream of becoming a hairstylist, a new identity is emerging, the Israeli caricatured macho disappears and a grotesque effeminate gay caricature takes its place.

The once hairy Judeo-Rambo is now a well-shaved, light headed, buttock-swinging, silky-smooth kind of boy.

In NYC, Zohan changes his name to Scrappy Smooth. Though his initial attempt in getting hired at an upscale hairstyle salon proved to be unsuccessful, he eventually lands in a struggling Palestinian salon run by a beautiful young woman (Emmanuelle Chriqui) in downtown Manhattan. The Palestinian salon is located in an area populated by Israeli electronics and clothes shops and some small Arab businesses. Needless to say, Sandler’s presentation of Israeli immigrants’ lowlife in NYC is far from being respectful. The Israeli electronics shopkeepers are shown as a bunch of dedicated swindlers who are set upon deceiving their naïve American customers.In the Palestinian beauty salon Zohan is not allowed to do a thing but sweep the floor, and he does it for free. However, as time goes by he eventually becomes a hairstylist after gratifying a very mature lady with a satisfactory haircut and backroom sexual service. Not before too long Zohan’s reputation spreads among the elderly women of Manhattan. “Besides the sex, he gives a pretty good haircut,” confesses one. The Palestinian beauty salon becomes a smashing success and it’s all thanks to Zohan, one-time Israeli killing machine, but now an enthusiastic sex services provider.

Zohan’s assimilation within his new environment is far from being instant. As much as Zohan is quick to change his name and his own haircut, his accent and behavioural code keep him behind. Noticeably, it is his penis that makes the transformation significant. In his early career has a hairstylist, his male organ operates as an extension of his business career. Zohan gives each of his elderly customers a rather inclusive gigolo service. Though watching an elderly woman being turned on by a young man may as well be a subject for a comedy, in practice, Zohan operates as a male prostitute. The message that comes through is clear, in the eyes of the Israelis, the penis is instrumentalised and commodified. However, once falling in love with his beautiful Palestinian boss, it eventually occurs to Zohan that his organ may react to feelings. Seemingly it takes almost the full length of the film before the omnipotent Sabra Zohan becomes a true Diaspora Jewish impotent ‘Larry David’.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Apparently all through the film, both the Arabs and the Israelis are under some severe pressure inflicted by Walbridge, an American real estate tycoon who wants to wipe the entire neighbourhood out and build a huge mall there instead.

Not before too long Walbridge hires the services of some ‘anti-Semite’ Islamophobic gang who are gladly committing themselves to jeopardising the fragile relationship within the Israeli-Palestinian community. Miraculously, towards the end of the movie, a cosmic enlightenment is embarking within the struggling community. The Israelis and the Palestinians reveal that it is Walbridge who sets them to fight each other in the name of ‘American capitalism’. Once they expose the plot, they end up fighting together against the American tycoon and his mercenaries. Not only do they fight, they even manage to win. Zohan, the Israeli counter-terrorist and Phantom (John Turturro) the Islamic Jihad terrorist fight side by side against the anti-Semites.

As banal as it may sound, the tendency to recruit Palestinians to fight the Jewish Marxist wars (against capitalism) and Jewish tribal wars (against the ‘anti-Semites’) is symptomatic also to the Jewish Marxists within the Palestinian solidarity movement who insist that this is exactly what the Palestinian Solidarity campaign should engage with: as if Palestinians are short of battles to fight. Should it take us by surprise that Adam Sandler, a prime Zionist fundraiser and people who do their campaigning labelling themselves as Anti-Zionist Jews share the same agenda? Not at all. Once operating under a Jewish flag, the interests of the tribe come first. As much as we expect a Zionist to promote tribal interests, recruiting the Palestinians to serve Jewish tribal interests is on the verge of gross.

Bearing in mind that I have very little admiration for American capitalism or any other form of money-orientated culture, I would still argue that blaming capitalism for the crimes committed by the Jewish state is rather deceptive. The ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population (Nakba) in 1948 was actually perpetrated and committed by a devoted Jewish ‘leftist’ Zionist leadership that had barely anything to do with ‘hard American Capitalism’. The massacre in Kafar Kasem had nothing to do with hard capitalism either. The 1967 expansionist Israeli extravaganza had very little to do with America. As much as Zionist apologists and Marxist Jews want us to believe that America and colonialism are to be blamed, I would forcibly argue, that it is actually the other way around. American capitalism has become a Zionist vehicle. If this is not enough, American soldiers are fighting and dying in the Israeli wars. Currently it is Iraq but as we learn from the press the AJC is planning to extend the war to Iran.

