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Jeffrey Blankfort: Chomsky misfires on US-Israel relations | Race-Talk | 40

Jeffrey Blankfort: Chomsky misfires on US-Israel relations

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Jeffrey Blankfort

Jeffrey Blankfort is an American journalist and recognized expert on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Kathleen Wells: Hi. I’m Kathleen Wells, political correspondent for Race-Talk, and today I’m speaking with Jeffrey Blankfort. Jeffrey Blankfort has been engaged in political work on behalf of the Palestinians since spending four and a half months in Lebanon and Jordan in 1970, photographing the Palestinian refugee camps.

Blankfort is a Middle East analyst who has written extensively on the Israel-Palestine conflict. He is a former editor of the Middle East Labor Bulletin, a photo journalist and currently hosts a program on international affairs called “Takes on the World” for KZYX, the public radio station of Mendocino County in California.

Last July, Blankfort participated in a conference on Israel’s nuclear weapons held at the Spy Museum in Washington DC and sponsored by the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy.

Thank you, Jeffrey for taking the time to speak with me this morning.

Listen to the multi-part interview.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Download transcripts: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3


12 Responses to Jeffrey Blankfort: Chomsky misfires on US-Israel relations

  1. Cousin chomsky makes a good living off the anti-american game.

    November 5, 2010 at 3:37 pm

  2. Pingback: Intervju om Israel, Chomsky och USA | Bahlool

  3. Note carefully that Jeff Blankfort does not disagree with Noam Chomsky on his one least tenable and most blatantly racist position: the fundamental racism of denying Palestinian return – perpetuating the ethnic-cleansing – welcoming Jews to “return” to Palestine (Israel) even if they’ve never been there before, while using whatever violence is required to prevent the return of ethnically-cleansed families, expressly because they’re not “Jewish.” Both Chomsky and Blankfort oppose an approach that simply reminds US (and other) taxpayers that they must not finance any policy of ethnic or religious prejudice by anyone in the Israel-Palestine conflict – the one approach that works directly for justice and clarifies the conflict to those who are financing it – the dream argument of an anti-war lifetime. They oppose this approach, in favor of positions they call “realistic” because they’re acceptable to “liberal” Zionists – those who claim an interest in peace and justice, as long as it secures an officially “Jewish” (supremacist) Israel in most of Palestine. That skewed priority is the source of most of the “complexity” and all of the difficulty in this issue. No one can openly oppose the elementary egalitarian course to peace – a straight-up end of official prejudice – so it must be done surreptitiously, as ordinary psy-ops. Blankfort and Chomsky do this by engaging in the same elaborate inconsequential argument, year after year after year, from which the basic wrong and simple answer are neatly excluded – and also (in Blankfort’s case) by launching into frantic, revolting personal attacks against those who promote the plain egalitarian arguments, and (in Chomsky’s case) by simply ignoring those particular challenges.

    That is what happens when the “leading” progressive discourse on Israel-Palestine is conducted by two “liberal” Zionists – the most glaring wrong of both – the one which most effectively injects Zionism into the “anti-Zionist” discourse – is propagated throughout the “progressive” mind-set.

    November 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm


  5. Dakersting:

    I think your criticism of Blankfort should be reserved for me. I didn’t inquire about the right of return. And I know Blankfort does believe in the right of return for the Palestinians, yes.

    An oversight. Nonetheless, we covered quite a bit in our interview, no?

    Kathleen Wells
    November 8, 2010 at 11:46 am

  6. David Kersting knows very well my position on the Palestinian right of return as does anyone who has followed my writings or has Googled me on the internet. I am not only totally and unconditionally in favor of the right of every Palestinian born there or not to make their home in historic Palestine, I am and have also been on record as favoring the complete dismantling of the Israeli Jewish state. In my writings about Chomsky, I have not failed to criticize his opposition to the Palestinian right of return and in fact have made a major point of it.

    Kersting has a long history of playing the role of agent provocateur in launching attacks against those who are actually doing something to expose the Zionist apparatus in the US and how it controls the political dialogue on this issue across the entire political spectrum.

