Press TV: It’s interesting to know that the letter specifically calls for an end to Israel’s impunity. First of all, why has Israel been allowed to enjoy this impunity to begin with?
Chomsky: Because it is a client state of the United States. The United States has total impunity and is inherited by its allies and clients. That’s what’s known as power; so for example, the United States itself cannot be brought before any international tribunal.
The one attempt to do so, the International Court of Justice, the US simply dismissed it; the Security Council’s resolutions calling for observance of international law, that’s with the help of Britain and France which abstained, the case was the Nicaragua case brought against the United States. The US was condemned for what amounted as international terrorism but simply dismissed it. That’s the way power systems work.
Press TV: How proactive has the international community been to keep Israel in check, specifically in light of the detention that Israel keeps Palestinians in jail without any charge or trial for long periods to the extent that now many of them are going on hunger strike to bring some sort of world attention to the issue?
Chomsky: The question is what do you mean by the international community? The way the term is used in the West, the international community refers to the United States and anyone who happens to be going along with it. If most of the world is opposed they’re just not part of the international community.
Take for example in any current event, let’s say, the NATO bombing of Libya. The way that it was presented throughout the West is the international community supported it. In fact, it was supported by the US, France, and Britain and to a limited extent other NATO powers; opposed by most of the world including the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), the emerging countries, the African Union, some African country among non-governmental agencies, the International Crisis Group, the major independent international groups. But they’re just not part of the international community.
Press TV: We are seeing a mobilization of the masses throughout the world, there’s the 99-percenters in the US, the “Indignants (Indignados)” in Spain spreading across Europe. Also we’re seeing uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, with governments now being put under pressure to bow to the demands of the people. Do you think that there will be more political will on the part of world leaders to curb Israel’s impunity?
Chomsky: No, not as long as the US continues to support it and the European states follow along politely Washington’s lead.
Press TV: Where do you see this is headed with one minor victory after another through actions such as hunger strikes, etcetera, that try and bring some sort of attention to the plight of Palestinians in Israel, in Israeli jails, for example, and other atrocities being committed? There are small benchmarks that are being successfully accomplished. Where does this go though?
Chomsky: There certainly are very impressive cases of non-violent resistance but for the moment and occasionally they have limited success. However, barely mentioned here is the current case of the footballer, I’m not even sure it was mentioned. They barely mentioned it in the United States. As long as the major system of power, that means the US and Europe primarily, as long as they keep their hands off, effects will be limited.
US President Barack Obama once again has voiced unwavering support for Tel Aviv, reiterating that Washington is “decidedly more attentive” to Israel than it is to the Palestinians.
Obama made the remarks at meeting with a visiting delegation of the US Orthodox Jewish community. He also called on the audience not to cast doubts on his loyalty to his Israeli allies.
This comes as a group of the world's most famous figures joins a chorus of calls, demanding an end to Israel's impunity.
American Philosopher Noam Chomsky and former Manchester United forward Eric Cantona, among others, have sent a letter calling for Tel Aviv to release a Palestinian football player, Mahmoud Sarsak, who has been in an Israeli jail without charge.
In the letter, they've stated that Israel must hold the same standards of equality, justice and respect for international law that's demanded of all countries.
Sarsak was detained in 2009 after leaving Gaza to sign a contract with a West Bank team. He is now in an Israeli prison clinic after nearly 90 days on hunger strike.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Noam Chomsky, Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.