This should not take us by surprise. As Marx pointed out already in 1843, America is the Jewish promised land, it is an haven for ruthless materialism and it is hardly surprising that Jews who were traditionally urban people (due to some historical circumstances) have managed to flourish within that culture and to settle within its elite. As much as America attracted waves of East European Jews in the late 19th century, it attracts Israeli youth, Zohan included. America is the Israeli dreamland, and NYC is Tel Aviv’s wettest dream. NYC is where a Jew can celebrate his symptoms. Whether it is in an Israeli Electronics Store or as a male prostitute gratifying grannies in a backroom of a small downtown salon.

The Racist SubtextAs much as Sandler insists upon presenting us with America as a place that lets people cross the divide and find a way towards peace, it is pretty shocking that he himself didn’t manage to recruit either Arabs or Palestinians. Clearly, not many Arabs would agree to perform in a Zionist propaganda film that present Palestinians as foolish, illiterate terrorists and suggests that they engage in some goat shagging.

But it goes much further, Sandler clearly differentiates between Zohan, the Ashkenazi Jew, commando hero, and the lowlife Israeli immigrant to America who ends up in an electronics shop. In the film Zohan speaks a uniquely invented dialect that is made of an amalgam of Yiddish, Hebrew and English. Sandler clearly associates the Zionist heroic epos with Ashkenazi culture while referring to the lowlife Israeli immigrant culture in the Arab Jewish culture. Sandler tries to emphasise the racial similarities between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In one dialogue a Palestinian complains, “everyone hates us,” the Israeli electronics shopkeeper answers, “yes, everybody hates us also, but just because they think that we are you.” What Sandler may have failed to realise is that in America Arab Jews and Palestinians can live together because they are sharing some fundamental cultural assets. They simply have a lot in common. Similarly, Peace will occur in the Middle East when Arab Jews realize that they have far more in common with their Palestinian brothers rather than with the Ashkenazi bloodthirsty aristocracy ala Peres, Rabin, Begin, Ben-Gurion, Olmert, Sharon, Netanyahu, Livni and so on.

A Last Word

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan is not an intellectual film, it doesn’t pretend to be. It is not a source of an historical truth either. The film is just an intense two-hour glimpse into a Jewish tribal mind. It may not tell us what the tribal Jew is, but it clearly throws light over the complex relationship between the tribal Jew and Israel. It suggests to us how the tribal Jew may see himself and want to be seen. It lets us peep into Sandler’s mind and suggests how he regards Israel, the Israelis and himself accordingly.

We can easily notice how much admiration Sandler holds towards the omnipotent Israelis yet we can detect how much he scorns the Israeli crudeness. It won’t take a genius to gather that Sandler, like many other Jews, is confused by Israel and the Israelis. May I suggest that he has good reason. As much as he seems to detest the Israeli electronics shops and the swindler culture associated with it, in the near future we will all see many more of them scattered in our Western capitals. Somehow, we all better get ready to mess with the Zohans.

Gilad Atzmon, now living in London, was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He is the author of The Wandering Who and one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. He can be reached at: atz@onetel.net.uk. Read other articles by Gilad, or visit Gilad's website.

19 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. bozhidar bob balkas said on September 20th, 2008 at 7:07am #

    ashkenazic volk have a country now in ex-palestine; or, one cld say, it has now all of the palestine +.
    and ashkenazim may obtain more land w. help from nato lands.
    ash’m do not want a one-state solution. and, since we can be sure that pals will never gladhand israel, the state of israel as a jewish only is doomed to extinction.
    it also may be true that ash’m have realized that a two-state ‘solution’ may also one day evanesce.
    by avoiding peace at all costs, ash’m are merely delaying the inevitable.
    thank u

  2. Brian Koontz said on September 20th, 2008 at 2:59pm #

    “Similarly, Peace will occur in the Middle East when Arab Jews realize that they have far more in common with their Palestinian brothers rather than with the Ashkenazi bloodthirsty aristocracy ala Peres, Rabin, Begin, Ben-Gurion, Olmert, Sharon, Netanyahu, Livni and so on.”

    That’s correct, but that time may never come. Using America as an example, subordinate whites have never united with subordinate blacks, despite them having far more in common than subordinate whites do with the ruling class.

    By giving one group (subordinate Israelis) privileges over Palestinians, solidarity is prevented. It’s classic divide and conquer which all ruling classes use, because it works.

