Sunday, March 1, 2015

What an honor

Meeting with Professor Noam Chomsky during a break at the Helen Caldicott Foundation Symposium on Nuclear Proliferation at the New York Academy of Medicine.  At left, my friends John and Ramona Harragin.


  1. I can imagine how pleased you all were to meet him. Frame this one !

  2. I have Max! I actually got to chat with him one-on-one for a few minutes, over coffee. I asked him how he thought we might assess the nuclear threat posed by Israel, given that they possess nukes and delivery systems, but have never publicly acknowledged it and have never signed the Non Proliferation treaty. He taught me a Hebrew phrase, which I am unable to phoneticize here, but it basically translates to "if you push me I, I'll go crazy..." He was referring to the "Samson Option," which is detailed in Seymour Hersh's book of the same title, detailing Israel's use of implied blackmail during crises, over years. As Hersh reveals, the nuke option has been used as a threat and the words of Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld are chilling: "We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen before Israel goes under." Despite overwhelming military force in the region, various governments going back to Ben Gurion and Golda Meir have maintained a siege mentality. A great explication of this history and actual versus publicly perceived national security is given by Israeli historian Avi Shlaim in his 800-page tome, "The Iron Wall," which relies on updated documentation released by the Israeli government archives under the 30 year information-release rules. Chomsky, of course, had already read all of this work and beyond and had it memorized down to the level of footnotes, who sources he had also read and memorized and could recall off the top of his head. An astonishing mind.