Saturday, Apr 19th, 2014

Sustaining Necessary Illusions: The Bosnia Genocide Lobby Strikes Again

A recent post to The Comment Factory chided Truthdig contributor Chris Hedges over his profile of Noam Chomsky in April.[1] Drafted by “three activists,” it took Hedges to task for focusing on Chomsky’s views on a variety of urgent topics, such as the ominous spread of “late Weimar”-like “parallels” across U.S. society, and went on […]

By on Monday, June 7th, 2010 - 757 words.

NATO-bloc troops occupying Kosovo provide an apt metaphor for the thought-police of the Bosnia Genocide Lobby

A recent post to The Comment Factory chided Truthdig contributor Chris Hedges over his profile of Noam Chomsky in April.[1]

Drafted by “three activists,” it took Hedges to task for focusing on Chomsky’s views on a variety of urgent topics, such as the ominous spread of “late Weimar”-like “parallels” across U.S. society, and went on to praise Chomsky for his “courage to speak on behalf of those, such as the Palestinians, whose suffering is often minimized or ignored in mass culture….”

Hedges, the “three activists” objected, ignored Chomsky’s views on the former Yugoslavia, which “Chomsky persistently misrepresents….” As one of the “three activists” added, “Numbers of progressives…have been awakened to [Chomsky's] limitations by his non-supportiveness of the populations victimized by Serbia’s aggressive wars, and by Chomsky’s tributes to deniers of that victimization…” (Roger Lippman).

We have heard this all before—indeed, so many times over so many years in so many different venues that we’ve coined the phrase Bosnia Genocide Lobby to refer to a cadre of right-thinking, party-line-toeing activists who police the public sphere and assail and defame anybody whom they deem to be insufficiently sympathetic to the Bosnian Muslim cause and, worse, insufficiently hostile towards ethnic Serbs.

Chris Hedges profiled Noam Chomsky. In the profile, Hedges did not mention the former Yugoslavia, much less press Chomsky about it. Yet Chomsky “persistently misrepresents” Serb villainy and Bosnian Muslim suffering, the Bosnia Genocide Lobby contends. Therefore, Hedges helped Chomsky minimize or deny both Serb villainy and Bosnian Muslim suffering.

We have heard this all before—indeed, we have written about it. While we agree with John Hawthorne‘s comment that the “three activists” have produced a piece of anti-Serb “hate rhetoric,” we disagree with his assertion that “[they] obviously don’t have a clue what [they're] writing about.”[3]

Roger Lippman, Daniel Simpson, and Owen Beith, the “three activists,” know perfectly well what they’re really up to. As the present authors have shown elsewhere and will now repeat below, the pragmatics of language use make it clear that whenever someone accuses others (Noam Chomsky or Diana Johnstone or us) of “denying Serbian criminality,” “reinforc[ing] murderous Serbian nationalism and war-crimes denial,” and “defend[ing]…the Serbian genocidal project” (here sticking to Lippman’s rhetoric), the authors of such charges do not intend to say merely that they believe others are guilty of getting historical facts wrong. Instead, they seek to tag others with the graver charge of knowingly lying about history—of deliberately falsifying the historical record.

This is the standard tactic of thought-police and political enforcers.

This is what the work of our “three activists” really amounts to.

We have answered this type of attack before—indeed, many times.[4] We have provided a cogent alternative narrative to the establishment’s history of the Balkans, and with detailed facts and arguments that the “three activists” and their associates systematically fail to come to grips with. They favor instead name-calling and the repetition of untrue “truths” that have been institutionalized in the West, with the aid of political enforcers such as the three we deal with here. We urge readers to examine these documents, for which we provide hyperlinks below.

_____

Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, June 7, 2010

References:

[1] Chris Hedges, “Noam Chomsky Has ‘Never Seen Anything Like This’,” Truthdig, April 19, 2010,

[2] See Daniel Simpson et al., “Criticising Chomsky on the Balkans: Three activists speak out,” May 30, 2010, /

[3] John Hawthrone, in the Comments thread, http://www.thecommentfactory.com/criticising-chomsky-on-the-balkans-three-activists-speak-out-3043/#IDComment77918281

[4] For some examples of a reality-based alternative to the establishment narrative that our “three activists” enforce here and elsewhere, see:

(a) Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “The New York Times on the Yugoslavia Tribunal: A Study in Total Propaganda Service,” ColdType, 2004, http://www.coldtype.net/Assets.04/Essays.04/YugoTrib.pdf

(b) Edward S. Herman, “War Crimes Reply,” ZNet, May 24, 2004, http://www.zcommunications.org/war-crimes-reply-by-edward-herman

(c) Edward S. Herman, “Reply to Roger Lippman,” ZNet, July 18, 2005, http://www.zcommunications.org/reply-to-roger-lippman-by-edward-herman

(d) Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “Milosevic’s Death in the Propaganda System,” ColdType, 2006, http://www.coldtype.net/Assets.06/Essays.06/0506.Milosevic.pdf

(e) Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “The Dismantling of Yugoslavia,” Monthly Review, Vol. 59, No. 5, October, 2007, http://www.monthlyreview.org/1007herman-peterson1.php

(f) Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “Open Letter To Amnesty International’s London and Belfast Offices, on the Occasion of Noam Chomsky’s Belfast Festival Lecture, October 30, 2009,” MRZine, November 22, 2009, http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2009/hp221109.html

(g) Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “In Response to the Bosnia Genocide Lobby,” MRZine, December 8, 2009, http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2009/hp081209.html

(h) Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, The Politics of Genocide (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2010), http://www.monthlyreview.org/books/politicsofgenocide.php

One Comment

  1. History Punk says:

    If you look carefully, you'll notice that the Srebrenica Denial Mafia have never tried to publish their findings in a peer-reviewed journal or in an university press? Of course not, those places have standards of evidence that they cannot meet and they know it. However, the intertubes, Chomsky lectures, and random blogs rarely have experts on hand, willing and able to dismantle their nonsense.

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