  3. Deadbeat said on September 20th, 2008 at 3:40pm #

    The film may try to suggest to the naïve viewer that it is actually American hard capitalism that sets Arabs and Jews onto unnecessary fire. This banal vision is rather popular amongst a limited number of Jewish Marxists and Jewish leftists that are scattered within the anti-war and the anti-imperialist movements. Apparently, such a reading of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict suggests that the crime that is committed in Palestine by the Jewish state in the name of the Jewish people may have nothing to do with the Jewish people at all. It is all down to ‘hard capitalism’, imperialism, colonialism, and so on.

    Well said!

  4. Deadbeat said on September 20th, 2008 at 4:01pm #

    Brian Koontz writes…

    That’s correct, but that time may never come. Using America as an example, subordinate whites have never united with subordinate blacks, despite them having far more in common than subordinate whites do with the ruling class.

    By giving one group (subordinate Israelis) privileges over Palestinians, solidarity is prevented. It’s classic divide and conquer which all ruling classes use, because it works.

    I think your view simplifies the situation in Israel. In fact I would say that the Palestinians have it worse than the situation was for African Americans during Jim Crow and that was no “picnic” (as a nod to origin of the word).

    There were times in U.S. history when blacks and poor whites formed coalitions. But the what the Palestinians face, IMO, is far worse because Israel has the full support of the world’s “superpower”. And worst of all the world’s superpower policies toward the Palestine is heavily influenced and corrupted by Zionist ideology.

    The irony however is that this corruption is also stunting African American aspirations as well as we see Obama and essentially every African American national politician kowtow to Zionism.

    This IMO is not a matter of “education”. What needs to occur is a direct confrontation of the Zionist ideology in the manner like the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement confronted white supremacy.

    In order for that to happen the “Left” has to confront Zionism in the United States and demand a total boycott of Israel. Why withdrawal all support to Israel by confronting Zionism at home will embolden the Palestinians resistance and that is how peace will be achieved in the Middle East.

  5. Hue Longer said on September 20th, 2008 at 4:06pm #

    Hello Brian,

    There were some times in US history where subordinate whites DID unite with subordinate blacks…not really en masses since the nadir of race relations from 1890-1920, but some great examples were from the end of the civil war ’til 1890. Before it was the US, there were plenty of slave rebellions which included white indentured servants

  6. Deadbeat said on September 20th, 2008 at 4:50pm #

    Bearing in mind that I have very little admiration for American capitalism or any other form of money-orientated culture, I would still argue that blaming capitalism for the crimes committed by the Jewish state is rather deceptive.

    This is the dogmatic line that runs though the Chomsky-esque wing of the “Left”. As DanE points out this agenda is “counter-revolutionary” because it seeks to confuse activists and camouflage the influence Zionism has upon the U.S. political economy leading effectively to Zionism going unchallenged. This actually helps to increase the influence of Zionism and preserve the Israeli state.

    What Chomskyites hope for in vein is that Zionist leaders will limit their quest for power but unfortunately power never limits itself. It is up to the people to confront power. Unfortunately, the real danger of Chomsky’s dogma is that it blocks that very necessary confrontation.

  7. bozhidar bob balkas said on September 21st, 2008 at 7:16am #

    i do not know % of christians who feel a TEN on a scale of 1 to 10 that expalestine and now israel is first of all also a christian territory and a holy land.
    calling any land/region “holy” is an affront to the human race and feeling strongly that israel is holy, endangers future generations.
    we in europe and americas feel safe right now but once arabs obtain wmd and hate running eternally, we may expect anything.
    israel is not holy but an accursed region.
    there is no doubt in my mind that zionism/zionists were used by christians.
    on their own, they cld have never ever even entered palestine in significant numbers had it not been for christian lands; both communist and patrician.
    in the patrician class i also include priests as well as lords, earls, barons, grafen, generals, et al.
    and for the last 60yrs, israel cld have not existed for long had it not been for enormous econo-military-diplomatic aid it had received from patricians of americas and europe.
    palestine, in my mind, had been first stepping stone to the m.e.
    obtaining plstn portended preclusion of rise of non-patrician rules in arab lands.
    and that is what is happening and will go on as long as nato lands will it.
    in uae, bahrain, iraq, jordan, oman, saudi arabia, morocco, egypt we have emirs, kings, and other nobles who rule these lands.
    all of these lands in various degrees support US and see it as a protector.
    of course, zionists lap this up. thank u

  8. marzipan said on September 23rd, 2008 at 8:38am #

    This film is just pure stupidity at its worst… it isn’t even funny… If you have to be that racist and bigoted then at least show a little humour…

