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Chomsky’s Allegations Should Be Questioned

I left Noam Chomsky’s Monday night address amazed. It was not just what he said; it was how the event was handled. First, during the question and answer session, a few students asked Dr. Chomsky questions that challenged his limited view of the topics he presented. Rather than respond in a courteous, instructive manner befitting of a professor addressing a student, he began attacking them.

He told one girl that she was “flat out wrong” in her assertions, and repeatedly used his mastery of language and crowd psychology to make the audience laugh derisively at questioners. He told one student that she was an imbecile, making sure to cover his retreat with a claim that her malaise affected many more than her.

What is this man so afraid of? And on top of that, who bearing the title of “Professor” dares act so horribly toward students? Later, another questioner, who looked to be in his twenties, rose and identified himself as an Israeli. He said that, in contrast to Mr. Chomsky’s assertions that Israelis are bloodythirsty warmongers, he, a former officer in the Israeli Defense Forces, and the Israeli people longed for peace and were willing to work toward it, even in the face of ongoing terrorism. Mr. Chomsky scoffed at this claim, and the hand extended in the search for peace, and began listing quasi-facts supporting his original slur. When the man attempted to restate his call for peace, Dr. Aimee L. Smith PhD ’02, an event organizer, took his microphone away so that Mr. Chomsky could finish his diatribe unchallenged. This silencing of dissent by Dr. Smith -- moreover, dissent that was in support of peace -- was horrifying. Never again can I believe the Social Justice Cooperative when it attempts to present itself as a champion of free speech.

Samuel Korb ‘02