Kosovo/Serbia, Palestine/Israel, Tibet/China

A sustainer recently asked Noam the below question on the ZNet chat board, where Noam hosts a forum:


Sustainer: Professor Chomsky, Are there parallels between the situation unfolding in Kosovo/Serbia and the recent history (since 1948) of Palestine/Israel?


Noam Chomsky: I doubt that there is much in the way of useful analogies, in this case.  Maybe I’m missing something.

Seems to me there is a much closer analogy between the Palestinian occupied territories and Tibet right now.  There are dissimilarities too.  Thus, rightly or wrongly, Tibet is internationally recognized (by the US too) as part of China, so what is happening there is internal.  In contrast, outside of Israel (and in practice, the US), no one recognizes the OT as part of Israel, and in an authoritative judgment, confirming early Security Council resolutions, the International Court of Justice determined that the Geneva Conventions apply to the OT, so all settlement activity is in violation of international law, as are all measures (like the "separation wall") to protect settlers (the US Justice concurred).  However, despite the sharp legal distinction, there are some instructive parallels that can be explored.

Take the recent US-backed Israeli violence in the OT and Chinese violence inTibet.  The former is far greater, and the justifications far weaker.  Just imagine how the US and Israel would react if Palestinians in illegally annexed East Jerusalem were to burn down a bank and Jewish stores, attack Jews, etc., as in Tibet  We can then compare the actual reactions.  In the case of US-backed Israeli violence and illegal actions in the OT, overwhelming support for embattled Israel.  In the case of Chinese violence in Tibet, much grandstanding, as when Nancy Pelosi — an enthusiastic supporter of Israeli violence — declares passionately that if we don’t stand up for Tibet we will lose our "moral authority" (she didn’t explain on what that authority rests).


One can proceed — that is, if one is interested in truth and justice and immune to shrieks of horror and a deluge of brickbats.



Leave a comment