    From:
    Ex-Sandler Fan

  9. JustOneMore said on September 23rd, 2008 at 12:20pm #

    bozhidar bob balkas said
    “What Chomskyites hope for in vein is that Zionist leaders will limit their quest for power but unfortunately power never limits itself. It is up to the people to confront power. Unfortunately, the real danger of Chomsky’s dogma is that it blocks that very necessary confrontation.”
    It’s difficult to respond to this all too typical misreading of Chomsky. Single issue anti zionists are forever accusing him of a conspiracy to aid Israel in it’s ethnic cleansing project. Quite to the contrary, Chomsky’s only aim, it seems, is dispassionate observation. He’s not great at advocacy, for sure, but to see a hidden pro zionist agenda is going a bit far, me thinks. The aim is not limiting Israeli politicians power hunger, rather a desire that they might realize their ongoing land grab project and aggressive abuse of the Palestinian people is in the end counter productive in the extreme. As most thoughtful observers agree the Zionists are their own worst enemies. If calamity comes to Israel they only have themselves to blame.

  10. Deadbeat said on September 23rd, 2008 at 9:08pm #

    JustOneMore responding to Deadbeat says…

    It’s difficult to respond to this all too typical misreading of Chomsky. Single issue anti zionists are forever accusing him of a conspiracy to aid Israel in it’s ethnic cleansing project. Quite to the contrary, Chomsky’s only aim, it seems, is dispassionate observation. He’s not great at advocacy, for sure, but to see a hidden pro zionist agenda is going a bit far, me thinks. The aim is not limiting Israeli politicians power hunger, rather a desire that they might realize their ongoing land grab project and aggressive abuse of the Palestinian people is in the end counter productive in the extreme. As most thoughtful observers agree the Zionists are their own worst enemies. If calamity comes to Israel they only have themselves to blame.

    Lets start with some mistaken conceptions. First I am not a “single-issue” anti-zionist. That is ridicule design to dismiss a very important issue. Also using the word “conspiracy” is a red herring since I have no knowledge whether Chomsky is a paid agent. Perhaps you do. But assuming Chomsky is not a paid agent then perhaps the reason why Chomsky has been unable to confront American Zionism has more to do with tribalism rather than any kind of “conspiracy”.

    You suggest the following…
    Quite to the contrary, Chomsky’s only aim, it seems, is dispassionate observation.

    Chomsky lack of critique of American Zionism has been far from dispassionate. Chomsky was a harsh critique of Mershiemer and Walt and Chomsky analysis of U.S. foriegn policy never considers Zionism as a factor despite the fact that many of the advocate of Project of a New American Century were members of the Bush Administration and were very influential in leading the U.S. in a war on Iraq.

    With Chomsky being so respected and revered amongst the “Left” he has enormous influence on how the Left articulate issues and how the Left position themselves on issue.

    The issue is more about “calamity” coming to the U.S. on a foreign policy that advance Zionism than “calamity” coming Israel. I recommend reading Jeffrey Blankfort who has warned the Left about Chomsky’s myopia analysis on American Zionism for nearly three decades.

  11. bozhidar bob balkas said on September 24th, 2008 at 6:49am #

    deadbeat,
    if my memory serves me correctly, chomsky had decades ago severely condemned B’nai Brith and the Antidefamation league and other zionists.
    i also do not know of a single crime by israel that Chomsky has ommited and not strongly condemned.
    he is wrong, when he advocates a twostate sol’n. i advocate a onestate sol’n.
    a twostate sol’n wld award zionist terrorisn and crimes against humanities.
    thus, to me, he’s a minizionist. thnx

  12. Max Shields said on September 24th, 2008 at 7:50am #

    bozhidar bob balkas excellent points, and ones I’ve tried to get Deadbeat to understand, but he is ahistorical in his world view which begins and ends with Zionism as prime cause for all that goes on in the world.

  13. Deadbeat said on September 24th, 2008 at 9:53am #

    bozhidar replies…

    deadbeat,
    if my memory serves me correctly, chomsky had decades ago severely condemned B’nai Brith and the Antidefamation league and other zionists. i also do not know of a single crime by israel that Chomsky has ommited and not strongly condemned. he is wrong, when he advocates a twostate sol’n. i advocate a onestate sol’n. a twostate sol’n wld award zionist terrorisn and crimes against humanities. thus, to me, he’s a minizionist. thnx

    Bozhidar, I can refer you to the many articles wriiten by Dr. Petras including his recent critique of Noam Chomsky. In addition to Dr. Petras there is Jeffrey Blankfort who has been critical of Chomsky for nearly 30 years. The issue is not necessarily Israel’s crimes as heinous as they are. On the issue of Israel, Chomsky is clearly a Liberal and I would say left of Dr. Michael Lerner. But that is NOT why Chomsky is being criticized and Bozhidar you have to realize this is not an esoteric critique. The critique goes to the core of WHY the Left is not confronting American Zionism.