    Jeff Blankfort
    November 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm

  7. Thanks Kathleen. I suppose it’s kind of you to try and protect Jeff Blankfort. But please recall that, in reply to you, he declared his three basic disagreements with Chomsky and didn’t mention Chomsky’s primary, simplest, and least defensible failure: neglecting to treat the ethnic-cleansing of Palestine and the perpetuation of that ethnic-cleansing as the openly-declared racist violence it simply and plainly is. Blankfort’s deadly “oversight” of that key point is not your fault; nor does it vary from his consistent pattern: extolling the depth of his knowledge in endless detailed “criticisms of Israel,” while glossing over the most glaring and vulnerable wrong of Zionism – the elementary racist nature of forcing an expressly “Jewish” state ever deeper into a multi-ethnic region – the unacceptable “forest” that can be obscured only by deeply impressive analysis of various trees. Perhaps it’s an accident that what is “overlooked” is no less than the basic truth which must be kept from popular recognition if “The Jewish State” is to continue expanding, both in its size and its ability to manipulate Western decimation of resisting populations and governments throughout the Middle East. Or maybe it’s not an accident; the most crucial psy-ops trick of international Zionism is its ability to prevent modern, egalitarian, progressive people, all over the world, from noticing that the Israel-Palestine conflict is a very simple matter of mass racist violence – financed largely by people who would object to doing so, if only that most basic fact were not obscured in the only possible way: erasure by omission, amid preoccupation with countless peripheral wrongs. That diversion is the process seen in the media and imposed at the heart of the peace movement by very well-connected “critics of Israel.”

    The “Middle East conflict” will remain jammed in its trajectory toward nuclear war, as long as the crucial Zionist trick continues – that is, until the flagrant racism of the Zionist state is no longer treated as an incidental point, to be repeatedly “overlooked” – but is instead given the zero tolerance and primary emphasis that applies in all other instances of openly-declared racist violence.

    There is nothing personal in any of this against Blankfort (or Chomsky): they just happen to represent the failure of arguments that – for some unexplained reason – consistently skip the most crucial and effective point in efforts toward justice and peace in Israel-Palestine. For real peace activists, it’s all about finding the best approach – in polite but honest discussion – and pointing out the futility of elaborate and (for some people) informative arguments which skirt around the fundamentals of the conflict. Jeff Blankfort’s tendency to respond with marginally-related personal slander is just one of his many ways of “overlooking” the only point that matters: the need to treat openly-declared Zionist racism – the fundamental racism of forcing a “Jewish” state into a multi-ethnic region – the same as it is treated in all other instances of violent racism. But Blankfort’s method does not actually engulf his rational adversaries; it only pertains to HIS side of the conflict.

    The only difference between Blankfort and me that matters is the fact that he has again failed to hold Noam Chomsky and Israel to the ordinary egalitarian values that absolutely do apply to Israel-Palestine – and I have again pointed out the overlooked need to do so.

    Genuine peace activists will continue to press this need as long as it continues to be inexplicably “overlooked” by the “leaders” of this discourse. And our adversaries will probably continue to do damage-control; unable to counter our arguments, they continue to lose the more intelligent listeners, but they will no doubt keep using personal attacks to impress those who are susceptible to that sort of thing – hopefully an ever-shrinking number.

    November 10, 2010 at 9:24 pm

  8. Pingback: Jeffrey Blankfort: Chomsky Misfires on US-Israel Relations  | The John T. Wills Chronicles

  9. At least Kersting is consistent, using 50 words to tell his lies when one would do just as well. This is the reason he has been banned from every email list having to deal with the Palestinian issue but one and that is the Quagmire List run by his fellow agent provocateur Mark Richey. That being noted, let’s see what I have written on the subject of Right of Return vis a vis Chomsky. In my article, Damage Control: Noam Chomsky and the Israel-Palestine Conflict published by Left Curve in 2005 http://www.leftcurve.org/LC29WebPages/Chomsky.html>, I had this to say:

