Just like some right-wing blowhard, he'll continue spouting 'Faurisson Affair' whenever he wants to attempt to redirect Chomsky's critiques. Free speech, Alterman and many others want you to believe, is good - but only if you agree with them - otherwise, free speech is not so good.
I think Alterman is jealous of Chomsky because Chomsky is intellectually superior, more honest, and more decent - in general, an all-around better person, better humanitarian, better defending of human rights - he's everything that Eric Alterman will never be. Alterman chooses to write for MSNBC - another pro-corporate media outlet. What a joke. He's quite content to stay within the bounds of 'acceptable discourse'. More Chomsky, and less Alterman, please.
When a Chomsky/Alterman fan wrote to Alterman as to his personal attacks on Chomsky, Alterman responded thus:
What Alterman did here was duck the question. He always has, and presumably, he always will.
Chomsky stood up for free speech, and Israel-crazed academics like Alterman and Dershowitz (as we've pointed out before) go ballistic talking about anything but the substance of Chomsky's remarks. From the Wiki, we have this:
The Faurisson affair is a term given to an academic controversy in wake of a book by Robert Faurisson, a Holocaust denier. The scandal largely dealt with the inclusion of an essay by Noam Chomsky, Some Elementary Comments on the Rights of Freedom of Expression, as an introduction to Faurisson's book. Responding to a request for comment in a climate of attacks on Faurisson, Chomsky defended Faurisson's previous writing (though not his claims) on free speech grounds. His defense was the target of subsequent accusations by various pro-Israeli academics and groups that sought to discredit Chomsky by claiming a deeper philosophical and political association between him and Faurisson.
Either you believe in free speech for points of view you dont' agree with, or you don't believe in free speech. There is no middle road.
Should Laura Bush be able to say George W. Bush is a nice person? Yes.
Should Robert Faurison be able to deny the holocaust? Yes.
Should Malcolm X be able to say that the white man is the devil? Yes.
Should feminists be able to claim that men are evil? Yes.
Should Bill Bennett be able to say that all babies should be killed? Yes.
Should people be able to claim that Bill Clinton never lied? Yes.
Should people be able to critize their government? Yes.
Should people be able to say that Peter Smith is a horrible person? Yes.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Almost always yes. Almost never no. Get it yet, Alterman? Dershowitz?
Should there be absolute free speech? Yes, within reason. Shouting 'fire' in the movie theatre when there is no fire is not a free speech issue - it's a form of terrorism - and should not be allowed, but we have to be very careful about what we disallow. Alterman and Dershowitz are unable to look at the Israel issue objectively, presumably because of their religious ties to Israel - but I can only guess at that. This subjectivity makes them despise Chomsky because Chomsky is so good at ruthlessly exposing the treachery of the Israeli government. Of course, he does the same to the American government, but Alterman and Dershowitz can handle the criticism of the American government - just not the criticism of the Israeli government. That makes Alterman and Dershowitz hypocrites and cowards.
Chomsky, on the other hand, is fearless. He bashes everyone and everything that deserves to be bashed. Thank God for Noam Chomsky. May he live long and prosper and continue to speak truth to power. He's a hero's hero. A true intellectual - serving the powerless and doing all he can to help individual freedom flourish the world over.
UPDATE: A little deeper intellectual look at Alterman's cowardice - and that of Christopher Hitchens.
UPDATE: Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft, or 'She Who Will Not Criticize Israel Just Because', filled-in for her fellow Israel-defender, Eric Alterman, and is apparently not happy with us.
As a side note, all this talk of Jewishness got me thinking the other day - is there a primetime blogger, or really darn important person - intellectual/political/whatever, who is not Jewish? Josh Marshall of TPM, Eric Alterman of Altercation, Jeralyn Merritt of Talkleft, Matthew Yglesias of his blog and other places, George Soros, Noam Chomsky, and on and on. In short, are there any intelligent and/or prominent non-Jewish people in the world today?