    Critiquing B’nai Brith and the Antidefamation League is not a major critique of American Zionism. A critique of American Zionism is an analysis of the power and influence that Zionism has on American culture and political economy. Here is where Chomsky, who presents himself as an accomplished and prolific writer and researcher, ignores. In fact Chomsky ridiculed Mersheimer & Walt analysis of the AIPAC’s power and influence. Because Chomsky is held in such high regard among activists, his denial of Zionism’s influence has a major effect on how the Left organizes around this issue.

    This is why you have people like Max Shields who fails to confront American Zionism and in fact constantly used ambiguous terms like “imperialism” and “empire” to obscure and to camouflage this problem.

    To use an analogy a Max Shields type would have said to say Martin Luther King or Malcolm X that the problem is not white supremacy it is “imperialism”. Imagine if Civil Right leaders would have listen to this kind of analysis. “Imperialism” used in Max’s context represents all the tools used by the ruling class to maintain power. However should there not have been a challenged to Jim Crow? Is fighting Zionism a zero sum approach in the struggle for justice?

    Therefore it is critical to analyze Chomsky’s role and his influence and his message to understand how Chomsky has been an impediment in the fight against “imperialism”. Which would seem most counter-intuitive to many activist who has been elucidated by Chomsky’s critiques on many other issues.

    thx

  14. bozhidar bob balkas said on September 24th, 2008 at 11:13am #

    deadbeat,
    u say that noam has ridiculed mersheimer&walt. this, to me, is an extreme overgeneralization. perhaps, u meant, noam criticised some of their conclusions.
    or he may have not accepted some of their facts. the word “ridicule” is overgeneralized to the point that it may not be understandable.
    in, add’n, r u sure u’r not puting that word in noam’s mouth?
    i’v already dealt w. words such as socialism, fascism, communism, imperialism, empire, etc.
    i said in one of my posts in dv that these words r mere labels which obnubilate the sit’n for most people because they evaluate labels as facts.
    some of these labels stand for mns or even bns of relationships on interpersonal, intranat’l, and internat’l levels.
    unless one names the actual relationship(s) and supplies when, where, how, why we cannot obtain an agreement on religion, socialism, the left, the right, imperialism,etcetc.
    i hope i’m not sounding to u as a teacher. actually, i self have learned from others. thx

  15. Max Shields said on September 24th, 2008 at 11:55am #

    Deadbeat misunderstanding of the legacy of Malcom X and MLK goes: “To use an analogy a Max Shields type would have said to say Martin Luther King or Malcolm X that the problem is not white supremacy it is “imperialism”. Imagine if Civil Right leaders would have listen to this kind of analysis. “Imperialism” used in Max’s context represents all the tools used by the ruling class to maintain power. However should there not have been a challenged to Jim Crow? Is fighting Zionism a zero sum approach in the struggle for justice?”

    Both great gentlemen understood that driving racism is imperialism. DB does not. He uses me as a strawman for what is clear to nearly ever scholar and historian on the face of the planet. Whether it is his inability to get this or his state of denial to have Zionism the basis for all evil, only he can say.

  16. Jonathan said on September 24th, 2008 at 12:05pm #

    Perhaps Chomskies actual words in response to the Mersheimer & Walt analysis might clarify at least one of the points raised. I would hardly call it ridicule.
    http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/4134

  17. JustOneMore said on September 24th, 2008 at 12:34pm #

    I’m sorry if I don’t buy the argument that Chomsky is somehow not vehement enough in his critique of Israel, while I don’t entirely agree with his (hardly vehement) critique of the Mearsheimer & Walt article I also don’t buy the Israel as instigator of the Iraq invasion argument. A confluence of mal-intent seems more likely. I think Chomsky and his friend Norman Finkelstein’s work on the Zionist folly is stimulating and extremely valuable.

  18. cg said on September 24th, 2008 at 9:33pm #

    I can’t recall Chomsky ever remarking on the subject of dual loyalty.
    i wonder what he would say.
    Perhaps, “it doesn’t matter.”

  19. erik said on September 25th, 2008 at 11:19am #

    Easy to focus and critize Israel, during 60 years of the israeli palestinian conflict we have about 6000 palestian victims and 1500 israeli victims but not really the worst conflict on earth as the palestinians would like us to believe. The duble moral is NOT to critisize the soviets for killing million afghans in 10 years of occupation, or the franch for killing 500000 in algire, or China for occupainig Tibet or Russia in tjetjnia and the list is long… so we should stop critising just the jews for defending themselves from palstinians shooting rockets at israeli school kids.