    “Last year [2003], Noah Cohen had the temerity to challenge Chomsky’s opposition to both a “single state” solution and implementing the Palestinian “right of return.” Chomsky defended his “realism” and accused Cohen of being engaged in “an academic seminar among disengaged intellectuals on Mars… [and] those who take these stands” [are] “serving the cause of the extreme hawks in Israel and the US, and bringing even more harm to the suffering Palestinians.” [13]

    “Note, again, how Chomsky accuses those who disagree with him of harming the Palestinians. This evidently includes the Palestinians themselves who refuse to surrender their “right of return.” Their crime, in Chomsky’s opinion, is to oppose what he praises as the “international consensus,” the support of which, for him, is “true advocacy.” [14]

    Next, in the same article:

    “The question of the Palestinian “right of return” is for Palestinians themselves to determine, not Israelis, Washington or Chomsky’s “international consensus.”

    Next, from an interview with Kevin Barret, April 30, 2010:

    “Chomsky’s opposition to BDS, (what he now describes as qualified support) and his ongoing efforts to dissuade people from using the term, apartheid, to describe Israel’s control over Palestinian society, should raise serious questions about Chomsky’s judgment, not to mention that his reason for opposing the Palestinian right of return and a one-state solution is identical to that of most liberal Zionists, i.e., that it would lead to Jews becoming a minority in that single state.”

    In a recent article that was posted on Pulse Media and many other internet sites, Chomsky and Palestine: Asset or Liability, I wrote this:

    “Chomsky volunteered to his Israeli interviewer that up to five or six years ago, he had considered living there as an alternative to the United States and in the 50s, “we had considered staying there, in fact.” In other words, he seems to have no problem with the Jewish “right of return” to what, until 1948, was Palestine, but considers a similar demand by the Palestinians who were actually born there to be not only unrealistic but potentially dangerous.

    “Although presented with an opportunity in both interviews to do so, Chomsky made no mention of the plight of the 750,000 Palestinians made refugees in the period of Israel’s founding nor of the more than 400 Palestinian villages that Israel purposely destroyed to wipe out their traces. In fact, that history and the situation of the now millions of Palestinian refugees today, is something he rarely, if ever mentions, unless asked about it.”

    In an open letter to Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery that was published on Dissident Voice (and elsewhere), I wrote the following:

    “You have quite clearly invested too much time and energy over the years in rationalizing Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinians from their homeland to acknowledge the injustice that was not only inherent but required for Israel’s creation. The passage of time does not erase that injustice no matter how many times you or others invoke the Nazi holocaust. The die for establishing a Jewish state displacing the Palestinians from their homes and villages was cast well before Hitler came to power so that issue should have no place in this argument.

    “As you have already assumed, I am against the existence of the state of Israel or a Jewish state by any other name which is based on the notion that a Jew from anywhere in the world has more of a right to live in what most of the world knew and accepted as Palestine than a Palestinian Arab who was born there or her or his family members. If that is not both immoral and racist, we need new definitions for those words. And yet you, apparently, do not find it so and reject the opinions of those who do. (The notion that Israel or any country can be a homeland for a person not born there and who cannot trace a single relative that was born there is but another example of how Zionists have twisted the language to justify the unjust.)”

    More than 30 years ago I signed a statement Against the Israeli Right of Return and for the Palestinian Right of Return which ended with the following statements:

    * the Palestinian people, at whose expense the state of Israel was established and continues to exist, have the right to return, to self-determination and to their independent state on Palestinian soil;

    * the Zionist structure of the state of Israel is at the heart of the racism and oppression against the Palestinian people, and should be dismantled.

    I think I have made my point and shown Kersting to be a liar. Moreover, if you Google “Jeffrey Blankfort + Right of Return there are 9310 entries.”

