Noam Chomsky spoke today at the Geneva Press Club, at the initiative and with the support of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Indeed, the Ministry’s State Secretary Yves Rossier and the Swiss Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Alexandre Fasel were in attendance. There was a direct video link with the Foreign Ministry in Bern (Bundehaus West), where MFA staff could watch Chomsky’s lecture and ask questions.
Chomsky’s lecture was entitled “USA, Iran, Israel and the Arab World: Where are we?” In his 35 min speech he only kept accusing “neocolonialist” Israel and its American backers. Only in the last minute did he say he worried about the situation in Syria and Egypt.
His talk was incoherent, using selective evidence, poorly-formulated arguments, distorting historical facts and with conspiracy theory undertones such as “the American media is hiding the truth from us.” Among his claims was that there is no evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and, if it does, it is for defensive purposes only. Also he thought the model of the Ottoman Empire is something we could use in the Middle East, forgetting that the Ottoman military was guaranteeing the stability of the empire.
If the Swiss government is genuinely interested in supporting the peace process in the region, there are more relevant thinkers they should consider inviting.