    The reason I did not mention my differences with Chomsky over this issue in the interview is because the Palestinian Right of Return is not an issue that is going to be influenced by pro-Palestinian activists in the US. Most non-Jewish Americans seem to have no problem accepting anti-Arab racism since, thanks to the those who have long controlled the film industry and dominated the media, anti-Arab racism has become the only form that is now publicly acceptable. There is a nation-wide Palestinian organization, Al-Awda (the Right of Return Coalition) which has been working on this issue in the US with, unfortunately, little success to show for it. In my opinion, having worked on this issue for 40 years, due to their own xenophobia and the pervasiveness of Zionist propaganda, I think the polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not have any concern for the welfare of the Palestinians are accurate. The same Americans might have concern for where and how their money is being spent, however, and what the Zionist establishment has done to undermine what little is left on our democracy and how it pushed us into a war with Iraq and is endeavoring to do the same with Iran. On all of this, Kersting is silent or tells us it is irrelevant. It’s obviously not part of his job or his agenda. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide which is appropriate.

    Jeff Blankfort
    November 14, 2010 at 10:56 pm

  10. To add to what Jeff Blankfort said on being anti-isreal, its clear to me that to To be anti-Israel is to be anti-genocide, anti-racism, anti-organ harvesting, anti-espionage and anti-treason.
    As for the espionage, just read 22 year congressmen’s book “they dare to speak out”. In it, Paul Findley details Zionist Jews gaining access to top secret US military technology. Paul Findley says that 23 countries have been caught spying in the US, 90% of the cases are from Israel. Thanks to this espionage, China has developed the J-10 twenty years earlier then would have been the case. They were given the technology by Israel, which got it from the US funded levy program that Reagan put an end to.
    Thanks to this espionage, Russia has the ability to destroy the US even today. Pollard was a Zionist Jew who pretended to be American first. As a high ranking Navy officer, he was able to give the Russians the entire US Nuclear deterrent strategy including the location of defensive and offensive systems. Israel got $100 million from Russia; the US tax payers paid $4 trillion over three decades to put it in place. Thanks to this espionage, the US pharmaceutical industry has lost 100,000 jobs. Zionist passed along patented information free of charge. To be pro-Israel is to be Anti-US. To say that this monster is a US ally demeans the US and should be considered treason.

    It’s very important we free this country from the Zionists influence. How can we free the US from Treasonous Zionists?
    1. Close the Federal Reserve, which is owned by the Ruthchilds, Shiffs and Warburgs. They print the money and charge us interest for it. For more info:
    “THE WORLD ORDER” BY Eustice Mullins
    2. Free the media from Zionist monopoly: For more info:
    “WHO RULES AMERICA” BY William Peirce of Natall com (do not join)
    3. Free the US people from Federal Reserve Subsidiaries including insurance companies and Wall Street banks: For more info:
    4. Stop supporting the Genocide against the Christians and Muslims Palestinians: For more info:
    5. Arrest every AIPAC member of congress starting with Joe Lie-barmen for more info:
    Read “THEY DARE TO SPEAK OUT” by 22yr Congressmen Paul Findley.

    Adham Odeh
    November 17, 2010 at 7:22 pm

  11. A site supposedly concerned with racism does an interview with the editor of the Jewish Tribal Review.

    Hmmm? How come that isn’t in your bio Jeff?

    Blankfort’s web site had been nothing more then a list of prominent Jews, in keeping with Blankfort’s contention that Jews run the world. After having been outed he changed the format. but trying to take the racism out of the web site doesn’t take the racism out of the man.

    How profoundly disappointing to find him given a forum here.

    December 18, 2010 at 10:41 pm

  12. One is entitled to be confused about Bankfort’s stand on the right of return, since it seems to depend on the audience. To Palestinians, he ‘talks left’, but he also supports MECA which of course says the ‘right of return must be negotiated with Israel’, a dishonest way of aborating the right in practice.

    As for elephant in the room, we can all see that a person who blithely slanders Noam Chomsky and dismisses his supporters as ‘agents provocateurs’ with no proof would normally be dismissed as a crank..

    Were he not Jewish! But Bankfort enjoys a pass on this sort of conduct which of course Kersing and I would never be allowed, even for a moment.

    The ecellent article by Elise Hendrick published on Cafe Intifada is the only time any criticism of Bankfort has nade its way into the ‘progressive’ media and that only because she is also Jewish. Privately many Jews abjure this habit of Bankfort’s in progressive circles..but they never air those concerns publicly, until the Hendrick article.

    April 19, 2011 at 9:49 am